By George! It’s a day of hope
So it is the day of St George – when chests are thumped, beer is consumed and the voice of a nation proclaims its superiority over the world...
Or that would appear to be the perception many of our British cousins have of the English, judging by some of the comments posted this morning on a WhatsApp group I belong to.
To me, as a Christian man, I can see nothing wrong in celebrating England’s national day, providing we are celebrating the good, godly and wholesome things that made the English known around the world as leaders in democracy, fairness, innovation and compassion.
All of these things are worth remembering not just today, but every day.
Sadly, it is now common for factions to hijack the big occasions. And this year will be no exception. But that won’t stop me singing along to Land of Hope and Glory on Classic FM – with the emphasis being on the ‘hope’ element – and feeling proud of my English heritage.
We live in strange times, when what is dubbed as the ‘cancel culture’ is all around us.
Perhaps, on a warm and sunny day, as befits remembrance of our national Saint, we should reflect on everything that is being discussed and debated in our fallen world – racism, corruption, inequality, and even the now broken European Super League – and say to ourselves: it’s time to have a measured and mature debate about the big issues.
If I have one overwhelming desire, it is that the English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish can come together and start to piece together the brokenness found in our respective countries.
This won’t be done if we remain staunchly nationalistic and protective. But it is possible, if we look at the bigger picture, as our ancestors did in the Seventeenth Century when the Union was created, and appreciate, tolerate and respect our neighbours.
To me, that is what being English is all about.
In recent times, we have lost our way. But maybe we can use today, to start the rebuilding process, in whatever shape and form that takes?
Yes, I am idealistic. And I don’t think I am a fool. That’s why I continue live in hope rather than expectation, looking upward at all times.
Tony Yorke is deputy editor of Sorted magazine.