What is Britology? This is my term for the current efforts being made by British politicians and cultural institutions to define and affirm so-called ‘British values’ as the basis for greater social cohesion, and for the integration of different races and religions. This blog is intended as a forum for constructive (indeed, deconstructive) criticism of this politico-cultural project: a place to report on and discuss speeches, TV and radio programmes, and comments and events of any kind illustrating this drive to reaffirm ‘Britishness’. I’ll be nailing my views to the mast, and I hope there’ll be lively comment.
I’m not totally, negatively opposed to any attempt to affirm and rally round the things that are positive in the British tradition, history and character. On the contrary, I’m proud to be English and, by that token, British. It’s just that Britology is – to quote a phrase – ‘not fit for purpose’: it’s too abstract and theoretical; too remote from the preoccupations, tastes and experience of most people actually living in the UK; too driven by various insidious and disingenuous political agendas to provide anything meaningful around which all the people(s) of the UK can unite. So as well as criticising Britology, I aim, as I go along, to provide some constructive suggestions of more meaningful alternatives.