The British government wants patriotism taught as a subject at school! Can you believe it?
Yet it's understandable since Britsh patriotism isn't something that comes naturally to anyone across the water. Most Scots, English and Welsh would never introduce themselves to holiday acquaintances as "British", and yet they're passionate patriots of their respective nations.
The only people whose chests swell at the thought of Britishness are Irish Unionists, the last bastion of the British empire, for whom the concept of Irishness has - sadly but wrongly - been usurped by Republicanism. To them, Irishness is a dirty word associated with terrorists, Catholic supremacy and state-tolerated lawlessness. So, unlike John Bull, Jock and Taff, Britishness is all they've left to cling to.
That's sad and needs to be changed. Dublin-born Edward Carson - to many the father of Irish Unionism - would have been proud to call himself Irish. As were Oscar Wilde, W B Yeats, Jonathan Swift, Henry Francis Lyte and Douglas Hyde, to name just some. We need to rediscover our Irishness because it's a heritage to treasure, not ignore. More of that later some time.
Right now, though, the idea that children should be given Patriotism lessons in schools is, at best, ridiculous and, at worst, a totalitarian hark-back to 1930's Germany. If a country has to resort to brainwashing children in order to command love and respect, it has no place in the third millennium.
This initiative proves Britain is an artificial political entity with a place in some people's heads, but not their hearts.