Labour And The Left Simply Do Not ‘Get’ Patriotism, And Their Patron Saints Holiday Proposal Proves It

UK Britain Patron Saints

The Labour Party’s genius plan to “unite the nation” by further Balkanising the United Kingdom

The Labour Party and the British Left in general just don’t get it. With the honourable exception of a few Cassandra-like voices warning that the Left must learn to re-embrace patriotism in order to reconnect with millions of lost voters, most on the Left seem intent on screeching “multiculturalism” at the top of their lungs until the United Kingdom (and even its constituent parts) are nothing more than historic entries in an encyclopaedia.

Labour’s latest great initiative is to create four new public holidays celebrating the individual patron saints of the four home nations. From the HuffPost:

A Labour government will seek to create four new UK-wide bank holidays on the patron saint’s day of each of the home nations, Jeremy Corbyn has announced.

The Labour leader said the move would bring together England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, while giving workers a well-deserved break.

Under the plan, it would mean there would be public holidays on St David’s Day (March 1), St Patrick’s Day (March 17), St George’s Day (April 23) and St Andrew’s Day (November 30).

“The four nations that make up our great country have rarely been more divided due to the damaging and divisive policies of this Conservative Government,” Corbyn said.

“But where Theresa May divides, Labour will unite our four nations. A Labour government will make St George’s Day – England’s national day and Shakespeare’s birthday – a public holiday, along with St David’s Day, St Andrew’s Day and St Patrick’s Day.”

This is the kind of idiotic idea that could only come from a leader, a party and a political movement which have so lost touch with the idea of what patriotism and national identity mean that they can communicate only in meaningless grunts and gestures, like a parrot mimicking speech without understanding the language. Or perhaps an elephant painting with its trunk.

Right now there is a problem with British national identity, inasmuch as it is increasingly missing from the people who are supposed to possess it. Why is this the case? Well, try the fact that our schools fail to teach students a balanced, cohesive and chronological history of their own country, while any attempts to teach citizenship or civics tend to degrade into leftist agitprop pushed by an almost universally left-wing corps of teachers.

Try the fact that national pride and British exceptionalism had become so embarrassing, gauche and ultimately rare among the left-wing establishment that whole explanatory articles were written explaining to people the peculiar warm, fuzzy and hitherto-unknown feeling they felt in their chests when London hosted the 2012 Olympics.

Try the fact that we just went through a bruising EU referendum in which the Remain campaign spent nearly all their time talking – against all available evidence – about what a small, puny and ineffective country we are compared to the swaggering might of, say, Malaysia or Norway.

Try the fact that Scotland has taken the decision to transform itself into a one-party SNP state despite that party’s jackboot authoritarianism and mind-boggling incompetence at governing, while agitating for independence every three years in the hope that certain childlike adults dwelling there might be better protected from the Evil Tor-ees in England, thus further fraying the bonds of our union.

Or the fact that for decades now, leftists have been insisting that we must observe, celebrate and even exaggerate the smallest of our cultural differences rather than celebrate and strengthen the bonds which unite us. Because multiculturalism.

And now that Brexit has given them a scare, Scottish secessionism refuses to die back down to the angry grumblings of the 1990s and 2000s, English nationalism is increasingly demanding acknowledgement and policemen are being killed at the gates of Parliament by homegrown terrorists, these wise mavens of the Left have decided that just maybe it might be worth throwing patriotism a bone after all. Not because of a sincere rethink of their worldview but because someone at Labour HQ thought it would make a good campaign gimmick and a way to garner positive headlines on St George’s Day.

Unfortunately, Labour’s inexplicable response to the challenges we face is to propose the creation of four new public holidays, saints days, which would further emphasise the separateness and uniqueness of the home nations rather than drawing us together in a common celebration of what we have achieved and will achieve together as a single United Kingdom.

One might think that the Left would instinctively realise that in our increasingly secular age, putting the focus of our national identity and patriotism on historical religious figures otherwise unacknowledged by non-Christians is not the smartest pull factor among subpopulations which have until now been encouraged to do their own thing in terms of integrating or not integrating with wider British society. As a Catholic, the saints and their lives have meaning to me. For millions of others, they do not.

