This message was sent out on St George’s 2015 amidst the fever pitch of the last days of an election campaign. It was the most successful piece of literature of my entire campaign and there were over 80,000 Facebook shares of the simpler “Happy St Georges Day” posting.
Today, as local and soon another national election progress, this message is even more important than ever. England, as with our other brothers and sisters in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, is a great country.
Let us celebrate St George’s Day and all the other national days with pride. As we leave the EU we have a tremendous opportunity to show that pride in your country does not have to mean contempt and disregard for others. Indeed the very essence of successful partnership relies on independence, strength and mutual self-respect. As an independent country open to the world, within the United Kingdom, within Europe but not the EU, England has not only a great history but an inspiring future.
“I am proud of my country, our people and our shared history. From the Ancient Brits, to the Romans, Vikings, Normans and more recent peaceful settlers, we have come together from many different peoples and races to make a truly great country.
Let’s be proud of that. I for one believe in proper recognition for our adopted Patron Saint. A Christian Turk, St George was renowned both for his bravery and for his loyalty to the principles of mercy and tolerance.
I hope that today we can all celebrate our country, our courage and our kindness together with family, friends and neighbours.