Monday, 14 June 2010

Flying the Flag

The flag of St George is flying over Downing Street for the duration of the World Cup. Up and down the streets of England are awash with flags and pendants.

Is this a good thing? Is it appropriate that the flag of England should be above the residence of the British Prime Minister?

As a Scot living in England, I think it's important that the English feel a strong sense of identity and that they are able to express this freely. People should be able to fly the flag without accusations of jingoism and to reclaim it from extreme nationalists.

The re-emergence of an English identity - and the ability to divorce this from a British identity - is a positive thing. An understanding of our differences is as important to the Union as an understanding of the things we have in common.

But this has to work two ways. There are elements in Scotland, and Wales, that need to rediscover Britishness. They have to accept that "Anyone But England" is petty, foolish and ill-judged at best, pernicious and destructive at worst.

We all have multiple identities, whether that be Scottish, English, British, European or Human Beings. Supporting England may not come naturally as a Scot, but wishing another part of the UK well - particularly in a tournament in which the Scots are not involved - should.

All Brits should be willing the best for England and this is what makes it appropriate for the Prime Minister to fly the flag. It's not about English dominance of the UK, it's about respect for one of its constituent parts.



Mind Of Mine said...

I find it strange that the England makes a bigger deal of Saint Patricks day than it does Saint Georges Day.

Anonymous said...

That's because "they" would say the English are being racist and against minorities if St Georges day were celebrated.


MadeInScotland said...


I just think the St G flag is tacky and chav.