THE BLOG

Should We Be More Patriotic About Our Patron Saint's Day?

23/04/2014 12:07 BST | Updated 23/06/2014 10:59 BST

At 6.45 this morning, as I prised myself out from underneath my duvet and made my can't-start-without-it cup of tea, my usual morning thought of "I wish I worked from home" ran through my mind.

However, today this thought was joined by another: "Why isn't St George's Day a Bank Holiday?"

Granted, we have only just enjoyed a four day weekend for the Easter celebrations, so some may feel to have another so soon would be silly (not me, I positively champion any day I can take away from the office!) but I can't help but wonder why the English do not celebrate their Patron Saint as other UK countries do.

The Irish are renowned for their high spirited celebrations of St Patricks Day (which, ironically, the English whole-heartedly take part in too), the Scottish celebrate St Andrew's Day with parties and local food and drink, whilst the Welsh celebrate St David's Day with parades, fireworks and traditional fare.

So, with the other components of the United Kingdom celebrating their Patron Saints, why do us English not do the same?

Today, whilst out and about, I have seen only two buildings flying the English flag; a local church, and a pub that serves traditional British Ale so always use 23 April as a promotional tool. Other than that, there was no sign of the St George's Cross anywhere else. Not a hint of festivity or celebration of our nation. No parades, no street parties - nothing.

I've asked a few people this morning why they feel we allow our national day to slip by so quietly and have received three recurrent answers:

"They don't want us having any more time off work"

"Perhaps it would be seen as rude to people of other nationalities living here?"

"The St George's Flag has some negative connotations now as it's at the forefront of campaigning for some controversial political groups"

Personally, I'm not sure of the reason, but I believe people should be proud of their country - both by birth and the one they choose to live in. For me, to celebrate St George's Day is not about conflict or competition, but about having pride in our 53,000,000+ strong community and the rich history of this place we call 'home'.

Whilst I would love St George's Day to become a Bank Holiday (and an additional opportunity for a lie-in), I would love even more to see it become a day on which we celebrate this green and pleasant land.