Use of a flag

One of the big visual differences when I was a visiting Minister in foreign lands was the usual universal presence of their national flags in the Ministerial offices and meeting rooms, with nothing similar at home. Here we had the odd battle about where and when the EU flag would be shown, and we had the relentless use of the EU flag on every project which had received however modest a sum of our money routed back to us via the EU. When Ministers asked that the display should also have the Union flag on it with acknowledgement of the usually larger sums of UK direct taxpayer money they were told that was against EU rules or given some other reason why the UK flag could not be shown.

The decision of today’s Ministers to show the flag for their presentations and in their offices is merely bringing the UK into line with most other countries of the world. It also brings them into line with EU practice with universal use of the EU flag. It is curious that some in the BBC and their friends think it cause for merriment that government should be proud of our country and wish to display one of its known symbols.It is one thing to see a joke on twitter showing a picture of a man in a Union flag suit, with Union flag glasses and hat with the caption “Interview with a government Minister” but another to see mainstream BBC news programmes trying to become comedy shows at the expense of normal government practice to fly the flag. I have never heard them make fun of the many foreign interviewees who sit with their flag in their office, from US senators to Prime Ministers and Presidents of many countries.

It is all part of the strange mood of some in this country that seeks to denigrate who we are, what we stand for and what our ancestors did. Like all great countries that have contributed to human development there have been bad chapters to our story. There have been many more fine chapters, from saving Europe from dictators on several occasions to abolishing the slave trade to pioneering the industrial revolution. The fact that so many people wish to come to live and work in our country shows many abroad rate us highly. One of the most touching moments when I was a Minister came when I made an early visit to what had been Soviet eastern Europe. A lady stepped out when the official car with a small Union flag was stopped at lights to pay her respects to the flag. To her it symbolised freedom. She remembered the UK’s role in liberating Europe from tyranny.

174 Comments

  1. Mark B
    March 22, 2021

    Good morning

    We must of course remember what the UNION flag is comprised of. Sadly there is a country which makes up the bulk of the Union in so many ways yet gets routinely ignored by those same Ministers whose jobs depend on it. Odd that.

    1. Skylark
      March 22, 2021

      Indeed and England provided the vast majority of Conservative MPs and Conservative support then taxes to death after each election. I suspect these attitudes are almost universal in the BBC (other than perhaps the manual workers, electricians, cleaners and the likes). The BBC is keen on diversity of immutable characteristics yet has almost zero diversity of opinions. Almost to a person they are art graduates, pro remain, pro-Biden, Libdim or Labour supporters, absurdly climate alarmist and with little or no understanding of Science, Maths, Engineering, Business, Transport, Real Economics, Defence or reality.
      Alas many Conservative ministers & leaders, Lords and MPs are just the same. May, Major, Heath, Hague, Cameron, Osborne, Hammond, Sunak ….

      1. skylark
        March 22, 2021

        Having said this I do slightly associate the flags behind politicians with some tin pot dictatorship rather than the UK.

        1. Hope
          March 23, 2021

          Cameron made it Crystal clear he disliked his supporters in the rural parts of the country by calling them Turnip Taliban. Those supporters to cut immigration he called swivelled eyed loons or closet racists.

          This week we read in the national press he lobbied the Treasury to bail out Greensill a financial company.

      2. turboterrier
        March 22, 2021

        Skylark
        You re right about the BBC why the hell Westminster let’s it ride rough shed over this country is unbelievable.
        Totally unfit for purpose and well past its sell by date. Overpaid and what now confronts us every night at every opportunity is members of the gay community, climate change and presenters with ethnic origins.

      3. Hope
        March 23, 2021

        S,
        +1
        Also recent security defence review report mentioned climate change and green crap more than the word army! Read con woman for full article.

    2. JoolsB
      March 22, 2021

      Well said Mark. Saltires and Welsh dragons are to be encouraged and flown at every opportunity but anything English must be discouraged at all costs. Its a motto indoctrinated into them on becoming MPs. I guarantee 23rd April, St. George’s day, will get no mention either from the current bunch of incumbents squatting in English seats unlike the fawning manner in which they positively encourage everyone to celebrate the devolved nations’ Saints days even St. Patricks Day for God’s sake. We’re not even allowed our own anthem in sports unlike the other members of this so called union. They deserve our contempt.

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        March 22, 2021

        Jools you are so right about anthems and sport. It makes my blood boil to hear the other devolved nations with their own anthems while England has to settle for what I think is the UK anthem. WE NEED OUR OWN!

    3. Peter
      March 22, 2021

      A bigger topic is the response to heavy-handed policing. Bristol police got more than they bargained for.

      I wonder if this will be copied elsewhere in the country? There are parallels with the poll tax riot.

      1. No Longer Anonymous
        March 22, 2021

        There are parallels indeed. I do not sympathise with the method but I wholeheartedly agree with the cause.

        This Government (and its advisers) has gone off the rails.

        1. Dickie
          March 22, 2021

          Yeah they are indeed a crowd of lightweights such incompetetence led by scruffy Boris and devious Patel but going nowhere. The more I see of Boris doing his PM stuff the more scruffy he looks.. surely he could buy a DIY haircutter and comb lije tte rest of us.. Jeez

      2. jerry
        March 22, 2021

        @Peter; ” There are parallels with the poll tax riot.”

        Well that didn’t end well for either protesters or the Tory party, the Poll Tax was renamed and the Tory party wended up being out of govt for 13 years and even then only got back in due to their banking friends….

        Uncaring politicos, nor unthinking rabbles, do not decides who governs, caring, sensible, moderate voters do.

      3. glen cullen
        March 22, 2021

        ‘heavy-handed policing’

        I haven’t seen any heavy-handed policing since the early 80s, apart from the police issuing traffic fines (unless you’re a delivery scooter on L plates)

        The police have gone soft

        1. jerry
          March 23, 2021

          @glen cullen; “unless you’re a delivery scooter on L plates”

          People riding scooters on L plates should be banned from using them as delivery vehicles in my opinion, and policing of it should fall into the laps of the employer, being the ones who are find (and perhaps even receive points on their own personal licences), they simply have no way of knowing if their employees have even the most basic of road-craft but often demand tightly times deliveries non the less!

          1. glen cullen
            March 23, 2021

            every scooter …..that has L plates is UN-INSURED and the police don’t enforce the law stopping them

        2. G Wheatley
          March 23, 2021

          …in London on Saturday last. Sorry for leaving that bit out!

    4. jerry
      March 22, 2021

      @Mark B; Yes indeed, Cornwall does get a raw deal!

      The white behind the red cross on the union flag, in case you’re confused.

  2. Garth
    March 22, 2021

    There are no EU rules about use of national flags. Why do you make up such nonsense? Are you ever going to lose your obsession with the EU?

    Reply There are. Their flag has to appear where they provide cash for projects

    1. Know-Dice
      March 22, 2021

      Garth, as you will see on those yellow signs littering Wokingham streets at the moment.

    2. No Longer Anonymous
      March 22, 2021

      Reply to reply – +1 and it was a requirement on a big project I managed to get funding for. The EU had to be credited visibly and permanently even if it was UK money minus an EU tax given back to us in diminished quantity.

