Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The Reluctant English And St George

A few weeks back there was a story of a Sri Lankan born gentleman who now lives here in England and flies a Union Flag from his house and another flies from the back of his car when he drives to work at the local Post Office.
At work, he refuses to serve anyone who cannot speak English and at home he slavishly made his children learn every word of the national anthem.
Of course the right wing press took him to their collective bosom and held him up as how they would like all immigrants to act when they come to this country, to be English and proud to be so.
As admirable as it is for this man to be so enthusiastic for his new home, he couldn't be acting any less English if he tried.
Outside of a sporting event, the English Flag of Saint George or the British Union Flag is not flown from hardly anything outside of Royal Palaces and i would wager that hardly anyone under 16 knows all the words to the National Anthem.
Big shows of flag waving xenophobia and boasting about this island where we live is just is not the English way, we are much more comfortable playing down our achievements and cracking jokes about our failings then puffing out our chests.
Not that we are embarrassed, throughout history the English have made some important and vital contributions to all areas of human existence which we should rightly be proud of, we just don't trumpet it from the rooftops. I like that attribute in our English genes that shys away from boasting about our achievements and is quick to pull up short anyone who tries to put themselves above anyone else.
It just means that St Georges Day will pass by again with hardly a flicker of recognition or interest from the country he is the patron Saint of and we seem perfectly fine with that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


It seems less genetic and more an appropriate reaction to a declining need for nationalism... especially since the UK is also a declining empire.