By Benjamin Martin
Social media tends to present the notion, particularly among the 'woke' left, that patriotism is a dying ideology - but is that really the case?
Twitter. It requires no formal introduction. It serves as the home of the feeble minded, occupied by the hordes of supposedly ‘woke’ individuals seeking to bring attention to the great injustices of the 21st Century, not least Boris Johnson’s hairstyle on any given day. The Prime Minister could literally buy them a new car (which for most of them is probably the case via the welfare system) and they would still find some means of chastising him. Of course, it is not an inherently negative thing to scrutinise or attack the government, in fact it arguably demonstrates a healthy sense of democracy, something that should never be condemned. Nevertheless, it is not the habitual lambasting of Boris, or any political figure for that matter, which I take issue with. Rather, it’s the senseless, farcical and outright idiotic tirade of rebuking every aspect and institution which is fundamental to our nation.
You do not, and most certainly should not, have to be by any means right of centre to love your country. Patriotism is a value that can be shared by all, and in most parts of the world is as prevalent throughout all corners of the political nation as the oxygen we breathe. This is a phenomenon I have always felt that we in Britain have, quite wrongfully, lacked. However, even this inkling could not have prepared me for the lunacy which I discovered recently while on the platform.
Admittedly, while Twitter is filled with hogwash, it can inevitably be beneficial for following certain contemporary events. The unfortunate side effect of this is the amount of garbage one must endure in turn. An example of such was what I discovered one fateful day. Despite the array of inequities in our current world, the good folk of Twitter believed it was far more pertinent to comment on the fact that Government Ministers frequently display the Union flag behind them during press conferences and interviews. According to the esteemed intellectuals who employ the platform to enlighten us mere mortals on matters which would otherwise be oblivious to us, this made the entire Conservative Party and Cabinet a bunch of fascists and neo-Nazi sympathisers.
As previously mentioned, I am not overly concerned with the blatant defamation of the government. Of course I absolutely repudiate it, but I believe there is a far greater issue at stake than the reputation of the incumbent government. This is a matter of national integrity. I am utterly astounded that such a sizable faction of the British people would take such grave offence at this act. While illogical and woke rhetoric may have become ever pervasive, particularly on social media, in recent years, I could never have imagined for a moment that anyone would find the need to upbraid their government for officially displaying the flag of the nation they serve and represent. It is absolutely preposterous.
Fortunately, I am confident that most people (those who seemingly have more important things to do in their lives) would not be so sensitive to this - indeed I would hope that the vast majority of Britons would endorse this course of action. Yet, I am still bemused as to how anyone could take issue with this, let alone make dogmatic assertions that propagating a flag makes a person fascist. If we were to venture into any other country in Europe - or across the globe for that matter - we would find multitudes hailing their national flag as the purest and most eminent embodiment of the values for which their country stands and was founded upon. If it may be France, the United States, Mexico, Japan or even Kenya, government representatives are rarely far from their flag on official matters. Not only this, but the respective populations of each nation will likewise engage in the patriotism of championing their flags. If you visit, for instance, Norway or Sweden, you will witness a spectacle of flags displayed elegantly and romantically on well-maintained poles in every garden. It is truly quite an awe-inspiring depiction of national pride, and it only leaves me further in doubt regarding the sanity of those in Britain espousing such a nonsensical message.
So why is there such severe stigma attached to this activity in Britain? Are we not proud of our heritage? Of what we have achieved throughout our prodigious and enriched history? Do we not surely admire all which we have endured, survived and overcome? I concede that, like any nation, Britain has experienced darkened and shameful epochs throughout our history. However, that should to no extent deduct from the immensity of achievements which we may not only boast, but use to distinguish ourselves from our counterparts. Britain is the world’s oldest contemporary democracy, with Parliament having sat for every year without failure since 1689. We were the first modern constitutional monarchy. We were the first nation to abolish slavery and maintain its prohibition thereafter. We have always remained dichotomous to tyranny, initially defeating Napoleon and then standing resiliently and valiantly against the Nazi menace. Our history is not without flaw or error, but neither is that of any other nation in Europe, none of whom are at all embarrassed about flying their flag – so why are we?
I unreservedly believe that Britain is great. We are a beacon of hope and glory which has inexorably emitted its light for centuries. How better to cherish our innumerous contributions, accomplishments and feats of prosperity then to exhibit the flag which encompasses and delineates the unimpeachable nature of these values? Simply put, there is not any superior means of doing so. Thus, contrary to the beliefs of Twitter, displaying the Union flag is not an emblem of neo-Nazism or fascism, rather, it is a symbol which defies such.