PREPARATIONS are under way in millions of English homes for the annual shoulder-shrugging apathy towards St George's Day.
St George's crosses, face paints, flags and banners are lying untouched in dusty cardboard displays in shops as English men and women forget about their nationality until their football team's quarter-final penalty shootout disappointment, which is scheduled for July 2nd.
Right across the country, millions of English people are expected to only realise it's St George's Day at all by the time they've got into work, at which point they are due to mutter: "Oh, right, I'd forgotten" and then continue with their day entirely without celebration.
Office drone Neil Spackman, 41, of Chichester, summed up the mood of the nation yesterday when he said: "Oh, is it St George's Day this week? Who gives a shit about that nowadays?
"Of course, by the time England get knocked out of the World Cup in South Africa, I'll have plastered my car with flags and stickers and will be wearing a tatty old England shirt everywhere I go.
"I may even launch into a droning chorus of ING-ER-LAND, ING-ER-LAND when I'm drunk or something. But that's as far as it goes."
At this election time, the date takes on an equal amount of insignificance, but politicians have stressed they are keen to ignore the public mood entirely and pretend that St George's Day is somehow meaningful or important to English people.
A Conservative Party spokesman said: "Oh yes, we'll be doing our bit to make out that English people could care less about St George's Day, by flying the flag from the top of Conservative Clubs up and down the country. The Irish have St Guinness Day, where people get monumentally drunk, wear enormous hats, have fights and vomit lakes of black sick into gutters right across the world. Why shouldn't England have that sort of national pride?"
And a Labour Party stooge hastily cobbled together a press release, which read: "We're committed to doing some vague chirping about whether St George's Day should be a national holiday or not, which will be quickly forgotten, particularly by English people, who will no doubt snort something along the lines of 'Yeah, right'."
Nationalist parties are keen to make English people feel even less proud of their national identity than they are already, with the English Democrats, Ukip and BNP all certainties to nail their colours to the idea of patriotism, thereby making everyone else want to distance themselves from it.
English resident Melanie Clift, 29, from Chorley, said: "I'd like to feel proud of being English but when you see that loathsome shite Nick Griffin with a St George's Cross I'd rather pretend I'm Scottish or something."
The overwhelming sense of apathy among English people will, as ever, not stop tabloid newspapers from eagerly seeing whether police stations are flying the St George's Cross, then pretend that they aren't 'for fear of upsetting Muslims or something'. One tabloid editor, who asked not to be named, added: "Sure, no-one cares about St George's Day, and we'll certainly not be doing anything in the office to celebrate it.
"But that doesn't mean we won't try and stoke up some bullshit outrage by claiming that if you don't paint yourself red-and-white and go around slaying dragons all day in a silly suit of armour, you're clearly scared of immigrants and hate your country. That's our job, after all."