Tom Read Wilson: True patriotism is knowing 'what your country did badly'

Jayne Cherrington-Cook
·3-min read
Tom Read Wilson says a patriot understands the bleaker parts of Britain's history (Images: Getty Images)
Tom Read Wilson says a patriot understands the bleaker parts of Britain's history (Images: Getty Images)

Currently appearing on our screens in Celebrity Best Home Cook, Tom Read Wilson says a true patriot is one that admits to the mistakes we’ve made as a nation.

Read Wilson was chatting to Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time when, speaking about patriotism, he said that we all need to be aware of our real history, warts and all.

“I think if you want to be a patriot, actually the most important thing is to know what your country did badly,” he said.

Listen: Tom Read Wilson explains his obsessions with words

He continued: “I think if you have a kind of blind patriotism — an ignorant patriotism where you say everything we've done is marvellous — it actually doesn't help a nation at all.

"It's not true patriotism because it sort of is not warts and all — it doesn't help anyone."

Read more: Black history month explained

Defined as ‘devotion to and vigorous support for one's country’, patriotism has been a hot topic recently as a leaked presentation showed Labour’s new strategy is to focus on patriotism and make “use of the [union] flag, veterans [and] dressing smartly.”

 Caption According to a leaked presentation, Labour leader Keir Starmer wants the party to tap into British patriotism so as to drum up support for them (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images)
According to a leaked presentation, Labour leader Keir Starmer wants the party to tap into British patriotism so as to drum up support for them (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images)

The Celebs Go Dating star believes that education is key when it comes to explaining our history in an honest and open way – and one way to do that is to change the current syllabus taught at schools.

“All the major issues facing us - the only remedy really is education,” he told Thornton.

Read more: JK Rowling and Churchill dropped as school house names as deemed unsuitable

“I think that honest education and a change of the syllabus and a more multifaceted syllabus… I think all those major issues that we're facing can only be root tackled.”

Read Wilson, who has been using his social media profiles to explain the origins of words, says that words are a really important part of our history and is one the reasons he is so fascinated by them.

“There's almost not a word in the English language that doesn't give you a kind of mini history lesson attached to it,” he explained.

Read more: Oxford English Dictionary amends ‘sexist’ definition of the word ‘woman’

“France had an academy that's very, very strict about which words find themselves used in the French vocabulary… Whereas we've got pyjamas and pudding from India, we've got déjà vu from the French and we just sort of hoover up the lexicon if we think that's probably better than our version!”

Hear Tom Read Wilson talk about why he's happy to be single on the latest episode of White Wine Question Time. Listen now on iTunes and Spotify.

Watch: One in five Brits say their scared to admit to being patriotic