Saturday, 12 June 2004

Flag Waving and the George Cross

I'm not much of a flag waver. There's something that doesn't sit right about it.

The last time I actually waved a flag was sitting on Roseberry Avenue in 1977 waiting for a drive by of the Queen during the Silver Jubilee. We had little union jacks on sticks. We sat for hours and hours and hours waiting (it was during school and we were taken out for the procession). And when she came past she was in a big black car, driving rather fast and she was wearing a green hat (very disappointing to a 7 year old that she wasn't wearing a crown) and I barely saw her. She was a flash of green and then she was gone. And ever since then I have held little regard for all the pomp and ceremony of military processions and patriotism.

Which brings me to the George Cross. The Union Jack is bad enough - a symbol of a united kingdom, but the George Cross is a symbol that is almost too couched in the negative connotations of the BNP and football hooliganism to really be dragged back into use. With the resurgence of an accepted contempt for asylum seekers (racism) I think it is very interesting that the George Cross is also being brought back into mainstream use. Undertones resurfaced. I just can't get away from the image of the George Cross being flown by a pub called The Britannia on an East End estate largely inhabited by ethnic minorities. It leaves a bad taste.

I find overt patriotism and proclaimed love of country difficult, especially in this time of voter apathy. Is this not a hypocracy? We don't vote because we feel we have no control, or there is nobody to vote for, or they are all a much of a muchness, but at the same time we stand by our Great Land and wave our flag with pride. Blind patriotism.

So its only football. On TV today a presenter asked a man why he didn't have any England regalia with him and he said that he first supported Newcastle and then supported England. Which is the same response the boyfiend would have. 1st Arsenal, then England. Somehow Arsenal feels more inclusive.

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