Monday, April 23, 2007

The English National Day

Today is a day of rejoicing, the streets of England will be packed with children waving Red Crosses, there will be street parties galore, parades and marches of clubs, societies, and war veterans, rallies throughout Trafalgar Square, a national holiday, a day of rememberance of the forging of a great nation.

Or not.

For today, April 23rd, is St. George's Day - the English National Day

As Drunken Blogging points out, The BBC's Have Your Say site asks 'Should St George's Day be a holiday?'

The most recommended answer is

"I think it's about time we celebrated being English, for too long now it's been treated more or less as something to be ashamed of."
James Smith, Watford, United Kingdom

And the response the BBC choose to feature on their main page?

Honestly, i do get mad when people accuse the BBC of an anti-patriotic agenda.

To be fair, the idea of celebrating the death of a late 2nd century Anatolian soldier of the Roman Empire, who's most famous claim to fame is killing a dragon, is a little ludicrous. Even my seven year old son no longer believes in dragons and he still believes in Santa Claus (though i rather suspect he doesn't anymore but isn't telling us).

I have a better proposal. Much better.

Let's make June 15th our National Day - the date of the signing of a formal document kick-starting the process of constitutional law, marking the barons of thirteenth century England's renewal of their oaths of fealty to the despised King John. A document that was to reverberate throughout history for centuries influencing the Founding Fathers of America, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the founding of Habeus Corpus, the limitation of the powers of the executive, the enshrining of the freedom of the Church, trial by jury, the pre-eminence of property rights, promotion on merit and the prohibition of bribery - the date King John put his seal to Magna Carta.

Last year, the BBC's History magazine (not a bad read) asked its readers to vote on their preferred National Day. June 15th topped the poll.

What better gift have the English bequeathed to the world? What prouder moment is there in our history.

I have started one of Tony Blair's online petitions. Sign up!! Signing facility available from tomorrow.