The Brexit vote put our national identity under the microscope like never before.
Now a Lancaster pensioner wants to take things one stage further by campaigning for a national holiday to celebrate England.
Barry Haughton has launched a Parliamentary petition to have the August Bank Holiday Monday renamed ‘England Day’.
“Given the rich and illustrious history of England, I find it amazing that we do not make more fuss about our English way of life,” says a proposal by Mr Haughton and a group of like-minded friends.
“I am aware that we already have St George’s Day but this has never been a public holiday. Flags will be raised on April 23 and some pubs mark the occasion with a special dinner but in the main celebrations are quite muted.
“I can see why governments sought to ‘play down’ ourEnglish identity. Presumably this is in deference to the other three nations of the UK and aimed at protecting the bonds that join us together.
“I am not calling for the Household Cavalry charging up Whitehall or the Red Arrow s zooming over Buckingham Palace, nice though these would be, but a day to immerse ourselves in all things English.
“I have a dream of every church bell ringing in unison, heralding the arrival of our special day of celebration.”
So far the petition has gained only 14 signatures in just over seven months.
Mr Haughton, 74, wonders if this is because many English people are not proud enough of their country.
“It makes me wonder if English people care about England as much as I thought they do,” he said.
“If you compare English people to the Scottish and Welsh, they are nationalistic about their nation.
“America, Canada, Australia and France all have a national day to celebrate their nation. But our Government doesn’t encourage Englishness.
“I thought the petition would take off, but it might also because we’re all pensioners and we’re not all au fait with social media. So we‘d like to spread the word about the petition through the Lancaster Guardian.”
Mr Haughton said the day could celebrate the founding of England as a single sovereign state 1091 years ago in Anglo-Saxon times.
“Lancaster itself figures very highly in English history, with the House of Lancaster and the Wars of the Roses.”
If the petition can gain 100,000 signatures then it will be considered for a debate in Parliament. It can be found HERE.