I’m not looking for a new England…

Posted by Laura
 

… Just inspiration to help to celebrate its culture.

What does the word nation mean to you?

Here at Homepage Towers, we endeavour to reflect the diversity of the United Kingdom and its component nations.

This is why we chose to feature articles celebrating St David’s, St Andrew’s and St Patrick’s Day – and St George’s Day yesterday.

The first three saints’ days seemed to pass without too much anxiety on our part – it was easy to devise headlines to celebrate the culture of the Welsh, Scottish and Irish. However, when it came to St George’s Day, a new set of qualms presented itself.

What other word can you use to refer to England? Should the words national or nation be used? England is a nation, but also part of a wider kingdom. And when people in the United Kingdom are asked to state their nationality, the correct answer is British. Therefore, when in the context of the wider MSN UK audience, the word would automatically refer to Great Britain.  

This alone would not pose too much of a problem. But how to illustrate our St George’s Day articles threw up a different kind of difficulty. The symbols of Scotland, Ireland and Wales, whether flags or traditional icons, were easy to display without possible misinterpretation. But when it came to celebrating English culture, the St George’s flag – combined with headlines about celebrating the country’s heritage – tended to conjure up impressions of far-right political campaigning, which was certainly not the message we wanted to convey.  

We did use the St George’s flag in the end, but opted for a headline that bore no mention of England or national pride. It got the message across, but I was surprised at how many more pitfalls there appeared to be when writing a headline about England than any other nation in the UK. Was it misplaced sensitivity about displaying English patriotism?  

As an English person living in England I see no problem in celebrating the positive side to this country’s culture, yet somehow I found it much more difficult to reflect this than I expected.  

Have modern-day events associated with the St George’s cross, such as football hooliganism and far-right extremism, somehow tarnished the image of the flag? Or is it simply deemed cooler and more politically correct to celebrate Irish, Scottish and Welsh culture these days?

Let us know your thoughts.

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18 Responses to I’m not looking for a new England…

  1. Timothy John says:

    The problem with St Georgies day as a celebration in England is this, George is the patron saint of Aragon, Catalonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Germany and Greece; and of Moscow, Istanbul and Genoa.  But people of English origin don\’t seem to want to recognise this fact and claim him just for themselves! Plus he was not even English himself and it is only rumour that he visited England. 
     
    Another point is that successive kings and rulers in England have used the symbol of the christian St Georges Red Cross on a white background in battles and wars against other countries especially in the wider United kingdom. So after centuries of oppression of the wider people of the Great Britain and not forgetting other countries like Palestine which is a muslim country for who St George is also the patron saint, but recieves little in the way of help and support from christianity based values from the West (think crusades Richard I to the Israeli army battling with stone throwing children, which has fuelled the current crisis in the Middle East).  So using a christian symbol like that of St George obviously would not sit well with those who are knowledgeable about the past and may have a heritage to other parts of the United Kingdom i.e Wales, Scotland and N. Ireland who have suffered greatly by English rule symbolised by the red cross of St George. 
     
    We are now seeing rule being given back to Wales, Scotland and N. Ireland finally and no christian hijacked red cross on a white background symbol for the purposes of war and opression can stop this now.
     
    Europeans do seem to have a strange fascination with the hijacking cultural and religious symbols from other cultures for the purpose of war, opression and tyranny like the Swastika of the National Socialist German army during the Second World war which was a good luck symbol to convey feelings of joy, peace, and happiness for over 5000 years for many cultures, which now conveys feelings of hate, opression and tyranny to half of europe and the Jewish people.  I believe that the St Georgies cross once conveyed that same fear to many in the British Isle and many countries around the world and so will never convey a feeling of oneness to all of us that now grow up and live in a mutli-cultural Great Britain.  The same situation has arisen with the hijacking of the Union Jack by White authoritarian far right fascist.  The modern images we see of White skin heads and their bad taste tattoo\’s wrapping themselves up in the Union Jack in their miss guided attempts of violence against law abiding citizens of the UK dressed up as patriotism, many people including good law abiding English people, feel uncomfortable about showing the Union Jack, which is certainly a shame as it is a good looking flag for fear af being brandished a racist (guilty by association!). 
     