      1. Grey Friar
        March 23, 2021

        Garth tells you there are no EU rules about national flags and your reply is about rules on use of the EU flag – which is not a national flag. Just occasionally I wonder if you Leavers really are as ignorant about what the EU is as you seem .. and then you come along and prove you really are. Still, flags don’t matter much, it’s leaving the single market and customs union, neither of which any of you understand, that is destroying our economy daily

    3. NickC
      March 22, 2021

      Garth, Whilst the EU is obsessed by the UK we need to keep an eye on what it does. Even Remains can now see clearly that the EU is spiteful, vindictive and hostile towards us. The EU wasn’t our friend before we left, and now it is most certainly our political and trade enemy.

      1. turboterrier
        March 22, 2021

        Nick C
        Not quite right Nick. Our PM at every opportunity still rattles on about our friends when referring to Europe, does he not? Just about sums it up mate. It’s all of us that have two left feet and totally out of step with the reality.

      2. Paul Cuthbertson
        March 23, 2021

        The trouble is we do not have ANYONE in government with any balls to tell them to
        Foxtrot Office. We always kow tow and the EU know it. Oh for a Donald Trump as a leader. By the way, He will soon be back and Nothing can stop what is coming Nothing.
        Wake up people.

    4. Skylark
      March 22, 2021

      Or rather wherever they give back a tiny % of the money the UK gave to the EU (invariably returned with all sorts of damaging EU strings attacked). One of which is to display loads of EU flags or publicity about the “EU” funding (actually UK tax payer funding).

    5. M P B
      March 22, 2021

      I worked as a consultant between 1997 and 2002 for the EU in Central Europe in the transition states awaiting EU accession.
      I was mostly involved in training, funded directly by the EU in the financial sector which was regionally undergoing a massive restructuring along commercial lines.
      EU staff observers, usually unqualified in the disciplne attended every seminar, workshop or conference.
      Number One on their assessment list was awareness of EU sponsorship of the event. No EU flag at all times was an immediate ” non performance ” irrespective of the quality, participation level or positive feedback from participants.
      My only association with a “non performing ” event was due to the absence of an EU flag in one side seminar room at an otherwise extremely successful event, meeting all participants objectives.

      Please realise that Central European accession states had from the end of communism in the late 80s through to 2003, what were usually called national Ministries for European Integration whose sole purpose was to ensure unopposed EU membership. These Ministries were heavily funded by the EU to promote at all levels of society, EU Integration.

      1. Mark B
        March 23, 2021

        What a great post. Thank you for sharing. It is always good to read someone with inside knowledge.

  3. SM
    March 22, 2021

    Sir John – it’s much easier for (some) journalists and broadcasters to poke fun at an easy target than to report on and question the violence, corruption and slaughter that is occurring in so many countries across the globe.

  4. GilesB
    March 22, 2021

    I believe that in the US there is a flag in every classroom. And a pledge of allegiance.

    Sounds like a good idea throughout the U.K.

    1. NickC
      March 22, 2021

      Giles, I have visited over 8 foreign countries from India to the USA, and the UK is the least nationalistic of the lot. Our need for more nationalism in this country is dire – without it we will continue to be trampled on, not least by the EU. I have long explained that our establishment’s coy anti-nationalism not only harms the UK, but is disbelieved by foreigners anyway.

    2. Mike Wilson
      March 22, 2021

      No thanks. A country is just the place where you happen to be born. We don’t need our brains sucked out of our noses so we can stand next to a bit of patterned cloth on a pole.

      1. G Wheatley
        March 23, 2021

        Your patterned cloth on a pole is merely a representation of what it stands for. Some people clearly have had their brains sucked out by something else, and are unable to appreciate that concept.

    3. turboterrier
      March 22, 2021

      Giles B
      +1

  5. agricola
    March 22, 2021

    Yes the BBC remain a despicable, alien to most British people, organisation irrespective of where they move their facilities to. It struck me as very odd that their new chief thought that relocation would change their political bias. Major managerial and presenter surgery is still required wherever their propaganda emmanates.

    The sight of a fully union dressed Mall is an uplifting sight. The union flag planted behind orating ministers leaves one in no doubt about who they speak for. I would like to see a greater use of the flag of St George. Churches fly it, as do football supporters if our team gets near achieving success, and so they should.

    The US habit of having a flag on a pole on ones front lawn is a colourful sight and a reassurance of their loyalty and unity, but it does not translate to our more layed back maturity as a nation. Most of us know who we are, which may sound smug, but true never the less.

    I wonder what mental traumas that one north of the border must go through with her choice of three flags each morning. A Jolly Roger might be more appropriate.

    1. dixie
      March 22, 2021

      What a good idea, I would have to fly three flags on the lawn to properly represent my family’s countries – plus the Jolly Roger to signify my anti-EU position.

    2. graham1946
      March 22, 2021

      Regarding the flag pole in the front garden, I think you have to get permission from the council, so bound up in rules are we. Recently in our local paper a council jobsworth called at such a house and said that ‘advetising’ banners were not allowed unless his bosses said so. ‘Advertising’ – that’s what we have come to regarding our national flag.

      1. dixie
        March 24, 2021

        Rules were relaxed in 2012 and it appears that provided they are flown safely and there are no adverts, makers labels or logos you don’t need LA consent for a wide range of flags including national, county, club, some historic and military. You can fly up to 2 on your property;
        https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/flying-flags-a-plain-english-guide/flying-flags-a-plain-english-guide
        If an LA jobsworth demands a flag is taken down I would expect them to give detailed reasons, appropriate to a local planning authority, as to why they are making the request.

    3. M Davis
      March 22, 2021

      +1

  6. Old Albion
    March 22, 2021

    Perhaps if we taught British history to our children they would have more pride in their nation.
    But I guess there just isn’t time in the school day when teaching ‘woke’ ‘climate emergency’ and transgender studies takes up so much of the curriculum.

    1. Everhopeful
      March 22, 2021

      Trouble is…all this wokery has been insinuating itself since just post WW2.
      Started with higher education.

    2. Ed M
      March 22, 2021

      The problem is that so many people have overly black-and-white views in the country.

      Take the British Empire. Millions of people hate it. And hundreds of thousands of people love it. When the reality was that the British Empire was both good and bad. If we were more honest and open as a nation and discuss things properly (and learning from our mistakes and what we got wrong – as well as openly celebrating what we got right) then we’d be an even better and happier nation!

      1. Ed M
        March 22, 2021

        Same can be said for monarchs such as Queen Elizabeth 1. In some ways, I think she was a brilliant leader. In other ways not. Same for Margaret Thatcher. Brilliant at defying socialism (which had to be slayed). But not nearly such a great economist (I mean she had no business experience) but some people make her out to be a guru at the economy (she wasn’t – if she had been then she would have invested far more in helping to create the UK as a powerhouse in the high tech industry – we would then have big tech brands like Apple and IBM with high quality tech brands that we export abroad, with high levels of productivity and so on). And invest outside the London / SE bubble – I couldn’t believe when I travelled to the north of England for the first time. It was like a different country to that of London and the SE.

        You need someone such as Mrs Thatcher to slay the dragon of socialism. But then you need a brilliant businessman such as Michael O Leary to plan and run the economy. Mrs Thatcher was no Michael O Leary. She had hardly any experience of business at all.

    3. MiC
      March 22, 2021

      If the truth were really taught, then the people of this country would never, ever, elect Tory government.

      1. Robert McDonald
        March 22, 2021

        If the truth were taught by rational teachers the fact that no socialist gover ment has ever been economically successful but many have resulted in the deaths of millions of their subjects would be highlighted to our youth.

