But I do think the conclusion is worth highlighting:
Patriotism needn’t be flashy or tub-thumping. But it does begin with the belief that one’s own country is more good than bad, more right than wrong.
Now, given recent governments, I have problems with this too, but I do think we each need to work out our individual political outlook – philosophy even – which may be barely replicated in anyone else, but then also decide who we are going to support, rather than withdrawing, whilst wailing ‘ none of the above’.
Messy compromise, shades of grey, even some hypocrisy may result from our decision – unless we are going to stand on an island alone.
Purity of thought is interesting and might be suitable for the lone tiger – or even the domestic cat, but for the herd animal that is the human, it is at the very least unlikely to win friends – or even especially, influence people.
We need the sort of purity of thought that thinks (of course) of principle first, but then also why and just how far we can embrace compromise.
And that, when you have principles that are anything different from self interest, is even more difficult.
It probably involves the idea of rather better together – than apart…
And, regrettably, that involves way too many shades of grey for far too many people in Britain today.