I got told today that it is St George’s day. Really? Whatever. I’ve never once celebrated St George’s day and I’m not about to start. Especially not if Billy Bragg says I ought to. I’ve never put a St Georges flag on either my home or car and if I see a St Georges flag outside a pub, it is for me a reason to not go in there. Not even when the footballs on. I enjoy football as much as anyone and would like to see England do well in the forthcoming tournament. As enjoyable as that tournament may be, it seems to me a poor excuse for emotive misplaced patriotism.
I can understand why other nations celebrate their Saint’s day, specifically our Irish cousins. They have a reason to. With a history emigrating to other lands in search of prosperity I can fully understand why people the world over wish to mark their Irish heritage. I’ve got an Irish great grandfather apparently. Along with grandparents of other nations. As has the Squeeze. In an interconnected world I suspect most either have links to other countries, or even find elements in foreign cultures they admire. I’m not sure whether the Scots make much of St Andy’s day, though have noticed Burns night appears to have become Burns Week through an increasing Scottish identity.
One aspect of Paddy’s day I quite like is that it isn’t an insular celebration of all things Irish, but an invite to the world to party with the Irish. As an Englishman I’ve never felt the need to celebrate my Englishness. Not with either my fellow English or the wider world. There seems something distinctly un-English about doing so. Arguments that I should tend to come from reactionary types with a chip on their shoulder about anything from immigration to political correctness (always gone mad and never just the basic politeness of using language as a tool of communication rather than offending your fellow man).
I am certainly not going to start celebrating it as a marketing exercise from English beer producers that happen to notice Paddy’s day is an effective marketing tool to flog Guinness; therefore can’t we have something to flog English Ale? Have they not noticed the beer of England is Carling? 100% British barley. Lovely lout is the beer of England.
St George’s day will go unmarked for me. That is the expression of my Englishness. My Englishness is celebrated daily, by my gentlemanly behaviour, reserved nature, the union jack shorts I wear in foreign climes, the insistence I have that foreigners speak English to me in foreign lands and serve me chips, and joy I take putting HP sauce on as much food as I can.
I really don’t want to hear any crap about how we don’t celebrate our Saints day and that we should because other countries do, or even that we should have a bank holiday. I don’t because I’m English.