Happy St George’s Day!
Earlier this week I celebrated my 33rd birthday with my loved ones. I am incredibly grateful to belong to my family – a wonderful source of love, support, and encouragement. I was raised to make the most of the opportunities offered by England’s state-funded education system, globally-respected university sector, and market economy. I am immensely appreciative of the freedoms and protections provided in the country of my birth.
But we must not rest on our laurels and indulge in the romanticisation of modern-day England. It has an inter-regionally imbalanced economy with a good number of left-behind communities in the post-industrial regions still starved of meaningful investment. It is an established hotspot when it comes to family breakdown and is a land of crashing marriage rates. We should always champion entrepreneurial skills and personal initiative – but guard against the promotion of materialistic hyper-individualism.
It must be a nation that continues to challenge all forms of discrimination. Sir Keir Starmer was correct to suspend Diane Abbott (pending an investigation) over her disgraceful letter on racism published in The Observer. The trivialisation of antisemitism, as well as discrimination towards people of Irish origin and Traveller communities, must not be tolerated. England must always remain loyal to the concept of equality of opportunity and maintain its anti-discrimination spirit – this is especially important in an ever-diversifying nation such as ours.
But for all its flaws, England remains one of the most tolerant and generous nations on Earth. What we have witnessed in recent times is a trashing of its heritage and history, as well as its post-WWII record when it comes to race relations.
As a member of a racial, ethnic, and religious minority, there is no other country in the world I would rather live in. This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.
This article was originally included in Dr. Rakib Ehsan’s exclusive weekly newsletter.