The One London Party have accused London Mayor Ken Livingstone of “insulting the English majority in London” by deciding to mark St George’s Day with a screening of Monty Python’s Holy Grail in Trafalgar Square.
Damian Hockney, leader of the One London Party, said Mr Livingstone had “consistently avoided celebrating the majority English culture of London. At first he claimed there was no call for it, then when it became clear there was a huge and growing call for it, he claimed it was unnecessary because there was no tradition of St George’s Day celebrations. Neither is there a tradition of a Caribbean Showcase or a Russian Winter Festival, but that hasn’t stopped him organising and promoting them.”
Mr Hockney said the Mayor had been “reluctantly forced to acknowledge the presence of the English” but had chosen to do so “in the most bland, insulting way possible – by ignoring the rich indigenous traditions of London and England and instead focussing on the vague, generic notion of ‘English humour'”.
However a spokesman for the Mayor accused Mr Hockney of being “out of touch” with plans for the celebrations and pointed out that the “Greater London Authority has funded celebrations on St George’s day for four years.”
Detailing past highlights the spokesman said: “the events supported every year so far include an annual open day at the Globe Theatre, the procession and service at the Cenotaph by the Royal Society of St George, and traditional English dancing in Covent Garden.”
“In addition to Shakespeare other major English contributions to culture are celebrated. In the last two years this has centred on films. Last year a special open air screening of films of England’s most historically influential film star, Charlie Chaplin, took place on Leicester Square. This year the GLA is joining with the British Film Institute to show a selection of classic English films on Trafalgar Square.”
“‘English humour is a huge part of the cultural tradition of this country – of which most people are rightly proud. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is one of the most famous English comedy films and is given particular relevance by its adaptation in Spamalot in the West End.”
“It has been included among the films to be shown by the BFI and GLA because it is entirely fitting that in addition to huge figures, such as Chaplin and Shakespeare, the quirky and original in England’s contribution to culture should be celebrated and we are sure the public will love it.”
“The Globe will also be showing a classic series of silent film adaptations of Shakespeare as well as hosting its popular open day.”