    4. jerry
      March 22, 2021

      @Old Albion; Careful of what you wish for, in case even more of our Statues end up in rivers…

      It is an inescapable truth, teach UK history to someone from the BAME demographic and you are teaching a different history to those in the Anglo-Saxon demographic. The USA has the same problem, so when children or adults pledge allegiance to the “The Stars and Stripes” are they worshipping the countries past or their future?

    5. Mike Wilson
      March 22, 2021

      Not sure there is that much to be proud of. Hitler, our part in his downfall, aside.

      1. G Wheatley
        March 23, 2021

        Quiz question for you Mike: Which empire -in terms of geographical extent – was the largest in human history?

        It brought ‘civilisation’, health benefits and a whole host of other advantages to over half the planet.
        And yes, there were things that it did that were shameful and reprehensible. However, on balance….

    6. M Davis
      March 22, 2021

      +1

  7. Newmania
    March 22, 2021

    I appreciate the patriotic zeal of the Conservative Party, but why oh why can we not have more of it . Torchlight parades , tanks rumbling along Whitehall ,massed ranks of happy Britain’s engaged in some sort of coordinated exercise with sticks ?
    One people , one party one Boris Johnson , strength through joy ……..

    Its all good

    1. Everhopeful
      March 22, 2021

      Bonfires of books?

    2. Peter2
      March 22, 2021

      Are you equally negative and dismissive about the EU flag NM?

    3. No Longer Anonymous
      March 22, 2021

      Did Newmania see the news or read this post ?

      The BBC made an attack on a Minister in a government office.

      What did they expect to see there ? A Banksy ? A rainbow flag ?

      All is not well because you were slapping our class about the face even 15 years ago and so we retaliated by voting in a way that pissed you off the most.

      We all know what would be on Newmania’s office wall… NEWMANIA ! Minus the warts.

    4. Ed M
      March 22, 2021

      @Newmania,

      Your comment is heretical. You’re equating healthy patriotism (i.e. that led the Brits to beating the Nazis during WW2) with unhealthy nationalism (i.e. of the Nazis).

      A healthy love of country – patriotism – is a virtue.

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        March 23, 2021

        Never a truer word Ed M

    5. NickC
      March 22, 2021

      Newmania, Because you are as usual mixed up. Patriotism is not an artificial (invented) political ideology such as communism, socialism and European unionism. You cannot impose patriotism, with tanks or otherwise, it is a natural virtue. For most of us anyway.

    6. Mike Wilson
      March 22, 2021

      Would that stop people defecting from ‘oop North’ to ‘the Sarf’.

    7. John C.
      March 22, 2021

      Awful bilge. You are a disgrace. Live somewhere else, if you don’t already.

  8. Shirley M
    March 22, 2021

    It didn’t surprise me at all that the BBC would poke fun at the Union flag. It is what we have come to expect from a taxpayer funded organisation, with pro-EU and anti-UK presenters who have no respect for the people who pay their wages or the country in which they live. I think the majority of countries would be less tolerant of such disrespect towards their flag, the symbol of their country.

    1. Iain Moore
      March 22, 2021

      Not just ‘a’ tax payer funded organisation, most tax payer funded organisations are hostile to us, they have all been annexed by the left to shove out an anti British and anti English narrative. British Library, British museum, National Trust etc they have all been at it, and all happily accepted by the Conservative Government without a murmur of disapproval, same as all the rewriting of our history that has been going on, can you think of an instance where a Minister challeged it? I can’t. Even the flag issue on the BBC was met with a smiling Jenrick, it was the viewers who took issue with it not the Minister.

    2. Mike Wilson
      March 22, 2021

      It’s just a bit of material with some ugly shapes on it. It only means something if you infuse it with meaning. It means absolutely nothing to me and I find flag worship embarrassing.

    3. M Davis
      March 22, 2021

      +1

  9. Martyn G
    March 22, 2021

    Well said, Sir J. The devolved nations of the UK are rightly proud to display their flags and no one makes adverse comment, but the the BBC and its like ilk only scoff at or scorn the Union Flag and that of St George – that is, it is England they hate. Hypocrisy runs rife in such people and organisations.

    1. M Davis
      March 22, 2021

      +1

  10. Newmania
    March 22, 2021

    As only few of my posts are published ‘on topic’, ‘off topic’ is probably futile but might I point out that it was the Brexit side who (implausibly ) told us everything between the UK and EU would be sweetness and light post Brexit .
    Nothing in recent history suggested anything of the sort and as I often said , sadly they are every bit as selfishly unpleasant and dim witted as you.. . Thats why we have a the European Union .
    Now we are in a vaccine war with no voice and ( they will not say this ) almost nothing we can do about it .
    Think of how the UK has behaved in Ireland , the US in Central America… think of how every power behaves to a threat on its border , and we walked right into this .Well done ..well done indeed

    Reply The main vaccine war is between the EU and its member states

    1. Know-Dice
      March 22, 2021

      May be that’s why a WTO exit would have been better than the current half baked solution. Sorry Boris defiantly not “oven ready”…

    2. Roy Grainger
      March 22, 2021

      No we didn’t “walk into”

      We didn’t walk into it. We knew exactly what would happen. That’s why as a high priority we developed vaccine production facilities in UK from scratch whereas more naive countries like Canada didn’t because they thought they could get all their supply from EU countries.

    3. SM
      March 22, 2021

      Newmania: since your posts are invariably abusive, negative and rancorous, I’m amazed that any of them are published.

    4. No Longer Anonymous
      March 22, 2021

      Somehow it’s always our fault.

      We are not in a vaccine war. We are doing very nicely on the vaccine front – like we were doing very nicely after the Credit Crunch (because we weren’t in the euro.) We had the flexibility and agility to handle the crisis.

      The EU are trying to start this war and it is illegal and it is conducted by a known incompetent in a way that is against corporation law. They have shown their true face but you refuse to look at it.

      Like a crab about to escape a bucket this poor fella’s being dragged back in by the other crabs.

      Now we know what Michael Corleone felt like in Godfather 3.

      Etc ed

    5. Richard1
      March 22, 2021

      The appalling EU bureaucrats are actually going to impose a vaccine blockade it seems. To try to cover up and deflect blame for their own ineptitude in procurement, they are going to prevent a company fulfilling a legal contract to supply a product for which the customer – the U.K. govt – has paid and funded development. Unbelievable and a real eye-opener. Whilst grotesquely immoral and possibly illegal, ahead of the next eurozone crisis this is also a very foolish move as regards future investor confidence in the EU.

      I hope the U.K. govt will not sink to their level and retaliate eg by blocking supply of essential vaccine ingredients which come from the U.K.

      1. anon
        March 22, 2021

        The decision maker or makers who decided to rely on a non UK controlled supply chain need to be accountable for that decision.

        Experience over PHE should have been more than ample warning. Indeed its obvious but rebuttable assumption that domestic supply chains are in the UK interest.

    6. hefner
      March 22, 2021

      Reply to reply: so explain to us why the PM is, according to the FT ‘to appeal to EU capitals in bid to avert vaccine export blocks’ or why, says the Telegraph, ‘EU moves to block AstraZeneca jab exports’.
      ‘The European Commission said it would ensure that Dutch-manufactured AZ doses would stay in the EU in an effort to increase pressure on Boris Johnson to release the company from its contract with Britain’ (DT, 22/03/2021).

      Somebody is clearly not understanding what is happening and funnily enough I don’t think it’s Newmania.

    7. IanT
      March 22, 2021

      “Now we are in a vaccine war with no voice and ( they will not say this ) almost nothing we can do about it .”

      We don’t need a “voice” in the EU Newmania – we have already vaccinated far more of our population than the EU has. Fortunately, we also have our own vaccine production facilities with more coming online. I believe that this also includes a UK facility producing key ingredients of the Pfizer vaccine. Given that many EU residents have been put-off having the AZ vaccine by Macron and Merkel – this seems to be another pretty stupid threat by the EU.

      When in a Hole – Stop Digging Ursula! (But I very much doubt she will)

    8. Denis Cooper
      March 22, 2021

      There is a difference between “should” and “would”.

      For example,

      “It should be an easy trade deal”

      does not mean the same as

      “It would be an easy trade deal”.

      In connection with which, still following the same off topic theme:

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/mar/22/brexit-deal-no-deal-trade-and-cooperation-agreement

      “Even no deal might make more sense than this unstable Brexit agreement”

      “Far from generating goodwill and a better working relationship, the trade and cooperation agreement has done the opposite.”

      Well, perhaps that is not surprising when the process started with a threat:

      https://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2021/03/17/global-britain-and-the-security-review/#comment-1216457

      “Mr Hogan … said Ireland would “play tough to the end” over the border issue … ”

    9. graham1946
      March 22, 2021

      Yes, it was the Brexit side who said all would be well. They thought we would be dealing with rational, sensible people, not vindictive toddlers. All that you say, unpleasantness, making things difficult for no good reason et al all come from the EU. We have acceded to their every demand, but of course nothing is ever enough for bullies.
      Our PM still calls them friends and partners. We still have to pay them 49 billion quid by mid decade. What dim wit agreed to that? We have BRINO, not Brexit and as it is binary, no compromise is any good – it pleases no-one and is not fit for purpose.

      1. JoolsB
        March 23, 2021

        + 1 Spot on.

    10. Sea_Warrior
      March 22, 2021

      ‘We have no voice’? No – but we have a great mass of our people vaccinated by a great British vaccine. I’m looking forward to my second jab.

    11. Mactheknife
      March 22, 2021

      Ask the French, Germans, Italians etc if they think the EU is acting in their interests on vaccines. As usual they blame everything on us, even though we paid for the OAZ vaccine development and to equip factories in Europe to produce it. Yet their staggering incompetence is our fault apparently. I think you’ll find the dim wits are on the other side of the channel.
      If you love them and their flag so much, then move to the EU.

    12. NickC
      March 22, 2021

      Newmania, I and many other eurosceptics (Leaves) never said that all would be sweetness and light. And were condemned by europhiles (Remains) for doing so. We always knew (well, for some decades) that the EU was corrupt, selfish, anti-democratic, spiteful, vindictive, and hostile. The EU’s bad behaviour seems intrinsic. In theory, the EU could be as friendly or indifferent as the individual European states would be if they were independent. But the EU is worse precisely because it is an artificial ideology, and is so desperate to keep itself in power.

    13. Qubus
      March 22, 2021

      Think of how Germany behaved 70-odd years ago. Think how we saved the French. Think how duplicitious Macron dissed the AV vaccine. Think of how Bush described the French: cheese eating surrender monkeys.
      But what has happened to the story before Brexit that they would be queuing up to trade with us.
      What was it that Palmerston said: a country has no friends, only interests, or something like that.

    14. Dickie
      March 22, 2021

      Spin.. nothing more

  11. MiC
    March 22, 2021

    What struck me about many European countries was their natural use of the European Union’s flag beside their own. In Rome it flies on every public building along with the national one.

    It’s a great shame that this country never did alike, and perhaps it would have made the marginal difference needed to avoid the mess and disgrace in which it now finds itself.

    1. Know-Dice
      March 22, 2021

      Don’t think so Martin, it would have been looked like the UK had been invaded by a foreign power.

    2. Roy Grainger
      March 22, 2021

      What exactly are you on about ? The EU flag flew over our local council building for years, even after we left the EU.

    3. Nig l
      March 22, 2021

      That’s because Italy is effectively bankrupt and needs EU (German) money to survive.

    4. Peter2
      March 22, 2021

      I saw the EU flag in many places whilst we were members.
      It was visible on many car number plates and on every project the EU had provided some part of the funding.
      It was rare to see the Union flag flown on any public building let alone combined with the EU flag.

    5. No Longer Anonymous
      March 22, 2021

      At least you acknowledge that flags are important.

      1. No Longer Anonymous
        March 22, 2021

        If anything has been absent in this country it has been the Union flag.

        1. No Longer Anonymous
          March 22, 2021

          And in their fanaticism for the EU flag – and spite against Britain – leading Europeans disparaged our Oxford AZ vaccine and has murdered their own citizens.

          One thing I do not see in England is flag waving. Perhaps we should do more of it.

    6. IanT
      March 22, 2021

      “the mess and disgrace in which it now finds itself”

      Only in your mind Martin – many of us are very happy not to be part of the EUs vaccine mess at the moment. Had your jab yet?? 🙂

      1. MiC
        March 23, 2021

        I’d ask our specialist food exporters who have been ruined about that.

    7. Sea_Warrior
      March 22, 2021

      Perhaps we might have left sooner had the government not been obliged to participate in that great pro-UK marketing operation that sought to make people think that the EU had funded some project when the truth of the matter was that the UK had, laundering British taxes into EU funds.

    8. Mike Wilson
      March 22, 2021

      Not feeling the disgrace myself. In fact, I think I detect the stirring of national pride. It’s not something I have felt since 1966 and 1983.

      WTO soon.

    9. NickC
      March 22, 2021

      Martin, I have visited Rome a number of times to visit relations (my wife is half Italian) but I do not recall the EU empire’s flag being any more prominent there than in London. And your quaint theory that a few more EU flags would have made Leave voters swap to Remain is risible, if not delusional.

    10. Fedupsoutherner
      March 23, 2021

      Someone put an EU flag on our pedestrian bridge over the A5 the night before we left the EU. I ripped it off and put it in the litter bin with the rest of the trash.

    11. agricola
      March 23, 2021

      Mic your last paragraph is wishful thinking. Nothing put me off the EU more, at the time, than the missguided Brits in Parliament Square, waving EU flags accompanied by a cacophony of noise, aimed at getting free publicity via the various camped out news broadcasters. The EU have done plenty before and since, vaccines being the latest, to reinforce my conviction that Brexit was the right decision on many levels. My only regret was leaving europeans in the hands of such a toxic regime. On the other hand perhaps our example will encourage others to follow. In that sense we have a responsibility to demonstrate the success of our decision.

  12. Everhopeful
    March 22, 2021

    Good grief!
    How is it “curious”?
    The forces of the Left have been denigrating the Union Jack for decades.
    They call it “The Butcher’s Apron”.
    And all you lot who are supposed to support this country have been allowing them to get away with it.
    There were warnings of this as with globalism.
    And now look at the state of things.

  13. Sharon
    March 22, 2021

    J R I agree with all you say about the Union Jack, it should be displayed in line with the rest of the world, who proudly display theirs!

    This amusement you describe from the BBC is just group-think/Remainer arrogance. They’ve decided the EU is all things wonderful, so , to them, logically (illogically) that must mean the Uk flag is meaningless!

