It’s an annual event, like pretending that councils across England have banned Christmas and are instead celebrating ‘winterval‘. Obviously I’m not talking about St George’s Day – which was on Friday I know but I’ve only just got the photos back – but the yearly whinge that ‘we’ don’t celebrate it like other countries celebrate their days. Because of political correctness. Gone mad.
Leaving aside the obvious reason why St George’s Day isn’t a Bank Holiday – because we already have two at Easter and another on May Day – I’m not entirely convinced that England needs a day to get all reflective (or more likely get stuck in traffic as we all head to the seaside and/or drink ourselves stupid on Spitfire). The rather beautiful thing about proper English patriotism is that it isn’t solid – not fixed to days and flags – but flexible, encompassing pretty much that makes England both wonderful and frustrating. How many nations can celebrate the fact that they’re good queuers?
The kind of nationalism that gets hung up on everyone marching to the same beat on the same day isn’t English. Well, not an Englishness I recognise. And, besides, if you must fly the flag and dress like a crusader nobody is actually stopping you. Chalfont St Peter this year had, by my count, over 30 flags flying on its high street and there were St George crosses pretty much everywhere you looked – even in multicultural, no one gives a damn central London.
The only downside to my St George’s Day was (a) an absence of bitter and (b) I missed the shot of a lifetime as traffic got between me and a bunch of slightly sozzled crusaders nipping into Greggs for a pasty. How much more English does it get than that?