For England and Saint George!

Monday, April 23, 2007 19:27 | Filed in Life, Local Interest

Yes, it’s St. George‘s day today, who despite not being English (he was Turkish), never visiting England, and probably not slaying a dragon either, became our patron saint. Hurrah to him!

As most other countries seem to make a big thing of their national days — particularly the Guiness-brewery-inspired St Patrick’s Day — I thought that it was about time to celebrate some of the good things about England and the English. It appears that yon Bruce Lawson has done the same, and as he points out, celebrating your national day doesn’t make you a rabid fascist.

So here’s ten things I love about England and the English.

Fair Play

This to me is one of the cornerstones of English society. Okay, possibly British society, but that doesn’t mean us English can’t be proud of it. Fair play is all about giving everyone a chance. Whether you be male, female, white, black, yellow, brown, lime green, straight, gay, Hindu, atheist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim or whatever, most people in this country will give you a fair crack of the whip, allow you your point of view and respect your opinions. Everyone is welcome, everyone gets a chance.

Admittedly, not everyone signs up to this, but it’s something that our society as a whole strives towards. And to me, that’s something to be proud of.

Real Ales

That is to say, not your pilsners, not your lagers, not your nitrokeg beers, but real ale.

beer brewed from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxideCAMRA

The sort of ales you’d find at a real ale pub, like the Aletaster, or at a beer festival, like the 31st Newcastle Beer Festival which was on just last week…

Leather On Willow

The other “beautiful game”. Leather on willow. Tranquil village greens. A game that takes all day (at least). Incomprehensibly-named fielding positions. That’s right, Cricket. Another sport we gave the world, and then rather unsportingly they took it, worked out how to beat us at it and have regularly done so ever since.

Bah! That’s just not … er … cricket …


We don’t half have some daft traditions in this country. For a start, you get those Beefeaters with their silly outfits; you have the whole Black Rod thing for opening parliament, and a host of other pointless and quirky traditions which are done simply because that’s the way we do things.

Doing things efficiently? Bah! Not for us, thanks. We’ll stick with a pointless 600-year old tradition, if you don’t mind, thank you very much. And it’s just the sheer quirkiness of it that I love.

Gun Controls

Not every country in the world has such rigid gun controls as we have. Sure, we get gun crime in the UK, but we get less. That’s important to me. For us, it’s makes the news when someone gets shot with an air rifle. Okay, I don’t like the idea of anyone being shot with anything, but I’d rather that the short of people who want to shoot someone get access to air rifles that injure rather than mass murderers who can legally obtain firearms.

But of course we have a different culture regarding firearms to the US; I’m not saying they shouldn’t do it how they please, I’m just saying that I’m glad we do it our way.

Friar’s Crag

Friar’s Crag on Derwent Water is probably my single favourite place. I have so many happy memories of visiting the Lake District as a child, and while generally by the time you’ve wandered to the end and sat down on the bench, you’re absolutely soaked and freezing.

This is usually because it’s been pissing down all day, but last time I went, I went on a little walk and discovered that the water level — because of excessive rain, obviously — was just a teensy bit higher than normal and the path was under over a metre of water. I had to wade through water up to my waist (I’m not joking — my phone and camera had to be squeezed into my shirt breast pocket).

So in all, by the time you get there, you’re damp, miserable and you just want to get back to the place you’re staying and get dry. But it’s just so serene and peaceful that you can’t help but to wait a while, no matter how heavy the rain is.


I love British comedy. In this specific “St George” instance, I should only really be talking about English comedy, which means I shouldn’t really mention Naked Video or Absolutely, so I’ll steer clear of them.

Instead I’ll just mention Monty Python (soupçon of Welsh/American, but mostly English). Porridge. Only Fools and Horses. Blackadder. The Office. The Fast Show. Red Dwarf. Spitting Image. Have I Got News For You. The Day Today. Brass Eye. Open All Hours. The Two Ronnies — in fact, pretty much anything with Ronnie Barker in it. Coupling (like Friends, only normal (well, semi-normal) people, and more sex).

And of course Little Britain. We invented the cat, and don’t you forget it.

The ZX Spectrum

I couldn’t let the anniversary of the ZX Spectrum launch pass without comment, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. The Spectrum, that gave a generation of kids their first glimpse of computing; The Spectrum, that gave a generation of kids their first shot at typing in thousands of lines of codes to make a vague whirly pattern on screen for a few minutes; The Spectrum, that gave children an introduction to the disappointment of adult life by its ability to crash regularly; but above all, The Spectrum that gave us the Ultimate Play The Game games stable.

Loonie Jetman, I salute you.

The World’s Greatest Detective
Forget Hercule Poirot! Roll over Inspector Rebus! Forget about Quincy! Columbo, you can shove that raincoat up yer arse…

Sorry, getting a little carried away there. Ladies and Gentlemen, the one, the only, the man who needs no introduction, the legend: Sherlock Holmes.

The legendary detective has recently been awarded a fellowship by one of the Royal Societies, too:

The Royal Society of Chemistry is to bestow an Extraordinary Honorary Fellowship upon Sherlock Holmes, the first detective to exploit chemical science as a means of detection.Royal Society Of Chemistry, enews 28 (2002)

The Fact That We Colonised Half The World, And Particularly The US

And while I’m not claiming that British/English colonial practices were anything to be proud of (all of the great colonial nations should be embarrassed by large portions of their history), I am pleased that it meant that the global language of Hollywood, and the global language of computing should be US English, which is sufficiently close to Real English that us genuine speakers don’t need to bother to learn a new language.

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6 Comments to For England and Saint George!

  1. bruce says:

    April 24th, 2007 at 6:25 am

    Completely agree about the fair crack of the whip point.

    I remember reading about Lord Mountbatten, the last governor of India. The author was outraged that Mountbatten had allegedly said of a servant, “I don’t care whether he’s a muslim, a hindu or a Sikh, as long as he can make a good cup of tea”, complaining it was dismissive and borderline racist.

    I think it’s an excellent saying and sums up the Engllish character well; as long as you can do what you’re paid to do, it doesn’t matter about your religion – it’s a meritocracy.

    It also encompasses the fantastic English reticence about discussing religion; most of us see it as a private matter.

    Mountbatten may or may not have been a patrician fool who wrecked India, but he was right in this case.

  2. Marcel Cairo says:

    April 27th, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    Ehhhmmm… Dear former colonialist, now that we are all proud of fair play, do you think we can discuss returning the Malvinas back to their proper owner. :-)

  3. ThePickards » Blog Archive » 33: A Meme says:

    June 2nd, 2007 at 12:39 am

    [...] For England, and Saint George! [...]

  4. Anonymous says:

    March 17th, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Great post by the way , about the fair play bit a story i really like is about an old football team called Corinthian F.C. who would deliberately miss all their penalty kicks because they refused to believe the other team would intentionally foul the, just think that sums up the old english spirt, however cant help but think the new generation has lost this.

    To Marcel Cairo if you look into the history of the FALKLANDS you will realise that you have no real claim to the island, it is a British island inhabited by British Citizens that want nothing to do with you!

    “Long Live England And God Save The Queen!”

  5. says:

    August 31st, 2011 at 2:28 am

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  6. Carlee says:

    November 4th, 2012 at 11:46 am

    More posts of this quatliy. Not the usual c***, please

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