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What are British Values? What do they mean? The government says they are: democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, respect for different beliefs – and that they should be taught in schools. TrueTube took to the streets during the late Queen’s Jubilee to test who actually even knows that (?!), in a series of voxpop interviews. But before revealing the answers, we asked the people what they personally think defines ‘Britain’…

British Values

Great Britain. The British Isles. Britannia. We all know what it means to be British. And of course, we all share the same values.

 

Whoa, hang on. Do we, though? It seems to me there's a lot of debate about that.

 

Well, you can't get more British than Shakespeare.

 

What about music festivals?

 

Bangers and mash.

 

Barbecues in the rain.

 

Seaside holidays.

 

Chicken tikka masala.

 

Bagpipes.

 

Seagulls.

 

Royal Guards.

 

Folk music.

 

British bulldog. Taxis.

 

Carnival. Bowls. British Values. What do you think they are and what do they mean? We sent a film crew out onto the streets of London during the late Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee to ask random people some key questions about Britain's identity. Are you British?

 

I am. Yes.

 

Yes. Yes.

 

Yes recently. This is the fifth year that I'm living in the UK and I am applying for becoming British. That's why I am still learning from it. I'm from Iran.

 

I'm as English as they come.

 

Yes. In education. In values. And in understanding the system. Yes.

 

I'm Welsh, actually, I'm from Wales. I now live in Newcastle. But yeah, British through and through.

 

Yes.

 

No. We are from India. And we are just students here. Master students.

 

Yes.

 

No.

 

I am British, born in Scotland, but I classify myself as British. British subject.

 

What do you think of when I say Britain?

 

The Queen, the castle and the corgi.

 

Uh... good humour.

 

Football.

 

Rain. Although it's not raining.

 

The bus. The red bus. Of course. Yeah.

 

You have a pretty flag.

 

Traditional royal telephone. I mean, not royal.

 

Number one is the monarchy because there is no other country on the planet Earth that has a constitutional monarchy that has that unique arrangement between parliament, the ministers and monarchy.

 

What do you think Britain's values are?

 

There ain't any - that's the problem eh.

 

With things like democracy, it's obviously really important for our country. And we see around the world where that isn't the case. You know, and how sad that is.

 

Fairness. That means everybody has a say. Everybody has a part.

 

Hospitality. Accommodating all people from all around the world, I mean me as well. And the second thing is that they're very kind and very warm.

 

Today everyone's out being patriotic, isn't it? But yeah. Any other day. No, no one's too English are they.

 

Being kind? Um, help each other and go to the pub and have fun.

 

British values used to be according to scripture, according to the Bible.

 

When we talk about British, we're talking about generosity. Caring. And consideration for other people. Humanity. Humanity. Everything. Multiculture. Multiculture. Yes, of course. Yeah.

 

I think there's a stigma with British. I think for a lot of people it's probably being well spoken. I think it's being quite upper class, and I think that stigma hopefully has now gone.

 

Um having your own individual views. Teaching children that they should have a right to be heard and we should listen to them and respect their views and they should therefore respect the views and the rights of other people that they're growing up with.

 

Next, we told them the government's four official British values: democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for those of different faiths and beliefs.

 

I think they're very good. They should stick to them.

 

Yeah, I see it in everyday aspects of my life. I can feel it and touch it. Yeah. All these four values, especially democracy.

 

Are the British living up to those values?

 

Tries to.

 

Yeah. Yes they are. Yeah.

 

No. Do we hell. No, no, not at all, I don't think so.

 

I think generally the majority of people want to. Whether our leaders do is another matter.

 

Well, you can't live up to them if you forget God, see if you forget God in your life, you live a life of sin.

 

They've been supportive for us. And they are always ready to accept everyone from any country or anything like.

 

I wouldn't agree to that.

 

Yeah. No, I don't think fully.

 

Yeah. Rule of law, I think that's a difficult one. I think you should learn enough I think this day and age, and especially down to being able, like, competent when you leave school, to be able to say, well, what is right and wrong?

 

Not, not every member of the country is equal under the law. And especially those in power. Which is quite hypocritical of them.

 

You can't preach something and then not do it.

 

Democracy can be quite a big thing in terms of what we have that other countries necessarily don't. And I think sometimes that can be in a positive or a negative manner.

 

Sometimes there are only poor choices, but we still have to make a choice.

 

The actual concept of monarchy is completely contradictory to democracy as a sentiment. It's just one person who has arbitrary power.

 

We're supposed to be the United Kingdom, but in my opinion, we are now the perverted kingdom. The situation is now that lying has been institutionalised in the political realm.

