Archbishop of York criticises London ‘metropolitan elite’ for patronising people proud to be English by treating them as ‘backwardly xenophobic’
- Stephen Cottrell called for ‘an expansive vision of what it means to be English’
- Last month’s Euro 2020 tournament sparked debate around English patriotism
- Tensions arose between the team and ministers over decision to take the knee
The Archbishop of York has criticised the London ‘metropolitan elite’ for looking down on people who are proud to be English.
The Most Rev Stephen Cottrell said such people should not be treated as ‘backwardly xenophobic’.
He called for ‘an expansive vision of what it means to be English’ and for the country to recover a sense of ‘national unity’.
Writing for the Daily Telegraph, the most senior leader in the Church of England questioned why being patriotic has become taboo.
The Archbishop of York has criticised the London ‘metropolitan elite’ for looking down on people who are proud to be English
The Archbishop’s call for unity also comes after last month’s European football championships sparked debate around English patriotism
He told the newspaper: ‘Many English people feel left behind by metropolitan elites in London and the South East, and by devolved governments and strengthened regional identities in Scotland and Wales.
‘Their heartfelt cry to be heard is often disregarded, wilfully misunderstood or patronised as being backwardly xenophobic.’
His comments come after the Prime Minister made a visit to Scotland to boost backing for the Union.
Boris Johnson spent two days in Scotland this week as part of a push strengthen support for the Union.
The Government is keen to publicise the strengths of the UK as a whole, rather than the individual nations, amid calls for a second independence referendum by the SNP.
The Archbishop’s call for unity also comes after last month’s European football championships sparked debate around English patriotism.
A fan with a traffic cone on their head shows their support outside the stadium prior to the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Final between Italy and England at Wembley
Tensions arose between the English football team and ministers over players’ decision to take the knee.
Gareth Southgate called on the country to be ‘proud’ of being English during the tournament and to stop ‘looking at the negatives of our own country’.
The Most Rev Cottrell suggested English sporting teams should sing their own national anthem rather than God Save The Queen.
Referencing the game between England and Scotland, he told the Daily Telegraph: ‘Then when the different nations of the United Kingdom find themselves pitched against each other on the sports field, we could belt our English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish anthems. Then sing our national anthem together. And love our neighbour.’
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