‘One day in the future, Javid’s oaths will have become I, the undersigned, do hereby promise to defend John Major’s cones around Theresa May’s racist vans, protect them from the vandalism of ridicule, because that is the British way.’ [Image: Home Office/PA.]

No oath to support British values will be worth the paper used to write it, if it is written by a Conservative.

They cannot be trusted to keep their own election promises, so they have no right to ask us to keep any promises – especially promises they want to force us to make. We would be well within our rights to ignore whatever was said.

For holders of political office, this is doubly true. Nobody belonging to another political party could possibly accept being held to a Conservative Party definition of British values, because their definition is – by definition – different.

This is another non-starter from Sajid Javid, the man who – as Business Secretary – famously failed to re-start the UK’s industry. Rather than fight for our steelworks, he went to a party in Australia.

Surely no season calls for the nation to unite and put its ugly squabbles behind itself more than this one. Sajid Javid has the answer: he doesn’t want a “government-approved, one-size-fits-all identity”, which is fortunate, since the spirit recoils at the identity the government would approve. But he does want to establish some “building blocks of society”, which will involve, in the first place, requiring the holders of public office to swear some oaths of allegiance to British values. “Tolerating the views of others, even if you disagree with them” is the one that would cause the immediate problem for the prime minister, who finds many views, even her own of six months ago, utterly intolerable.She would also struggle with Javid’s proposed oath of “respect for the law, even if you think the law is an ass”. Isn’t Theresa May explicitly at war with the law in styling herself for a hypothetical snap election, according to leaks, as the “people versus the judges” candidate?

And the oath of “believing in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from abuse …” would arguably entail, from the prime minister, her cabinet, her party and her Ukip fellow travellers, a rather more rigorous rejection of Islamophobia, so that Muslim women in shopping centres didn’t have to be dragged along the ground by their hijabs in a newly emboldened climate of “saying the unsayable”. Finally Javid has in mind allegiance to “a belief in equality, democracy and the democratic process”, that quintessentially British principle to which almost the entire world at least claims to subscribe.

Source: I wouldn’t swear an oath to British values – not all of them are good | Zoe Williams | Opinion | The Guardian

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