Monday, April 23, 2007

Happy St George’s Day

The St George's Cross is the flag of England (as opposed to the Union Flag [or Union Jack], which is the flag of Great Britain).

Some people see the St George's Cross as some sort of neo-fascist emblem. This is a great shame, because it denies the English their patriotism.

Were we to fly our flag, we would discern a tacit disapproval from passers-by. (Imagine that, if you can, my fair readers in the States.)

I don't think this is the case with many other national flags.

Perhaps it's because we appear to be saying we don't want to be part of the British "union" (or of the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland").

And maybe we don't want to. We share a land mass, that's all. The Welsh and Scots are, rightly, reclaiming their independence through governmental devolution and reclaiming their languages before they go the way of Latin et al. Good for them.

France shares a land mass with Italy, Germany, Spain... No one's telling them they have to fly the same flag or speak the same language.

Let's get sensible and get back to basics. And let's start with a national holiday for St George's Day (even if he was a Turk, and the Turks are currently busy killing Christians, but that's a whole other story...).



Blogger Red said...

Whenever I see an English flag, rather than fearing a frisson of neo-fascism, I think there must be a sporting event going on. Isn't that the only time St George's Cross comes out, flapping in the sunshine? Our neighbours plastered one on their bin for the World Cup last year, and I know they're probably on the xenophobic side, but they are no neo-fascists.

And that's perhaps equally sad -- that the spirit of patriotism now lives on only in England's less-than-great sporting performances...

23 April, 2007 12:20  
Blogger Glamourpuss said...

I really like the UA Fanthorpe poem 'Not My Best Side' based on the Uccello painting of St George in the National Gallery.


23 April, 2007 12:46  
Blogger cappy said...

i am with you 100% on this one. but it has to be pointed out that the people who started the whole neo-fascism thing in this country did in fact adopt the union flag (as you correctly describe it).
however this does not defer from your point, asnd it is time we reclaimed it as a symbol of pride in our country.
and red, spot on with the sporting thing. about the only time we ARE allowed to fly it by the pc brigade.

british by birth, english by the grace of god.

(i may be incorrect in some of the above, if so, i apologise)

23 April, 2007 12:53  
Blogger Pickled Olives said...

Here every state has a flag and then the USA flag for the whole country. Then the south has their rebel flag which many find offensive due to the fact that it was carried by confederates in the civil war. It's usually seen on the back of pick up trucks near their gun rack. But if you listen to their aurgument that it is their history and they have the right to wave it, it's sensible enough. When you know that history is soaked in blood with intention to enslave, you wish they would drop it.

Admittedly, I really don't know enough about your flag. One more thing added to my "must Learn" list.

23 April, 2007 13:27  
Blogger Milla said...

Where I live is full of these flags all year around. It's the only place in the South East where the BNP has the majority in a voting ward. Cunts.**

**Sorry, I just had to.

23 April, 2007 13:28  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Red: I think xenophobia is rife everywhere, really, and to some excuse is understandable as long as it is not malicious.

G/puss: I've not seen that poem before. It's quite amusing, no?

23 April, 2007 13:56  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Cappy: It does need to be reclaimed. I'm not denying that we do have a problem with racism/fascism in this country. We do, and of course those people hide behind the flag, claiming their bigotry as patriotism. But true patriots ought to stand up and be counted and take back the flag.

And the sports element is laughable, isn't it? Of all things, how do we manage to get so passionate about our feeble efforts is almost any sporting events?!

23 April, 2007 13:57  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Olives: I'm aware that each state has its own flag. (To some extent I deliberately avoiding mention of that because the Union of the States is a different playing field altogether, I think.)

I also know that the Confederacy flag is considered racist by some.

It's interesting, though: On some level isn't almost every nation's history (and therefore its flag) drenched in blood? God knows we Europeans slaughtered enough people in the Middle Ages. And early Americans (again, Europeans if you like) made short work of the Native Americans, I guess.

And we are still out there now, in Afghanistan and Iraq, adding yet more red to our respective red, white, and blues...

23 April, 2007 14:02  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Milla: Like I said in my comment to Cappy, the only way do lessen the Cross's potency as a BNP symbol is to reclaim it for normal English folk. It's doable, but there needs to be some sort of organized effort on the part of the government or something. Maybe if and when we get our public holiday it might be something that goes hand in hand...

23 April, 2007 14:04  
Blogger _z. said...

well, you're going to see a lot of the English flag this year...

3 English teams in the finals of the Champion's league... that's something.

In Quebec, ppl are also very sensitive about their flag... many want separation from Federal Canada still.
by the way the Quebec flag also resembles the St. Georges cross... your flag.

23 April, 2007 15:50  
Blogger Milla said...

The only two other places I have seen the country flags out in force are the USA on July 4th (I was in Chicago) and Norway (houses have the Norwegian flag out even for May 1st). Nowhere else do you see so many national flags out on a day-to-day basis. Whatever you say *A, I just don't get it. And forget about this government doing anything about anything.

