What would you have us value, then?
What passes for these British traits?
Is it the wilful diminution of democracy
That separates the people from the state?
Or maybe our incessantly insistent view
That what we do is “help” the world for its
No, wait! I think I’ve got it: it’s that fair play
Code we think we own! How righteously
Polite we are! Perhaps we should commission
Us a global honour mission thus we won’t feel
So, is it in our famous law and order you’ve
Translated into money talks? Our world
Anointed tolerance that shadow-stalks the
Local masses? Could it be the age-old
Choreography between the economic classes?
Is it in our quaint ability to wait in lines? The
Neoliberal culture of I’ll only pay for mine?
Oh, wait! Don’t tell me! Let me guess: you mean
Like how you cherish our belovèd NHS?
Is it the non-complaining strategy that manifestly
Rhymes with passive-born aggression?
Or perhaps it’s that amazing, self-congratulating
Way we tend to trip out on our history’s lessons?
Oh, hang on!
Could it even be our undeniable capacity to finger
Point with swinging lead and buried heads? Or,
Might it be our deep, rich, grass-root, time-was Cool
Britannia, now, by Cowell’s ilk and cynical palaver,
Handled into operatic lather? Is it in the way we gush
And gift a nobody to unreserved celebrity and rush to
Make pariahs of the stars beyond our knowing? Yes!
It surely has to be the Press with all its freedom to
Or is it how we toe the line when Lord America decides
We might be useful hand-tools, after all? Is it our poodle
Disposition or our sniffy exhibition that defines our island
Do Britain’s expositions make her values truly worthy
Or perfidious and small?
What the hell and where the heck are all these dandy
‘British values’? Is it in the way you treat the NEETs?
The homeless, sleeping on the streets? The single
Parent? The disabled? Every worker like a serf?
Is it how you’re transfixed by everybody’s patriotic worth?
Perhaps you’d like our babies stamped at birth, like eggs,
With redly roaring lions? Then, once they are schooled and
Duly cloned, be branded with a standard – maybe tractors
Backed by Union Flags to make their British value known?