Thursday, April 23, 2009

Let's Hear Cries For England And St George

St George has been begrudgingly let out of his British box for the day as the nation is urged to do more than just lie back and think of England. Marking England's patron saint and the English bard's birthday should be a cause for a double celebration. But only a national holiday will stop the cries for England and St George falling on deaf ears. 

St George’s Day and Shakespeare’s birthday, should give the nation two very good reasons to feel cheerful and proud of this sceptred isle. 

But the Orange Party can't help feeling the flag of St George is still being hidden away, almost an embarrassment, left downcast in a cack-handed crusade against the nation. 

Government departments have been instructed to fly the flag. Church leaders too are delivering heartfelt rallying calls to ring out their bells in honour of St George. Celebrations are being held in English rebel strongholds up and down the country. 

Those pockets of English 'rebels' are fighting a rearguard action, refusing to be Brown-beaten but petty regulations still discourage local councils from flying the flag and holding street parties and celebrations, strangled by half-baked misguided political correctness, as the country is forced to buy into the shameful sham of Britishness.

The government still doesn’t get it. Respect for Englishness is just as important as Scottishness, Welshness and Irishness. 

England’s patron saint should be seen as a positive, powerful national symbol not a negative nationalist throwback. 

But it will take the recognition of his day as a public holiday, sitting alongside a St David's Day national holiday for Wales, to truly galvanise the public who are still unsure and uneasy about whether they are 'allowed' to celebrate. After all, Scotland and Ireland already have one for their patron saints. 

The Archbishop of York,  John Sentamu, reckons the time is right for St George to come on down from the football and rugby terraces and return to his rightful place at the heart of the nation, warning that it was vital for the country to find a sense of identity by looking deep into its largely Christian history using symbols such as St George. 

Today the Archbihop renewed his call for St George's Day to be made a public holiday. 

St George can be a potent symbol of modern Englishness. If it's good enough for the Bish, it's good enough for the Orange Party

Thankfully St George isn't dead. He's only resting. 

Not too long ago anyone flying the flag for England was instantly branded a racist as the wave of misguided multiculturalism swept the country and anyone whispering Englishness branded a bigot. 

But now the question is being asked: what's so wrong with a good old dose of English pride? Why can decent folk fly the flag or wear a cross of St George lapel pin without being branded a racist? 

Britishness can be viewed just as much a sign of exclusion tinged with racism, as the flag of St George, the saltire of Scotland or the Welsh dragon. 

Celebrations are being held today by schoolchildren and adults, men and women, minority and majority ethnic groups belonging to all faiths and religions. You cannot get more inclusive than that. 

Without this, more dangerous influences could fill the vacuum, whether it be the racist Islamic fundamentalism, the bigoted BNP or insidious institutional racism. 

Shakespeare placed St George at the heart of the national conscience. But Henry V's rallying call "Cry 'God for Harry, England and Saint George!'" still does not go down too well with the tosh of a modern, multicultural England. Apparently the Saint George's flag has too many memories of the Crusades, as if any one can remember that far back. 

Everyone needs a home. English history with its rich mix of cultures is the best way to fight the bigoted racist racial cults of whatever political persuasions.

Our children deserve a full account of the history of England, warts and all, so they can make an informed view of where the country came from and where together they are all going. 

It's time for the English to wake up. April 23rd should be a love-in for England and invitations sent out to all. The beginning of a rebellion against the false sham of Britishness. 

What hope is there if we can't celebrate “this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England”?

The Orange Party will stiffen the sinews and summon up the blood, celebrating St George's Day by settling down later to the cinema treat of Henry V - the patriotic, wartime, backs-to-the wall version - with the fetchingly camp Lawrence Olivier.

On this day the last words should go to the other Will and Harry: 

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

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