    I believe the Idea of a St Georges day as a public holiday will never happen and probably shouldn\’t for the reasons that i have given here.  Maybe it is time for all the different cultures of the people of Great Britain to come together and pick a new symbol to symbolise what it means to be British and a constitution wouldn\’t go amiss neither.
     
    Yea Yea Yea

  2. Unknown says:

    I don\’t care if St. George is not English, I\’m pretty sure St.Patrick wasn\’t Irish. What does concern me is the way people like Blair, Prescott et al want to deny our heritage. England IS a nation and we should be proud of it. What happend in the past is history and we don\’t have to feel guilty about it. Would you call the Italians any less of a nation because of what the Romans did? They punished anyone who opposed them by the most ruthless methods. I don\’t see why we have to appologise to anyone because we\’re English. It\’s perfectly acceptable for the Scots, Welsh and N.Irish, to display their flags but not us? Scotland and Ireland both have some form of cross (saltaire) as their national flag, I don\’t see anyone giving them grief.
     
     

  3. clive says:

    Yea Yea Yea ( its hard to beleive that there are still some English people who will not give in and except the fact that they should
    give up their flag ,heritage and country )
    Not to mention their right to freedom of speach.
    And if the flag strikes so much fear into other "cultures", why do they travel so fare to get here? could they not stop at one of the many countries they travel through and pick a nice safe flag, surely there must be one that also gives houses, benefit payments free medical care and schooling complete with translaters.
     The flag may have in the past been a symbol of war like many other flags.But many people want to stand under it, as it also represents a great country with along history,and Iam proud to carry it.

  4. danny says:

    to yea yea yea,  the odd point in ur long speech i agreed with, but  the majority of it  was a load of ****** , some people just need to get a life! and i tottally agree wit the no name before me

  5. Unknown says:

    I\’m proud to be English, I call myself English, NOT British or anything else, we are a nation we should stop trying to please everyone else and be proud of ourselves. We should be elebrating St. George\’s Day and be proud not hide away. I don\’t care about history, live NOW. English people stop apologising for what has gone before.

  6. Dan says:

    Liberal cry babies like you make me sick!  I display the English flag with pride, as we all should.  So what if it was a symbol of opressive armies back  in history!  There are also many great acheivement associated with our flag.  If you dont feel proud of your flag, you should be ashamed of yourself, is patriotism dead?  Why dont you leave england if you are so ashamed?  We donnt want soft overly muppets like you anyway!

  7. Dominic says:

    I am very proud of my English heritage, our history and culture. I think it is unfair to link St George\’s flag to right-wing extremism, as the majority of people who preside under the flag do not endorse those views. I myself am right winged, (you probably guessed) and I feel that political correctness and liberalism is holding this country back from reclaiming our national pride and patriotism which we so dearly need in this rapidly disintegrating society. The image of the flag has been damaged, in my view, by football hooliganism, yet I still feel very strongly that we should be more proud of our country, of being English, and ony when we do that can we reclaim lost values.

  8. Save says:

    you english have to be careful with your patriotism because of your history of xenophobia, abuse to other nations, hooliganismsin brief, you guys\’s been and continue to be complete pricks

  9. Richard says:

    We English are very proud of our patriotism, I believe if you want to live in this country you must respect our culture and beliefs. 
      
    There are many people with your attitude, living in this country, that are far more xenophobic than the English will ever be!!!
     
    If you don’t like this country or the English go back to the country where you believe your roots are!

  10. Lilian says:

     I can\’t believe what I\’m reading … who\’s creating and maintaining a stigma attached to being English?  I\’m beginning to think that there\’s dirty work afoot to make an English person feel inferior … Where did all this come from?  We English I guess have been far too laid back for far too long  to allow all this shovellling to happen without comment and it\’s time we asserted ourselves …

  11. Richard says:

    Absolutely agree, we English have become far too amiable and tolerant of other cultures in this country, they now think they have the God given right on how we manage our country.  This is a Christian society, if other cultures wish to come and live in England they should respect our culture and beliefs and abide by our laws, as we would in there country.
     
    I am speaking from personal experience as I  have lived in many countries and have respected  there cultures, beliefs and laws so as not to upset the people of the country I was living and working in.
     

  12. Unknown says:

    Is it true that St George was in actual fact of Turkish decent?

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