Comment on Brexit activists’ illegal flag stunt

Posted on: 3rd January 2021

Our Union flag should be respected not abused.

I’ve been asked for comment about the illegal misuse of public flag-poles on the Penzance prom in a political stunt by Brexit enthusiasts.

For my own part I have good reason to be proud, indeed enthusiastic about our Union flag and its use. Members of my family fought under that flag in both World Wars. Some made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for freedoms many now take for granted.

I’m not opposed to people flying flags. People should be free to fly whatever flag they want …from their own garden or window. But the flying of flags from public buildings or flagpoles should be subject to the decisions of the public authority responsible for them. Not anyone who happens to take it upon themselves to decide for others.

I wonder if those behind this stunt really believe anyone should be empowered to simply come along and raise any flag on any public flagpole for any reason at any time? In which case they presumably wouldn’t object if ‘Islamic flags’ were raised by local Muslims at Ramadan? Or local Scots raise the saltier on St Andrew’s day etc…?

There’s a contrast between the values of the thousands who like my family fought and died alongside brave men and women from the UK, Commonwealth and wider world in the two World Wars on the one hand and politicians who drape themselves in the Union flag for political purposes on the other. Our brave forefathers/mothers fought to uphold and enhance the values and reputation of this country. Not for it to be diminished as it has been by those who use the flag as an integral part of their political advertising. They fought against nationalism and bigotry. Not to enable it, as the hard-right who misuse the flag are keen to do.

What the promoters of this stunt are incapable of comprehending is that it is precisely those who have misused the Union flag in this way who have brought this country to a point where the very Union itself – the Union they purport to love – now hangs by a thread.

Their supporters have now gone further and issued threats of criminal violence against those who dare to stand up to them. I think that alone should tell any moderate and decent person what lies behind the faceless activists who cooked-up this stunt.