Mark Dolan: How dare metropolitan elites sneer at Brits who are proud of their country

Patriotism is often conflated with nationalism, usually by those with a political agenda or an axe to grind

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The Archbishop of York has criticised the London 'metropolitan elite', for looking down on people who are proud to be English.

The Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell said such people should not be treated as 'backwardly xenophobic'. He called for 'an expansive vision, of what it means to be English' and for the country to recover a sense of 'national unity'.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he questioned why being patriotic has become a taboo. How right he is to ask. Meanwhile it's been revealed that the government have spent more than £163,000 on union flags in the last two years. What a disgrace. It's not NEARLY enough. They should spend millions.

Because a population that loves its country, will always be happier, safer, more united and therefore more successful. Patriotism is often conflated with nationalism, usually by those with a political agenda or an axe to grind.

There’s a big difference between the two. History teaches us, that nationalism is a profoundly negative force, an arrogant, egocentric world view, that says YOUR country is good and other countries are BAD. And that YOU are in some way superior. Nationalists seek disruption and division, separatism and war. Patriotism is quite the opposite.

It's a LOVE for your country - it's people, its values, its culture, its language, its institutions and its history. Nationalism is a negative force, patriotism an abundantly positive one. It's both a lie and a slander on the English for example, to say that loving their country and flying the flag is regressive and even xenophobic.

And outside of England, where sadly the flag of St George has far too often been a badge of shame, can you name me a single country on the planet that doesn't wave the flag, puff out its chest and declare its greatness. The United States, the most successful country in human history, is the perfect example. For its many problems, patriotism is the force upon which that great nation is built.

And whilst waving the Scottish saltire or the Welsh red Dragon is widely encouraged and celebrated – rightly so - waving the flag of St George will in many circles, see you judged, condemned or even cancelled. It's because there are too many people in this country, who hate this country, and want to see it divided.

But they won't win. As the Euros demonstrated this summer, when the adrenaline of a Harry Kane penalty begins to flow and when a few pints of celebratory lager kick in, the patriotism, the love for England, among our uniquely diverse population, is there for all to see.

English people of every racial, cultural and religious denomination were cheering the England captain and the team. Our diversity is the very best thing about this place, and it’s unity, for which we must now strive. And that’s where the flag comes in. This country is a global, outward-looking, diplomatic, creative and economic powerhouse.

All of it fuelled by a diversity, that has been the perennial theme of these islands for centuries. Diverse is what we are, and always have been. It's in our DNA. Take me for example. I’m a Dolan. My parents came to England in the 1960s and made a great life in this country, for which I will be eternally grateful. So maybe like millions, I’ve got that special brand of patriotism – immigrant patriotism.

And so a love for England, a love for Northern Ireland, a love for Wales, a love for Scotland and most importantly a love for the United Kingdom, will be key to our story going forward, particularly as we exit the trauma of the pandemic.

So it's time to reclaim patriotism and to understand that the flag doesn’t divide us. It unites us. The love for this country is strong – and it’s not something to be ashamed of or suppressed. It’s something to be encouraged and celebrated. Don’t take my word for it. This country is so great, we named our channel after it. Cheers!