Today is St George’s Day. The day we English are meant to celebrate our patriotism and give thanks to St George for slaying a dragon.
In the list of saints’ bragging George was obviously a bit of a dick. St Patrick’s claim to have ridden Ireland of snakes was a pretty big brag, but at least he picked an actual real animal to tie his story around. An animal that most people would happily see banished. No wonder people outside of Ireland are happy to jump on the St Paddy bandwagon and drink their livers away in celebration each year. A good job well done. Here, have a Guinness!
But I suspect George didn’t like the idea of Patrick getting all the glory and had to go one better.
‘You got rid of snakes? That’s nothing. I slayed a dragon.’
‘A dragon, George?’ the assembled saints would have scoffed. ‘You do know they’ve never existed, don’t you?’
‘Well, maybe it’s a metaphor or something, but I definitely did slay one. A big one too. People of England will hold me aloft and drink to my name and dance around with bells on their legs and waving sticks.’
Except we don’t really.
A very select few will go jumping around doing their Morris dancing thang…but far more of us look at them the same way we watch Juggling Jim do his thing with his broken guitar, scaring the children.
But McDonald’s doesn’t make a special milkshake for St George, even in England. People don’t take to the pubs for a day of drinking. There are no parades. We don’t even get it as a public holiday.
There was a woman going up the escalator in Sainsbury’s in a red and white dress with a St George cross bunting belt…but she certainly isn’t the norm.
The only time you see the cross of St George in abundance is when the World Cup’s on. Then the nation’s awash in red and white. But not today.
The trouble is St George targeted the wrong country in his quest for sainthood. Our English sensibilities were never going to have us clutch him to our national bosom.
For one thing, we always side with the underdog. Had St George been burnt to a crisp with one short breath from the mighty dragon we would have collected up his ashes and held them aloft, our plucky defeated hero. Why else do you think we spawned Susan Boyle?
But he didn’t. Instead he stuck his sword into the poor beast. Not only does this make him a winner – we HATE winners (Andy Murray only got away with his Wimbledon victory by losing in the final the year before and crying about it. See ‘underdog’ above.) – but it also means he’s cruel to animals. If there’s one thing we will NOT stand for as a nation it’s animal cruelty (unless it creates delicious – or sometimes not so delicious – meat products). How could he be such an animal-hating bastard? If it happened today he’d have gone viral in an instant, a surging tidal wave of hate and vitriol in his wake. He may even usurp the woman who put the cat in the bin as national hate figure.
And then, ultimately, he got famous by everyone knowing how amazing he was. If you want to be loved by the English ALWAYS BE HUMBLE. Don’t go around telling everyone you slayed a dragon and saved a fair maiden. No one respects someone who kisses and tells.
So, sorry, George. You’re really not our type. Morris dancers and slightly eccentric middle-aged women aside, we’re really not that impressed with whatever it is you did with your sword.