Yesterday the Sun picked up on David Cameron’s response to Tim’s open letter about patriotism. The Sun ran the story as “Cam blasts PMs ‘Britishness’”which I don’t think accurately portrayed Cameron’s tone. He stressed that the Conservatives were “not going to get into a ‘my flag is bigger than yours’ contest with Gordon Brown”. However, Cameron did say that “we should do more to celebrate our national identity” although how to do so “is up for debate.” ConservativeHome is kick starting this debate by running a series on patriotism over the next seven days.
Without wishing to encourage Cameron to enter into a patriotic contest with Brown, I do think that Cameron should give us the Britishness Day that Brown spoke about but didn’t deliver. Britain is one of the very few countries that doesn’t celebrate a national day (America has Independence Day, France has Bastille Day etc). I think a day to celebrate our shared values and appreciate the country we live in is a good idea. It could also help encourage the type of community spirit that Cameron often speaks about.
I started to think about when a Britishness Day could be. I’ve listed a few of my preferences below. Hopefully they are slightly better than Liam Byrne MP’s dreadful suggestion that Britishness Day should be held on the August Bank holiday, failing to notice that it’s not on the same day in Scotland
Magna Carta Day (15 June)
The most popular choice according to a poll conducted by BBC History Magazine is the day that the Magna Carta was imposed on King John. As it symbolises the principles of liberty, constitutionalism and parliamentarianism. The major downside to this suggestion, however, is that it occurred before the Union.