I want to send my best wishes to everyone celebrating St George’s Day.
Up and down the country – including here in Downing Street – the flag of St George is flying high and celebrations – from the archaic to the eccentric – are taking place:
In Plymouth – a patriotic festival; in London – a great feast in Trafalgar Square; in Leicester – a medieval re-enactment; and in Worcestershire – an annual ‘asparagus run’, to welcome the new harvest.
St George has been England’s patron saint since 1350. But for too long, his feast day – England’s national day – has been overlooked. Today, though, more and more people are coming together on or around April the 23rd, eager to celebrate everything it is to be English. And there is much to celebrate. Because this is a country whose achievements in industry, in technology, sport, music, literature and the arts - they far outweigh our size.
Our counties and cities are known the world over:
In America, where Newcastle Brown Ale is the most imported ale; in China, where the most popular international football team is from London: Arsenal; in Australia, where they go mad for a Cornish cuisine – the humble pasty; in South Korea, where Yorkshire-set Downton Abbey is a TV favourite. And across the globe, where the best-selling band is from Liverpool: the Beatles.
This St George’s Day, I want us to reflect on one of England’s greatest achievements: its role in the world’s greatest family of nations – the United Kingdom. In just 5 months, the people of Scotland will go to the polls and decide whether they want to remain a part of this global success story. So let’s prove that we can be proud of our individual nations and be committed to our union of nations. Because no matter how great we are alone, we will always be greater together.
So once again, to everyone across England, I’d like to wish you a very happy St George’s Day.