Tuesday, 29 April 2014
Here is my speech from our St George’s dinner in Barnsley
Here is my speech from our St George’s dinner in Barnsley:-
Ladies & Gentlemen
I would just like to start by offering our thanks to Chris, Joanne, Kevin, Ian and all those who have helped make this a very enjoyable evening.
Ladies & Gentlemen
We are gathered here this evening in a celebration of St George, our English Nation and also at the start of the English Democrats’ EU and local Election campaign.
On St George’s Day, on the 23rd, UKIP put out a thoroughly deceitful claim stating:-
“UKIP is the only political party which has consistently campaigned to mark St George's Day with a national holiday
Today, and over the past few days, we have seen people across the country mark St George's Day. Whether it be by organising a procession or a festival, or simply flying a flag, more and more of us are taking the opportunity to celebrate England and Englishness.
The huge increase in awareness of what St George's Day means, which we have seen gather pace in the past decade, has happened amongst people at a local level and in the face of official indifference, or often hostility, from above. UKIP is the only political party which has consistently campaigned to mark St George's Day with a national holiday. We look forward to that becoming a reality.
We recognise that a great and benign pride in our history and achievements is something which is felt by people of all generations, despite constant attempts to discourage it and turn our history into a source of shame.
Next year sees the 800th anniversary of one of the greatest moments in that history, the signing of Magna Carta. It will rightly be a time of great celebration for all of us.
In the meantime, happy St George's Day!?”
Ladies and Gentlemen I remind you that that is from a party whose leader recently said: “I didn’t read it. It was drivel. It was 486 pages of drivel. It was a nonsense”.
Curiously the man who said that not only wrote the foreward to UKIP’s manifesto but also repeatedly defended it and quoted it in various radio and television interviews! So much for “drivel” and “nonsense”!
But in fact and in all truth it is us, the English Democrats, which is really the only party of which this could truthfully have been said.
Indeed in the run up to this St George’s Day we put out this Press Release:-
“CALL TO CELEBRATE ST GEORGE’S DAY ON 23RD APRIL AS THE ENGLISH NATIONAL BANK HOLIDAY
The English Democrats are calling on all the 32 million people who identified themselves as “English Only” in the 2011 Census to turn out on Wednesday and to make this St George’s Day the best ever!
Robin Tilbrook, the Chairman of the English Democrats, said:- “St George has been the Patron Saint of England since 1325. As the emblem Saint of our Nation we English, as a proud and historic Nation, should celebrate with gusto on Wednesday, 23rd.”
Robin continued:- “ Our English flag should be flying high on every flagpole in England upon St George’s Day!”
What do you think of that?
This year however what we have seen is an upsurge of many of England’s enemies making deceptive noises about being pro St George’s Day. They are doing so not because they are now friendly but with an agenda in mind: Consider these comments:-
“The England football team has helped reclaim the England flag from the far-right, ‘who should never have been allowed to take it in the first place’. Research for British Future confirms that civic celebrations of Englishness and Britishness have facilitated a more tolerant and open understanding of ethnicity and nation.”
The Director of IPPR, the Labour Think Tank, Guy Lodge warns about politicians and Engishness:- “Think about it. Contest it, but do not let it become something that is ‘not allowed.”
The Left call this stratagem:- “Adopt and Adapt”.
A fantastic example of this Adopt and Adapt stratagem was Boris Johnston’s, Mayor of London’s adoption by putting on a St George’s Day event in Trafalgar Square at which I am told that not a single one of the many flags officially on display was a Cross of St George! Now that really is adaption for you!
Also we had David Cameron saying:- “
“I want to send my best wishes to everyone celebrating St George’s Day.
Up and down the country – including here in Downing Street – the flag of St George is flying high and celebrations – from the archaic to the eccentric – are taking place:
In Plymouth – a patriotic festival; in London – a great feast in Trafalgar Square; in Leicester – a medieval re-enactment; and in Worcestershire – an annual ‘asparagus run’, to welcome the new harvest.
St George has been England’s patron saint since 1350. But for too long, his feast day – England’s national day – has been overlooked. Today, though, more and more people are coming together on or around April the 23rd, eager to celebrate everything it is to be English. And there is much to celebrate. Because this is a country whose achievements in industry, in technology, sport, music, literature and the arts - they far outweigh our size.
