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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Launch of Billy Bragg's new book 'The Progressive Patriot'

Billy Bragg will be in conversation with John Pandit of Asian Dub Foundation on

Wednesday 18th October

7pm,
Straford Circus, Theatre Square E15
Tickets cost £5 and are available from Newham Bookshop
Call 020 8552 9993 or e-mail info@newhambooks.co.uk

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?

Singer Billy Bragg's new book 'The Progressive Patriot' is an passionate response to the London bombings of 7 July 2005. Bragg describes feeling hemmed in by fascists on one side and religious fanatics on the other, with the suicide bombers all British-born and well integrated into a multicultural society and yet feeling no compunction in murdering and maiming their fellow citizens. He argues that inclusivity is important, but without a sense of belonging to accompany it, what chance is there for 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?

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