For various reasons, I was having a careful look yesterday at a secondary school's website and was surprised to discover that they had a whole section of their website devoted to the question of how they promoted British values. For those readers abroad, this clearly related to a government directive last year that all schools should do precisely that: promote Britishness. This apparently means the values of "democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs".
Now there are all kinds of obvious problems with this. For a start, it is hard to know what the government thought any teacher was supposed to do when confronted by the clever 13 year old who asked if the law-breaking suffragettes were promoting British values or not. And the idea that these values are peculiarly British causes one to gag a bit (one section of the government guidelines actually suggests that teachers should get across "the strengths, advantages and disadvantages of democracy, and how democracy and the law works in Britain, in contrast to other forms of government in other countries". Like what "other countries"? France?
But there are more problems than that.
My first reaction was to imagine that the school I was looking up had gone over the top in parading all this on the web. But a bit of googling proved me wrong. Almost every school in the country seems to have done the same. And not only that, but in more or less identical words.