I HAVE been following the correspondence in these pages from Mr Peter Booth of Hale (“It is about being British”; “We are the greatest nation and people in the world” etc.) with some considerable amusement.

Given the subject matter, tone and regularity of his submissions I can only conclude that Mr. Booth is retained as the official Messenger correspondent for the 1950s.

Given current world events, Mr Booth’s sepia-tinged missives provide some much needed comic relief; sardonically recalling a bye-gone age of unthinking nationalism where pride in Queen and country was all the sustenance any self-respecting Brit required.

Mr Booth’s gift is, of course, that amidst the foamy-mouthed lefty bashing and comedic pro-Brexit rhetoric he provides a prescient commentary on the state of modern Britain.

He is particularly astute when illustrating how the post-war generation’s slavish adherence to an outmoded, jingoistic world view – 'Rule Britannia!' - has directly contributed to the creation of a deeply divided society.

Patriotism won’t feed a starving family of five who can swallow their pride but little else; and the bold colours of the Union Jack look less than grand when wrapped round the bodies at the foot of Grenfell Tower.

In the wake of the Arena bombing, one wonders whether the flag is printed on the RAF bombs which pulverise Syria on a daily basis.

Thankfully, there is evidence that the country is waking up. Increased youth engagement in the recent election gives hope that a new generation is ready to found a fresh British identity, based on principles of inclusiveness, compassion and fairness.

Perhaps we can finally free ourselves from the shackling myth of Empire and seek to build ever closer links with our European neighbours and allies.

If so, Mr. Booth must surely know that by casting a light into these dark corners he has played his part in forging a better future. Keep up the good work!

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