Boris&Flag The Mayor of London Boris Johnson writes for today’s Mail on Sunday about the massive response that greeted his response to celebrate St George’s Day:

“The phones went wild. The emails and the letters started to swamp our response teams. People started crossing the road to shake my hand, pumping it up and down and thanking me with embarrassing fervour. I felt like some Texan prospector who has idly whacked his pickaxe on some piece of unpromising ground and then stood back in amazement before a great gusher of erupting oil.”

For Boris, the secret of Englishness is our language:

“If there is one thing that marks us out and defines us, it is the language, the greatest, the most fertile and the most stunningly successful language the world has ever seen. The Germans may beat us at music; the Italians have the edge in painting – but the English beat all comers at poetry, and that is why it is right that we should celebrate St George’s Day in April. It is not only the month that inspired Chaucer and T.S.Eliot. On Thursday we also mark the birth of William Shakespeare, the man who mobilised that language more effectively than anyone before or since.

So why is English so formidable? Why does it knock Mandarin into a cocked hat? Because it has twice as many words as either French or German.  There are 500,000 words in the dictionary, and that is because it is a confluence of the two great streams of Romance and Anglo-Saxon. It is a mongrel language, a language that shamelessly and brilliantly continues to absorb imports from around the world. That is why it is so fitting that St George is himself an import. Like my ancestors, it turns out he was a Turk, and it is testament to the generosity of the English that we have made him our saint.

According to Gibbon, he had nothing to do with a dragon, but was a Cappadocian merchant who made a fortune selling bacon to the Roman army. What could be more appropriate? Napoleon said the English were a nation of shopkeepers. He meant it as an insult. We take it as a compliment. It is that spirit of small-business entrepreneurship that encouraged St George to flog his bacon to the Romans and will lead this country out of recession. So come on out and celebrate the multi-faceted genius of this country, and cry God for Harry, England and St George the seller of bacon!”

Pasted below is a photograph of our candidate in Harlow, Robert Halfon. Yesterday he circulated a leaflet in the town centre of the Essex new town calling for St George’s Day to become a public holiday.  The leaflet is going to every home in Harlow.


Tim Montgomerie.