An anonymous, undated and unsigned letter of questionable authenticity sparked a controversy in England earlier this March.
To put things in a nutshell, the mysterious document alleged that an Islamist plan was underway to Islamize several schools located in Birmingham, triggering monitoring visits and full inspections of twenty-one schools in the city.
The results of the assessments were published on Monday, which concluded there was nothing “extremist” or “fundamentalist” about the education being imparted at the institutions under scrutiny.
Only five schools were found with administrative and staffing problems.
Making the most of the situation, England's Education Secretary Michael Gove thought he was being apt and patriotic when he announced plans to promote "British values" in schools that, according to him, include “democracy, mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths.”
As if using the term “British”, exclusively, in a country that is home to multiple nationalities, ethnicities, religions and races, is not divisive at all.
Oddly enough, Gove, in a 2007 interview to Prospect Magazine UK, described seeking to define “Britishness” as "rather unBritish".
Following the official’s poorly-worded statement, Twitter – as always – had a field day. Users in England decided to help their education secretary define what exactly British values are.
Here’s a glimpse of the suggestions pouring in on Twitter.
Teenage pregnancy, promiscuity, binge drinking, rape culture, victim blaming, casual racism, escalating homophpobia, sexism. #BritishValues?— James O'Brien (@mrjamesob) June 10, 2014
Proclaiming "THIS IS A CHRISTIAN COUNTRY" when discussing Muslims, while installing spikes to deny rest to the dispossessed. #BritishValues— Alex Andreou (@sturdyAlex) June 10, 2014
Spending more on fake tan than curing illnesses. #BritishValues— Oliver James (@Oliver__James) June 11, 2014
#BritishValues for years treating Ghurkhas that served army as second class citizens— Carol Anne Grayson (@Quickieleaks) June 11, 2014
#BritishValues politicians putting more value on a company's monopoly rather than the service interests of the people— stephen j macdonald (@pompeygommy) June 11, 2014
Charging sick people for hospital parking. For profit. #BritishValues— Neil Mossey (@NeilMossey) June 11, 2014
While Gove’s attempt to intimidate non-British values backfired on Twitter, the five schools found to have administrative issues will undergo stricter inspections.