P.S. The word verification for today: 'addioq'... Addio q! So, with the dream, it really means I'll be leaving England! Spooky!

23 April, 2007 15:51  
Blogger ginkers said...

By God, I saw enough of the flag to last me a lifetime during the last World Cup courtesy of those stupid little plastic thingies that seemed to be obligatory on every car that came across the border. I preferred it when football was the preserve of football fans not every t**t that was willing to daub themselves head to toe in white with a red cross.

"British by birth, English by the grace of god." - I think that says more than I could about why some people have mixed feelings about the flag...

23 April, 2007 16:09  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

_z.: Yeah... As much as I vocalize support for the flag, I also have reservations about seeing it, especially in the context of competition against other nations. It somehow seems all the more gladiatorial or something!

Milla: I think the US has a deeper love affair with its flag than we do ours. The whole thing about it being against the law to burn/deface or whatever is a bit extreme. Oh I know this government won't do anything. It'll be down to the Tories, and therein more cries of racism!

Ginkers: I know exactly what you mean. We see houses with flags virtually covering the whole of the frontage. Frankly, it's rather embarrassing, especially because you know they've never been out of their little town with no foreigners in it...

23 April, 2007 16:30  
Blogger martinobhoy said...

Happy St George's Day *. Can we have a holiday for St Andrew's Day as well?

23 April, 2007 18:10  
Blogger Cynnie said...

That's a really pretty flag..

I'm from the southern states in the us..
I never had the love of the confederate flag..
but i do have the rebel attitude..
cause after you get past the slave thing ( I KNOW slavery is bad..I KNOW its easy for me ..a middle aged white woman totally slough that off ..but I'm NOT trying to.)
I'm just saying the south matter what color..we have that fuck you! cant tell me what to do ..attitude..( even the super religious..god, we're just fucked up..heh?)
so there.


23 April, 2007 19:00  
Blogger FOUR DINNERS said...

Got me flag danglin' out of me window.

English first, British second n European? Gimme a break

23 April, 2007 19:19  
Blogger The Anti Crapitalist said...

Damn. You got the bit about him being a Turk in at the end! happy STG's Day!

23 April, 2007 20:16  
Blogger lightupvirginmary said...

Unfortunately the flag does make me think of football hooliganism, and I read recently an interview with Kele from Bloc Party who said it made him uncomfortable.
I don't know if it CAN be reclaimed!
I find flag flying extremely boring even when not tinged with dodginess. I've never felt in the slightest bit proud to be English: it's all an accident of birth.
I'm all for an extra bank holiday though... ;-)

23 April, 2007 20:22  
Blogger ldbug said...

That's silly that you can't fly your flag! I don't see anything wrong with it, maybe you should buck tradition and get one to fly outside your place...

23 April, 2007 21:02  
Blogger Ben said...

We do have a love affair with the Stars and Stripes over here...

Then again, if you're in Texas, you see plenty of Lone Star banners everywhere you look. I'd say Texas and maybe South Carolina are the only two states that take their state flags as seriously as sovereign nations take theirs.

24 April, 2007 03:03  
Blogger Judith said...

I think its disgraceful that you dont have a national holiday for Georges day.. Mind you on paddys day the only thing people celebrate is not the fact that they are irish more so that the day in question is an excuse for an all day piss up.

24 April, 2007 08:55  
Blogger Milla said...

St George was a Turk; St Patrick (of Ireland) was Welsh...these national saints are not really 'national' are they...? At least St Francis, the Italian national saint, WAS Italian.

Ah, and it is an offence in Italy too to burn the national flag. Piero Pelu of the band Litfiba did that and he was arrested and prosecuted.

24 April, 2007 13:18  
Blogger Ben said...

For the record, to my recollection Johnson v. Texas over here established the constitutional legality of flag-burning, and I believe that ruling still stands, despite numerous attempts to push through a constitutional amendment outlawing it.

24 April, 2007 19:58  
Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

how interesting. i love learning new things here at about nowt.

and happy st. george's day to you, too (sorry i'm late. i meant to comment yesterday but got busy)

24 April, 2007 20:25  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Martino: We should all have national patron-saints days as holidays, yeah!

Cynnie: Regardless of anything else, the Confederate flag sure looks cool, and it has that rebel ideal all over it, which can't be all bad.

4D: I feel more European than I used to, what with having an Italian wife n all, but I still don't have any flags out me window!

AC: Gotta get that Turk jibe in!

25 April, 2007 10:23  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

LUVM: I'm not sure it can be reclaimed either. Certainly it'll take some time...

LDB: Truthfully, I'm not sure I'm the flag-waving type!

Ben: The Stars & Stripes is such a cool flag, though. How can anyone not love it?

Judith: English peeps seem so much more at home celebrating Paddy's day than George's. Very odd, I think.

25 April, 2007 10:25  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Milla: That's interesting about the Litfiba guy. Silly, but interesting. There are far worse crimes going unpunished, y'know!

Ben: Thanks for the update. That's cool.

Martha: Glad to enlighten some.

25 April, 2007 10:26  

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