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  • 13


     
    Unbeloved Country
    General; Posted on: 2007-04-23 11:30:45 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    The celebration of England's national day inspires as much loathing as joy.

    David Cox

    St George's Day, which used to pass unnoticed, is this year being celebrated as never before. In Norfolk, schoolchildren are filling the skies with red-and-white balloons; from Manchester to Dorset, giant dragons have been parading; in Lancashire, special St George's sausages are being consumed; in Kent, an insulation firm is giving its workers the day off.

    The festivities are, however, characterised by an element of bitterness absent on St Andrew's, St David's or St Patrick's days. Every April, official reluctance to fly the flag of St George on public buildings, the rejection of applications for pub opening-hours extensions and bans on various kinds of patriotic expression provoke angry complaints.

    In England's capital, Mayor Ken Livingstone refused for years to allow any acknowledgement of the country's national day, while happily funding extravagant celebrations for St Patrick's Day, Diwali and the Chinese New Year.

    He has now bowed to protests, but some English patriots consider London's principal event today, the screening of a Monty Python film in Trafalgar Square, to be something of an insult.

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    Englishmen, and Other Aborigines

    The Moral Gower
    News Source: guardian.co.uk

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