Save the Flag

You may accuse me of bias if you wish, and you may have a point, but I happen to think that the Union Flag is the best looking flag in the world. All flags are unique, true, but the Union Flag is more unique than most. For a start, it’s not simply three stripes. Far too many countries employ the three stripe rule. Bland. Secondly, it has three colours. Flag should have three colours. Two colours is too plain. Four becomes messy. Lastly, it has no tacky symbols tacked on, be they stars, sickles, suns, crescents or flora and fauna.

The Union Flag (it’s only the Union Jack at sea) is unique, classy and instantly recognizable. I also love the fact that people make so many abstract and imaginative variations upon it. You can mess around with the colours and add lacy edges if you wish to create something even more unique. Mexico could learn a lesson or two from the Union Flag. It is possible to go over the top when ‘protecting‘ your flag…


But alas, the Union Flag is an endangered species. In little over a year Scotland will hold a referendum to determine whether or not to break away from the United Kingdom and form their own country. I am personally against such a breakaway but I will not have a say in this referendum. That, quite rightly, is an issue for the Scots themselves. I don’t believe that the nationalists will succeed. I don’t believe it would be good for Scotland. It probably wouldn’t have much impact for England. We’d be a little better off, but not so much so that anyone notices. The Scottish Nationalist Party have a real wishy washy view on independence, where they seem to be wanting to cherry pick the bits of the Union they like, and ditch the bad bits. If it’s an independence vote, then it should be a case of in or out.

I am trying to find out what sort of turnout they need for the vote to be enforceable. I thought it scandalous that the Scots and Welsh were awarded self governments during Tony Blair’s tenure based on a handful of people turning up to vote. The previous referendum to that, in the 70s, required a turnout of at least 40%. Personally, I would insert a requirement for 50% of the registered electorate, regardless of how many turn up, to vote ‘Yes’ for the referendum to be valid. The default vote should always be for the status quo.

The consequences of Scottish independence are massive. For a start, the United Kingdom will cease to exist. After all, we will be left with England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Northern Ireland is a province and Wales a quasi form of principality. Only England and Scotland are/were kingdoms, and if one of them does the off….well there’s no ‘united’ to that, is there. Great Britain will also cease to have any political meaning to it and will once again solely become a geographical term. Northern Ireland, of course, has never actually been part of Great Britain.


Back to the point at hand though. The flag. The Union Flag is a combination of the flags of Ireland, Scotland and England. It’s actually been around since before the union of England and Scotland. If there’s no Scotland what happens to the flag. This is an as yet unanswered question. It doesn’t just affect the UK. There’s a whole bunch of countries using the Union Flag in their flag, including Australia and New Zealand. Some Canadian states also use it, and one state of the USA has a Union Flag in the corner. That state being Hawaii. Ironic really, seeing as Hawaiian born Obama was accused of being ‘too British’ to be president.

Perhaps these countries will see this as the right time to ditch the Union Flag. Maybe those who are still technically ‘attached’ to the UK will see this as the right time to declare themselves full republics too. I’m thinking of Australia, Canada and New Zealand in particular. They could join other former colonies who have in the last couple of decades ditched the Union Flag – South Africa and Hong Kong. The repercussions of Scottish independence could be quite far reaching.

The Union Flag looks a bit bare in the image above, with the Scottish blue removed. Perhaps this would be the right moment to include a bit of Welsh in the flag. See the image below. I think adding the Welsh Dragon would be a bit tacky (see my comments from the first paragraph!) but why not add a bit of their green. We could market it as a promotion to the Welsh! Of course, another option, is to simply ignore the fact Scotland has gone it’s own way and just carry on with the Union Flag as it is.



7 thoughts on “Save the Flag

  1. As you probably know, I am a flag fanatic. Have been since before I was 5. And I tend to agree with most of your flag criteria — even though I am rather fond of Kyrgyzstan’s yellow sun on a red field. It seems to work as a flag — unlike the current Canadian flag that looks like the label on a syrup jug.

    What I like best about the Union flag is its subtle asymmetry created by the St. Andrew cross. If it goes, so does the oddity that lets flag snobs know when a Union flag has been unwittingly hung upside down.

    If a new flag comes put of this, that will be fine. It will just be another in a long line of flags for the semi-sceptered isles.


    • I’d like to tell you what my guess as to what they’ll do for a flag would be, but I really have no idea. The red stripes for the Irish are, as you mention, asymmetrical and it works well in the current flag. It looks plain odd without the blue though.


    • The vote will be next autumn, and in all likelihood will reject independence. There’s no guarantee of that though. Things can happen just prior to a referendum that can swing the vote. And voter apathy can let in a vocal minority too.


  2. A great post. I happen to think that if Scotland decides to go it alone (which I wouldn’t agree with) that we should just keep the Union Flag. It is our flag, it is beautiful and historic and looks majestic and stately.

    As you say it is also very flexible with the ability to change the colours for informal situations and along with the USA and Canadian flags, is probably the amongst the most distinct in the world.


    • If it were down to me, we’d keep the flag and just restyle the country the United Kingdom of England and Wales. And we’d oblige Northern Ireland to accept independence. That’s the nation that really doesn’t belong in the union.


      • Lee says:

        You can’t add the Dragon as the red cross comes from the flag of Northern Ireland.
        but, I like that Green, better than the Blue.
        I love Green anyway.


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