The Progressive Patriot
A Search for Belonging
By Billy Bragg
(Black Swan Books, Limited, Paperback, 9780552772426, 363pp.)
Publication Date: June 2007
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In a world where British citizens can lay bombs to kill their countrymen and where religious fundamentalism and political fanaticism are on the increase, what does patriotism actually mean? The Progressive Patriot is singer-songwriter Billy Bragg's urgent, eloquent and passionate response to the events of July 7, 2005 when four bombs tore through a busy morning rush hour in London, killing 52 innocent people and injuring many more.
A firm believer in toleration and diversity, and someone "The Times" recently described as "a national treasure," Billy Bragg felt hemmed in by fascists on one side and religious fanatics on the other. The suicide bombers were all British-born and well integrated into a multicultural society. Yet they felt no compunction in murdering and maiming their fellow citizens. Did they feel they did not belong? What does it really mean to be British? Is it conferred by a legal document? Is it a matter of blood and soil? Can it be taught? The Progressive Patriot pulls no punches. Its insights and its radical vision offer positive hope for a country teetering on the brink of catastrophe.