From Prospect Magazine:
In July, Gordon Brown published a green paper called “The Governance of Britain.” The final section said that we need to be clearer about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and what it means to be British. It proposed “to work with the public to develop a British statement of values.” We asked 50 writers and intellectuals to give us their thoughts on this statement and what should inform it.
Rushanara Ali Think-tanker: The government’s initiatives on citizenship and a statement of British values have been met with a mix of encouragement and scepticism. Inevitably, the scepticism revolves around whether there are such things as British values given that so many of our values are shaped by more universal values, and no single nation has a monopoly over the ideas of democracy, equality and the principles of human rights. But the real test of whether a statement of values is meaningful will be based on our everyday experience, whether we are genuinely treated equally as citizens, whether we feel a sense of belonging and pride in who are as a nation. That means taking practical steps to enable the whole population to be a part of the national story, as opposed to the current situation, where many feel they are outsiders and lack a sense of belonging.