The Progressive Patriot
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The Progressive Patriot

3.63 (236 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

What does it mean to be English? What does it mean to be British? Is the cross of St George a proud symbol of a great tradition, or the badge of a neo-Nazi? In a world where British citizens can lay bombs to kill their countrymen, where religious fundamentalism is on the increase and where the BNP are somehow part of the democratic process, what does patriotism actually mean? Our identity can change depending on what company we are in. For example, someone could describe themselves British to one person, Scottish to another and, say, a Londoner to another, and be right every time. But problems arise when someone tries to tell you what you are, based on your skin tone, religion, accent, surname, or whatever. This book is Billy Bragg's urgent, eloquent and passionate response to the events of 7 July 2005, when four bombs tore through a busy morning in London, killing 52 innocent people and injuring many more. A firm believer in toleration and diversity, he felt himself hemmed in by fascists on one side and religious fanatics on the other. The suicide bombers were all British-born and well integrated into our multicultural society. Yet they felt no compunction in murdering and maiming their fellow citizens. Inclusivity is important, but without a sense of belonging to accompany it, what chance social cohesion...But where does a sense of belonging come from? Can it be conferred by a legal document? Is it a matter of blood and soil? Can it be taught? Is it nature or nurture? "The Progressive Patriot" is a book we all need to read. It pulls no punches in its insights and its radical vision offers a positive hope for a country teetering on the brink of catastrophe.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 36mm | 280g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Black Swan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • photos on plates.
  • 0552772429
  • 9780552772426
  • 224,458

Review quote

"An intriguing and timely book, which opens a new angle on the debate of what it means to be British and a patriot" Daily Express "Charming and engaging... The Progressive Patriot flows with integrity and commitment" The Independent "Whatever your views, there is much to be inspired by here, and much you will want to rant right back at." Sunday Telegraphshow more

About Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg was born in December 1957. When punk rock hit the music scene, Bragg formed his first bank, Riff Raff. Following their demise, he spent a brief spell in the British Army before emerging as a solo performer in 1983. His back-to-basics, stripped-down style earned him many admirers, among them Kirsty MacColl, who had a top ten hit with his song 'A New England'. Bragg's radical views saw him become a fixture at political rallies and benefits, particularly during the 1984 Miners' Strike. He was a founder of Red Wedge - an artist-led initiative to encourage young people to vote Labour in the 1987 General Election. He has release ten albums, the most recent being England, Half English. Billy lives in Dorset with his partner and their son and is still writing songs and challenging our elected politicians.show more

Review Text

"An intriguing and timely book, which opens a new angle on the debate of what it means to be British and a patriot"show more

Back cover copy

What does it mean to be English? What does it mean to be British? Does the rise in popularity of the St George's flag represent a new beginning or symbolize the return of the far right? Is the Union Jack too soaked in the blood of empire to be the emblem of a modern multicultural state? In a country in which all of us are born under two flags, what does it mean to be a patriot? In 2006, Billy Bragg saw his home town become the front line in the debate over who does and does not belong in twenty-first-century Britain - an apparent reaction to the terror attacks on London of 7 July 2005, when four British citizens from the immigrant community killed fifty-two innocent people and injured many more. This book is an urgent, eloquent and passionate response to these events.Reflecting on his family history and revisiting the music that inspired him, Billy Bragg pits his own values against those of traditional Britishness in a search for a sense of belonging that is accessible to all and in so doing, offers positive hope to a nation no longer sure of its own identity. 'An intriguing and timely book, which opens a new angle on the debate of what it means to be British and a patriot' Daily Express 'Whatever your views, there is much to be inspired by here' Sunday Telegraphshow more

Rating details

236 ratings
3.63 out of 5 stars
5 16% (37)
4 44% (103)
3 30% (70)
2 11% (25)
1 0% (1)
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