Monthly Archives: June 2006

The world, as every politician deemed worthy enough of a spot on television is seemingly contractually obliged to tell us, is under threat. This threat is new, it’s scary, and it comes from shifty foreigners with shady motives. Read More

The British left has always felt vaguely uncomfortable with the whole notion of patriotism. The US’ vision of itself as a bastion of democracy and equality means that both liberals and conservatives can well up at the sound of the national anthem. The French left can believe passionately in the ideals of ‘Liberté, égalité, fraternité’ and the superiority of the French social model (not to mention French food, the French language, and just about anything else you’d care to name).

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Despite not being a football fan, a nationalist or a car driver, I really rather like all those England flags festooned about the national vehicle fleet (and indeed pretty much everywhere else).

There are numerous detractors of which Janet Street-Porter seems typical. She bemoans ‘white van man’ and the pointlessness of football. Aside of the snobbery involved in belittling people for their working class jobs, she’s plainly wrong. The flags are on every kind of car. And even if, unlike her, you love the skill of the sport at this level, it has to be viewed as a cultural phenomenon above all else.

But these things aren’t why I like it. It’s the flag thing that makes me feel good. Read More