Martin Luther King Jr. DayPresident’s Day and Independence Day have meaning for all Americans because they are rooted in shared history, not in waning faith. I know that the Left often like to talk down Britain and our substantial contributions in world commerce, arts, sciences, culture and diplomacy, but I’m sure that if they scratched their heads they might find something in the last few centuries of our national story worth elevating as a day in which all Britons can be proud (but please, not the Fifth of July).

Now, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating the unique histories, culture and achievements of our four home nations, and indeed we should do so more often. But too often this comes at the expense of celebrating British or UK-wide identity. As this blog has long argued, what we need more than anything is a single day to celebrate our entire United Kingdom, along the lines of France’s Bastille Day or America’s Independence Day.

And this should be backed by a myriad of other policies and gestures, large and small, which together might serve to nurture a positive sense of British identity around which we can all gather – regardless of ethnicity, colour, national origin, gender or any other grouping.

Some ideas that come to mind: a daily or weekly pledge recited by pupils at public schools; a return to playing the national anthem before top flight (and even lower level) sporting events, rather than reserving such gestures for the FA Cup final; continuing the investment in Team GB at the Olympic games and then celebrating their achievements back home after the fact; doing more to honour the armed forces and others who serve in uniform, both in public life and by encouraging businesses to acknowledge, reward and employ veterans; expanding on the National Citizen Service scheme, one of the few positive legacies from the Cameron government. I’m sure there are a thousand other, better ideas to be added to this list.

Instituting four new public holidays where the British people take the day off from work at significant cost to the economy, just to dwell on the fact that we are four rather than one people, is not the answer. One can’t even call it stupid – it is more the product of politicians who have so lost touch with the idea and importance of patriotism and national identity that they are no longer able to engage in sensible policy discussion on the matter. Rather than criticise Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party for this cack-handed policy suggestion, one pities the limitations to their thinking.

You don’t unite and strengthen a fraying union by chopping it even more firmly into four parts and then frantically celebrating the differences. And though the word “diversity” is almost branded into the minds of many leftists as an unquestionably good thing, Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party and the British Left in general would do much better to reflect instead on the far more inspiring words “E Pluribus Unum”.

 

Patron Saints UK Britain - St George England - St Andrew Scotland - St David Wales - St Patrick Ireland

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For The Left, St. George’s Day Was A Great Chance To Mock UKIP Supporters

St Georges Day - England Flag - Patriotism - Public Holiday - Bank Holiday - UKIP

 

What did you do today to celebrate St. George’s Day?

If you’re like most people, quite understandably, you probably did nothing at all – after juggling work and the stress of daily life, there simply isn’t much time left in the day to celebrate the overlooked and unexciting Feast of St. George.

But of those people who did mark the day, a small but vocal minority were determined to use St. George’s Day not as a day to celebrate Englishness, England and her patron saint, but rather as an opportunity to mock and belittle those people who do try to celebrate our national heritage, and those who are proud (and brave enough) to be openly patriotic in modern Britain.

UKIP, virtually the only British political party that doesn’t view patriotism as something embarrassing or gauche (sometimes, on a good day, some Tories can still make a decent effort), called for all Britons to mark St. George’s Day by wearing a red rose, and lobbied for the day to be made into a public holiday.

From the Daily Express:

Ukip deputy leader Paul Nuttall said the gesture was needed as a way of registering protest against attempts by local councils and quangos to ignore or obliterate English identity.

“It saddens and angers me that this day marking Englishness is so low key compared to how days for the other three countries of the union are publicly celebrated,” Mr Nuttall said.

“The situation has improved over recent years but it passes by unrecognised by many English people. I have long argued that it should be a declared a Bank Holiday and I have not lost my passion for that idea.”

Ukip yesterday released a dossier of examples of public authorities attempting to ban or denigrate the England flag in recent years. They included supermarket staff and taxi drivers being ordered not to display England flags and pennants on their vehicles.

The response from the establishment was predictably scornful, sometimes verging on outright hostility.

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England In The United Kingdom

SPS_BBC_politics_section

Above is a screenshot taken from the Politics section of the BBC News website.

There are clear and clickable links leading to separate sections for Northern Irish politics, Welsh politics and Scottish politics. However, the largest nation within the United Kingdom is given the more cryptically condescending heading “Around England”, which cannot be clicked and which does not lead to its own dedicated section.

