It’s flags, flags, and more flags. And when it isn’t flags, it’s Winston Churchill’s fairy tale greatness. In its latest distraction measure, the Tory government has announced all government buildings should fly the Union Jack at all times. A vast change from only flying it… quite a lot of the time. The government also wants council buildings to fly the Butcher’s Apron. Only the north of Ireland, for now, appears to have been spared the authoritarian Tory flag edict.
It’s an odd move given that the flag is very often flown from government buildings as it is. RT captured some of the specifics:
Under instructions issued to government personnel by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Department, the Union Jack should be displayed every day, unless there is already a flag on display to mark a special event. The guidance will take effect in summer. The government is also encouraging all local councils to fly the flag. Under the current rules, the Union flag is only required to come out during days of national significance, such as the Queen’s birthday. The guidance will not apply to Northern Ireland.
Ties that bind us?
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden told the press on 24 March that the government had decreed the Union Jack – “a proud reminder of our history and the ties that bind us” – should be flown at all times from government buildings. The announcement follows a number of flag-related incidents. The latest was a row on 18 March over BBC presenter Charlie Stayt’s quip that Tory minister Robert Jenrick’s flag wasn’t as big as it could be.
But, as The Canary reported at the time, co-host Naga Munchetty, who merely laughed at the joke and liked a few tweets about it, got most of the bile:
With regard to Munchetty’s latest ‘transgression’, this could be summed up as follows: white man makes sarcastic remark, woman of colour laughs and likes tweets, but it’s her who’s made to apologise.
The Bunting Brigade
This seem like a familiar story. The Tories have chosen to use a culture war to cover their failings and consolidate the right-wing vote. This often involves references to the Union Jack, Winston Churchill, the late Captain Tom, and attacks on so-called ‘wokeness‘ (code for the political left).
The new announcement is just the latest volley in this culture war, serving to cover the government’s huge failings over, to name just two, the coronavirus Track and Trace system and increasing levels of state violence in places like Bristol and Clapham. Plus, as our own Kerry-Anne Mendoza would have it:
— The Canary (@TheCanaryUK) March 25, 2021
As Samuel Johnson said in 1775:
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
And there are no bigger scoundrels than those who would hide their failures behind a rippling flag.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Rian Saunders
Fund our Investigations Unit
You can help us investigate corruption, expose injustice and uncover the truth.
As one of the only independent investigations units in the country, we work for you – but we need your help to keep going. We need to raise £10,000 to continue our groundbreaking investigations. Can you chip in?