Monday, March 30, 2015

Musings on the Cross of St George

One of the things I noticed when we were down South at cousin Rob's wedding was the English flag flying. Now, this may not be entirely surprising, especially to readers in America (if there are any!) - the English flag flying in England? Who would have thought!

But, actually, my experience has been that it's actually not all that common - it's not terribly common to see any flags flying in most of England, and when you do see one it tends to be the Union Flag. In my experience, the Cross of St George seldom makes much of an appearance.

Of course, there's a very easy explanation for the likely cause: it was the last weekend of the Six Nations tournament, and England were in with a good chance of winning. So, not terribly surprising that the pubs would be flying the flag.

Anyway, I was a little surprised to see the flag so prominently. But my reaction to it: good.

The unfortunate thing is, the English flag seems to have been appropriated by some rather unpleasant sorts: the BNP, the EDL, and the like. To the extent, in fact, that the Labour party managed to get themselves in a mess recently by tweeting about "white van man" in Rochester.

And there does often seem to be a reluctance amongst many English folk to engage in any public display of patriotism. Perhaps it is that association with the less-savoury sorts. Or perhaps Oscar Wilde's, "patriotism is the virtue of the vicious", or Samuel Johnson's "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" have sunk in. Or perhaps it's just my impression as an outsider, which is of course limited. But where most Scots are quite comfortable with the Saltire, and the USA is positively festooned with the Stars and Stripes, it does seem that poor St George gets an airing only on sporting occasions.

But, during the Independence debate, Alistair Darling rightly pointed out that the Saltire didn't belong just to the "Yes" camp but to all Scots. And, similarly, the English flag doesn't belong to the BNP and the EDL, and those who would use it for their agendas. It belongs to all Englishmen (and women, of course).

So, frankly, the more reasonable, patriotic English folk fly the flag, the better. Don't let them have it.

(Or do. It's not really my business, either way.)

This Week's Mug: This week, I am using another of the mugs I picked up in France, this time bearing the pictures of those valiant Gauls, Asterix and Obelix. Oh, and their pet Dogmatix. It's a yellow-ish mug that also bears an image of a pyramid and some heiroglyphics, that probably spell out something hugely witty, like "I can't believe you Googled the meaning of this", or something. I picked up this mug while on a trip to the Asterix Park which is... okay, I guess. My strong advice with this park is to make sure you visit it before going to Disneyland - it's good enough in itself, but it pales somewhat by comparison, so if you do this one second it will seem a let-down. Anyway, a nice fun mug for the last week before my holiday.

#14: "Gone With the Wind", by Margaret Mitchell (a Book from The List, and the first candidate for book of the year for 2015)

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