Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Flagged Up

Flying the Red, White and Blue from a civic building every day of the year seems like an American thing to do. Or a Colonial one, indicative of some sort of insecurity. Not quite in place on the soil of the very United Kingdom herself, at least not in a civilian context.

Why, then, would the Unionist councillors or the Loyalist activists of Belfast want to do it? What makes them so insecure, especially now that most of their Catholic neighbours support the Union in principle?

But a Blue Ensign emblazoned with a shield bearing three lions and surmounted by Saint Edward's Crown, being the Crown also used in Canada, Australia and New Zealand: that would be a flag for England which did not make everywhere that flew it look like an emergency medical facility.

Suitably crowned shields would bear a lion rampant, a dragon and a harp as the respective flags of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, all following a classic Commonwealth pattern. In each case, there would also be room for a motto: Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense, Nemo Me Impune Lacessit, Cymru am Byth, Quis Separabit.

Not least, though not exclusively, because of the effect that it would have on arresting any slide towards the dissolution of the Union, the MPs for, and the municipal leaders of, the 12 ceremonial counties of Cheshire, Cumbria, Durham, the East Riding of Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, North Yorkshire, Northumberland, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, and West Yorkshire need to issue a Declaration that, in the event of the secession of either or both of Scotland and Wales, each of those ceremonial counties, or perhaps those existing on their territory in 1970, would become a State of the Union of the North of England.

Just so long as the identity of the Head both of the Union and of each of the States, as is the arrangement in Australia and in relation to Canada and her several Provinces, were made abundantly clear by the fact that, in best Commonwealth fashion, the flags of the Union and of each of the States were in all 13, or however many, cases variations on the Blue Ensign, each with an appropriate heraldic shield and motto emblazoned on it, surmounted by Saint Edward's Crown.

Nothing could better befit the last outposts of the Britain and of the England in which most British and most English people grew up.

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