Anorak | Council wants to ban the ‘intimidating’ England flag – St George’s Cross makes you look white working class

Council wants to ban the ‘intimidating’ England flag – St George’s Cross makes you look white working class

by | 7th, July 2013


A man writes a message of support for the England football squad on a giant Saint George's Cross flag, in Trafalgar Square, central London ahead of the World Cup game against Algeria

WELWYN and Hatfield Community Housing Trust wants it tenants to stop flying flags. It says the flags could be “intimidating “. But they can be flown when they are in reactions to national celebrations or a sporting occasions.

Trust spokeswoman Simone Russell tells the WHTimes :

“There are properties that have big flags hanging outside and while we encourage it during events such as the Jubilee; at other times it sullies the look of the area. Flags can be intimidating and can create a negative feeling… tenants must not hang or fix signs, banners or flags on the outside of the property, outside windows or on balconies, without our permission”. 

Fair enough about the no flag if they are against the rules. You can’t hang sheets and towels from balconies at many blocks of flats. But the part about flags being intimidating is odd. In case readers should be uncertain what kind of flag the council has in mind, the BBC illustrates its story with the Flag of St George stuck in a window. The WHTimes features a Union Jack and “local mother”   Rachael Blythe, of Nursery Hill, Welwyn Garden City  saying :

 “I will not let my landlord strip my child and myself of our rights and personal choices. I will fight this to the bitter end. This is a disgrace. Flying my country’s flag is my human right and I will continue to fly it for the foreseeable future. When the Queen takes her Union Jack down I will take mine down.”

Are either flags intimidatory?

There is no doubting the power of a flag. When Belfast City Hall said it would not fly the Union Flag every day, protests followed. One woman sums up the Loyalist view: “Northern Ireland is British and we’ll fly our national flag.”

Nick Groom, author o f Union Jack: The Story of the British Flag, notes  how the Union Flag was once threatened by the fascists:

Making the flag inclusive again means everyone flying it — whether as bunting in their bedroom window or on a Sex Pistols T-shirt. This was the genius of Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony: the Queen and Johnny Rotten are both British — and are both profoundly associated with the Union Jack.

Just as Michael Gove is sending a copy of the King James Bible to every school, so each school should also have a Union Jack. It is a symbolic map of the British isles and also a symbolic history of the United Kingdom: it can be used to tell the story of our national history and identity, of the British empire and our multiracial society…

There are no laws or regulations that govern the flag, except at sea. This means that we can all fly it in our own way, even in our own colours. There’s no licensing and no copyright in the Union Jack design and unlike America’s Stars and Stripes, which has strict laws controlling proper use, you can really do what you want with the Union Jack.

Let’s keep it flying everywhere and bequeath to our children not only the sporting legacy of the Olympics but also the heritage of the nation in having pride in our national flag.

On the matter of the Olympics, the gaffe that meant  images of North Korean athletes were slapped next to the South Korean flag was regrettable.

In the 1908 Games, also held in London, the flags of the United States and Sweden were not flown at the Opening Ceremony because – get this – no one could be bothered to find them. The Swedes took it in their stride but the Americans, without a hint of the Special Relationship to come, got a flounce on, refusing to dip their their flag towards the Royal Box during the parade

What about that Cross of Saint George? Last year we were told :

St George’s flag is a racist symbol says a quarter of the English

There had been a study in 2012:

The report blames the “extreme street hooligans of the English Defence League” for “toxifying” the St George’s Cross, although it says politicians should also take responsibility for failing to “speak up for the inclusive patriotism of the English majority”.

In 2010, the BBC asked:

Is waving the Cross of St George an act of patriotism, nationalism or racism? With England flying the flag as never before, the distinction appears to have caused some confusion…

The writer was clear:

The flag is a symbol of support for a team and love for a nation. If people choose to fly it or interpret it as a symbol of English superiority or aggression, that is not the flag’s fault. I shall continue to drape a large cross of St George upon my house.

Back to sport. In support of

You have already read 1 premium article for free today
Access immediately the premium content with Multipass

Or come back tomorrow

Posted: 7th, July 2013 | In: Key Posts, News Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink