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A patriot is a person who is a proud supporter or defender of her or her country and its way of life…is that you?

Today is Saint Georges Day, the patron saint of England and unlike our friends in Scotland, Wales and Ireland very few of us English folk will give it a thought. There will be the occasional flutter of a white flag with a red cross but as a nation we tend not to celebrate this day.

I wonder what makes someone a patriot; is it peer pressure or a real love of the life you have right now. If it is the latter, your life must be wonderful and unchanging.  Our sense of country is constantly changing and with it our awareness of what is happening in politics, financial and local affairs.

Most of us would say that there are times when we feel proud to be (whatever), usually when there is a critical or momentous occasion. We identify with others and as there is a feeling of safety in numbers, we can get swept along in the emotion.

So what is stopping us being nationalistic? Well in the British Isles maybe it’s because we don’t consider ourselves to be in danger, well not like we have been in the past. No great war threatening, hopefully no invasion pending and only the Banks to worry about..!

When I was a child we were all very proud to be British, though not necessarily English or Welsh etc. I am still proud to say we have a Royal Family, most of which are a credit to us all, we have a democratic and fair outlook and on the whole we care for those with less or in need.

The reverse of this or course, are people who choose to use patriotism to riot, to provoke and even kill in the name of their country. Nationalism, jingoism and over the top patriots are as much a problem as people who care nothing about their country.

Just for today lets all be patriotic but with a sense of humour, love of our neighbours and those who may take this a little too far.

Diane Holliday