 

You definitely feel that our British values have been lost. It seems.

 

Not lost, destroyed.

 

What examples are there of British values in action?

 

I got a neighbour. She's almost about 70 years old, and she told me that she's going to throw a party for the elderly people that are living in the care house - care homes. And she's doing very much in order to prepare food for these parties, for the platinum Jubilee parties. And I'm so excited to see how she's keen to prepare everything for people.

 

Where we live near Tynemouth, the north coast, there's some groups that support people who are struggling with mental health and they do that by going wild swimming early in the morning. So there's groups for children and for adults to get into the water on the North Sea. Right. Pretty cold and doing that, fresh, in the morning, in the middle of winter, is really helpful for your mental health.

 

Through work, you know we have the values of treating everyone fairly, making sure that, you know, that we take everyone at face value, that nobody, you know, like pre-judging or down to, you know, anything to do with religion or ethnicity or anything like that. And I think you need to have those values going forward because everybody's equal on that point. So hopefully that's what the next generation will see.

 

Any country's values change with time and vary from person to person. Traditions matter more to some than others.

 

Ha! Indeed they do.

 

But new traditions need the chance to evolve. What do you think of the government's official values and what makes Britain 'Britain' in the 21st century?

 

British Values

Video length - 7.27
Published date - Apr 2023
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

The film follows Seren, a mixed-heritage British girl, as she discovers what being British means to her, and how the service contributions of Black, African, and Caribbean men and women are recognised in today’s multi-cultural society.

Seren meets with a group of young Black and British persons each with different heritages – Ghanian, Jamaican, Barbadian, Nigerian, Zimbabwean – to discuss whether Black people and those from the Commonwealth feel included in Remembrance Sunday, when we honour the service and sacrifice of persons past and present. They discuss their feelings before watching an interview with a Captain born in London with Ugandan and Rwandan heritage, discussing his identity and service. 

A film by Alastair Collinson.

The Royal British Legion: Black and British; Sacrifice and Service (KS2)

Video length - 08.49
Published date - Oct 2022
Keystage(s) - 2
Downloadable resources

The film follows Seren, a mixed-heritage British girl, as she discovers what being British means to her, and how the service contributions of Black, African, and Caribbean men and women are recognised in today’s multi-cultural society.

Seren meets with a group of young Black and British persons each with different heritages – Ghanian, Jamaican, Barbadian, Nigerian, Zimbabwean – to discuss whether Black people and those from the Commonwealth feel included in Remembrance Sunday, when we honour the service and sacrifice of persons past and present. They discuss their feelings before watching an interview with a Captain born in London with Ugandan and Rwandan heritage, discussing his identity and service. 

A film by Alastair Collinson.

The Royal British Legion: Black and British; Sacrifice and Service (KS3)

Video length - 09.49
Published date - Oct 2022
Keystage(s) - 3
Downloadable resources

The View from the Classroom – Britishness – What does it mean to be British? What are British Values? And can you do an impression of the Queen? Key Stage 4 students from around the country give us the view from the classroom.

TrueTube films are designed for use in a number of ways. Some ideas of where this film could link to your curriculum are below:

 

AQA

Component 2: Thematic studies:Theme F: Religion, human rights and social justice - Human Rights - Issues of equality, freedom of religion and belief including freedom of religious expression.

 

Eduqas

Component 1 (Route A) Religious, Philosophical and Ethical Studies in the Modern World :Theme 4: Issues of Human Rights: Human Rights and Social Justice: Censorship, freedom of religious expression and religious extremism - Prejudice and discrimination

The View from the Classroom – Britishness

Can you do your best impression of the Queen?

All right.

Hello there.

Hello.

I could do a queen impression, but I wouldn't want to offend anyone.

Cheerio.

And she does her wave as well.

God save the Queen.

If we're talking about the stereotype of British people,

they speak in a really weird, like, posh accent.

What is in Sherlock Holmes, in Suits

They live in London.

Fish and chips, scones, a nice Sunday roast. Drinks, tea, the England football team and how rubbish it is.

Cricket and tennis, and like rugby.

Those stereotypes do annoy me. Only a minority of British people are actually like that.

Yeah, I'm British.

Yeah, I'm British.

I'm British because I was born here.

I was born British, but come from an Indian background.

My blood makes me British.

I am half Maltese, but I've lived in Britain all my life, so pretty British.

I think what makes me British is that I've been here all my life.

I think I'm Welsh because, I don't know, I look at the British flag and I don't see a Welsh dragon.

