Letters: Malcolm Cox, February 21, 2017

Picture by Richard Marsham
The Union Flag flies high over the Abbey Gate as Bury St Edmunds marks the Queen becoming the longest serving monarch with a parade and family fun day.
Picture by Richard Marsham The Union Flag flies high over the Abbey Gate as Bury St Edmunds marks the Queen becoming the longest serving monarch with a parade and family fun day.
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What an awful, ill-informed account from our reader Steve Lund-Beck (February 3).

First off, and this is a regular charge for folks like me – our lack of patriotism. Patriotism is not the sole property of any one political viewpoint and you will excuse me for tossing in that famous quote from Samuel Johnson, “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”.

Then we get that usual insult to the other nations that make up our “United Kingdom” or “Great Britain and Northern Ireland”.

You proclaim “I’m an Englishman and I’ll die an Englishman.” If you have a passport I suggest you check it out. Like me you are a “subject of her Britannic Majesty’s”. It could be that your myopia is a result of not having travelled much. My wife and I when meeting strangers abroad are always rather pleased to announce ourselves as “British” or “we are from the UK”. And, I am a republican at that, but one who grasps all the subtleties of a system with a constitutional monarch.

Then we learn that the governments of Poland and Romania have “issued maps to direct their people where to settle”. Undoubtedly all governments will offer advice to their citizens on such matters as emigration but in the age of the internet I would have thought such information was readily available.

Back to the patriotism. “I love my country, my family fought in two world wars for it.” I am forced to repeat something I wrote in a similar reply some months ago. One of our most treasured documents is a letter from George VI thanking my father for his service during the Second World War. It hangs on our wall. I am bound to point out that our allies particularly during that war were those awful Poles, Czechs and others. Some may even have been on the Lancaster bomber that went down in the Wash taking my uncle Benny with it. It is insulting to insist that only conservative-minded, (actually, narrow-minded) people are “patriotic”.

We may cherish our “Sceptered Isle” for different reasons but we cherish it nevertheless.

And then we read that our “democracy is being destroyed…” It seems to me that one of the strengths of our system is that it can restrain the executive for further scrutiny during major constitutional reforms. Our present PM governs by being elected by a staggering 0.03% of the electorate. How democratic is that then?

Malcolm Cox, Terrington St Clement