St. George's Day. As any one of my personal acquaintance would know, this is not a day I respect. On many subjects I am a rational person with a healthy scepticism. I like evidence-based science. I find religion fascinating but ultimately false. I enjoy reasoned arguments from others and like to try and keep my beliefs consistent. But on the subject of patriotism, reason leaves me and is instead replaced with the sort of passion others seem to reserve for their deities.
And my form of patriotism is not one rooted in popular culture. It's my own brand mixing royalism, unionism and personal loyalty to strangers. I no longer attempt to argue against English nationalism as I once did. Nor do I argue against republicanism, given I find many arguments in favour of it both logical and compelling. But I also do not expect anyone to ever change my own beliefs on the matter.
I find English nationalism dull and and without romance. It seems unfocussed and, occasionally, loutish. I don't mean to say people who consider themselves "English" are louts, but that often the expression of nationalism that is most often encountered (i.e. through sport) is loutish.
And I find republicanism to often be less expressed in the logic that is so compelling and more about a personal hatred of Her Majesty and her family. The snide comments on Twitter I often see RT'd by @RepublicStaff are indicative of this nastiness and it leaves me cold. Furthermore, republicanism shares English nationalism's unromantic nature.
Perhaps it's my love of fantasy, my interest in British (plus earlier English and Scottish) history or a very human need for a little bit of irrationality in one's life, but I love the monarchy. I love the United Kingdom. I find a great deal of comfort in knowing the Queen is on her throne and she reigns over us. I like the pomp, I like the chivalry and I like the notion of personal loyalty to someone.
In my job I encounter so many unreasonable, impolite and, often, duplicitous people that I find I crave something as simple as being unfailingly loyal to another person without expecting anything in return. It's seems so pure and honourable to keep one's word to another; like something from that better part of our nature that we so often don't get to show.
I am personally loyal to Her Majesty and her heirs, to her United Kingdom and it's territories. I do not accept that patriotism means waving a big flag, celebrating some long dead saint or dying in some politically motivated war. It's not about "shared culture", where you are born or some historic borders. It's about loyalty, honour, decency and fellowship. To me it's about progress, innovation and goodwill.
Whatever happens to this country, whether it remains at it is or becomes an English Republic, I will remain a loyal British subject. Unwavering in my personal loyalty but respectful of other's beliefs.
St. George means nothing to me, but if he so moves you to acts of passion then far be it from me to try and dissuade you. But I'm more moved by things such as this excellent Youtube video I posted about yesterday:
If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist