Not Saussure

November 2, 2006

Daniel Hannan on flag-burning

Filed under: Foreigners — notsaussure @ 1:16 am

Don’t agree with all of the article, but I like this bit:

Our understated patriotism, it seemed to me, was something that distinguished us from less dignified nations. Touchiness about national emblems was for people who lived in hot countries. We British were above that sort of thing. When mobs desecrated the Union flag in real life — as happened quite often in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Argentina — we didn’t get especially worked up. We understood that the excitable foreigners were acting out of frustration. Our country was better and stronger than theirs, and they knew it. They were torching our colours in a gesture of impotent rage; and we, confident in our supremacy, failed to give them the satisfaction of taking umbrage.

I have an uneasy sense that all this may soon change. Ministers are considering a proposal to outlaw the burning of the national flag and, given this administration’s fondness for tub-thumping gestures, the law may well go through. New Labour is an unconvincing latecomer to patriotism and, as such, tends to plump for the most obvious and clunking variety. There is something paradoxically un-British about all this talk of national days and flags in every porch – especially when it comes from a government that has been feeble in the defence of our actual interests vis-à-vis Brussels and, for that matter, Washington.


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1 Comment »

  1. I’ve just come back from a 2 week break to see articles here and there on this flag-waving ban, and i have to say my first reaction was one of total incredulity. I mean, really, who cares? I quite agree, aren’t we a little above getting upset about this sort of thing? What next, smashing up my cellar of quality bordeaux when france tries to stop us bombing Iran?

    Comment by piers — November 6, 2006 @ 10:10 am


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