This weekend we will all mark the celebration of the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth the second, and then within seven days we will enter into the European football championships, and within a few months the nation will rise with pride as we host the Olympic games in our countries capital. It is an astounding combination of events that will all have one central theme, and for myself personally, I think it will be a good thing, all of us no matter what our current situation will have the opportunity to show some national pride.
I say this not as a way of attacking other creeds or cultures, for those who know me, know that I am very much a live and let live kind of person who embraces other creeds and cultures, for I think it is in the knowledge and understanding of others, that we enrich our minds and our own lives.
I will say that one thing that has concerned me for many years, is in the way I feel the culture of being British has slowly eroded away, as many of our traditions have fallen by the way side and we have given up our right to show and celebrate our own culture. It is sad because out of all the nations on this planet, the United Kingdom has indeed a very rich and inspiring past. I am at heart an Englishman, born in Cheshire and very proud of that, it does not mean I am some flag flying thug, who wants to take up arms and rid the country of those who do not share my skin colour or faith. What it does mean is that I am a simple living man who loves the country he lives in, and actually enjoys the diversity of those creeds and cultures that have decided to live on our shores. But the history of this nation is something close to my heart and is indeed something I want to preserve, as I think it is important to all of us, as it has defined who we are, and I think that is something this year more than most, we should celebrate.
We are a very small island and yet we have achieved so much, if you gaze back through time and look at what we have endured, there is a wealth of facts that show the power and resilience of our people. We have been invaded by Rome, and Scandinavia, and mixed with Saxons and Normans as we stood for what we believe in and it gave us a stronger sense of identity, something I think can be attributed to what we now call the war time spirit, that saw us through the trying times of the second world war. It is indeed ingrained into all of us whether we know it or not, and it is something I have woven deeply into the tapestry of the books that I write, for I believe it is something we should give up at our peril.
I love the admiration that the peoples of America and Canada give out in their patriotism, if you look to the Scots and the Welsh, for years they have fought for the resurrection of their culture and identity, and yet it appears that the English care less for something that should be ingrained in their heart. As a child I danced round the May Pole on May day, most people wore a red rose of St Georges Day, we sang Rule Britannia and the national anthem in school, and at the end of every film at the pictures. At the time I did not understand the significance, but as I have grown older it has become more and more important, because these things provide our sense of history and belonging in our daily lives. I do not believe these to be out dated and racist views, it is our roots that teach us the right path of our future, something again that has become an important theme in my writing, as it is a deeply held belief of my own. My grandfather once told me it was the duty of every Englishman to stand for justice, and fight any injustice he encountered, I can see him now in my mind as he told me, with his stature rising and his face filled with the sense of pride you would see on that of any soldier. For him Queen and country were of the ultimate importance, and nothing would ever shake that belief.
Today in our countries capital we will witness the start of a very historic event, there will be all the pomp and ceremonial pageantry of the past, as our Queen marks her diamond jubilee. I too once thought the monarchy should be let go as we moved towards a republic, it was the ignorance of youth, for today I will celebrate my heritage as an Englishman and pay tribute to my queen, who will match the jubilee of Queen Victoria and by the end of the year surpass her reign and become the longest serving monarch of this country. It will mark yet another milestone in the rich cultural heritage of this country and I will be proud to have been able to witness it.
We have come a long way since the days of the Celts, for it was they who laid the foundations of communities and the identity of those in this land. Since then we have spread from these shores and have been influential in the making of this world, not all we have done we should be proud of, for like all cultures we too have a questionable past, but as a race we have strived together and we have made sweeping changes to the benefit of others. This country has opened its doors and given shelter to many, we have as a single country based in a single faith welcomed and protected those who are not like us, and that too is a very important element of who we have become. It makes me proud to know it is a piece of the puzzle that is my heritage, and for everyone who is born in this land, you too should share that pride.
Great Britain is a small cluster of islands, and yet we still speak out on the world stage with authority. We are renown for the skills of our craftsmen, we are known for our dry sense of fun and humour, we excel in the worlds of arts, our engineers are sought by every nation. We have the greatest system of law and social justice, and have a tradition of pioneering exploration. We once ruled the waves with the best ships of any fleet, and our model of diplomacy has been copied all over the world. Britain’s inventions and pioneers modernised the world we know today, and from our long history of war, we learned to be great at aiding others bring peace and liberty. The thing I love the most is we have a tradition of inspirational writers, and I would hope in time with more practice I could enter that hallowed part of our heritage, who knows? It is an impressive list that goes on and on, and all from this tiny isle surrounded by sea.
There are voices within this country that advise we should play it all down in the name of not offending others, but my argument remains the same. I am proud to be English and a part of the union of this kingdom, I wish no harm or offence to others, as this is deeply personal to me and the land I live on, and I would invite them to join in with me and enjoy this great sense of occasion, and gain a deeper understanding of who I am because of my heritage, discrimination does not live at my address.
I do think over the coming year we should raise the flag, support our football and olympic atheletes, and stand for who we are, maybe there is a lesson to be learned from America and we should take a page from their book, and stand unashamed of our heritage and celebrate together as one with great pride. I think not to do so, would be the greatest insult we could pay to those who forged our history and our heritage.