Saturday, May 06, 2006

Ablution Watch

Over to the Daily Ablution, where Scott is showing us his rigorous research techniques in a story about a fire station not being allowed to show the English flag:

Further confirmation of the story [in the Telegraph] is to be found in the local Barking and Dagenham Recorder:
As if it's not possible, or even probably, the original source is the same for both articles. To be fair, however, in this instance he did actually ring the Fire Station at the centre of the story, but it was the wrong Watch (they're spreading, aren't they?).

Anyway, his take on the story:

Can you think of any other nation in the entire world in which a display of the national flag would be prohibited for fear of causing offence? Is there any society as craven as this one? I am, for once, rendered almost speechless.

Almost, but not quite, as he manages another 398 words. All of which of course are missing the obvious point - that the English flag has a recent history of being appropriated by the far-right, who are not unknown in Barking. This is so well known that I can only assume Scott is deliberately missing the point to allow him the mock outrage. The reasons why the far-right were able to hijack the flag would be worth an article - I would suggest it was partly because of a lack of flag-waving tradition, and because of the use of the Union Flag in more official settings allow the English flag to be associated with English nationalim. These however are only ideas.

To some extent the flag has been reclaimed in recent years, particularly for sporting events. Nevertheless pace George Orwell I doubt it is only English intellectuals who had problems with it. I was in a coastal town where the propery seem cheap a few months back, and friends of mine were looking to buy a house. All seemed nice enough, until we saw a house displaying the English flag. Then another one, and another. This really did set alarm bells ringing, and later these were confirmed when we saw a large army barracks. So dislike of the English flag and dislike of our Brave Boys. Truly an Ablution nightmare.

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