Plans by the Government to make “core British values” a compulsory part of the curriculum will be undermined unless there is recognition that there exists a “British” brand, which needs to be clearly defined and articulated.
Unless we define our British brand in all its elements we will fail to make it effective, and sustainable. Values are an important element of a brand. Our values drive our behaviours and a clearly articulated set of values provides a common script for all of us to live our lives by.
Our identified values perhaps could be along the lines of how we live together as a British community to enjoy physical protection, equality of opportunity, freedom of beliefs, tolerance based on mutual adjustment and respect – not just diversity for the sake of it – democracy, pluralism and social justice.
A brand is, however, also made up of icons: the things we instantly recognise or recall. Successful brands have powerful icons, which by very mention of their name conjure up a common set of images among key audiences.
For example the British Empire is now seen as politically incorrect in its abuse of human rights etc. By basing any future celebration on our values it will be possible to identify aspects of the British Empire – or any other historic event – which we can actually celebrate if they are relevant to confirming our current day values.
Studying and celebrating our core values could be a brilliant tool for uniting subscribers to the British brand, to help build better social cohesion, and a new common purpose to create a better future for us all.
I hope for the Government the idea of teaching core values is as successful as Agincourt, El Alamein, the Falklands, Shakespeare, the Kaiser Chiefs and chicken tikka masala.
Wakefield Media & Creativity Centre
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