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The mindless snobbery of the ‘St George was Turkish’ brigade

Our superiors think it is their solemn duty to sneer at English national identity.

Alex Dale

Topics Politics UK

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St George’s Day is upon us once again. But did you know that St George was Turkish (actually)?

If by some miracle you haven’t had this pearl of wisdom cast before you on X / Twitter, then you are one of the lucky ones. Reminding people that St George was Turkish (actually) has become something of an annual ritual among our betters. Already today, the Mirror’s Kevin Maguire has intoned that if St George ‘tried to enter Britain’ in 2024, we would ‘shackle the migrant worker born in what is now Turkey on a one-way flight to Rwanda’. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has declared St George to be ‘half-Turkish, half-Palestinian’.

The patron saint of England’s social-media intelligentsia is, of course, the relentlessly wrong historian, Otto English, whose books, Fake History and Fake Heroes, exemplify this style of ‘well, actually’ argumentation. English has gone one further than claiming St George was Turkish (actually) by arguing that ‘there’s scant evidence he ever existed’.

So what lies behind this strange ritual? At a time when England’s unwashed hordes are supposedly frothing with excitement at their national saint’s day, it seems it is our superiors’ solemn duty to inform the more feeble-minded that their excitement is without foundation. After all, if St George was Turkish (actually), then what does this mean for England and your feelings toward it? If the symbol of England isn’t even English, then according to this logic, all English values and history are null and void. Take that, gammons!

But reminding everyone that St George was Turkish (actually) is more than just a spiteful attempt to piss on ordinary people’s chips. In fact, it serves several important purposes.

Firstly, it demonstrates the superior status of the person doing the reminding. It is supposed to evince a historical depth of knowledge available only to emeritus professors and Only Connect competitors. Secondly, and more critically for our X-based historians, it is an attempt to magic away the essence of something that is popular but which they dislike – in this case, English identity – through heavy-handed reductio ad absurdum and faulty syllogisms.

Their reasoning goes something like this: St George was Turkish, you like St George but also like England, therefore all of your low-status beliefs have no basis. Your worldview is based on a lie. Or to put it another way: ‘Everything that you plebs like is, in fact, a product of the cosmopolitan values you despise. So go back to your housing estates, remove the St George’s Cross flags from your windows and replace them with Palestinian LGBTQIA+ banners.’

The cumulative effect of this walleyed smart-arsery is mind-numbing. Of course, if you go back far enough, it is technically true that nothing has a national origin in any meaningful way. You could just as well argue that there is no such thing as an ‘English’ breakfast because sausages are made of atoms, formed from quarks a few millionths of a second after the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago. Yet English breakfasts really do exist and are in fact delicious.

The annual St George was Turkish (actually) ritual may seem like little more than a silly online phenomenon. Certainly, the petty snobbery and deluded self-importance of those repeating the line deserve all the mockery they are currently getting. But it does speak to a broader desire among our elites to trash the things that most people value – including their sense of national belonging. And that really is worth pushing back on.

Alex Dale is a designer based in London.

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics Politics UK

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