April 23rd, but let us not slay dragons.

I’m not greatly enamoured by this Saint George that we English seem to venerate so much. That odd fellow with his Greco-Palestinian background and a penchant for killing dragons.

Once upon a time in these islands we worshipped The Dragon as a force for good, sadly Christianity put paid to all that and relegated Dragons to the lower realms as it were. But somehow, Saint George got the gig as patron saint of this English nation, no point in squabbling about it, after all, most of what we perceive as ‘tradition’ and ‘order’ is only handed down to us through historical accident.

However, having a day for England, a day where we can celebrate all that’s good about England and being English, yes, I’m all in favour of that, but not, you understand, the jingoistic rhetoric of xenophobic nationalism so oft paraded under the guise of English patriotism, more an appreciation of all the good things that make us English so… English.

In any case, I could never see the argument for strong English nationalism, I mean, how can there be when The English come from such a diverse background? Celts, Romans, Germanic, Danish, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Frisians, Normans to name but a few.

Anyway, I wholeheartedly agree that we ought to make more of a Day for England and if it’s called Saint George’s Day then that’s fine with me and I’m flying my flag, even though there’s not enough wind to do it justice.

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start.
(Yes, today is also William Shakespeare’s birthday gadzooks! Today, probably; that is to say, we don’t really know when his actual birthday was, but we’ve taken to celebrating it on April 23rd.)
The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’
That’s Harry as in King Henry V, not Prince Henry, Duke of Sussex, KCVO, ADC

However, don’t make the game competitive. On no account mention god, you may upset somebody. Probably better not mention Harry, might upset the French. Don’t push the England angle, might upset all foreigners and Saint George, as I’ve hinted at, may be a bit too contentious… Stay in, draw the curtains and don’t say anything.

Happy Saint George’s Day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s