Today, Friday 23rd April, is St. George's Day.
I'm Welsh/Italian and live in Scotland and I know about this because we learned all the days of the patron saints of Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England for no reason other than general knowledge and general respect. Neither of which is politically correct these days.
How many English people know their own saint's day now, I wonder?
You can't miss St. David's Day if you're in Wales at the time. Everyone is going around with an enormous daffodil stuck to them somewhere or dressed as a leek. Wales drew the short straw there, eh? England gets a rose, Ireland a shamrock, Scotland a thistle and the Welsh end up with a vegetable. The daffodil feels like a consolation prize. As for the dragon, have you ever experienced the full fury of a Welsh old lady? Don't imagine they are weak and feeble and don't imagine that dragon is anything other than a warning.
In Scotland, St. Andrew's day is marked with flags. Few are stupid enough to pin a thistle to their lapels but there's always one. Around here, it's always the same one and no, it's not me. The big boozy session is Burns' Night in January - haggis by the barrowload and whisky to wash it down.
The Irish get hammered on St. Patrick's day even if they are not in Ireland. You'd think they'd want to try something different for the day. I was once in Edinburgh for the event and everywhere there were huge green hats, vast shamrocks and little bodhrans (I have a full sized one from a Dublin visit and yes, I can). They must have had a direct pipe to Dublin for the Guinness, the supply was inexhaustible.
In England, there are too many hand-wringers who go on and on about St. George being Turkish or Greek or whateffa and never even visiting England, they bleat that their own national flag is racist and anyone seen with one must be re-educated. I'll bet many schools and councils will pass the day as if it is simply Friday and woe betide anyone mentioning the name 'George' or carrying a flag.
I don't understand it. Righteousness is not a specifically English problem. We have them in Scotland too and Wales and Ireland are also plastered with the loathsome creatures. They make up petty rules and expect us to follow pointless commands for no other reason than to ensure we know who is boss, but they have never succeeded in demolishing national identity as they have in England.
Then again, if you call a Scotsman racist he'll likely shrug and say 'Yeah, so? Fit's it tae dae wi' ye onyway, ya bas?' Sort of takes the fun out of it for the Righteous. The Welsh will deliver an incomprehensible babble at light speed and then ask if that's clear. With a smile. The Irish will argue 'Racist? All our beer is black.' Then it will be pub fight time and the argument will have to wait.
I think, maybe, the English are just too polite. Or rather, used to be. An Englishman rarely needed to fight, he could win with a quip, a sneer and a sidelong look. There are tales from Empire days of elderly colonial governers chasing away armed insurgents with a walking-stick. Rather than violence, they used sarcasm. And they were quick to apologise if they'd hurt someone's feelings, unlike we barbaric ones on the fringes of these islands. Complain to a Scotsman that he'd hurt your feelings and he'd probably correct the misunderstanding by demonstrating the proper meaning of the term 'hurt'.
That, of course, does not apply to the dockyard gangs and the mining villages. It applies to the gentry, the ruling class, those who have attained positions of high office. Businessmen and managers too. All very cultured, all very polite, all respected and looked up to. Even the Krays were pillars of the community. This is a country where even murderous criminals wore smart suits and looked after their mums. Muggers would stab you and apologise. Burglars would leave a note apologising for the inconvenience. A country like no other. And yet a country ripe for Righteous takeover.
Look at what happened when the Righteous had a go at Buckfast. It has too much caffeine in it, howled the Ban Brigade. And that's the way it'll stay and you can ram your indignation where it hurts, responded Buckfast. The EU once tried to ban haggis because they'd seen the recipe. It's still here. No shortage at all. I know some who cannot pass a bus stop with a no-smoking sign. They will actually delay their journey to smoke in there. It's a paradox - they vote socialist but will not do as they are told. Making all those laws is silly. The Scots are not going to take any notice. Try telling them their bin is overfilled and they'll simply pack it down harder using your head.
I wonder, though, if that inherent politeness and sense of fair play is what made the English so susceptible to the Righteous? Look, those ethnic people are discriminated against. Look, that poor man in a wheelchair can't get up the stairs to the disco. It's injustice and it must be fixed.
So it is, and so it must, but the Righteous went a lot further than fixing it. They made a fortune out of perpetuating and promoting the divisions between people, and forming new ones. All along the way they shouted down dissent with 'Racist-Nazi-Bigot' and it worked. They took away all forms of school punishment because 'it is wrong to punish a child' and now they have a generation who are not the polite, fair-minded English of old but are almost feral. They are more barbaric than the barbaric Welsh, Scottish and Irish they used to look down on.
The young English have not forgotten their history. They have never been taught about it. The years 1215 and 1644 mean nothing to them. They refer to 'Queen Elizabeth' while omitting the 'Second' because they they think Henry VIII is something Charles Laughton made up and have no idea who succeeded him. They have forgotten what happened in this country under the previous King Charles' too. It's likely to happen again under the next one, the way things are going.
They really believe the English should apologise for slavery, despite getting into that trade thousands of years later than most other countries, being the first to abolish it and enforcing that abolition by raiding other countries' slave ships. Slavery still exists in many countries that the Righteous support. That's never mentioned to the children.
The English politeness and fair play has been twisted by the Righteous into something truly revolting. It is now actually illegal to call someone a rude name. You can be arrested for shouting at someone. You must employ staff not on the basis of ability but on the basis of the local ethnic proportion. If you under-represent the white English proportion, that's fine, but under-represent any other group (except smokers who are safely deleted from any shortlist anywhere) then you will be fined. Your bin lid must close. You will not put pips in the glass bin nor will you put paper in the card bin. You will put all food waste into a bucket in your kitchen and endure the stench until collection day. You will not deviate from Righteous-dictated normality.
The English are the only people on the planet who will adapt to this and put up with it. I'll bet there's not one Englishman who has ever put a green glass bottle in the clear glass bin and felt a little smug satisfaction at that. I'm still watching out for that clear glass bottle with a hint of green.
Today is St. George's day. The patron saint of England. The Labour Party have destroyed this day. Watch for reports of English flags being deemed 'racist' in the weekend papers. Watch for reports of street parties and celebrations. You will find much more of one than the other.
Put aside your politeness and fair play. Put aside your working-man addiction to voting for people who despise you. Remember why you shiver outside the pub, why you have to hesitate before you speak, why you are called 'racist, Nazi, bigot' for daring to have your own country's flag. Remember 1215 and 1644 and what they meant.
Remember who did this to you.
And hold that memory on May 6th.
Sometimes I feel like a reverse version of Lord Haw-Haw, you know. Come on, you young English, who was he? Did they teach you about that, even?