Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

A Cuba Libre and, er, a Union Jack manbag please?

Sun 20 January 2013, 11:53am

The flag that splits some people in Belfast right down to their base national loyalities, is enjoying an almost shocking level of popularity in, of all places, the Republic of Cuba…

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Comments (42)

  1. Count Eric Bisto von Granules (profile) says:

    This is where Peter’s Catholic unicorns are?? Same life expectancy, employment opportunities, civil and religious freedoms as catholics in northern ireland in the 60s – I’m sure he’d approve.

    I’m sure somebody with a pithier wit could make a funny but poignant comparison – or have I ruined the joke already?

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  2. Cric (profile) says:

    Many a Nationalist spide in Belfast has scratched his head in confusion over whether wearing a pair of Reebok Classics is unpatriotic.

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  3. Ulick (profile) says:

    Looks like this lad is just off the plane from Havana:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dh74SGTPXPE

    Eric, life expectancy in Cuba is the same as here give or take a few months.

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  4. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Expect to see the #flegs rioters all puffing on Cuban cigars.

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  5. eyes wide open (profile) says:

    Che Guevara is on the wall,

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  6. MrPMartin (profile) says:

    the ubiquitous and even subliminal use of the Union flag in NI is and will work wonders at detoxifying the flag and thus making it appealing to all sections of the community.

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  7. MrPMartin (profile) says:

    In fashion I forgot to say

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  8. sherdy (profile) says:

    The Cubans have never been forced to endure the butchers apron 365 days a year.

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  9. MrPMartin (profile) says:

    Propagandist nonsense. All flags are butchers aprons if you live life looking backwards.

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  10. Zig70 (profile) says:

    Part of this is why 50+1 is nonsense. The British are just better at nation building. Travel around some European cities and you see the national flag flying from flats but not so much in Dublin. The Irish have always been more self effacing, which is not the best for rallying the troops. I’m sure there is many a shopping error in NI with a un-noticed union jack heading for the green bin.

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  11. Bangordub (profile) says:

    Hmmm, Parking my backside on my country’s flag?
    Not on my watch.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=union+jack+toilet+seat&tag=googiehydra-21&index=aps&hvadid=5210488710&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=8708610951394568179&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&ref=pd_sl_8vyb8nlum6_e

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  12. carl marks (profile) says:

    Zig70
    Part of this is why 50+1 is nonsense.

    there we go democracy is nonsense, strange that this theory turns up just as the demographics are changing!

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  13. SK (profile) says:

    “there we go democracy is nonsense, strange that this theory turns up just as the demographics are changing!”

    They’re so casual about it as well! It’s almost a foregone conclusion to them- democracy goes out the window as soon as it starts working in the fenian’s favour. It’s goalpost moving time then.

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  14. Starviking (profile) says:

    The Union Jack is also extremely popular in Japan at the moment, I see it on a lot of clothing and accessories these days.

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  15. CMM (profile) says:

    ‘the flag was introduced a few months ago’ ‘He doesn’t know a lot more about it’ ‘do I know which country it is? I haven’t got a clue’ The interviews were telling really. Glib co-opting of an iconic design. I wonder how popular the Spanish flag would be? At very best the exposure of the olympics seemed to have so resonance in Cuba. That’d be the same olympics lauded for it’s multicultural inclusiveness, not a phrase commonly associated with Union flag ‘enthusiasts’ here.

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  16. CMM (profile) says:

    *some resonance

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  17. BarneyT (profile) says:

    The japanese flag is widespead in England….that’s the curry culture for you :-)

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  18. carl marks (profile) says:

    Zig70
    I’m really interested in your idea, perhaps you could explain how a fashion trend in Cuba is proof that 50+i is nonsense.
    And if Britain is such a good Nation Builder how do you explain Scot, Welch, and Irish nationalists.

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  19. carl marks (profile) says:

    Oops Meant 50+1 not 50+i of course.

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  20. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Thanks, Carl Marks. The notion of ffty plus the square root of minus one would take us into new psephological territory.

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  21. carl marks (profile) says:

    David Crookes
    Normally I’m all for going to new territory but I think your right on this one!

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  22. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Dub, so we have you to blame for allowing those inflatable green white and orange hammers?

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  23. carl marks (profile) says:

    Green white and gold hammers, now that is even stranger than a union flag man bag.

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  24. BarneyT (profile) says:

    Green\White\Orange versus Green\White\Gold. Yikes. There’s a debate all on its own :-)

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  25. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Thanks, Carl. In 2007 Poland’s relations with the EU came to be characterized by the slogan “Pierwiastek albo śmierć” ( = the square root or death), but I don’t see that one catching on in NI. “Six into twenty-six won’t go” is about as mathematical as we ever get.

    Stay for a moment with i, the square root of minus one.

    (50 + i) x (50 – i) = 2501

    Does this equation encode the year of UI?

    I can already hear screams of never cubed…..

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  26. carl marks (profile) says:

    BarneyT

    I suppose green white and orange is correct, I was brought up with it being green white and gold I wonder does that say anything about the politics of my family (honest question would welcome opinions).
    Did anyone else have the gold experience?

