St George’s Day – Do what you can to show your fellow countrymen that you’re proud to be English!
In an exclusive article for Endeavour Public Affairs to mark St George’s Day, Andrew Rosindell MP explains what St George’s Day means to him, and why he thinks more people should celebrate it.
Andrew Rosindell is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Romford and is Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for St George’s Day.
To follow Andrew Rosindell on Twitter – @AndrewRosindell
It has been a long term goal of mine to see England celebrate St George’s Day en-masse, by making the 23rd of April a national holiday. The reason is simple: the people of England deserve a day to feel proud! So many other countries in the world have their special day to celebrate, so why not England?
While I passionately celebrate St Patrick’s Day, as a mark of respect for our friendship with our cousins from Ireland, it does not seem right that the English fail to celebrate St George’s Day with the same degree of fervour as they do St Patrick’s Day.
We need the same patriotism and love for England demonstrated at sporting events, to be spread throughout villages, towns, and cities across the land. I strongly believe that patriotism is the best approach to achieving social cohesion across, what has become a broadly diverse nation. This will not happen, if the English feel they are unable to express their love for of their country, as so many other nationalities do there’s.
Nothing upsets me more than when I read of stories where people have been intimidated into tearing down the English flag for ‘fear’ of upsetting minority groups. Throughout my travels up and down the country, I have met people from a wide range of backgrounds; all of whom came to England, or are descendants of immigrants who came to England and have happily assimilated and become part of the English and indeed, British family.
A recent study conducted by British Future, found that only 40 per cent of respondents were able to identify St George’s Day as falling upon April 23rd. This is alarming, and must be rectified before we lose touch of all traces of national identity. Although commendable, flying the St George’s Flag ‘here and there’ simply will not do. If we are to stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies in almost every country in the world, who take a day off a year to celebrate their patriotism, we need street parties; festivals; flexibility from local councils; and recognition in the education system.
Each and every person who identifies as English has their own unique story that must be symbolised through national celebration. When the people of Britain have a day to celebrate all things British (the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebration in 2012 being one example), they do celebration in a way unmatched by other countries. Give the people of England the encouragement to celebrate St George’s Day, and I am certain they gladly will.
Aside from the patriotic benefits of wide spread celebration, a national holiday will be a tremendous benefit for businesses wishing to stay open in order to serve the millions of families eager for entertainment; food and drink. That is not even taking into account the number of small and big businesses that would be able to help promote the day through their own unique brand.
Although there have been attempts to introduce a national holiday; most recently through the St George’s Day and St David’s Day Bill by Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi and my Bill a few years before, both of which were sadly thwarted, there have been no significant efforts to reintroduce the debate.
As Chairman of the St George’s Day All Parliamentary Group, a Branch of the Royal Society of St George, I will continue to fight for England and push for a national debate. I know that I am far from alone in my feelings and longing for an annual celebration for our country.
Until such a time where we can celebrate together as one, please take this St George’s Day to celebrate in your own way. Be it with your family and friends; with colleagues or alone, do what you can to show your fellow countrymen that you’re proud to be English!
Published: Wednesday 23 April 2014
© Copyright of Endeavour Public Affairs 2014
Photograph: © Copyright of Andrew Rosindell MP
The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone.