Thursday, June 24, 2010

Why the England flag gets up my nose.

In days of yore (whenever that was) the Cross of St George was restricted to a few places. Mostly it sat, undisturbed on the top of church towers. And all was good.

Now you might have found it in various other places, but essentially that was it.

In the last few years we have seen a resurgence in the concept of an English identity. This has been driven largely by the combination of marketing and the slow realisation that the other nations of the United Kingdom were getting a great shot in the arm from central government, but England was the nation that dared not speak its name.

For some odd reason the concept of English nationalism was percived to be bad, whilst all others ae in their own way percieved to be healthy. But now, whenever the England team is out there, anywhere in the world, be that Rugby, Cricket, Football and so on the need to display allegiance seems to be ever stronger.

And no bad thing. So why does the flag rile so?

Well it isn't the flag per se. Not a bit of it. As simple a piece of heraldy one can hardly find. It has a purity of form that works asthetically, and it does indeed stand as a representative to much that I find dear. No it isn't that at all. What rankles is the great quantity of flags that seem to think we are utterly stupid.

For pities sake. We know that it is the flag of England. It is our ruddy flag after all. So why on earth is it necessary to scribble England across it? Do the Scots deface the Saltire? Does old Glory require a verbal reminder?

As every car goes past with these things fluttering away I wince. As I pass by each and every pub it annoys.

I just don't understand the need. Can somebody please enlighten me?


Witterings From Witney said...

GW, calm down dear chap - you have heard of the need to assist those whose knowledge is abysmally low, have you not?

On a more serious note - yes totally agree with you. Anyway, is it not a crime to deface a national emblem?

Anonymous said...

This is a flag that declares support for a football team, not a country

Witterings From Witney said...

Anonymous, and the country the football team are representing is......and the flat of that country is.......?

Witterings From Witney said...

Oops sorry shud be "and the flag of that country is.....?"

Anonymous said...

Just be gratefull we are still
allowed to hang it were we wish to.

Bucko said...

If you feel the bottom right corner of the flag, its also in braille.

hereward said...

I agree. Although having the name of the country is less bad than having the flag defaced by some corporate logo (Sun, JJB, etc.)

Anonymous said...

'... in braille!?

What poor blind sod is going to shin up a flagpole on top of a building, to check whether the flag that someone's told them is fluttering there, is the English flag?

Gawain Towler said...

Bucko, I cannot get teh braile on my screen, but I will try again. hereward, Yup agree whole heartedly ( my point about merchandising)

Gawain Towler said...

I think the Braile aspect is due to some compulsory equality type legislation. All flags must in future carry Braille component,
If you look at the flag poles on the right (taken at the Euro Parliament in Strasbourg) you can see a small shiny oblong - yup that is the braille component

Chuckles said...

To prevent it being flown upside down?
Assistance for the colour-blind?

Stephen said...

Remember with the word English written across the flag it no longer becomes a national flag but an advertisment and as such any flag pole you fly it from requires planning permission which is not needed for national flags. Keep your heart and the flag pure.

britologywatch said...

OK, here's my potted semantic analysis: 1) Putting 'England' on it is similar to the tradition of putting the names of supporters' clubs or towns on the England flag, which is something you see at the matches themselves. So it is a statement of footballing loyalty: support for the England team is as important to that person as support for their / a club team.

2) As well as a statement of loyalty, it's a statement of identity, along the lines of 'England till I die'. You could say that flags with 'England' on it are literally affirming English identity, as opposed to the traditional (Anglo-)British identity that used to be expressed by England fans' use of the Union Flag (+ name of club and town written on) up until the 1990s.

So I reckon it's a good thing on balance: a statement of loyalty to the team and country, and an affirmation of English identity. Perhaps 'England' will be dropped from the flag when English people in general feel more secure and supported in their English identity, and flags of St. George become a much more common part of England's land- and townscapes, including on official buildings. E.g. after we win the World Cup!

Wyrdtimes said...

I can only assume it's for the benefit of our numerous "guests" who won't have heard the word "England" once during their incoming process.

banned said...

It annoys me too but at least they do spell it as they speak, "Ingerlund"