The UK Government recently ordered that that the British Flag be flown from all governmental edifices every day in Scotland, Wales and England. There is nothing wrong with displaying one’s flag. I have worn the Irish Tricolour as I have worn the Union Flag. I have worn a scarf with the Russian Tricolour thereupon and would not object to wearing other flags too. However, for the government to mandate the compulsory flying of the national colours every day seems a trifle OTT. Fetish flags are a poor excuse for genuine patriotism.
In many lands the year-round display of the national banner has long been commonplace. In some countries the school day always commences with flag raising and singing the national anthem. It is second nature to some. As I did not grew up with such compulsory displays of national feeling it strikes me as false and excessive.
The British are supposedly an undemonstrative sort. Of course, such sweeping generalisations are seldom accurate. Even if British understatement is an overstatement of the situation there is still something in it. Stereotypes seldom come from nowhere. Some have labelled this order to fly the Union Flag 365 days a year ‘un-British’.
Note that Northern Ireland has been exempted from the flag. Her Majesty’s Government’s express intention in issuing a decree that the flag be flown diurnally from all government buildings was to demonstrate national sentiment and to underscore the unity of the realm. However, this edict is self-defeating inasmuch as it specifically excludes one corner of the kingdom. This is to the chagrin of unionists. Nationalists would find the incessant display of the Union Flag to be objectionable.
Remainers in the United Kingdom often wear the European Union Flag. For these same people the display of the Union Flag is held to be distasteful at best and fascistic at worst. This is monstrous, hypocritical and offensive.
At Pimlico Academy, London; the Union Flag was flown as required by law. The pupils are mostly ethnic minority British citizens. Some of this vociferously disagreed with the Union Flag being flown. Some pupils walked out en masse in protest at the presence of the red, white and blue. This is a grave breach of school discipline and indeed a fire risk. Unfortunately, it show that some ethnic minority Britishers do not identify with the country they are citizens and residents of. Let me emphasise that I am not accusing the majority of ethnic minority Britishers of being against the UK. Further, there are plenty of white Britons who think themselves very clever and humane to detest their homeland. I am all for broadmindedness. A person should strive examine his nation objectively. A person should try not to be prejudiced for or against his country. That is difficult to accomplish. The polar opposite of anti-patriotism is a closed-minded chauvinism. That is equally misguided and dangerous.
Antipatriotic agitation by far left teachers and the communist commentariat has made some Britons revile the land of their birth. It is hard to imagine this happening this happening in the capital of any other country: pupils demanding the removal the national flag at school and getting away with it.
Staggeringly some of the anti-flag ethnic minority pupils adopted the slogan of the the white supremacist movement: they’re ain’t no black in the Union Jack. Some ethnic minority pupils believe that the Union Flag does not represent them and they should bear no allegiance to the United Kingdom.
Uniform policy also incensed the pupils. There are separate uniforms for boys and girls. What about transgender pupils they said? Hijabs were not to be too bright. This enraged some Muslims. I wonder how supportive the hardcore Muslims were of transgender pupils? The headmaster said no hairstyles should block the view of others. This was held to be racialist. So preventing others from seeing the board is entirely acceptable.
There are flag desecration laws in some countries. Such a law is uncalled for. No national flag should be treated with derision especially in the country represented by those colours. However, the criminal law should not be utilised in relation to people dishonouring any flag.
The Flags and Emblems Act in Northern Ireland expressly enshrined the right to display the Union Flag. Further, it stated that the display of any other flag could be removed if this appeared to be likely to occasion a breach of the peace. This wrongheaded statute caused disharmony and wasted police time.
Boris Johnson’s asinine decision to make flying the flag obligatory has backfired hugely. Far from uniting the realm it has deepened division. However, it has been useful in flushing out anti-national elements. As George Orwell said ‘’Britain is the only country in which the intellectual class is actively anti-patriotic. They consider standing to attention for God Save the King to be worse than stealing from the poor box.’’ In the 85 years since he penned those words the situation has been aggravated by decades of the leftist death grip on schools and universities. The miseducation inflicted on generations of impressionable minds has left many people with an unduly dim view of the United Kingdom’s role in history. It is quite true that British soldiers committed some atrocities and the empire sometimes wrought enormous evil. We should not flinch from telling the plain truth. That the empire was still perhaps most moral force of all time. Without the empire slavery would have lasted far longer; millions more would have perished of untreated diseases; underdeveloped countries would not have had their infrastructure improved beyond measure; the advancement of women would have occurred far later in many countries; total illiteracy would have continued in much of sub Saharan Africa and justice would have been denied those without recourse to common law.
It is true that ethno-nationalists, racialists and neo-Nazis have often used the Union Flag. Every Briton is entitled to use the flag and unfortunately that includes these most disagreeable elements. Enemies of these knuckle draggers ought to execute the reclamation of the Union Flag and not cede it to bigots.
Note that the Union Flag is only called the Union Jack when flown from the Jack Deck of a ship. Therefore, Union Jack is often a misnomer.
The new flag rule is misconceived. Its rescission forthwith would be apt. Given the Boris Johnson Administration’s unwisdom and ineptitude its is doubtful that this decision will be revoked.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.