    Great piece, Sir John.

  14. BJC
    March 22, 2021

    The design and colours of a national flag symbolise a country’s identity, values, beliefs and history in different ways. Each flag represents its own country and nations all around the world conveys specific messages. The hard left/Marxist elements who lurk in dark corners hate the symbols that unify our country, which is why the flag, monarchy, history, etc have been targeted (incl. by the EU!). This isn’t who we are and their anarchic disruption doesn’t represent us. It’s time to stand up for our principles and be loud and proud of our country again.

  15. Everhopeful
    March 22, 2021

    After what’s been done to us I doubt if you’d find much “dulce et decorum est” among the ranks.
    But then …the “elites” think they don’t need us any more don’t they?
    Create manic patriotism ….use it to fight bloody wars….destroy and denigrate it….( actually CRIMINALISE it) 150 years on and then think it can be restored at the flick of a switch in a multi cultural country?
    Dream on.

  16. ian@Barkham
    March 22, 2021

    Here in the UK we have never in previous generations been hung up about symbolism. That appear to be a construct of the ‘cancel culture, WOKE Brigade and all those that hate the UK’
    I have always liked the idea that the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square was empty, it was an illustration that while we didn’t deny history it was just somewhere we had come from and now moved on from. Of course the UK is now overloaded with ‘look at me’ I can shout loud and you will do things to please ‘ME’
    Time for the next generation to grow up get a grip and get a life of their own

  17. Fred.H
    March 22, 2021

    I hope we have proportional export bans to EU countries thought out as a reaction to any ban they would apply to vaccines ordered for delivery to UK. Taking the hostile action against us demonstrates the political stance with one measure after another to hold back use of the Oxford vaccine. That being the case why would they stockpile the doses rather than ship to us who have proved safety. An appropriate export ban must be used to bring EU to their senses.

    1. anon
      March 22, 2021

      Vaccine production & use should be maximised to save people at all costs. Sending vaccines for hoarding and storage should be punished by restricting any and all further supplies.

      Offer a specific tax break to these companies to relocate to the UK to commence production & distribution in line with legal and commercially agreed contracts etc

      All previous unilateral goodwill given to the EU should be withdrawn. We should move to WTO immediately and stop the obscene multi – billion pound payments to a hostile state, before it aquires milltary ambitions.

      We should not be cutting our defence numbers. Do we have a permanent 5th column in our country?

  18. Nig l
    March 22, 2021

    Indeed. The BBC and the left trash the flag because it is a symbol of unity and invokes feelings of what this country is/represents thus a threat.

    Travelling extensively across Europe, yes the EU flag in evidence but that’s an attempt by Brussels to give the EU sovereign status and counteract national pride, again a direct threat to their project.

    What I am struck by is how proud people are of both their countries and regions and a far greater respect of our national flag than the BBC. Equally apart from Germany, at an individual level I have found much envy that we have left.

  19. Narrow Shoulders
    March 22, 2021

    I have never understood other countries’ need to wrap themselves in their flags, similarly I have never felt slighted when seeing a Union Jack being burned by savages. I also do not comprehend the hatred which some of the worthies in this country feel towards both the flag of St George and the Union Jack (while respectful of the Saltire and the Dagon). It is a piece of material on a pole.

    The way you talk about and feel about your country is a far better measure of one’s patriotism than how big or prominent your flag is.

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      March 22, 2021

      My father is Manx and insisted on flying the Three Legs outside his home on the island which I always found akin to “the lady doth protest too much”.

      I lived in Thailand, whose people’s allegiance to the monarchy is absolute, for several years . Every day their flag is raised as the National Anthem is played on the television and the speakers erected around all villages at 8.00AM and lowered at 6.00Pm to the same song. The King’s flag, the county’s flag and the country’s flag are all displayed outside every home. Again I enjoyed the symbolism but did wonder why people with such a lovely country, culture and food to be proud of needed it reinforced with such actions. Such a content population until they discovered consumerism.

      1. Mike Wilson
        March 22, 2021

        I have a vague recollection of our National Dirge being played on the BBC every evening at the end of programs. People all over the country used to stand up in their living rooms. The mind boggles.

  20. No Longer Anonymous
    March 22, 2021

    I agree, Sir John.

    Prime time BBC and there it was – two big names sneering at a Minister and his office, the national flag and the Queen’s portrait.

    This morning the point made by an interviewee went unchallenged, that the UK was somehow stopping the EU’s (dire) vaccine roll out, that it was all our fault and that we should hold back to let them catch up as it would be “… no use for us to be vaccinated if other countries aren’t.”

    Well our country being fully vaccinated and with controlled borders (as New Zealand is praised for having) would seem pretty useful to me.

    To many in the BBC and some here GB is ALWAYS wrong.

  21. Alan Jutson
    March 22, 2021

    Yes we should all take pride in our Nation, but do not overdo it, we are not China, Russia, or the USA, most of us are comfortable in our own skin about our Country, but whilst we do not need to shout it from the rooftops every day, it is nice to see us celebrate on occasions.

  22. Pat
    March 22, 2021

    The anti British bias of the cliques controlling the BBC and so many other institutions cannot be changed.

    Instead we should be asking why our politicians, particularly the Conservatives, continue to require us to underwrite this propaganda, under criminal sanction.

  23. Alan Jutson
    March 22, 2021

    I see it is being reported that the Government is looking to cut another 10,000 troops from our armed services, this would be a big mistake for many reasons, battle fatigue if ever in a conflict, and the usual use of them for emergency services, pandemic, floods, etc etc.

    I also see that the Green Scheme is coming in for a lot of criticism in so far as it is not working, poor quality work when it is done, delay and lack of take up due to the conditions requested.
    Having spent a number of years in the industry I predicted this would be the case when it was first introduced, far too complex as usual, and it excluded the basics, politicians with no clue organising it once again.
    So sad to see, as a proper insulation upgrade programme could be very cost effective.

  24. Richard II
    March 22, 2021

    The problem is not the use of the flag as such, but the policies being associated with it.

  25. Nig l
    March 22, 2021

    And in other news a concerted PR attempt by the government to preempt potential criticism from a Covid enquiry by admitting to ‘modest’ mistakes.

    Once again taking us for stupid. Do they think they can PR away the tens of thousands of deaths they caused in Care Homes. We will not forget.

  26. Norman
    March 22, 2021

    In early 1989, I and a colleague had to conduct official business on a tour of communist Romania , which was still in the grip of the Stalinist Ceausescu regime.
    Arriving for our official briefing on the first morning at the British Embassy in Bucharest and seeing the Union Flag fluttering outside was hugely comforting, a tiny oasis of freedom amidst a stifling atmosphere of ‘state control’. We were warned to speak quietly, however, as the listening ears of the Securitate were everywhere, except for an insulated bunker upstairs.
    Freedom does not just happen: it is the cultural outworking of something alien, and far too precious for clever ‘moderns’ to handle.

    1. glen cullen
      March 22, 2021

      When all else has failed, when all resources are spent, when doom is on the horizon – people will look too and rally around the flag….the flag only means something under sacrifice and burden

  27. Bryan Harris
    March 22, 2021

    I fear it is more than a mood – In some quarters, especially the BBC, it is a designed attack on what we stand for, what we are – but the BBC are just the most visible tip of this denigrating iceberg, for this attitude of hatred of our country goes deep… <I? ask any deep state socialist what he thinks about the UK.

