by Rachael Herman
The boyf, who for some reason occasionally suffers from mild patriotic tendencies, greeted me today wide-eyed and bounding with news that the phrase, ‘For England’ has indeed changed his life. This particular phrase happened to be one that he saw screened during yesterday’s England v Wales rugby match at Twickenham. I’ve always found it interesting how two simple words, such as the ones flashing cheaply on an advertising screen during a match, can evoke such a wealth of emotion and national pride. So interesting in fact that I thought I’d conduct a bit of research on the subject – I’m talking facts and figures here, not the philosophical or psychological implications of patriotism – you know, just for fun.
As we all know, the USA are pretty damn patriotic, which meant that it was no surprise when I discovered that they came joint top in the Forbes ‘World’s Most Patriotic’ list, 2008. Forbes also stated that in 2001, and again in 2009, only 1% of Americans would class themselves as ‘not at all proud’ to be an American; and in 2007, 81% agreed that the USA has the best system of government in the world. Lucky them. Now here are a couple of gems of pure unadulterated patriotism from the great nation. The first is relatively harmless and frankly a good way to make money out of such fervent national pride, whereas the second is just weird:
Joining the US at the top are the Venezuelans, who just can’t help but love to be Venezuelan. They come in with a rating of 3.73 in 1997 – the scale being 1 (not proud, just embarrassed) -4 (bloody proud).
On the other end of the spectrum we see that Britain, more specifically England, has not fared well the patriotism stakes. A survey conducted in 2010, with results published in the Telegraph, awarded England the title of ‘least patriotic country in Europe’, citing political correctness and a loss of national identity as reasons for this devastatingly predictable turn – out. Not to worry though, 40% of people questioned said they had no qualms about displaying their national pride in private or when it comes to supporting their team in a sporting event. What a relief. At least when it’s time for the Olympics 2/5 of us will be secretly cheering on the England squad. Only when we are doing well, mind. Those plucky Irish, however, simply can’t get enough of themselves – topping both European and World charts, according to the Telegraph and the 1992 World Values Survey, respectively.
Now all this is very well, however, ‘where is the artwork?’ I hear you cry – faintly, as you go to click on that ominous little red ‘x’ in the left hand corner of your Mac. Thankfully I have something up the sleeve of my artist’s smock (no, I do not own a smock). This talk of patriotism has happened to remind me of a photograph that I took last year whilst holidaying at Lake Windermere in the Lake District. Yes, I know that it is not an English flag that you see before you, but it is a display of patriotism at its finest, as I hope you’ll agree.
(For those of you who follow the comings and goings of the company, Windermere Lake Cruises – and I’m sure there are many of you – it will interest you to know that the boat/ship I was voyaging on was in fact following the route of the ‘Yellow Cruise’, sailing from Lakeside on the south of the lake to Bowness, situated in the middle on the Eastern bank. Lovely.)