News & Politics
Britain’s ‘governing class is ashamed of Englishness’, says former Tory minister - Chopper’s Brexit Podcast Episode 49
Britain’s governing classes are “ashamed” of being English, former Tory minister Nick Boles has said.
Mr Boles, a former Planning minister, called for ministers to be bolder about promoting Englishness in public life to mirror the pride felt by the Scots and Welsh.
A squeamishness about being Englishness - because of an association with the Far Right - had meant that young English people from a black or minority ethnic background were more comfortable describing themselves as British because it was more flexible and inclusive.
Mr Boles tells today’s Chopper’s Brexit Podcast: “I drove through Parliament Square on a bus on St George’s Day this year and only place where I could see a St George’s flag was on Westminster Abbey.
“There was I was surrounded by Parliament, the Supreme Court, the Treasury, the Foreign Office – all the Great Offices of State – there wasn’t a St George’s flag to be seen.
“It is completely bonkers and it is not surprising that people feel that the governing class is somehow a bit ashamed of English identity if we make such little effort.”
He added that he did not want to see “state directed patriotism” but he called on the Government to find “small steps” to allow the English can mark their national identity.
All public buildings in England – government offices, courts, police stations, fire stations and town halls – should also be required to fly the St George’s flag on St George’s Day, April 23.
He also called for people being allowed to put an English – or Scottish, Northern Irish or Welsh – flags on the number plates to reflect where their cars were registered.
Other ideas included allowing English teams singing one of Land of Hope and Glory, Jerusalem or I Vow To Thee My Country rather than the British national anthem at sporting events.
Mr Boles said he preferred Jerusalem because of its “progressive” lyrics, but called for a vote by English MPs to decide the new English anthem once and for all.
Also on Chopper's Brexit Podcast, a senior Government minister warned that peers who are amending Brexit legislation are increasing the likelihood of Britain leaving the European Union without a deal.
Peers have so passed 14 amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill including removing the 29 March 2019 Brexit leaving date and changing the law to try to keep the UK in the single market.
Dominic Raab, the Housing minister, warned: “The House of Lords is increasing the risk of no deal. I am a passionate Brexiteer but I have always argued that we should secure the best deal that we can with our European friends and partners. I think the peers are making that harder and are making no deal more likely.”
Other guests on Chopper’s Brexit Podcast, available from 6am on Friday, Telegraph political correspondent Anna Mikhailova and Michael Lightfoot, co-founder of a new group called Artists for Brexit who sings a song he has composed about leaving the EU called “A Song for British Freedom”.
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