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"Follow your spirit, and upon this charge Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!' And Shakespeare.

Jefferson Galt

If there is one day that we should be proud to be English, it's today. It's St George's Day and it's the day chosen to celebrate Shakespeare's 400th Birthday.

I'm sitting in a café in Folkstone eating a bacon buttie and drinking a cup of strong tea from a mug of dubious origin and I feel strangely attuned.

We are English - except that I've just been served by a waiter who's accent marks him as one of the many migrants that have arrived in Folkstone and never left. During the day they are, mostly, lovely hard working people. In the evenings, they hang around in the streets and even though they are still the same lovely people, their very foreignness feels inexplicably threatening. Then again, there are those who dress the same, speak the same but who are not working, making their living by dubious means, including benefits where they can get them, and selling, buying or consuming drugs. Late at night, it seems like there are more of those than of anyone else in the streets of this once grand town.

Yesterday, another foreigner called to mind a character from a film that is in many ways one of the most biting satires on British Politics that there has been for years: Love Actually. It was all the more telling because it was a satire - and a plea for good sense - by writers with broadly socialist sympathies about a Prime Minister who, along with his Chancellor, used socialism as a vehicle for his presidential ambitions, breaking the mould of British Prime Ministerism. In Love Actually, the US President visits and tries to impose his will on Britain. That bit was unrealistic.

Yesterday, US President Obama had the audacity to threaten the UK, and through it England, that if it left the EU it should not expect to be able to make quick trade deals with the USA. Who does he think he is? He's the leader of an upstart nation, formed by terrorist action for the purposes of tax evasion, by a population that included religious runaways and transported criminals on wealth built, at least in part, by genocide and the wilful near-extinction of herds of creatures. I've got crockery almost as old as his country and it's less cracked.

We are English. We are, like the flag above*, slightly frayed at the edges but still flying proud. We do not like being invaded, by force or by undermining us, and we do not like being told what to do.

In a few weeks, we vote: do we wish to remain part of the EU or to leave it? I live in France: what would the effect, on me, be if the UK left Europe? Would I find my property confiscated, find myself subject to tax penalties? Would I be interred?

Of course not, just as the millions of Europeans who are legitimately in the UK would not be similarly treated.

But isn't it right that countries should be able to send away troublemakers, criminals and those who seek to change the nature of a society that's worked quite well for more than 1,000 years?

I would be very pleased to think that I might, once more, be privileged to carry the stiff blue passport that gave us pride to wave as we arrived at immigration desks all over the world. The wimpy pink European thing carries no weight at all. No one says "Oh, you're a European. How nice." And of course, I might, perfectly reasonably, be required to get the permission of the French for the privilege of living in their country.

Or more likely, if we got our country back, if it became England once more, I'd just go home.

I'm going to write more on the so-called "Brexit," (an example of the deplorable state of English over the past 30 or so years that cannot be blamed on the EU) in the next few weeks. This blog is forming the basis of a column over at www.pleasebeinformed.com where we will be carrying a range of opinions - and hopefully even more facts.

Until then, it's time to glory in the fact that we can watch plays written in the 1600s, listen to music that stirs - Walton, Purcell and, of course, Elgar, and we can do so precisely because we have seen off invaders (but taken the best of the ideas they left behind) and maintained our way of life for more than two thousand years.

We are a product of the Romans, the Normans, the Vikings, the Saxons and the Celts. We are the most bastardised race on earth, so much so that there is not an "English Gene." We are bound not by race but by a love of country and our way of life.

Our country and our way of life is under threat in so many ways, and in so many ways we are prevented from defending them, often, by the diktats of Europe.

That is why so many English want out: we are losing our sovereignty and we are losing our distinctiveness and we are losing our identity. We are losing our right to self-determination. We, the English, are engaged in a battle that is no less revolutionary, or vital, than that of the Suffragettes: they fought to have a say, we are fighting to ensure our say is not taken from us.

And that is why we are looking at the big picture. We live in a Land of Hope and Glory, not under a star spangled banner with or without stripes. We will not live under the boot of President Junker or President Obama.

We are English: it's not a matter of geography or politics - it's a state of mind. Those who forget or deny that are not our friends.

*I have no idea who this image belongs to but I will be more than happy to attribute it or remove it upon hearing from the copyright owner. I found it on Twitter.

REPUBLISHED (with slight edits) with permission from www.jeffersongalt.com



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