Playing patriot games…

23 Apr


This time of year, I’m always being told I should be patriotic, or being asked if I’m proud to be English.


Because it’s Saint George’s day, that’s why!

This is usually when the argument starts.


My problem is, which England am I supposed to be proud of?

Is it the country that jump started the Industrial Revolution, or the one that was infamous for decades of soccer hooliganism so prevalent that it was called “the English disease”.

Do we trumpet the pride we feel for the triumphant London Olympics, or hang our heads in shame for our involvement in the slave trade?

In a world where being a nationalist is synonymous with extremism, and every discussion on immigration risks you being labelled a racist, do we celebrate our multi ethnic society, or deplore the rise of far right groups like the BNP and EDL?

National pride, it seems, is a thorny issue.

Now, Saint George is a different problem altogether

The patriotic gentlemen that I generally have these arguments with, tend to say things like “You should be proud of your heritage and celebrate our Saint’s day like the Irish and Scots.”

Except, of course, he wasn’t English. Not even British.

He was Greek.

His mother was Palestinian.

And he served in the Roman Army, where at the behest of the Emperor Diocletian, he was executed for refusing to renounce christianity, and has been venerated as a Christian martyr ever since.

Known primarily as a military saint, he isn’t only patron of England, but also Iraq, Russia, Bulgaria, Rumania, Israel  and India, amongst others.

And he probably didn’t meet many dragons either.


So, am I proud to be English?

Well, that’s the trouble isn’t it?
I mean, I was born English, of English parents, in England, so I’m English by default, it’s not like I had the choice.
It’s like being proud of having blue eyes.
Or being tall.

I’m proud of some of the things I’ve done. I’m proud of what I have made of myself.
Because I did those things in England, does the country itself deserve some credit?

This is a genuine puzzle to me.
How do you determine national pride?

If anyone has any clue to this mysterious, ephemeral state of mind, please let me know how you establish whether or not you are proud of your national identity, because I am eager to know if I can calibrate my own pride index.

Oh, and how do you celebrate your patron saints’ day?


Posted by on April 23, 2013 in Blogging


Tags: , , ,

11 responses to “Playing patriot games…

  1. melanie jean juneau

    April 23, 2013 at 20:09

    our interview has 168 reads in 20 hours on Broowaha

    • dalecooper57

      April 23, 2013 at 21:29

      Ooh goodie. Only about thirty of them bothered to have a look at the blog so far though. Probably says more about you than me at this stage. Hahahaha.
      I’m very grateful for all you’ve done.

      …make that thirty one.

      • melanie jean juneau

        April 23, 2013 at 21:32

        it takes a while- they will come

      • dalecooper57

        April 23, 2013 at 21:58

        Okey-dokey. You’re the expert.

      • melanie jean juneau

        April 24, 2013 at 00:04

        hardly I have only been writing for i year and i month

  2. Helena Fortissima

    April 23, 2013 at 23:29

    Great post, Dale. I can’t say I’ve ever been overwhelmed with a sense of national pride; it feels too much like being in a club. I’ve never lived anywhere but the United States, and I’m happy here, so that’s a plus.

  3. nothingprofound

    April 24, 2013 at 00:52

    What can I say, Dale, but that I agree absolutely with all your points. Like Socrates, I’m a citizen of the world.

    • dalecooper57

      April 24, 2013 at 08:41

      Praise indeed NP, glad there are so many reasonable folks left.

  4. iancochrane

    April 24, 2013 at 02:03

    Yep, you got it Dale. Pride is not automatic, & flag-waving a worry.
    Cheers, ic

  5. LanthieLanthie Ransom

    April 24, 2013 at 07:26

    I’m English and not British – not sure what that makes me!
    Great post – must admit I had to look St George up – had no idea there was such a thing as St George’s Day or National Saint’s Day – but then it is not celebrated in South Africa so it woldn’t mean much to me.
    With regards to being patriotic – yeah, I’m afraid it’s not a matter of what I can do for my country but what my country can do for me – then I will entertain the thought of patriotism.

  6. tonyberkman

    April 24, 2013 at 19:47

    Reblogged this on 1,2,3 do.


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