KM Column - 26 April 2018 - St George's Day
Last weekend many of us were celebrating St George’s Day. When I was growing up we didn’t really celebrate English identity. There were the three lions on the shirt and the Cross of St George at football games but that was all. I don’t remember any St George’s Day lunches or dinners.
Over the years, things have changed. We’ve grown more confident of ourselves and more comfortable with our identity as part of the United Kingdom. For some, their English self has been overshadowed by strong county allegiances or a wider national identity. Kent itself was, after all, a kingdom of its own once and the United Kingdom is the nation I served in the Army. But while I’m proud to be a Kentish man and British and I’m also proud of the English traditions that make me who I am. I’m happy to celebrate each of them.
That’s why I was in West Malling on Saturday on one of the hottest days of the year eating roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and enjoying some good conversation with friends. Because celebrations like St George’s Day bring us together. They remind us what matters is friends and community and that sharing time can help those ties grow. For me, that’s what St George’s Day is all about.
Our island story is one of the richest in the world. These four nations together have developed ideas from the rule of law to liberty and democracy. Our English story is part of that. Growing with peoples, feeding off and enriching each other we share so much. Even our patron saint, George protects Portugal, Malta, Aragon, Catalonia and, of course, Georgia too. We should celebrate that past and the efforts of our own people to build it and celebrate them, England and St George.