A Progressive Patriotism

In my book, Being British, I explore how we could find much value today in national pride: a pride which does not set itself against the Other, but rather a pride stemming from a long-forged tradition which stands up against injustice and shameful things. George Orwell is a great example from this stream of Englishness/Britishness. Irish writer Fintan O’Toole expresses similar sentiments very clearly in The Guardian:

“Orwell represents a great English tradition that is sceptical, egalitarian, independent-minded and gloriously awkward. It is a tradition worthy of any nation’s pride. England urgently needs it now – and so does Europe.…It uses the idea of national pride, not to bolster smugness and self-delusion but to stir outrage at these shameful things. It says simply: we English are better than this.

Even in these shameful times, it is important for an outsider – which as an Irishman I certainly am – to say: yes you are. England is better than the shrinking of its public realm of mutual care that has led to Grenfell Tower. It is better than the reckless game-playing of a buffoonish ruling class that has led to the self-harming gesture politics of Brexit. It is better than the show it is making of itself on the world stage, the tragicomic spectacle of a nation in which no one has the authority to negotiate its future.

It is, after all, a country in which Orwell sprang from very deep traditions and in which those traditions of honesty, courage, egalitarianism and scepticism are, in spite of appearances, vibrantly alive.”


See article from Guardain below:


Being British: Our Once & Future Selves available :http://www.chrisparishwriter.com/book/being-british