Ben Fogle says English patriotism is often mistaken for xenophobia and racism
Ben Fogle has said he thinks English patriotism is being “mistaken for xenophobia, racism or intolerance”.
The adventurer and TV presenter said “celebrating Englishness” doesn’t mean you are snubbing or insulting other nations.
In an interview given ahead of St George's Day (23 April), he told Express.co.uk that national days of celebration should be marked properly.
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“We are living in a time when to celebrate national identity is interpreted as dislike or even blind hatred of multiculturalism and internationalism,” he said.
The star said he feels pride in his Englishness “not in a jingoistic, BNP, xenophobic pride, but a pride in the experience of living in England for 47 years”.
“The polarity of popular culture means that to celebrate Englishness is seen by many as a snub, even an insult, against the other nations in our Union,” he said. “English patriotism is also often mistaken for xenophobia, racism or intolerance, and that is very sad - we need to reclaim it from the racists and the xenophobics.”
Fogle also addressed the issue on Instagram.
Sharing a picture of the St George’s flag, he said “great celebrations are held to mark the national days of Scotland, Wales and (Northern) Ireland but we are squeamish to celebrate England’s”.
The star went on: “As the largest of the Union nations, we have become increasingly embarrassed about our Englishness. Like the embarrassing relative at a wedding, we don’t want to upstage the bride.
"To celebrate my Englishness doesn’t mean I am being disrespectful to the other fine nations within our Union.
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"Patriotism is important. It brings people together to celebrate a common identity."
Fogle said that Englishness means different things to different people, saying that was "the beauty".
"Englishness today is as much about multiculturalism as it is about tradition," he went on.
"So I would like to lift a cup of tea to anyone queuing in the glorious sunshine and say Happy St George’s day."
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