Opening his GB News programme last night, Mark Dolan said that “it’s time to reclaim patriotism and to understand that the flag doesn’t divide us”. This comes after the Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell criticised the London “metropolitan elite” for treating people who are proud to be English as “backwardly xenophobic”. Writing for Daily Telegraph, the most senior figure in the Church of England called for “an expansive vision of what it means to be English”.
He also questioned why it had become taboo to be patriotic.
The Archbishop said: “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.”
Mr Dolan praised this intervention from the Archbishop of York, telling viewers: “Because a population that loves its country, will always be happier, safer, more united and more successful.”
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He continued: “And so love for England, a love for Northern Ireland, a love for Wales, a love for Scotland and most importantly a love for the United Kingdom, will be key to our story going forward, particularly as we exit the trauma of the pandemic.
“Patriotism is often conflated with nationalism, usually by those with a political agenda or an axe to grind. There’s a big difference between the two.
“Patriotism is a love for your country – it’s people, its values, its culture, its language, its institutions and its history.
“Nationalism is a negative force, patriotism an abundantly positive one.
Mr Dolan added: “And that’s where the flag comes in. This country is a global, outward-looking, diplomatic, creative and economic powerhouse.
“The love for this country is strong and it’s not something to be ashamed of or suppressed. It’s something to be encouraged and celebrated.”
The Archbishop’s remarks come after Michael Gove said that the system of “English Votes for English Laws”, which means only English MPs vote on matters which only affect England, should be scrapped.
The Archbishop argued there should be greater devolution to the English, not less.
He also reflected on how last month’s Euro 2020 championships renewed a debate around English patriotism.