The first time I ever visited small-town America, I remember being surprised at how many people were flying flags from their homes. Flags on flag poles, flags on porch doors. It was very odd. It was very American.
And now here we are, with a flag debate of our very own.
I don’t particularly like the Union Flag – it’s been hijacked by too many National Front rallies. Although I do remember the relief of seeing it as an option when I was using an ATM in a small town in China – at least the cash machine spoke my language!!
The Government has issued guidance that says all government buildings should fly the flag, not just on special occasions (which is the situation at the moment), but every day. Goodness only knows what they’ll do on special occasions now, but hey.
Here’s the press release about it. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/union-flag-to-be-flown-on-uk-government-buildings-every-day
I don’t like it –
- I don’t like the compulsion. If you have the urge to fly your flag, then go for it. But being told to do it is a different matter.
- There is irony in being told you have to fly ‘a symbol of liberty, unity and freedom’. Also – tautology. Sorry, can’t help it.
- In the 1980s, when David Blunkett was leader of Sheffield City Council, a red flag was flown over Sheffield Town Hall for years as an ‘up yours’ to the Thatcher government. It was allowed. Remember that.
- All this flag malarkey is just Not British.
- It’s all too easy for the corollary to happen – if you don’t fly the flag you’re not patriotic.
If patriotic means having a blind love for your country, then I’m not patriotic in the slightest. If it means wanting your country to be the best it can be, and feeling sadder with each passing day because it appears to be getting worse rather than better, then yes, that would be me.
And seriously, while we’re dealing with a pandemic, while the UK’s trade has fallen of a cliff edge thanks to Brexit, while the tabloids have the power to drive a Prince and his family into exile, and while our right to peaceful protest is about to be taken from us, someone in Whitehall thinks THIS is important?
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