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  27. carl marks (profile) says:

    David Crookes
    (50 + i) x (50 – i) = 2501
    it’ could be the percentage of the population that would have to be in favour of a UI to satisfy Zig70

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  28. David Crookes (profile) says:

    All part of a general war on the word ORANGE. Even the highway code insists on describing one traffic-light as ‘amber’, an utterly stupid adjective that no one ever uses. Bone-headed officialese is full of similar usages, like AFFIX STAMP HERE for STICK STAMP HERE.

    I have heard “green-white-and-gold” almost without exception since childhood, for what it’s worth.

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  29. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Very impressive, Carl. But one value for the number i to the power i is 0.2079, which may be interpreted to denote that a UI is only sixty-six years away.

    Better stop before somebody gubs us.

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  30. BarneyT (profile) says:

    I too was brought up with Green White and Gold, a story to be told…

    Perhaps the notion of a tricolour representing both green and orange traditions is a myth, establish retrospectively?

    You will see two types of tricolour, one with Orange (most dominant I think) and one with gold\yellow.

    I have seen articles dismissing the Orange element for the simple reason that the Irish Nationalists in question could not tolerate Orange representation in the Irish flag. Such people are strong green\white\gold advocates for that reasons.

    Equally I believe the Orange tradition would reject this for simular reasons.

    If indeed Orange is taken to represent those with a British identity (….or N Irish….dont get into that one now), is that not a bit presumptous and misrepresentative of many unionists. Not all unionists are orange.

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  31. BarneyT (profile) says:

    David, using maths and statistics in NI will only generate more questions…

    x + why?

    see what I mean? Dont even start me on equivalents and equality :-)

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  32. carl marks (profile) says:

    Thanks Barney, perhaps some of our southern contributors could tell us what they were brought up to believe.
    I think your theory of people talking the orange down for sectarian reasons may well hold some water.
    Would pro treaty republicans use orange and anti treaty ones favour gold?

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  33. David Crookes (profile) says:

    BarneyT, if you go to A007645 in the On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences, you’ll find the Cuban primes.

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  34. Zig70 (profile) says:

    50+1 in the context of a UI to my understanding ignores voters and looks at population. 50% of voters+1 is sensible. Maybe I was being too literal.

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  35. Starviking (profile) says:

    I’m from Northern Ireland, and the only mention I recall on gold in the Irish Tricolour was a Christian Brother saying the green was for Ireland, white for peace, and gold represented the Vatican. That said, I thought it strange at the time, as I recall it after all these years.

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  36. Starviking (profile) says:

    BarneyT

    The japanese flag is widespead in England….that’s the curry culture for you

    They like Japanese curry over there? Nice!

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  37. BarneyT (profile) says:

    Well now…how do I describe what a japanese flag is….in relation to a curry :-)

    I take you have never heard the expression, “I had an arse like a japanese flag!”. That phrase is sometimes used to describe the state of your backside the morning after an incredibly hot curry.

    There is a remedy however. Ensure you place a toilet roll into your freezer the night before :-)

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  38. carl marks (profile) says:

    Starviking
    Interesting, I went to a Christian brother’s school as well and seem to recall the gold being used but I don’t think the Vatican was brought into it. It would appear our flag means many things to many people.

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  39. BarneyT (profile) says:

    A few links

    http://homepage.tinet.ie/~asduchasdochas/homeweb2/staffpages/paddyday/website/flag.htm

    It seems that officially the “gold” or “yellow” is discouraged and the Orange does have an inclusive significance (those following of King William in the famous battle).

    Interestingly there was a proposal for a very different flag In 1850. Green for the Roman Catholics, orange for the Protestants of the Established Church and blue for the Presbyterians was proposed.

    For some reason that sits well with me.

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  40. Harry Flashman (profile) says:

    If the Brother was referring to the third colour as being related to the Vatican he surely meant yellow right? White and yellow being the colours of the Vatican flag, and “greenwhiten’yella” was certainly the colour combination I remember in Derry in my youth.

    As regards the inclusion of orange on the flag and the ways nationalists tie themselves in knots trying to convince people that it does not actually refer to the colour of the Orange Order, well I’ve had that debate more times than enough here. The orange on the Irish flag refers to the orange of the Orangemen, the pro-British, protestant Irish people with whom their republican (tricolour) nationalist fellow Irishmen (the Green) wish to be reconciled with in peaceful unity (White). It’s really rather simple.

    Jakarta’s smelly clapped out buses as well as the ubiquitous three-wheeled motorcycle taxis (bajaj) frequently decorate themselves with the Union flag, though I doubt very much if the drivers have any idea what it is, it’s just a colourful symbol that also often adorns t-shirts, bags and other fashion items.

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  41. Same in Strabane when I was a kid. The little lapel pins we bought in Lifford were painted green white and yellow, usually called green white and gold.

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  42. Starviking (profile) says:

    Barney T

    Regarding the Japanese flag – you learn something new every day!

    Funnily enough, a Japanese curry will not result in Japanese flag production – too mild.

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