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Video: What does it mean to be British?

Posted 25 April 2015

Earlier this year the pupils at Great Sankey High School decided to produce a short video with answers to the question "What does it mean to be British?"

I visited the school on 19 January 2015 to speak to some of the pupils, organised by the charity Speakers for Schools. While I was there, they asked if they could interview me on the subject of Britishness. The eleven minute video was released earlier this week, and can be watched below. I am one of a number of people who are interviewed, and appear three times.

  1. At 3:01 I give a list of values that underlie British society.
  2. At 4:23 I explain that these values are not exclusive to Britain. They are shared by many countries, and could be described as human values. I made the same point on this website in my piece about the Home Secretary's speech on extremism, and in particular the section "Calling them British values is counter-productive".
  3. At 6:05 I am quite firm about the need to accept these values if you are going to be part of Britain. However I also repeat the point about the values I listed being essentially universal. I point out that what makes us distinctively British, compared with citizens of other liberal democracies, is much more subtle than this list of values.



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