    It is incisive diary entries like this that have brought people to this site, and why sometimes it feels like there is some hope out there, that at least one decent MP can see what’s going on. That hope fades quickly though for the thoughts expressed here usually stay here and do not make it out to the wider world often enough.
    It still feels at times that entries are restricted by government policy, and that makes it feel more real that we are all being restricted and controlled in what we can say, and even think.

    We need better than laws to give the police more powers, for suppression of what our country once was already runs at all levels of our society.

    JR, please do keep publishing your articles to allow a little truth out, even if it is often too mild a description of what is really going on.
    Sometimes being so close to the centre of power means that you do not get a complete view of all that is going on, nor the degree to how life is being changed. Likewise, you know things that are not generally known, which is good for us as a source we can trust compared to what the BBC gives out.

  28. glen cullen
    March 22, 2021

    Every government funded institution should be required to fly the flag of the union and that of its own country…..and only those two flags

  29. J Mitchell
    March 22, 2021

    As George Orwell said, there many bien pensant people in this country who would rather steal from tHe poor box than sing the national anthem.

  30. ukretired123
    March 22, 2021

    Well said Sir John!
    In 1967 on a school trip to France, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway all welcomed you as soon as they recognised you were British either by your car registration or your language. We were camping and some even laid on a free breakfast in their homes even though very few spoke English unlike today.
    When working abroad in less developed countries in East and West Africa in the 1970s and 1980s there was tremendous respect from the ordinary people and fellow European expatriates who knew you were British.
    After joining the EEC there was no flag until it morphed into the political EU with 12 stars like a marketing exercise to tout its ambitions. There’s 27 countries but only 12 stars possibly representing the unelected unaccountable big stars in Brussels?
    The Armed Forces revere the flag and it is highly symbolic of fighting for freedom paid in blood sweat and tears to those who know our history. Shallow people exhibit both their ignorance and their contempt so at least we know their allegiance is not to Britain but elsewhere.

  31. Fedupsoutherner
    March 22, 2021

    Great post today John and I wholeheartedly agree with you. Sturgeon should be ashamed. We are not members of the EU anymore and yet she insists on flying the EU flag. The woman is deranged. I would like to see more union flags and especially on produce in the shops. I would also be very keen to see the St Georges flag more often on things made in England. Americans are not shy in flying their flag and we should follow suit. The BBC is a disgrace. We should be doing more to make our children aware of our past history both good and bad. It’s what makes a nation and we do have much to be proud of. I’m fed up of the usual people on this site who just can’t help themselves running down our country. They are obviously more inclined to be supporters of the EU so why aren’t they living there yet? They have had ample opportunity and could still live there now if they became residents. I want the days back when we were proud to fly our flag.

  32. Ed M
    March 22, 2021

    ‘It is curious that some in the BBC and their friends think it cause for merriment that government should be proud of our country and wish to display one of its known symbols’

    – Not to love one’s country is a heresy (liberals sadly confuse healthy patriotism – like the wonderful patriotism of Brits during WW2 – to the ugly nationalism of Nazi Germany).

  33. a-tracy
    March 22, 2021

    The ‘merriment’ gives the appearance that the two presenters have no pride in being British, or pride representing Britain on our daily news program, to publicly mock the Minister sitting by his office flag was interesting, it seems to be something to do to curry favour with their higher-ups in the Company.

    I’m not sure a flag is a unifying symbol that it used to be with the big multi-cultural society now in Britain, they never had a flag at my or my children’s schools so the disconnect has been going on a long time.

  34. JoolsB
    March 22, 2021

    It was good to see we had an option to identify as English on the census. I am English first and foremost and if the Scots can fly their Saltires and the Welsh their Dragon, then why it is it only us English who have the Union Jack or nothing forced on us? Who can forget Emily Thornberry sneering at the English flag? This is the contempt UK MPs, English constituency ones at that, hold us in. Even this Tory Government, there by the grace of England, nowhere else, refuse to recognise the nation of England. Shame on them.

  35. jerry
    March 22, 2021

    But which flag should be displayed, when and how, it could all become a bit like that Yes Minister Christmas card skit, how should sign them, never mind by whom, when and where;

    Sir Humphrey to Minster – Minister, when talking about national issues you should display the Union Flag, but when EVEL is involved you should only display the flag of St George, unless of course only Scottish MPs are subject to EVEL, in which case you should display both the flag of St George and the flag of Wales.

    Minister – Hmm.

    Sir Bernard to Sir Humphrey – But what about the Northern Ireland flag, and how should the four nations flags be displayed, after all, position might be seen as indicating political leanings, and….

    Sir Humphrey to Sir Bernard – Oh for goodness sake Bernard, don’t complicate things even further, you’ll only confuse the Minister!

    Minster to both PS and PPS – Look, I’ve been thinking, Sir Humphrey is correct, all these fags will be very confusing to the voters, the UK has never really obsessed about flags before, well, other than football hooligans and the nationalists, so why not just carry on as we have always done?

  36. Fred.H
    March 22, 2021

    ‘It is all part of the strange mood of some in this country that seeks to denigrate who we are, what we stand for and what our ancestors did.’
    I find it strange that you continue to publish ridiculous points of view, many clearly nonsense, incredibly anti-British, anti-this, anti-that and yet suggesting everything is sooo much better in other countries. Why do they continue to live here, ignoring decades of opportunity within EU just one example. Both my daughters lived and worked in the US, my son took his family to Australia for 5 years. All returned. A simple conclusion.

    1. MiC
      March 23, 2021

      You do realise that most people’s ancestors in this country are a completely different lot from the keep-it-in-the-family old money Tory elite?

      You seem to forget.

      It all changed around 1066.

      1. NickC
        March 23, 2021

        No, Martin, our ancestry did not all change around 1066.

  37. Mr Fisher
    March 22, 2021

    Mr Redwood, can you not see the irony in a government of a nation that pioneered liberal democracy choosing to ramp up the display of flags at the very moment when it is embarked on repressing the freedom of the people it is supposed to serve?

  38. Original Richard
    March 22, 2021

    “…..but another to see mainstream BBC news programmes trying to become comedy shows at the expense of normal government practice to fly the flag.”

    The BBC behaves as a communist anti-British, anti-capitalist cult and has been gaslighting us for years into believing we are the most racist, intolerant and stupid nation on the planet with the worst history.

    As well as telling us we are destroying the planet with our pitifully small CO2 output the push is now to convince us that we are all suffering from mental breakdowns.

  39. William Long
    March 22, 2021

    It is so much easier to mock something you do not fully understand than take the trouble to find out why it means what it does to many other people. This lack of intellectual rigour conditions the approach of BBC employees to almost anything that differs from their ‘woke’ urban comfort zone. Their low regard for their nation and its symbols is a prime example.
    Of course attitudes to the national flag have always been tricky; it is there in the bakground but can easily become a source of discomfort if made too much of; Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Jelly bellied flag flapper’ comes to mind.

  40. Dickie
    March 22, 2021

    Your sentiment is just a feeble attempt to rescue UK/British Nationalism that has already turned into English Nationalism- but too late- for instance looking at the St George flags flying in Dublin for the rugby and then the Scottish flags north of the border to my mind the one thing that was holding the UK together was the EU flag itself- but now that too has gone.

