What a great day ... not!
Yesterday, 23rd April, was England's national day -- St George's Day. No big deal has been made of it for quite a few years. Even when it was widely celebrated, it was never on anything like the scale of Ireland's St Patrick's Day. However, a couple of things that made the news yesterday -- mostly hidden well away on the papers' middle pages -- surprised me no end. Disappointed me too. So much so, I couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry.
The first item, concerned a traditional, English 'local' pub. The landlord had applied to his local council for a license extension -- to get an extra hour or so, serving customers. This 'extension' practice is more or less the norm here in the UK on 'special occasions' -- be it for either national or local celebrations/events.
Earlier this year, the same landlord was granted, without a problem, an extension for Chinese New Year. But, the application relating to our own national day was turned down flat. It wasn't " a special enough day," he was told. Yep, really. St George of England's Day isn't a 'special day' here in England anymore -- at any rate, not according to his local council.
Now, as anyone who knows me or has read anything I've ever written, can tell you -- I'm about as liberal as it's possible to be. Live & let live, is my motto. However, liberal or no liberal, I find that kind thing hard to stomach.
Imagine then, how my jaw dropped and my mouth gaped, when I went on to read, the same day, a piece about Portsmouth. By the way, for those who don't know; Portsmouth is a 'Royal Navy' city. Nearly all Portsmouth's population is connected, in some way, to our 'senior service'. The local economy is almost totally, dependent on navy related business. So much so, I doubt there's been a single day in the last few centuries when at least a couple of Royal Navy ships haven't been in port.
This year, a brand new order went out from the brass. Whilst the St George's Day tradition of decking out all our ships in port, in full-dress [ie: all manner of flags, pennants, bunting, etc, are displayed] -- positively, no St George's flags were to be flown.
The reason? Well, according to our pain-in-the-arse, powers that be -- Turkey may take offence. Y'see, a Turkish war ship was in port too -- on a visit connected to a joint exercise with ourselves;the kind of exercise that allies often carry out together.
Apparently, it just so happens, our St George's Day coincides with Turkey's national day. But, guess what? The Turkish navy could fly whichever flags it wanted to.
Talk about 'political correctness' gone mad. Eh? Can you credit it?!