|You are in: Talking Point|
Monday, 9 December, 2002, 10:05 GMT
Are the British becoming more tolerant?
Britain has become a nation of increasingly tolerant, money-saving car lovers who phone their mothers at least once a week, according to research published on Wednesday.
The British Social Attitudes survey which was carried out by NatCen, also reveals that the we have become less racist and less homophobic than in the past.
However, there is less tolerance when it comes to congestion charging and the legalisation of hard drugs,
The report - now in its 19th year - surveyed more than 3,000 people for their attitudes towards life in modern Britain.
Do you agree with the survey? Have the British become more tolerant?
This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Despite some of your correspondents mentioning bad driving behaviour, the vast majority of British drivers are still polite and tolerant on the roads. However, we will never combat xenophobia and arrogance towards other nations so long as the tabloid newspaper and its ilk are around.
When people take part in questionnaires asking questions like this, or whether they would give to charities, they nearly always say yes. They don't want the interviewer to think they are racist or plain mean. If Government and companies want sensitive questions like this answered honestly, the interview should be completed by the respondent themselves, in strictest confidence, in order to get a true record of views. I believe the people of this country are not intolerant, but, if this survey had been answered honestly, they would have said they've got to boiling point over the way the Government is dealing with the numbers of illegal immigrants entering the country.
If we are a tolerant society, what then is our attitude to those we consider "intolerant"?
N. Nikitin, England, UK
I'm not sure - but this may be the beginning of a so-called PC backlash.
Many people, left to their own devices, will be broadly tolerant but they are constantly bombarded from all sides being told what to think and what is or is not acceptable. Is it any wonder that most people just throw up their hands in despair and retreat?
Tolerant? I don't think so. Just look at most of this morning's papers and the reaction to Sangatte refugees arriving here.
I do not think that Britain is a tolerant society. We only have to see the right wing press for that. The homeless, the poor, immigrants have all experienced British "tolerance".
While our common ideal may be for tolerance and understanding, in some parts tempers are becoming frayed. You only have to look at the North-South divide, or the situation in places like Oldham, to see that we have different problems, and it is hard to be tolerant when others make your life that much harder.
The word 'tolerant' is over-used and inappropriate. Diversity is not an inconvenience to be 'tolerated', but rather something to be embraced and celebrated.
More tolerant? No I think a few people have just given up on this country.
British is best. After leaving London to work in the US, I have to say we are very educated, understand the world better than any country, half decent and can tell right from wrong compared to other states.
The people who were asked are obviously completely out of touch. Ask anyone of Asian extraction if they think white Britons are racially tolerant. You may get a different view.
This is Blair's Britain, an anything goes society, in which the only maxim is 'it's every man for himself'. We are not more tolerant only more disinterested.
I think James is quite right. There are those who are seething underneath and those that have temporarily given up against the tide of politically correct thought control. Unfortunately this disenfranchised majority will find their voice through far right parties like the BNP. The British have always been like this, slow to anger, long suffering with a stiff upper lip but always capable of swift, decisive and ruthless action when pushed too far.
Try being overweight or have a mental illness, to see how tolerant we are.
The only things Britons are tolerant of are those that should truly anger them: West End pavement urinals.
19 years ago the country was in the grip of Thatcherism. If I thought we were still mired in that selfish, Philistine apology for a society, I would emigrate. All this study indicates is that we are returning to normal, civilised standards of behaviour after 20 years of barbarism.
More tolerant to what? Unpunctual public transport, violence, apathy, being unemployable over 35 years¿ England is still in the Middle Ages and just as insular and will tolerate any behaviour. If a set of circumstances doesn't affect you, then it doesn't exist.
More tolerant of race and sexual differences but almost certainly more stressed at work and on the road.
The attitude of urban dwellers towards rural communities is certainly one of great intolerance. The way people in the country are stereotyped by certain ignorant people doesn't shout out tolerance to me.
I think it's a good thing the British nation is becoming more tolerant towards racial and religious differences. But the bad thing is that we have become more tolerant in quality of life ie drugs, smoking, swearing, etc.
Apathy rules. I think it was Karl Marx who stated that the only way you could incite a revolution amongst the British was by taking their beer away. 100 years later this still rings true!
For a person who has studied, lived and worked in England for over 30 years and now living in the US, it is very clear to me the British are more educated, thoughtful, decent and tolerant.
We're certainly not tolerant of other road users. The standard of driving keeps getting worse. I suspect part of the problem is down to the current "nanny state" government.
I think you are suffering the same fate as Canada, Australia and other countries where we are too afraid of offending anyone, too tolerant of misbehaviour and too afraid to speak up ourselves.
Genuinely tolerant people make up only a small proportion of our society. The majority are intolerant and have always been unashamedly so. The chattering classes and politically correct may kid themselves that they are tolerant but we all know the real truth don't we?
David Howe, UK
It's not tolerance it's apathy!
There are other countries in the world that would never put up with the nonsense we are dished up.
I believe that, in many ways, we have become too tolerant. We tolerate obscene language, spitting, drunken yobs and snarling malevolent youth. British society is terminally ill.
It can only be a good thing that we are more tolerant of minority groups who were previously hounded for nothing more serious than having differently coloured skin. What is less acceptable is the way we have also become more tolerant, although in a more resigned manner, to the ever-declining quality of life in exchange for ever-higher taxes and to the apparently inexorable rise in crime.
I don't believe we've become more tolerant - rather, I think we are more careful about who we reveal our true feelings to. People are terrified of being identified as racist or homophobic, fearful of possible reprisal. I wonder whether the number of 20-somethings who speak French or German has increased? I doubt it. We are as insular as ever, sadly.
04 Dec 02 | UK
Top Talking Point stories now:
Links to more Talking Point stories are at the foot of the page.
|E-mail this story to a friend|
Links to more Talking Point stories
To BBC Sport>> | To BBC Weather>> | To BBC World Service>>
© MMIII | News Sources | Privacy