  41. bigneil(newercomp)
    March 22, 2021

    The one flag this govt should fly is the one of surrender – it clearly is more fitting.

    1. glen cullen
      March 23, 2021

      Its not a flag its a policy of surrender

  42. Christine
    March 22, 2021

    The Government is largely to blame for the situation we find ourselves in today. They have allowed the BBC to destroy and obliterate the good things about our country. The biased reporting from the BBC should have been stopped years ago. There are many good news stories they never report, it’s only ever doom and gloom.

    Also, look at the riots we now have in Bristol and London. This is the result of not prosecuting last year’s vandals. As we have seen in the USA if you don’t clamp down on these anarchists they become bolder.

    What a sad state of affairs that an English MP has to stand up in the Commons, using parliamentary privilege, to reveal the truth behind the current Scottish debacle, where politicians there seem able to manipulate the evidence for their own benefit and threaten newspapers with lawsuits if they dare print the facts.

    We need a huge political shakeup in this country. If our Government won’t protect our culture, history and justice then stand aside.

    1. Iain Moore
      March 22, 2021

      Yes the failure to defend the line last year just invited more attacks. In the USA the cities who took a soft line to the Antifa mobs are in an even bigger mess now. In Minneapolis whole blocks are now run by the Antifa mobs, and the police aren’t allowed in. The likes of California and NY are losing populations to the Republican run sates like Texas and Florida. People don’t like living in woke run places, but try telling the Conservatives that.

      1. Iain Moore
        March 22, 2021

        PS , The Conservatives are not even at the races, if the right are found at fault, like in the protect the statues demo last year, the left will pile in and make sure everybody associates the trouble with the right, it will be ‘far right this and far right that’ , so the far right is made out to be this great threat. Violence from the left, of which we have a great deal, as with yesterday , it will be passed off as ‘extremism’ , no association with the politics of the left at all, and the Conservative MPs will go along with that. They are asleep on the job, they are not defending their political territory, and certainly not taking the fight to the left.

    2. ukretired123
      March 23, 2021

      +1000

  43. MickN
    March 22, 2021

    Countries have flags. That EU monstrosity is merely a logo.

    1. Dickie
      March 22, 2021

      MickN correct the EU flag is more of a brand it is not a national flag- we all know that- what’s the beef?

  44. formula57
    March 22, 2021

    Wrapping themselves in their flag (too often in what seems an overly defensive and boastful manner) I have associated with some foreigners and so it does strike me as odd now our government is doing it.

    A sign British Leyland was doomed came when it started adorning its vehicles with Union Jack logos, the message seeming to be buy for patriotic reasons, because you will not if you judge the product on its own merit. Perhaps the government is now using the same marketing playbook?

  45. margaret
    March 22, 2021

    This put down GB/UK has been continuing since 1990. Apparently we are dinosaurs who cannot think 21st century . Are well mannered approach to things ( which I hasten to add has deteriorated rapidly ) was supposedly an indication that we were ‘posh’ and not a respectful way to live.
    In the past I have been a badminton player so therefore watched the all England championships in Birmingham. When the UK were out, I really wanted Japan to win ..simply because their well mannered tradition of bowing was ever present . People and differing countries need identity and respect.

    1. Margaret Brandreth-
      March 23, 2021

      our well mannered approach..

  46. Mark
    March 22, 2021

    It seems to me to be entirely appropriate that a Minister of the Crown should have reminders of those whom they are supposed to serve in their offices. Some of them forget all too easily.

    The BBC would do much better if it recognised the constitutional position, and challenged whether ministers were actually serving their country where there is not enough clarity on that. Instead, it thinks Ministers report to the BBC and its agenda.

  47. Ed M
    March 22, 2021

    I think we need to replace the anthem with a new one. The current one is a bit dreary and Jerusalem is a bit mawkish as anthem. Let’s replace it with the theme music to a Bridge Too Far.

    I’m serious. This music sums up perfectly the CHEERFUL WARRIOR spirit of the English – a spirit that played such a key role in the defeat of Nazi Germany.

    1. Fred.H
      March 22, 2021

      or Simply the best?

    2. glen cullen
      March 22, 2021

      Agree

      1. glen cullen
        March 22, 2021

        Changed my mind to “Rule, Britannia”

        1. Ed M
          March 23, 2021

          ‘Rule Britannia’ doesn’t capture the LIVELY, CHEERFUL, WARRIOR, DOWN-TO-EARTH spirit of the British as much as the theme to A Bridge Too Far (maybe not have as formal anthem but certainly as informal anthem like the Irish have an informal anthem they sing after their formal anthem at rugby matches).

          If you want the young to join the British Army, to become great British entrepreneurs and great family men, and great artists and writers and poets, and so on, of the future, then the theme to A Bridge too Far is many times more inspiring / exciting than ‘Rule Britannia’, ‘Jerusalem’ ‘God Save The Queen.’

        2. Ed M
          March 23, 2021

          Also, ‘Rule Britannia’ is a bit overly middle-class.

          But the theme to A Bridge Too Far is UNIVERSAL in its appeal – appealing to those who are aristocrats, gentry, doctors, merchants, bricklayers, bankers, postmen, nurses. It’s uncomplicated, cheerful – and very British!

          1. glen cullen
            March 23, 2021

            I’m sold

  48. kb
    March 22, 2021

    This episode has hopefully brought to the government’s attention just how bad the BBC has become. Since the referendum it has become unbearable, with its pro-EU, anti-British woke agenda pushed into almost every single programme.
    I’m not sure what is to be done about it, because as soon as you try it will be classed as political interference. But stop trying to follow their agenda, that would be a good start. Somehow there needs to be pushback against the BBC worldview.

  49. Ed M
    March 22, 2021

    ‘CHEERFUL WARRIOR’ – CHEERFUL WARRIOR of the English and also their uncomplicated, practical, get-on-with attitude as well which this music also conveys. It also conveys the idea of HEROISM.

    1. Ed M
      March 23, 2021

      Also, everything in our country is so complicated now. Where is the easy-going, cheerful charm of the Brits that I LOVE.

      Where are the strong families? The humorous banter? The personalities? The attitude of work hard with work ethic but play and enjoy life as well in a healthy, uncomplicated way. So many people seem to gloomy. Where are the warrior men? Where is the warrior spirit?

      People are being pulled from the left by socialists and liberals and feminists into all kind of WEIRD ways of looking at the world. And then from the right about money – money – money. Like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. This is NOT England. But more and more like some nightmarish shadow of who we really are as a great nation – as a great people.

      The problem now is all over the Western World. Our Civilisation is fast in decline. Being sovereign from the EU is great. But there are so many deep and ugly problems underlying our country – that politics can’t do that much to resolve – but that can only be changed in the world of Education, the Media, and the Arts.

  50. Keith
    March 22, 2021

    What’s our flag got to do with the EU.. we have left now and time to get on with making them new trade deals with countries far away that we were promised

  51. Ed M
    March 22, 2021

    Lastly, the music to A Bridge Too Far is MANLY. My brother-in-law, ex-British army, is always playing it (favourite tune). And he’s a real patriot. I’m fed up of living in an era where men have become so effeminate – all over the Western World not just the UK. A tune like the theme from A Bridge Too Far would be a great national anthem.

