If St George’s Day becomes a public holiday, how should we celebrate it?

The Guardian Politics 4 months ago

Name: St George’s Day.

Date: 23 April.

Ah, yes. What could be more English than to celebrate one’s national day by not really doing anything, then saying you really should do something and then arguing about whether your flag is racist? It brings a tear to the eye. Although we might start doing something soon, if Jeremy Corbyn gets his way.

What has he got in mind? Well, he announced today that, if Labour wins the next election, it will create four public holidays for the whole country, to mark the saints’ days of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

Hooray! I love not working. Yeah.

Except … won’t it cost money and inconvenience employers, including the government itself? Sure. But the UK has only eight public holidays, which, apparently, is fewer than any other G20 or EU country …

Boo! … except that’s misleading because our annual leave entitlements are more generous than some, meaning Britons generally get more days off than people in Japan, Canada, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Argentina, China, India, South Korea, the US, Latvia …

OK, OK. Whatever. Just give me the holidays. You’ll have to vote Labour for them. That’s politics, you see.

Clever. I can handle leeks, thistles and Guinness. What about St George’s Day? “We can all show our pride and celebrate our country’s tradition of fairness, inclusivity and social justice,” Corbyn said.

I might just clear out the shed, if that’s OK. Go for it.

What did St George himself do? He was a Roman soldier who lived in Palestine, became a Christian, got martyred, then helped out with the Crusades. Somewhere along the line he also slew a dragon and rescued a princess.

Surely dragons ought to be a protected species? This one was more of a metaphor.

Oh well, we can all slay metaphors. Metaphors don’t breathe fire. You’re getting too hung up on details. This is about helping Labour appeal to working-class voters.

I thought they were, you know, the working-class party? Sort of. A new report has found that Labour activists often put off their core voters by being uncomfortable with England flags, or even saying the word “England”.

I guess a day’s practice once a year might help. Good idea.

Do say: “We need something to put all that antisemitism stuff behind us.”

Don’t say: “Let’s celebrate the martyrdom of a religious warrior from Palestine.”

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