St George’s shame? Bolton councillor says English shun ‘opportunity for celebration’ unlike other communities’

A Conservative councillor campaigning for schools in Bolton to fly the Union flag has claimed the English do not ‘grab opportunity for celebration as much as other communities’.

Councillor Mudasir Dean’s comments come as people round the country celebrate St George’s Day, though celebrations in Manchester have been forcibly scaled down. 

The Conservative councillor for Bradshaw recently put forward a motion for schools in Bolton to fly the Union flag and sing the national anthem in assemblies to ‘inspire patriotism’.

The move was approved following a vote at a full council meeting at Bolton Town Hall last week.

Cllr Dean hopes St George’s Day will inspire the same patriotism among the English community.

“A day of celebration such as St George’s Day helps to bring communities together under one flag,” he told MM.

Much criticism has been levelled at England’s celebrations for St George’s Day, which seem to be a much more low-key affair compared with Ireland’s St Patrick’s Day.

Celebrated in March, Manchester hosted a St Patrick’s Day Parade in the midst of a two-week Irish Festival; but what is it that makes St. Patrick’s much more accessible as a day of festivity?

Councillor Dean believes that the English just need a little encouragement when it comes to honouring their heritage.

“I’m not sure we grab the opportunity for celebration as much as other communities,” he said.

Councillor Dean thinks that a national holiday on St George’s Day should be put in place and has joined a nationwide campaign to promote this.

“There are issues such as how another national holiday will affect the economy in its current state but it is something we will keep pushing for,” he said.

Despite the fact that Manchester’s St George’s Festival will not embark on its fourth consecutive year due to organiser illness and a lack of volunteers, the annual parade will still go ahead on Sunday, April 27.

Piccadilly Gardens will be the centre stage for some of the best street theatre, comedy, musicians and magic acts that England has to offer and will welcome the parade to the city centre.

The parade is due to leave Varley Street, Miles Platting, at 11:30am and will reach Piccadilly Gardens shortly after midday; just as the rousing street performances are in full swing, ready to perform to crowds until 4pm.

“Manchester is home to some of the best celebration parades in the UK and the St George’s Day Parade is always one to remember,” said Councillor Rosa Battle, Manchester City Council’s executive member for culture and leisure.

“This year the procession will be met in Piccadilly Gardens with some incredibly talented performers who will wow audiences of all ages throughout the afternoon.”

Included in the street entertainment is the eccentric Mr Wilson’s Second Liners which is led by the biggest saxophone audiences are likely to have seen.

Among many others Hat Stand Band will be playing, in addition to juggling and trickery from Dan the Hat and the comedy of Curious Cargo’s Temperance Society.

Following the parade, a giant St George on horseback will push its way through the city with the obligatory dragon-slaying knights and a few other traditional and modern characters from English culture thrown in for good measure.

Organiser of Manchester’s St George’s Day Festival, Thelma McGrail, said: “Each year we are more ambitious and each year St George’s Day parade goes from strength to strength.” 

For more information about this year’s celebrations, click here.

Image courtesy of Alan Feebery, with thanks.

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