:: Thursday, June 17, 2004 ::


Reading an interesting analysis of the European elections and the UKIP (What is the Significance of the UKIP? on Marxsite) I wondered about the following assesment of England supporters and nationalism.

These reactionary tendencies have led to a resurgence of English nationalism, represented by the hundreds of thousands of English flags, (the Cross of St George replacing the bloody Butcher’s Apron, the ‘Union Jack’), flown from cars, pubs and houses during football matches featuring England. This is not a neutral phenomenon but part of the culture of white, male-dominated, bone-headed English racism and xenophobia – a culture deeply hostile to multiculturalism and ethnic diversity.

I'm not entirely convinced by this. When I was in Brixton to see the Pixies, the local shops all had displays of England flags etc. A friend tells me this was not the case during the world cup.

Is it not the case that English black and asian supporters are now more comfortable waving the St George cross?

As a recent Guardian article by an Asian journalist put it:

My patriotism is based not on blind faith or intolerance but on reason and rationalism. I support England - in football, if not cricket - because England is my home. I like the country that we can be, and each time I or anyone on the progressive left wears or displays the flag, we are helping to change England, to make it more a country that can revel in benign and inclusive patriotism, and less a nation of racists and bigots. When I was younger I agreed with George Bernard Shaw on patriotism; now I am convinced he was wrong. Patriotism need not be left only to the scoundrels. But it requires others, and not only Muslims, to say: this is also our country, and this is also our flag.

Not actually living in England I may have a skewed view of the subject. I would be interested in the opinions of English readers in the comments.

:: Alister | 12:32 pm | save this page to del.icio.us Save This Page | permalink⊕ | |


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