“Now, children, it’s time for you all to swear to Her Majesty The Queen. All together now:”
“FUCK OFF, HER MAJESTY!”
Seriously, now, this plan to make school-leavers swear allegiance to the monarch, if they can be bothered to, is a ridiculous one. It’s supposedly meant to instill British standards in people – that’s, an imported American ceremony, to make you feel more British. I hope schools don’t take it up, although it’s a depressing thought that they probably will, given the fervour with which they’ve started holding American-style Proms in the last ten years. That’s another horrible American import which we’re best off without.*
It’s strange, though, that the “British standards” the government is keen on instilling are never the British standards that Britain is actually famous for, and that Britons have been famous for for hundreds of years. They’re more interested in realising some mythical moral standard where everyone doffs their cap to their betters and helps old ladies across the street.** Such a world never actually existed, but that never stops people claiming it did.
* I don’t know many American teenagers, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the ones who don’t bother going to their prom, or hold an alternative one, are the only ones I would get along with.
** Whether they want to cross the street or not. “It’s for your own good, dear, now come over here with me.”
Today, of course, we should all be marching around with a bulldog on the end of a string, eating roast beef and Yorkshire puddings,* and generally Being Patriotic. It’s St. George’s Day, so all English people should rise up and be proud of their Englishness.
The Plain People Of The Internet: Hang on there! What’s this siren going off here for?
A Siren (unnamed): Weee-oooo, weee-oooo (etc).
Ah, I see you’ve found my new Excess Sarcasm Alarm then.** Damn, I thought for a minute there was a risk you might believe me. Here’s a tip: if anyone tells we should be doing more to celebrate it, back away slowly. You could always suggest they move to Sofia, or anywhere else in Bulgaria, where St George’s Day is celebrated rather more fervantly than here. I’m always wary of patriotism for patriotism’s sake. If you want to be patriotic, go out and make your community a better place, every day of the year.
* even though they taste much better with lemon and sugar, like pancakes. The pudding, not the beef.
** Only £15.99 from all good electronics stores, as soon as I can find enough unobtanium to power them all
Well, I sat down at my computer to write a long serious post about how I need to lose my shyness. But then, I thought: hang on a minute! It’s Saint George’s Day! So, I dressed up in a suit of armour and went out to sing “Jerusalem” and stab a few dragons instead.
Actually, that last bit wasn’t quite true. I love the fact that other countries have deadly serious national days; England has a national day to celebrate a mythical Lebanese man who isn’t even a Catholic saint any more. Bulgaria, in fact, has much better St George’s Day celebrations than we do, although no longer on the same date.* England has, well, nothing at all, and most of the people who campaign for more of a celebration are rather nasty nationalists. We could do with a decent liberal and welcoming national celebration, if only as an excuse for a party.
* because they still date their saints’ days with the Julian calendar, which is a couple of weeks out by comparison.