Patronising

Durer’s St George and the Dragon. The crowned princess is lurking behind a rock. With a pig.

St George fought the dragon and killed it — or did he? Such doubt could make patriots go weak and quite giddy. Did he rescue a maiden and liberate a city like Perseus, it’s said, in ancient antiquity? Or is it a myth, a tale for the gullible from powerful leaders who claim they’re infallible?

The truth is that George has a past that is murky: perhaps Cappadocia (that’s now part of Turkey) or Palestine claims him. Yes, Christian martyr — but slayer of dragons? Well, that‘s a non-starter.

He’s patron of England, the Knights of the Garter, Teutonic Knights, Reichenau, Gozo and Malta. He’s chief saint of Portugal and also of Genoa, of Moscow and Beirut and, yes, Catalonia. God help us if they all decide to go fight, for how will George know who is wrong and who’s right?

Yet it’s the far right who often invoke him, their claims of supremacy based on pure hokum. For they would now see saintly George as outsider, a migrant or refugee, maybe Al-Qaida. To persecute him would elicit no qualms, and he’d not be received with wide open arms.


A post in rhyming couplets to mark April 23rd, St George’s Day

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10 thoughts on “Patronising

  1. It is all a matter of perspective. When you wrote that St George nowadays would be seen as a migrant or refugee, I remembered that soon after Brexit a lot of pictures of the Royal Family standing and smiling on the balcony of Buckingham Palace were tagged here :” non-EU immigrants” 🇪🇺🇮🇹🙋

    1. Yes indeed, of Greek-German extraction and who knows what else! Unsurprising they changed the family name to Windsor from Saxe-Coburg or Battenburg or whatever to maintain the illusion of Britishness …

    1. Thanks, Dale — I had fun turning it into rhyming couplets while trying to maintain a sense of prose! I prefer though to think of this day as Shakespeare’s birthday, less jingoistic than St George-for-England and his crusader associations.

    1. Well, we all know what happened to both those models: one was burnt at the stake, while the other was raped, killed in battle and buried under a station platform.

      Yes, I know they fought glorious (?) battles against dastardly invaders; but the English eventually bought up the Dordogne for holiday homes; while the Romans ruled Britannia for a few more centuries.

      But if Marine and Maggie intend(ed) to be martyrs to their cause that’s OK by me …

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