Today I read a rather controversial article that quoted a poll, which suggested that nearly a quarter of English people believed that flying their national flag and being nationalist were a form of racism. However, the same article suggested that over 80% of people felt patriotic towards the British Union Jack.
The Union Jack has become increasingly popular over the last few years, and its design now features on any tourist souvenir stall, to home ware shops and even in high street fashion. This may be attributed to the Royal Wedding Effect, which saw a boost in patriotism last year, and this year’s forthcoming Diamond Jubilee. However, it seems that the St.George’s flag’s popularity has declined in recent years.
Although I am in no way suggesting that all people who choose to fly the English flag are racist, it can’t be denied that the flag has unfortunately become associated with far-right groups and hooliganism. I feel that the population at large have become embarrassed to fly the flag because of these reasons, and I point the finger of blame at the minority of extreme nationalists we have to put up with in our democracy.
Maybe our English flag needs some rebranding – it is after all the flag of St. George, the Roman soldier who in mythology slayed a dragon to save a young woman, who is also our patron saint. St. George, after all, wasn’t English, and his day April 23rd, is celebrated in many countries around the world.
I personally would like to see the St. George’s flag flying in celebration of St. George. To me, it symbolises a link we have with people from many nationalities, which should be celebrated in this day and age. However, it seems that many people believe that the Union Jack represents them in a better way, and that is a great thing for our society. To me, it says that the majority of people reject the views of the extremist minority that have sadly tainted the St. George’s flag, and that to me is a very patriotic message to send out.
What are your views? Do you prefer the St. George’s flag or the Union Jack? Comment below or on Twitter.