You know it's St George's day today? That historic moment when an English man did something and the nation was proud instead of all looking at their shoelaces and mumbling about trumpet blowing. Is there no pride left in England? Where did it all go?
Last year there was mass flag waving on the streets of Germany for the first time since the mid 1940's. Until then it was very much frowned upon to hoist the flag in public, even to the extent that some egg manufacturer's turned the flag sideways and pretended to be Belgian (as seen in the GB on Rue de Tongres, fooled me the crafty blighters). Gerry seems to be over it now so what's wrong with English? As far as I can recall, celebrating St. Georges day came to the agenda in the 90's, along with New Labour, but it's still just a discussion item.
Most countries around the world have a National Day or Independence Day, when they celebrate their culture and values or just get blind drunk. The Irish have cleverly combined all three. Admittedly, many of those Independence day's are celebrating Independence from the British, but that's not the point.
OR IS IT? Make the comparison, when does the German "re-habilitation", for want of a better word, begin? After all the countries were returned to the rightful owners? Maybe it really began when they joined the EU (he-hee, little joke-ette in case you're bored) or perhaps the falling of the Berlin Wall, could be any number of things, one point stands out to me at least.
(Aside : Why do (West) Germans envy the Chinese? - Because they've still got their wall)
The building of the British Empire could only really begin when they stopped fighting the Scots and the Welsh. Only then could they lead their army outside the shores of Great Britain. In this sense the Empire is still very still very much alive, in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In this situation the English still see themselves as the guardians or parents, so while they're glad for the children to have a party they don't really want to make too much of a fuss for themsleves. This could be the crux of it, the war isn't yet over for the English, I mean the war that established and maintaned the Empire.
In order to assert, or re-assert, their own identity and then be in a position to celebrate (or not, as the case may be), England needs to become a country again. But going back to football, as we inevitably must, this was all brought home to me last year during the world cup. I had erected a small cross of St George on my desk, several other people showed their colours in similar manner. Ours is a very multicultural office, so the world cup was quite the event for us. I wasn't the only one with an England flag though. One day, one of my flemmish colleagues asked me "what are all these flags around here? Norway?" I then had to explain to him the difference between England and the UK and that England has their own flag apart from the Union Jack - he thought the UK was a country. In some, political sense, it is.
OR IS IT? Ok, that was just melodramatic, ignore that. I suppose the flag misunderstanding would be cleared up if the Scots and Welsh could qualify for the World Cup every now and then. On the other hand why not cut the dithering and get on with this devolution business properly. We all know were it's headed so what's the benefit of dragging it out? The next election should be fought on full and total devolution, a separation of the countries. Then England can start planning the St. Georges/Independence Day celebrations.
Which reminds me, I never did celebrate my divorce proplerly, perhaps I shall do both tonight…
OR WILL I?
Your Faithful Servant,