It’s not only Shakespeare’s birthday today, but, perfectly, St. George’s Day, a day that needs more celebration in England, not, as some suggest, less.
So here are two items at least partly related to the topic of England’s patron saint. The first (via CentreRight) includes extracts from a speech by Winston Churchill made on this day in 1933. This made me smile:
I have been wondering what would have happened to him and his story if he had lived now-a-days. St George would have arrived in Cappadocia accompanied, not by a horse, but by a secretariat. He would have been armed, not with a lance, but with some flexible formulas. He would, of course have been welcomed by the local branch of the League of Nations, and, encouraged by them, he would have proposed a conference with the dragon. He would have made a trade agreement with the dragon and would certainly have lent him a lot of money raised from the Cappadocian taxpayers. The question of the maiden’s release, which is very important in the story, would no doubt have been referred to Geneva. It being understood that the dragon reserved all his rights in the meantime. Finally, St George would have been photographed with the dragon, inset the maiden.
And this should make interesting reading — and not just for Brits:
Our difficulties come from a mood of unwarrantable self abasement into which we have been cast by a powerful section of our own intellectuals. The come from the acceptance of defeatist doctrines by a large proportion of our politicians. We are told to believe that patriotism is worn out, except where paying income tax is concerned. But what have they found to put in its place? Nothing but a vague internationalism; a squalid materialism and the promise of a Utopia….Nothing can save England if England will not save herself. If we have lost our place and our capacity to guide, if we have lost our faith in ourselves, then indeed our story is told. If, while foreign nations are everyday asserting a more aggressive, a more militant nationalism, either by trade or by arms, while we remain paralysed by our own theories. If that be so, then deprived of the sovereignty of the seas, loaded with debt and taxation, our commerce shut out by foreign tariffs and quotas, England would sink to the level of a fifth rate power. Never should we accept such a fate for our country.
Meanwhile in an entertaining interview over at the Evening Standard, London’s Mayor Boris is also sticking up for this much abused saint (St. George has long since fallen foul of the PC crowd):
People should feel confident and realise they are going to get through this recession. St George was, as you know, a Cappadocian merchant who made a fortune while flogging bacon to the crusaders. It does epitomise the entrepreneurial genius of this country and particularly London.
Mayor Johnson also has a few kind (sort of) words for his predecessor, the dread Red Ken:
Whatever Boris says or does he is under Ken Livingstone’s watchful eye, a constant witness of his question time in the London Assembly. He says bring it on. “I mind when Ken is not watching me. He was a no-show the other day and I felt rather offended. I felt I had lost my mascot, my talisman. I need him there. He is my Memento Mori, the guy who used to ride behind the charioteer whispering in his ear ‘Remember man what dust thou art.’”
Is Ken not a threat? “I would be insulted if he was not after my job. It would be like someone saying they don’t fancy your girlfriend.”
Read the whole things.