Saturday, April 24, 2004

saints days
Yesterday's tally: one small flag at Slattery's the bakers and a couple flying from the aerials of mincabs. I regret to report that the people of Crumpsall have responded to the cry of "for God, Harry and St George" with a counter-cry of "for Christ's sake, don't be so stupid."

Good. One of the things that makes me oddly proud to be English is our sturdy indifference to flags, anthems and the rest of that dismal paraphernalia (the royals are different, being an apotheosis of soap opera, the real British national art form).

In this I reach out to those Welsh people embarrassed at having a national vegetable and the Irish who bury themselves under the duvet as the gutters run with green beer. We are the League of British Grown Ups. Join Us! Or rather, don't. Watch the telly or do some DIY or something. Together, we are ridiculous. Apart, we are probably doing something mildly diverting.

Further thoughts.

St George is just crap. He didn't exist. If he did, he was just some kind of glorified pork butcher, and besides, he's a thirds hand saint, being also the national intercessor for Portuguese and Lithuanians. Most traditions are manufactured. They only work when people put a bit of care and effort into the process. St George is the Skoda Saint. No one's buying. And anyway, why not just celebrate April 23 as Shakespeare's birthday?

Since England is the home of crap telly irony, a more appropriate national deity might be St Simon Templar.

Let's imagine we did go overboard and had a big procession. The central float would be a mock up of a saloon bar full of middle aged men moaning on about how all them Chinese and irish get loads of taxpayers money to take over the town with their funny smells and alien caperings and it's just political correctness gone mad. Griping is the national pastime. Let us embrace it!