For the most part, I’m no great fan of saints, a rum bunch of characters too often found teetering uneasily between insanity, hysteria and fable. England’s (and I use that national qualifier deliberately) St. George, however, is an exception, decent, brave, martial, thoroughly divorced from his original legend and transformed into an agreeable patriotic myth. He is, in short, everything that a saint should be. That Shakespeare died (and may also have been born) on St George’s Day only makes matters better.
I’m glad to say that England’s saint is making a bit of a comeback. The Daily Telegraph has a good roundup of photographs of yesterday’s celebrations here.
And, as tends to be the case with England’s still surviving, but generally understated, patriotism, it all comes (in this case courtesy of London mayor Boris Johnson at the 2009 celebrations) complete with a keen sense of self-mockery: