Pause for unpleasant fit of spluttering...
I have always liked Oh England My Lionheart because it takes me back to something half imagined and intangible but if you could put a description on it, to the England after the war when the evil of Nazism had been vanquished and everything would be perfect from there on in.
The England half-imagined would look like the fabled Hovis bread ad. of my childhood, which is filmed on Gold Hill in Shaftsbury one of the loveliest streets in England, made more lovely by the presence of a pub at the top of the cobbled street.
In the 1950s when the images of the dead at Belsen and Auschwitz walked behind a generation like Banquo's ghost, Britain built up the welfare state to provide a net of care from "cradle to grave." The England we grew up in the late 1960s was meant to be a harmonious place - old fashioned and not rich but, nevertheless, good to the core. When I grew up we would tour static old museums and see the Spitfires that brought down the might of the German air force. We would watch films of well spoken pilots with impossible moustaches who stood up against evil against the odds and went home to tea in quiet market towns.
By the 1980s we were beginning to reappraise as greed became good and the police fought running battles with the miners.
And now from a distance England feels an epoch away from the cozy place we grew up in, lulled by children's presenters who were later exposed as pedophiles. I still recall the feeling of terror that swept the underground on July 7, 2005, the day nails ripped through commuters in tunnels and England felt like it was on the verge of a wave of panic that would never subside.
Today the man in the executioners' mask who beheads the hostages speaks with an English accent - continuing a grisly line from the block at the Tower to Tyburn.
Perhaps the image of England as a cradle of civilization was always a cruel illusion. Scratch the surface on any street corner and you will find evidence of Medieval barbarity just a few feet away from WH Smiths.