People Are Pointing Out The Deep Irony Of The Rwanda Bill Passing On St George's Day Eve

The deportation bill passed through parliament shortly before midnight on Monday.
Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak offering St George's Day cupcakes to journalists today.
Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak offering St George's Day cupcakes to journalists today.
via Associated Press

The Rwanda bill passed through parliament late on Monday night, moments before St George’s Day began – a detail many of the government’s critics have pointed out.

The plan to deport asylum seekers to the African country has been long contested by the UK Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights over safety concerns.

But, now it has passed through parliament, the government is one step closer to sending migrants arriving via so-called illegal means to a different continent.

So what does this have to do with St George?

St George’s Day, usually celebrated on April 23, is typically associated with a sense of British patriotism.

The English flag – two red lines on a white background – is even known as the St George’s cross.

The figure is remembered as someone who died for his Christian faith in the 3rd Century (possibly around April 23).

He reportedly refused to make a sacrifice in honour of the pagan gods under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, and so is remembered across Europe as a martyr.

His story has also become mythical, with some accounts claiming he fought a dragon in what is modern day Libya.

Many believe this fictional battle represents the fight between good and evil.

Over time, St George has come to represent English ideals, and Henry VIII put him on the country’s flag during the Tudor period.

But, his links with the UK are tenuous, to say the least – in fact, he never even visited England.

He was actually born in the 3rd Century CE (Common Era) in modern day Turkey, then known as Cappadocia.

According to English Heritage’s website, the saint is said to have died in the Roman province of Palestine (modern day Israel), in 303 CE, and canonised in 494 CE.

He’s also seen – and celebrated – as a patron saint in Venice, Genoa, Portugal, Ethiopia and Catalonia, to name a few.

So it’s a bleak coincidence that, on the day the UK celebrates a international saint, that the government is celebrating cracking down on asylum seekers.

This significance seemed to pass the prime minister by, though, judging from his post on social media first thing this morning.

He posted a photo of himself with a St Georg’s Day mug on X (formerly Twitter) and the caption: “Perfect way to start the day. Happy St George’s Day!”

His critics were pretty quick to address the coincidence of this timing, though.


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