My dad was British and he is fully British his entire life. My mum, on the other hand, comes from Thailand, so I do not consider my mum a British citizen. However, I still consider her my mum and that's almost just as good.

I've been to a lot of places and they all think British people are just English.

If someone asked me, I'd say I'm Welsh rather than I'm British.

If you're British, you are also English, I think, aren't you?

I'm not too sure what it actually means to be British. That's a difficult question.

I feel as if it's just something on a passport.

To be British, it means to belong.

Britishness is just someone who holds some basic British values, such as tolerance, stoicism and freedom.

Liberty, democracy and diversity, because there's people from all different backgrounds and all different races that are here.

Peacefully living together and, like, being kind and just respecting each other.

I think just living in Britain and following the laws, going to school, being friends with everyone else here, that's just what about being British is to me. You could say, oh yeah, British people, like, are forgiving and all of this and but then that's saying that, uh, people from other countries aren't.

I'm Romanian. I've lived in the UK for ten years now. I'm a British citizen. I have a British passport, but I think it comes down to genes, like, I wasn't born here. My parents aren't British, so I don't think I am.

I don't think that you are born British, because there's people coming from other countries and they are legally British.

They can apply for citizenship if they've lived here for five or more years, if they've come from abroad, but to me, they they won't be British.

I don't think you do have to be born here to be British. I think, for example, refugees and that, that are forced over here through war and stuff like that, if they come over here and it's a better life for them, then why not allow them to be British?

I think that someone can come here and be made British because if they are abiding by the rules, then that means that they are British.

I 100% think it's really healthy for society to have all of these different religions and ethnicities and all like, mingling together.

I think multiculturalism has only increased over time, and like there's Indian shops. It's only shaped us for the better with having a load of different food, instead of just having to eat fish and chips every day, we can have curry once or twice as well now.

I think Britain should be a democracy because many people need to decide their fate.

Democracy is a country in which the people can vote for who they want to be the leader.

It'd be unfair if only one person could decide what everyone's doing. I feel like a vote should count for something because one vote can change a lot.

I think democracy is something that's required to be human. Everyone's different and so all people's opinions should be put together and really decided on to make one decision.

I think the voting age should be brought down to 16. I will do the research on who I vote in, because the same could be said for 18 year olds. Some 18 year olds are stupid, doesn't mean they're not allowed to vote.

I'm not really very into politics, but then I feel if the voting age was lowered, people my age would probably get more involved.

I think it should stay at 18, I think. 16 year olds are too caught up with school and things. They're probably not thinking about politics too much.

Being able to choose your leader is a very important thing, because that makes you feel like you have a choice in the matter of what's happening to your country.

The British has definitely changed over the years, as the Windrush, when the Jamaicans came, they bring a lot of their cultures, their foods, their fashion.

You can't expect Britain to stay as it was 100 years ago.

People with different cultures can get on. You can all share opinions without having to discriminate.

Well, the British Empire comes from many places around the world. The countries that they did invade and take over, of course, have many people of different ethnicities. And all those people I believe are equally British, so race and ethnicity does not matter.

I think people don't like change because it's been the same for so many years. So, when somebody else from a different country is in the same class as them, or in the same room as them, they're going to be like, well, you weren't here before, why are you here now?

I think in like a politician's point of view, that they're not, kind of, over the fact that Britain once was a very white country. And I don't think that, because at the end of the day, Britain is not defined by its past, it's defined by what it is at the moment. And if it's that we've got loads of different faiths, we should, like, really be grateful for that, because at the end of the day, it's trying to say that we encourage this stuff and that we're not racist.

Britain is probably one of the biggest places where you see loads of different colours. I love being British.

The View from the Classroom – Britishness

Video length - 05.04
Published date - Sep 2019
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4

Multicultural London

Members of a youth club in London discuss the challenges and advantages of living in a culturally diverse city.

Multicultural London

Video length - 03.17
Published date - Jan 2011
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

Chandni Chowk to Trafalgar Square

Asmita Chauhan looks at the history of immigration to Britain from South Asia and the influence it has had on popular culture. This film was produced by Manifesta as part of their Breaking into the Museum project, with support from the Museum of London and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Chandni Chowk to Trafalgar Square

Video length - 02.34
Published date - Dec 2010
Keystage(s) - 4
Downloadable resources

Immigration Affects Us All

A member of the Labour Party, the Conservative Party and the British National Party are interviewed about their views on immigration in this country.

Immigration Affects Us All

Video length - 04.09
Published date - Jul 2008
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4