Our counties and cities are known the world over:
In America, where Newcastle Brown Ale is the most imported ale; in China, where the most popular international football team is from London: Arsenal; in Australia, where they go mad for a Cornish cuisine – the humble pasty; in South Korea, where Yorkshire-set Downton Abbey is a TV favourite. And across the globe, where the best-selling band is from Liverpool: the Beatles.
This St George’s Day, I want us to reflect on one of England’s greatest achievements: its role in the world’s greatest family of nations – the United Kingdom. In just 5 months, the people of Scotland will go to the polls and decide whether they want to remain a part of this global success story. So let’s prove that we can be proud of our individual nations and be committed to our union of nations. Because no matter how great we are alone, we will always be greater together.
So once again, to everyone across England, I’d like to wish you a very happy St George’s Day.”
Compare that with what he said only a few years ago. David Cameron used to claim to be adamantly against any show of Englishness. Consider this quotation from an article by a journalist, Mark Stuart.
“As an ardent Unionist, I was greatly encouraged by David Cameron’s remarks earlier this year, when he took part in a grilling from Yorkshire Post readers. When quizzed by Paul Cockcroft, a member of the Royal Society of St George about introducing a new public holiday to celebrate St George’s Day, Cameron rejected the idea, adding: “I want to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, not just England. I think we’re stronger having England , Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland united”.
So one of the first things English nationalists need to realise about David Cameron is that he will leave them disappointed. The Conservatives have no plans to establish an English Parliament. Nor do they propose solving the so-called West Lothian Question”.
We English Democrats need to bear this in mind when people say to us that the Conservatives might be willing to do something for England . I think that Conservative Leadership is actually our nation’s worst enemy.
What all this kerfuffle shows however is that we are already being successful with our campaign for St George’s Day to be officially recognised. By being in the fight we are changing the dynamics of political discource.
The fact is that St George as the patron saint of England is a reflection of the history of our country, but I think he is a good patron saint for England, not least because of his visually striking red cross on a white background, an emblem which for 700 years has adorned our English flags.
In history St George seems to have been a Roman soldier, indeed it has been said that he was of the rank of Legate in the Emperor Diocletian’s Pretorian Guard. If so, that makes him not only a career soldier, but roughly equivalent in status to the Lieutenant Colonel in Command of the Guards.
The Roman Empire had been going through a terrible period in the run up to Diocletian’s seizure of power in which Emperors came and went kaleidoscopically in bloody civil war. The Empire seemed to be tearing itself apart whilst it was also under almost constant attack from the barbarian hordes outside of the Empire. By this stage the Roman Empire was less heavily populated than the barbarian lands on the other side of the Rhine in what is now Germany.
The General who was to become the Emperor Diocletian had commanded the Roman armies in the Roman province of Britain, a province which then was made up of most of England and Wales but not that part north of Hadrian’s Wall. The Roman province of Britain was frequently the source of rebellious and ambitious Generals seeking to become Emperor. The usual pattern would be that he would get the army in Britain to acclaim as Emperor and he would then march on to wherever the then current Emperor was and seek to defeat him in battle. If he succeeded in doing so, or succeeded in getting the current Emperor murdered, he was then in a good position to have himself accepted as Emperor, at least until the next rebellious General came along.
Usually the legion that had been most supportive of the new Emperor became his Pretorian Guard and, accordingly, if the story about St George being the Legate of Diocletian’s Pretorian Guard is true, then St George probably did do a considerable period of time serving in Roman Britain and therefore in what is now England.
St George appears to have come from what is now either Turkey, Lebanon or Israel. He would appear to have been a Hellenistic Greek. Some oddball commentators have talked about his being Turkish, but the Turks did not actually arrive in that part of the world for another 500 years because it appears that St George was martyred in 303.
As I say it is also the year of St George’s martyrdom and is of course the 23rd April which according to the medieval church calendar is his feast day.
The story goes that St George had either always been or had became a practising Christian. Diocletian was the last of the successful pagan emperors and introduced a new system of rule which is known in history as the Dominate in which the Emperors became much more like oriental despots and the last vestiges of the old republic were shed. Diocletian also sought to support the established pagan religions and issued an edict of persecution against the religion which was increasingly challenging paganism within the Roman Empire, that is Christianity. It appears that St George sought to personally argue with Diocletian about this. If he was the Legate of the Pretorian Guard then St George may have thought that Diocletian would listen to him. In the event it appears that St George was tortured to death.
