Wednesday, April 23, 2008

For England and St George

Earlier this week I received a phone call from Toryboy Andrew McConnell inviting me to a St George's Day bash. He prefaced his remarks with "I know you're not patriotic but..........." ...........he of course got his ear bitten off! Those of us who challenge our country about injustice, intolerance, corruption, the erosion of our civil liberties, do so because we love our country, not because we don't! Yes, I am out on the streets demonstrating against the illegal immoral unjust war in Iraq, but I have also spent most of my working life in the service of this country - as a soldier, a teacher, a youth worker and now working on a programme designed to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of our young people. I applaud absolutely Billy Bragg for the work he is doing in reclaiming from the ultra right our flag and our identity.

So today I was amused to be sharing a platform (at a local school question time) with a UKIP PPC, wearing his loud Union Jack tie and red rose, complaining about immigration with no recognition that he was celebrating a saint who was from the Middle East - and someone who presumably today, UKIP would not allow in the country! I asked the audience to put their hands up if they would not have been there without immigration. At least 75% of them did so.

So there we have it, for me the celebration of our heritage is also about our history of welcoming immigration, celebrating diversity and a cultural heritage that can show the world how creative we are in embracing difference. Those on the far right who try to wrap themselves in the flag do so with little or no appreciation of who we are, where we come from, or what we stand for.


Paul Walter said...

Well said Linda! That Toryboy is an arse. You dressed up in a uniform for your country didn't you ? (Still awaiting the photos!)

All the best

Linda Jack said...

Still looking for the pix!

No Andrew is OK, but it reminded me of when I used to wear a two tone coat and everyone assumed I was a skin' opposed to the little rocker I was really!