THURSDAY is St George’s Day and a select band of patriots up and down the country are wondering why the English don’t make a bigger fuss about the event.
The Scots are keen to celebrate their Scottishness, not just with St Andrew’s Day, but with Burn’s Night and Hogmanay (any excuse), the Welsh are eager to wave their daffodils for St David and the whole world becomes Irish for St Patrick (but then, the Irish always did throw a good party).
But what of St George and English national pride?
We should do more, say the patriots. Flags should fly and parades should march and the days of glory and empire be recalled.
Instead, national fervour only ever gets really going when the England football team reaches the World Cup and provides an excuse for fans to paint their faces red, white and blue, fly the cross of St George from their white vans and drink copious amounts of continental lager.
We can’t have English pride anymore, say the patriots, for fear of being accused of prejudice because extreme right wing political parties tend to wrap themselves in the flag to prove their racial heritage.
But I think the reason why there is no outpouring of John Bullishness on this day is because of our very Englishness. We don’t do that sort of thing.
Heaven forbid we become like Americans who are so insecure with their national identity they have the stars and stripes planted outside their homes every day of the year.
and bang on about living in the land of the free at any opportunity.
The English don’t do that. We are, basically, as reserved as the Queen and fervour has no part in our psyche outside the tribal pastime of soccer. We are rightly renowned for our stiff upper lip. We don’t bleat, we get on with it.
We don’t need to re-affirm who we are with a special day for St George because, as a nation, we have known who we are for centuries.