I was watching a programme on Channel 4 on Saturday night – all about the ‘real’ story of the 4 Saints of the British Isles. Some guy I’ve never heard of introduced the programme, but never mind, I was sure Dr Robert Beckford would produce a dispassionate honest appraisal. Yeah, right.
Beckford waxed away as if he was on speaking terms with the 4 men in question. St Patrick was an educated man of letters, St David was a ‘home grown boy, St Andrew - a rallying saint for a noble nation ………. And poor old St George? Apparently, he’s been a magnet for racists, extremists and bigots…..
As the stereotypical and entirely predictable programme synopsis says – ‘The white racists and fascists who have appropriated the flag of St George would be astonished to discover that he is front runner as the ideal multicultural saint. Far from the genocidal warrior of Crusaders legend, he is venerated by Muslims as well as Christians….
I'm not sure many people do think of George as being a 'genocidal warrior' do they? I think most people know he came from the Middle East, along with St Andrew, Moses and Jesus. George was a Turk, tortured and killed by the Romans - as were a hell of a lot of saints. During the programme, I sort of got the impression from the Doc that all us thick English people think that George came from a sink housing estate in the Midlands. And as for the Doc's assertion that George has been appropriated by fascists and racists - I just bloody well despair.
One thing is clear ‘Dr’ Robert Beckford knows bugger all about anything – apart from being able to quote the p.c. New Labour directive on dissing anything representing the English or English consciousness.