I know that the local members of the UK Independence Party are not alone in feeling shame and anger at the recently reported comments of Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London. We understand he has heavily endorsed celebration of St Patrick’s day in our Capital city and refused similar or greater support for St George’s day. He is also reported to have said that St George was a tax collector and villain and deserves no veneration or commemoration. It is not unusual for Livingstone to be full of organic fertiliser but in this case the brim is overflowing.
The tale of St George is one of the most heroic in Christian annals. He was, in 303 AD at the age of 33, Tribune of the Imperial Guard, the equivalent of a modern-day Colonel, in the army of the Emperor of Rome. The Emperor, Diocletian, issued decrees against Christians. His second decree required everyone in the Imperial Service to acclaim the Emperor as God and sprinkle incense on a lamp before a statue of Diocletian. The penalty for those who refused to obey the decree was death. The very high profile George refused declaring “I believe in Jesus Christ who only is both God and Lord”. It is documented that there was a serious shortage of others who took the same line as George. The Imperial bureaucracy also understood that such a refusal by a senior officer was not ‘helpful’ to the official line. George was therefore called before the Emperor himself. Face to face with the Emperor, George refused to apostatise, was tortured, refused again and was beheaded on 23rd April 303 AD. It is no wonder that St George’s actions gave rise to an instant and wide flung following among the Christians of the Empire causing a flood of converts; and there is no doubt that St George’s friendship with the next Emperor Constantine the Great helped in the final establishment of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire. Constantine was proclaimed Emperor at York, yes England, in 305 AD. Anyone who travels in Europe and the Middle East will come across many churches and votive points to St George. This great saint and martyr clearly embodies the virtues of loyalty, integrity, courage and public service which are so foreign to the likes of Livingstone and his Lib-Dem admirers and so dear to the hearts of all English men and women. St George is the premier Christian martyr and it is no wonder that generations of our English forbears have revered and cherished his truly wonderful qualities. The UK Independence Party is also a fervent fan. St George should be the role model of every politician and each candidate of our Partty is totally commited to his principles.
It might be asked ‘What about the Dragon?’
Given that the story of St George’s martyrdom was the number one news story of the day and spread at great speed throughout the Roman Empire it is not hard to understand that embellishments and miracles would be subsequently attributed to St George. So with the dragon which first appears about 1255 AD – more than nine hundred years after the martyrdom of St George. The other saint associated with a similar tale is St Francis who was also held in great esteem. If readers want the detail there is a super book entitled ‘The Story of St George’ by Anthony Cooney available from This England or send a message through this website.