Are the English ashamed to be English?

St GeorgeToday was St Georges Day, did you notice? Assuming you did, and you could hardly miss the fact given the media coverage, you probably weren’t that bothered any way, were you?

During our more recent PC years, there has been a mass of divided opinion about the rights and wrongs of celebration on this day. However, many people also continue to wonder why; is it right that St Georges Day should be seen as a social or political taboo?

Paul Vale, writing in today’s Huffington Post, was one of the latest in a long line of journalists to ask; Why Is England’s National Day Not Celebrated?

I think that Vale’s article made a refreshing change in that, it genuinely attempted to explore most (if not all) the reasons behind the answer(s) to his question. For once here was a piece that actually avoided the usually inept and stereotypical reasoning used to obtain an answer.

He avoided any attempt to lay blame at the door of a particular group, for our apparent lack of national pride. Thankfully that methodology was avoided for once. You see there is no singular reason for this lack of pride, if indeed we (the English) are allegedly wanting in that department. It’s probably down to apathy more than anything else. The final paragraph and quotation from Vale’s piece (probably) sums up many of the reasons for the multitude of answers to the current situation.

A cocktail of deepening cultural anxiety, rising economic insecurity and a growing disillusion with the political system has made the English Question something far more complex than simply a response to Scottish devolution and European integration…(Prof. Richard Wyn Jones – Cardiff University)

But Vale also pointed out how “England is, after all, a country in which national outpouring is rare” and I would tend to agree. Long may it remain that way; I believe in our famous Stiff Upper Lip, it’s an important factor, but sadly now a declining facet of our society. It’s an area of Britishness (or Englishness in this case) which helps us to drive on during a struggle, and to strive and triumph over adversity.

It helps to prevent us from continually bleating on about trivia, that and incessantly blaming others for our (mostly perceived) poor lot in life. It’s about time that, as both individuals and as a nation, we finally got up off our knees. We have to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and/or apologising for our previous (but historical) national failings and/or mistakes. It’s time to move onwards and upwards again

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more / Or close the wall up with our English dead! – Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’ (William Shakespeare – Henry V, Act III, Scene I)

It isn’t wrong to think highly of your country or to have pride in it, despite all the contrived and politically correct ‘instructions’ from others.  The type that suggest you should be embarrassed, remorseful or that your pride in your identity may offend or exclude someone else. But trust me, it’s not a new phenomenon.

There is a forgotten, nay almost forbidden word, which means more to me than any other. That word is England…Sir Winston Churchill

I’m not always happy about many of the things that impact upon my life; I’m rarely happy about the predominance of self-interest in our society, I’m not enamoured with much of our political system and government. I’m upset and dismayed about our increasing social divide and often, I’m usually angry about declining standards in public services.

Despite all that I’m still – Proud to be British by birth and English by the grace of God; but I understand that even a simple innocuous and inoffensive statement such as this, was branded as ‘racist’ back in 2010 (see here). With this sort of prevalent silliness, is it any wonder many inhabitants of England tend to keep their heads down and/or often feel oppressed by their nation?

Irrespective of your nationality, ethnicity or creed, I hope you all had a Happy St George’s Day!

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About Dave Hasney

National Coordinator for UK SMART Recovery - Previously a Recovery Worker and prior to that a Management Consultant and H&S Practitioner - Kept sane by Angling, Good Food, Real Ale & Wine - Cynical thoughts sometimes developed from others.

Posted on 23-04-2013, in Society Babble and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Once again the question comes to the fore; Let me give you an outsiders slant on it, For too long the mass media (in particular) and large slices of the Public (in Engerland) have had the urge to knock anyone that has emerged from the pack in their chosen field. Sporting greats, actors etc. are put on a pedestal then insults and put-downs thrown constantly at them. We however, the wee nations, that are patriotic, adore our greats and give them the adoration they deserve. If you can’t be proud of your own, how can you be proud of your nation. Simplistic? Maybe, but soul search and you may find you are begining to agree with me. Slainte agus Alba Gu Brath.

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    • Have to agree with your ethos mate, “If you can’t be proud of your own, how can you be proud of your nation” but the problem is; I (and many others no doubt) find it increasingly difficult to find any one of ‘our own’ to be proud of. Yes there are some actors, some sporting greats, a few good business leaders and the odd pillar of the community however; with so much self-interest and self-importance in our society, finding icons to be proud of is difficult. I’m just glad we still have our selfless HMQ to be proud of!

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