Cohesion and Faiths Division of CLG on St George's Day
Since I was asking the Labour Leadership contenders, I thought I'd better enquire as to the Government's policy on St George's Day. Eric Pickles didn't answer but I received this from the Cohesion and Faiths Division of Communities and Local Government:
Thank you for your email of 9 June to Eric Pickles about St George’s Day, which has been passed to me for a reply.
You may have seen that the Government has been supportive of people who wish to fly the flag of St George as part of supporting the England football team. Grant Shapps, the Minister for Local Government, said: "Ahead of the world cup, communities across England will want to wave the flag of St George with pride. Councils should show some common sense and not be over-zealous in applying petty rules. The World Cup is a great opportunity for local communities of all backgrounds to pull together. Councils should do their bit in helping reclaim the English flag as a proud symbol of our nation's identity."
The Government is currently reviewing the approach to building cohesion. One of the issues which I expect to come up as part of that review is how we celebrate St George’s day.
I am afraid I cannot answer the three questions you pose for the Secretary of State, but clearly the Government will need to decide how to support St George’s day before 23 April 2011.
Cohesion and Faiths Division
Bresenden Place, SW1E 5DU
Supporting the BIG LUNCH 2010
For the record my email to Mr Pickles was as follows:
Dear Mr Pickles,
Today's Guardian carries the extraordinary claim from your predecessor, John Denham, that Gordon Brown vetoed plans for a state-funded celebration of St George's Day because he feared a 'counter-reaction' from Scotland.
I hope that the new coalition government will take a more enlightened approach to English national identity and celebrations of Englishness. Please can you tell me:
a) Whether you are in favour of state-funding for official St George's Day celebrations;
b) Whether you are in favour of a national holiday in England on St George's Day, and;
c) Whether the Government has any plans to recognise St George's Day?