Ladies & Gentlemen you should remember that there was nothing cuddly or quaint about the Romans. In fact the Romans were probably the most accomplished torturers ever and indeed Latin is the language that has the most words of all languages in all of human history for executioner and torturer because they had so many specialisms.
There is a lurid tale from Roman history of a Carnifex, a maker of meat, who received a standing ovation in that most impressive Roman public building the Amphitheatre for removing every last piece of meat from his still conscious victim over the course of an hour or so.
St George’s tomb is in what is now Israel in Lydda (Lod) is approximately 25 miles from Jerusalem. His tomb is in the Christian church and next door is a mosque and the Palestinian Christians and Muslims of Lydda jointly venerate him and maintain his tomb. In Islamic tradition he is thought to be El Quadir, a white knight.
The legend of the dragon and the knight is a medieval morality story. St George who is the classic military saint is here depicted as fighting against Evil and the classic image of the dragon is the emblem of Evil. The image of Goodness is dramatically represented as the virgin princess whom he saves. This story has all the elements of such a visual story that it has remained fixed as the myth of St George ever since but it was a moral allegory rather than ever intended to be a description of history.
St George has a long history in England and indeed the original Anglo Saxon Church in Doncaster was dedicated to St George. So here we are ladies and gentlemen gathered to celebrate a brave soldier and Christian martyr who through history has become an emblem of our English Nation.
St George became increasingly popular as a saint during the Crusades and its said to have fought for them when the crusaders were attacked outside Antioch and helped to bring the crusaders to the sensational victory of taking back Jerusalem from the Muslims who had then occupied it.
After this the Genoese adopted St George as their patron saint and as they regularly transported crusaders to the Holy Land, his red cross on its white background became increasing associated with crusading.
Richard the Lion Heart adopted him and then eventually he was formally adopted as England’s patron saint in 1325 and his feast day as the 23rd April.
Edward III’s armies in his three famous victories first against the Scots at Halidon Hill and the French at Crecy and Poitiers were emblazoned with the Cross of St George and English armies ever afterwards until the Act of Union in 1707 always carried the Cross of St George which then became incorporated into the new Union Jack.
You might remember Ladies and Gentlemen, at our Spring Conference in Dartford we displayed the image of an original medieval illustration of the Peasants Revolt 1381 in which both sides, the Royal army and the armed peasants, were displaying the Cross of St George!
Ladies and gentlemen, our Nation has three patron saints, the traditional patron saint of the English monarchy being Edward the Confessor, the last King of the Saxon Royal Family and St Edmund, who was the much earlier King of East Anglia, who was shot to death with arrows by Vikings. St Edmund is traditionally the patron saint of the English as a Nation, folk, or people. Some people say that St Edmund should be treated as England’s patron saint, others St Albans and various others like St Cuthbert but I think that somewhat misses the point and is really a diversion from what needs to be done politically in England.
The issue for any serious English nationalist isn’t which patron saint we support, or what the emblem of England is, but to try and concentrate on what we can do to celebrate our English Nationhood.
Our history has given us St George and his visually striking red cross on a white background as the patron saint and the emblem of England.
It would appear that he actually has more connection with England and English history than St Andrew, who after all certainly never visited Scotland and one of Jesus’ Galilean Disciples.
Consider the alternative. Who here would like our current Masters to decide upon our nation emblem? What would that be? Globalist? Multiculturalist? Suggestions. Tolerance of all faiths and non.
All in all I think England is fortunate to have St George as our patron saint but there is certainly no reason why other days should not be celebrated, some want to celebrate St Edmund and I would encourage that.
I would also strongly encourage the celebration of the anniversary of the Union of England into a single united nation state when King Athelstan became King of all England on the 12th July 927. This should be English Unity day!
So here we are Ladies and Gentlemen at a feast organised by our Yorkshire hosts to celebrate St George and at the start of our EU and local election campaign and so Ladies and Gentlemen I give you the toast:- England! St George! The English Democrats!