Thursday, 23 April 2015

Happy St George's Day

The Best of British To You All!

God, remember when posting something like this didn't make you feel like a UKIP supporter? Let's go back to those times please and reclaim our country for what it is and always has been - a strong and proud, multi-cultural and open minded land that values diversity.


  1. A belated Happy St. George's Day to you, my southern friend! :)

    Actually, I think the most interesting theme here isn't the malign influence of UKIP (which I would agree is one reason, albeit far from the only one, why images like the one above can make people feel uncomfortable) but that you've opted to illustrate the English national saint's day with the Union Flag (and the line "the best of British"), when three quarters of the UK's constituent nations don't actually celebrate it. (Bosnia, Romania, Greece and Serbia all do, however, which is always a nice little anecdote to wind up the Kippers.) That's not intended as a criticism or a complaint, just an observation about the erosion of "English" as an identity into a broader "British" identity in a way that hasn't happened to the other "home nations" -- something I've banged on about (and probably bored you to tears with) in the past.

    1. Ah shurrup ya sour faced Scot! ;)

      Nah these are all fair points, but I think what's more interesting is the fact that whilst, as you say ''three quarters of the UK's constituent nations don't actually celebrate St George's Day'', England will happily celebrate or at the very least mark St Patrick's Day, St David's Day and St Andrew's Day in everything from schools to pubs. I find that more telling on the whole and it does raise the question why the inclusivity for those Saint days and yet none for St George? Surely there's room for a celebration for all constituent parts Saints in this homogenized UK?

      Of course on a more base and personal level, I chose to commemorate the day with a pic of Jo Guest in a Union Jack dress because there isn't one of her in a St George flag dress ;) And then of course, 'the best of English' doesn't exist as a phrase ;)

    2. No, that's a completely fair point, and I'm intrigued as to why that inclusivity doesn't exist for St. George's Day. Actually I'm not convinced that many people, Scottish or otherwise, celebrate St. Andrew's Day. St. Patrick's Day appears to have been the one that's become ubiquitous around the world, and I'd hazard a guess that it's a far bigger deal for most Scots than the day of their own patron saint.

    3. I wonder if people ignore St George's Day simply because as I allude to here celebrating it makes them feel a bit embarrassed, like they're BNP or UKIP?

      I think the two examples I refer to, schools and pubs (strange bedfellows!) still make a big deal of each patron saint. In the schools case its a good way of teaching tradition, history and heritage and in pubs its just a chance to push an Irish, Scottish or Welsh tipple and please people far from home - with Paddy's Day naturally being the most marketable and successful of that formula. The red dragon was out in one of my locals for St David's Day last month though yet I didn't see a thing yesterday. I dunno, I just think it should be all or nothing really.

    4. But the absence of St. George's Day as a major event predates the rise of the BNP and UKIP, doesn't it? Or I could be wrong -- was it a more visible fixture 50 years ago? (Genuine question, I have no idea.) I'd be more inclined to point the finger at the relative invisibility of England and Englishness within the union in comparison with the other nations. In that piece I wrote on national identity last year, I suggested that people in England were not so much comfortable with a dual English/British identity as comfortable with the notion of "English" and "British" as interchangeable concepts... the result of which has been that conventional "Englishness" has effectively disappeared.

      As for myself, I'm rather sceptical of the whole process of venerating "saints" anyway, so I can't say it's something I've ever particularly cared about. At best, my reaction has always tended to be "Oh, is it St. Andrew's Day? Well, there you go." But as I've said before, identity politics is something that genuinely fascinates me, despite not feeling that it speaks to me in any great way.

    5. Yeah you're right - I know my dad said it was seldom celebrated or marked in any real way when he was a kid/young man. But I do feel in the last 10 years or so there's been a concerted effort in some quarters to get it more recognised (I seem to recall a petition for it to be a public bank holiday) which has ultimately fizzled out awkwardly for fear of being a bit UKIPy.

      I like marking it because it does remind people then. Usually I do so with something England related like a folk song or some such, but this year I went for the more 'Knees up Muvver Brown' approach, ostensibly as a talking point (which has worked, ta mate!) But like you I'm a bit blase about Saint's days on the whole. If it were a public bank holiday however, I'd feel like I had a more vested interest in the day and its heritage. Plus y'know, a day off...all good.

      I went through a phase in the early to mid 00s of marking every survey and questionnaire query about my nationality as English as oppossed to British but in the end, like those who wanted the Saint's day recognised,I drifted off from doing it for fear of being a bit BNPy - UKIP being just a glint in Farage's bulging wob eye back then ;)