  52. Nick
    March 22, 2021

    Well of course we should be proud to fly our national flag. Indeed, it should be a legal requirement that this be flown, every day, on ALL public buildings (town halls, schools, hospitals, police stations, etc) throughout the ENTIRE UK – including, obviously Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Boris splutters about wanting to unite the country, but is unwilling to make the country FEEL like a single country. Let everyone see, every day, everywhere they go, that they are part of one country, and they will internalise it. Unfortunately, Boris is allowing the very opposite to happen.

    As for the BBC, we all know what a Etc ed they are. But again, we have only Boris to blame. Why wasn’t a hardline Conservative Party patriot put in charge of them, with the remit to root out and sack anyone who did not share our pride in our country? The left is engaged in a cultural WAR against us, and has been for at least the last four decades, so why isn’t the government willing to respond?

  53. glen cullen
    March 22, 2021

    Maybe the House of Commons could fly the Union flag inside the chamber next to the Speaker

  54. jon livesey
    March 22, 2021

    Back in the Sixties, about the only time you saw the flag flying in London – in other words, in civilian life – was on the Queen’s birthday and Accession Day. This was not because anyone was embarrassed by the flag, far from it, but because flying the flag was a bit of an event, and flying it so rarely gave it a kind of cachet and rarity.

    Today you see the flag everywhere, and although I am always happy to see it, I have an uneasy feeling that we may be over-doing it a bit. When you start using the Flag as background to the Weather Report, where do you go next?

    Rarity value is a real, though subtle attribute. I think some Government Minsters could ask themselves if they really have the long-term historical significance to use the Flag as the background to their latest press statement. In fact, some of them should look up “vulgarity” in the dictionary.

  55. Fedupsoutherner
    March 22, 2021

    I wish Boris would stop calling those in the EU our friends. They are anything but friends.

  56. Fred.H
    March 22, 2021

    Sometimes nuances are lost on translation. Could Johnson explain to Ursula the normal German beach towel in a reserved place secures it, they insist. Our vaccine order is a variation of the beach towel, and we insist.

  57. David Brown
    March 22, 2021

    The Union Flag represents the UK with individual nations with in the UK having their own National Flag.
    The current climate in Scotland is very much against the Union Flag along with Irish Nationalists in Northern Ireland.
    I don’t see the need for the Union Flag to be shown on every occasion.
    With Scottish independence very much in the spot light, an independent Scotland will render the current Union Flag redundant as it would no longer represent the UK as technically the UK will no longer exist.
    On a related flag subject I see that Labour are now starting to discuss options for a Customs Union with the EU and I guess this will evolve by the next election along with Federalism and PR.
    There are many things arising out of Brexit that are no going away except any chance of a US trade deal that’s dead in the water, well actually the Irish Sea. My guess is the EU will get a US trade deal soon.

    1. Peter2
      March 22, 2021

      Yet recent polls show no real desire for Scotland nor Wales nor Northern Ireland to break away.

      Trade deals are good but many nations have trade successfully without any formal deals.

  58. James1
    March 22, 2021

    When is the appalling BBC going to be sorted out. It is long overdue. It’s very easy:-

    1. Decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee
    2. Make every second person redundant
    3. Provide that no member of staff is paid more than the prime minister

  59. Greg
    March 22, 2021

    As for the reference to Eastern Europe, the Union flag also represents the Versailles system, Churchill’s percentages deal with Stalin and other unresolved issues over there.

  60. Stephen Glasse
    March 22, 2021

    Not relevant and I don’t expect you to pass this but I must protest against the horrifying news that care workers formally of ‘clap for carers the salt of the earth stock’s are to be forced to have a vaccine OR be driven into unemployment! And despite fact government document admitted recently that WE DON’T KNOW IF VACCINE WILL REDUCE TRANSMISSION. What happened to England, John? Have you read Tom Holland’s latest DOMINION? I note even John Gray was impressed!

    1. Fred.H
      March 23, 2021

      So do you want your old vulnerable loved-ones, or indeed yourself to be cared for by someone with the risks of Covid? At least the vaccine significantly reduces the risk to the carer of catching it, or being contagious for longer.

  61. jon livesey
    March 22, 2021

    Unless there is something “special” about vaccines that I don’t understand, the behaviour of the EU today seems very strange.

    One the one hand they are still waving the disputed contract they have with Astrazenica, demanding more deliveries, and yet now having serious problems persuading EU residents to take the AZ vaccine, after EU politicians themselves it first as ineffective, then as dangerous.

    Then I see the EU spokesman announcing to the Press that it is “entirely legitimate” for the EU to hold up the 40m dozes of Pfizer vaccine being manufacture in the Netherlands, on contract to the UK, paid for by the UK, and using ingredients supplied from the UK.

    I can’t see anything here except persistent and total bad faith on the part of the EU. They really do seem to be more interested in propaganda than in saving lives.

    1. G Wheatley
      March 23, 2021

      To reprise the sentiment in comments made since 23rd June 2016, what one has to remember is that the EU Commission have doggedly sought to ensure that no member state left the union (via various versions of “Project Fear”). Once they realised that the UK leaving was in fact an inevitability, phase II meant that they had to ensure that it was not seen to be successful ouside the Union.

      Everything ( and I do mean EVERYTHING) that the EU Commission have done, are doing and will do, is geared toward that aim. When Ursula von der Layen says the words “friends in the UK” I can detect the sneer in her voice. Likewise with Ms. Mairead McGuinness.

      We will be in an unacknowledged war with them for years, if not decades. Or at least until the One World Government happens along…..

  62. John McDonald
    March 23, 2021

    When the PM is acting as England’s First Minister, then the Flag of St. George should be in the background plus the Union Jack .
    I am not too bothered that the Welsh and Scots only have there national flag on display. They associated the Union Jack as being the English Flag or Westminster’s flag I guess?

    The flag of St George is not the flag of the extreme right wing, it is the flag of England .
    Why is not the flags of Scotland, Wales , Northern Ireland and England flown at Westminter under the Union Jack everyday ?

    1. Fred.H
      March 23, 2021

      Let us hope it is a different PM. Anybody watching the Coronavirus tv program last night must be horrified at the goings-on and the delay upon delay.

  63. lojolondon
    March 23, 2021

    As George Orwell said in the 1930’s – “It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true, that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during “God Save the King” than stealing from a poor box.”

  64. G Wheatley
    March 23, 2021

    Sir John,

    That’s because there is no longer anything ‘British’ about the BBC, other than their claim to use the word in their title.

    Were I to be fortunate enough to replace the member for Hertsmere as Minister for DCMS, I would revoke the BBC’s broadcasting licence within nano-seconds of my bum cheeks hitting the office chair.

    They are now only the “World’s Premiere News-Gathering Organisation” in their own minds and have long since lost any respect they may once have had. DJT hit the nail very firmly on the head when he said at one press Press Conference when Laura Kuenssberg stood-up and identified herself, “Yeah, the BBC – there’s another beauty….”.

    Their job is to REPORT the news, not to make it, fabricate it, twist it, comment upon it or indeed be the subject of it. They started to lose that respect with their rabidly pro-EU and anti Brexit stance in the period even befor the referendum was held, peddling “Project Fear” for months beforehand, and in almost every ‘report’ twixt then and the end of last year.

    “British”, they ain’t, and should be barred from using the word to describe themselves.

    Regards,
    GW.

  65. Lindsay McDougall
    March 24, 2021

    When are we going to get round to using our full diplomatic weight to assert that the EU is NOT a country?

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