Furthermore, clicking on the obscure “Political analysis around England” link leads to the the following badly laid-out page listing the BBC’s English political editors by region (presumably outdated since it was last updated nearly three years ago):

SPS_BBC_politics_section_2

Who made the decision to slice and dice our United Kingdom in this way when it comes to political coverage? Who decided on behalf of the British population that the Welsh, Scots and Northern Irish should see their politics primarily at a national level, while the English must be given news at a regional basis?

More importantly, is this discrepancy in political coverage a result of  organisational efficiency (so that political editors cover “patches” roughly equal in population, for example) or is it for another, perhaps more sinister reason?

The answer, of course, is that the BBC’s way of splitting its political coverage is merely a reflection of the way that the political elite want us to see ourselves – with all of the home nations save England deserving of a degree of individual recognition and autonomy.

But this way of organising news coverage – and structuring our political system – does everyone a disservice. People living in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland are denied the chance to view or shape events in their respective nations from anything other than a macro level, while English residents are not given the chance to look at issues which affect England in particular.

At a time when the Scottish people have a referendum to determine their future participation in the United Kingdom, and issues of devolution of power are coming increasingly to the fore, why does the BBC persist with a political reporting structure that is fundamentally out of touch with the sentiment of the country?

On Wednesday 23rd April, England will celebrate – or at least observe – St. George’s Day. This blog would not be surprised if there was a significant popular backlash or uprising of English nationalist sentiment around this time, given the fact that so much of our leaders’ energies are currently taken up talking about how best to cater to the needs of Scotland while the West Lothian question remains – as ever – conspicuously unaddressed.

Of course, if a debate does bubble to the surface around this time, it could well be diffused into obscurity by the BBC’s eleven English regional political editors.

On St George’s Day

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Today is April 23rd, St. George’s Day.

Saint George is the patron saint of England, and so by all rights I should be lounging in the sun in a pub’s beer garden, drinking a pint of proper English ale and celebrating all that is great and good about my country.

I am, of course, doing none of those things, and not just because I have to work today.

Ed West, writing in The Telegraph, has an interesting perspective on why he is unenthused about our national day of identity celebrating and enforced cheerfulness:

In summary, the whole national day was invented to sell tat, just as Irish national identity was created to sell beer and expensive woollen fabrics to Americans. I have no interest in celebrating St George’s Day, not because I’m ashamed of our national identity, but because I’m secure in it. After all, I don’t need to ask myself what being a West “means” or what my family identity is; it’s just my family. English people never used to ask what Englishness meant, because there was no need to; it was one of those things. You knew it when you saw it.

The idea of what a national identity should mean has only arisen in the age of mass movement, in response to intellectuals who have denied the idea of the nation as a family as too exclusive or discriminatory. New Labour came up with all sorts of strange notions about what Britishness “meant”, such as “tolerance” and “respect for other cultures”, when it means nothing except coming from Britain, being descended from British people, or adopting Britain as your home (a nation is a family, and just like any family it adopts and marries out).

He goes on to conclude:

As a result we’re having to reinvent tradition, but it all feels a bit pained and unnatural, when this is a day best left to the church. A far better national day would be June 15, Magna Carta Day: a day to celebrate the rule of law and individual freedom, concepts that, contrary to what people believe, do not just spring from nowhere but are intimately linked to the concept of England as a political entity. That’s what makes me feel proud, but most of all grateful, to be English.

On this concluding point, West and I are in total agreement.

I cannot bring myself to excitedly celebrate St George’s Day, because of all the many great, awe-inspiring things that my country has done (and I honestly feel more British than English – or at least both identities cohabit comfortably in my mind in just the same way that one can be both a proud Texan and an American), St George had nothing to do with any of them.

St. George didn’t write or sign the Magna Carta.

St. George didn’t defeat the Spanish Armada, or win the battle of Trafalgar.

St. George didn’t invent the telephone, television, jet engine or the world wide web.

St. George didn’t grant womens suffrage, abolish slavery, establish the NHS (of which I’m no particular fan, but which is viewed as an almost religious national symbol by many in this country).

St. George didn’t stand alone against the threat of Nazi Germany, and then go on to win the cause of freedom.

Any of these accomplishments offer tangible historic feats that could be used as the basis for a national patriotic day that could truly bind us all together as a nation – English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish together – and which could properly be used to reflect and celebrate our nation, just as Independence Day is rightly used in the United States.

But St. George’s Day – no thank you.