St George’s Day – whose refuge is patriotism

Tom Winnifrith Thursday 23 April 2015


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St George’s day used to be an almost forgotten festival on the days when at England soccer matches, folks waved the Union Flag. But for various reasons the past two decades have seen the rise of English nationalism. And in a sense I understand that.

Wales and, more especially, Scotland are grotesquely over-subsidized welfare safaris and it is the English taxpayer who picks up the tab. Of course societies based on welfare dependency rather than freedom and enterprise will not prosper and so the more the Celts mainline the subsidies the more they moan and bleat about the evil English.  It is the English who are to blame for the relative poverty of the Celts, for addicts can never accept that their destiny lies in their own hands and so must blame others for failure.

Slowly the United Kingdom is being torn apart. As an economic Englishman I look forward to the day when Scotland and Wales are truly independent and would welcome them being towed off into the Atlantic and forgotten. I am just bored of working hard to subsidize those who resent me ever more for my generosity. And so in an economic sense I drape myself in the flag of St George.

But like St George himself I am not English. I have vague Irish ancestry and was brought up to think of myself as British or Anglo Irish rather than English. I am conscious that my wife’s parents were born in India and while the Mrs. regards herself as English but of Indian descent, some of those who are today draped in a red and white flag may well regard her as being not quite properly English. And it is that unpleasant side of Nationalism that I find disturbing and given that in my heart I celebrate St Patrick’s Day I am not always at my happiest on this day of the year.

As I see politicians, notably the loathsome Farage, ostentatiously celebrating this day I am reminded that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. Pride in being English used to be an understated quiet awareness of all the great things about this country. I find the brash  aggressive and not altogether inclusive nature of St George’s Day increasingly unattractive. 

No party for myself and my Manx born cats tonight.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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