McNarry driven to flagging up motoring anachronism…

COULD David McNarry (finally?!) have a valid point to make when he argues that Northern Ireland drivers should have the option of displaying the flag of St Patrick alongside their number plate? It does seem unfair that Scotland, England and Wales should be allowed to replace the ring of European stars with their own national flags – but not Northern Ireland. If St Pat’s cross can be agreed to form part of the new PSNI insignia, then it surely can adorn our cars equally easily? In the wake of the ‘Team GB/UK’ row, as occasional Alliance commenter and councillor Ian Parsley notes, it really should be ‘UK’ rather than ‘GB’, shouldn’t it?

  • KieranJ

    Seems a shame that Belfast Gonzo has so much time on his hands and is still reduced to submitting nonsense to the Slugger board.

    Wake me when you have a serious item to present.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Wake me when you can argue why it’s nonsense.

  • Dave

    Gonzo, as far as I know, the UK government backtracked on its promise to legalise the display of national flags on car number plates. As it stands (and I may be wrong), it is still illegal to have any flag on your car’s plate other than the flag of the EU. This is to show that the national identities of EU member states are subservient to the EU – at least when the EU has sovereignty over your transport policy.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    True – you’re talking about the situation right now, but the post is about future proposals by Westminster (which seems to have the power to get rid of the ring of stars, if the Department of Transport is to be believed).

  • Dave

    So it seems.

    I have my doubts that they will reverse the law they passed a mere 7 years ago, however. The agenda is to use EU symbols in place of national sysmbols to reinforce the impression that we are all European citizens (and that the national identity is a regional one within the emergent ‘country’ of Europa). The design for the UK’s proposed identity card doesn’t contain any hint of British nationality at all. Instead, it contains five stars taken from the EU flag and a symbol of a bull that is used on other identity cards within the EU. When your national identity card identifies your state as Europa, you know you’ve been tango-ed. 😉

    Anyway, back to your topic: Northern Ireland needs a bit more time to mature as a country in its own right. I don’t think anyone in Whitehall is going to alarm the horses by giving it the symbols of ‘nationhood’ at this delicate juncture.

  • KieranJ

    “Anyway, back to your topic: Northern Ireland needs a bit more time to mature as a country in its own right.”

    Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

  • Dave

    Give it ten years. You’ll find that their engineered new-found patriotism for their state becomes inextricably linked to loyalty to it. Then they’ll become proud of it. That’s your nationalism right there. 😉

  • Dave

    Throw in the qualifer ‘economic’ to prefix ‘patriotism’

  • Baz está fresco em Vermont

    “which seems to have the power to get rid of the ring of stars”

    Only because the EC is shy about opening fire on Fort Sumter, that day will come, and the crescent Banana, may be the cause.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana

  • Hbf

    Gregory,

    What? I can never understand what you’re tying to say.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Surely a more acceptable proposal- and indeed one consistent with parity of esteem- would be to permit motorists the choice of either displaying the Irish National Flag or Union Flag.

  • Hugo Green

    Read this very very very slowly and hopefully you will get it.

    Northern Ireland is part of a poltical entity known as the United Kingdom (UK). The Union Flag is the flag of the UK.

    The Irish National Flag, the Irish Tricolour, is the flag of Ireland. Ireland is a political entity that does not include Northern Ireland.

    Northern Ireland is part of the UK.

  • George

    What’s the official flag of Northern Ireland? The Union flag.

    Can you have the Union flag on your car? Yes.

    What McNarry seems to be saying that he wants a new official flag for Northern Ireland and he wants it to be the flag of St Patrick.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Gonzo,

    Can you please yellow/red card the persistent troller who added comments at the very beginning of this thread ?

    David McNarry does indeed have a penchant for flagging up issues that nobody really cares about. Very, very few cars up here display a nationality badge on their bumper of any stripe.

  • Can you have the Union flag on your car? Yes.

    On your car (Austin Power’s stylee)? Yes.

    On your registration plate?
    No, won’t be allowed in Northern Ireland.
    http://tinyurl.com/8gmav9

  • GavBelfast

    I quite like the idea of a St Patrick’s Cross on the registration plate.

    It would be the obvious flag in the future for an all-Ireland State – if that ever happens.

  • Digired

    “It would be the obvious flag in the future for an all-Ireland State – if that ever happens. ”

    No

    “A press report published in February 1783 complained that “the breasts of Irishmen were to be decorated by the bloody Cross of St Andrew, and not that of the tutelar Saint of their natural isle””

    So, not really How about the 4 provinces flag. Less stain of imperialism on that one.

  • Mack

    Dave

    If an attempt was made to establish a new Northern Irish national identity it would fail unless it was also manifestly Irish. It has been attempted in the past and failed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ulster_banner.svg)

    If a new Northern Irish national was also Irish in it’s identity (in the same way that Austria & Germany are both Germanic in their identity, or perhaps like the Swiss and Belgians with their algam of identities) would that be such a bad thing? I would imagine this would require official status for the Gaelic language, Gaelic games, the old Irish legends (like Cuchulainn), and Nothern Ireland’s place in Ireland also would have to be an important of that identity too.

    Because any Northern Irish identity would also be an Irish identity (at least in part), a united Northern Ireland might be easier to integrate into a United Ireland ?

    But if not, a united Northern Ireland would also have the option of pursuing it’s own independence as a nation state (without threatening to become a backdoor device for Britishness in the south) independent of British rule / domination.

    I can’t see the harm in it, if it is genuinely inclusive and allows the Irish nation that resides in Northern Ireland full expression.

  • Mack

    Missing words in the above, should be

    If a new Northern Irish national identity was also Irish in it’s identity (in the same way that Austria & Germany are both Germanic in their identity, or perhaps like the Swiss and Belgians with their algam of identities) would that be such a bad thing?
    I would imagine this would require official status for the Gaelic language. Gaelic games, the old Irish legends (like Cuchulainn), and Nothern Ireland’s place in Ireland also would have to be an important part of that identity too.

  • OC

    Rather strange that the EU symbol would be a bull, a character right out of a pagan mythology that smacks of sexual debauchery and perversion.

  • Ernie

    Seems to me that this is a further illustration of the fact that Northern Ireland is an anomaly, not to mention a bit of an embarrassment, both to Ireland and to the UK, both of which would rather that NI didn’t exist.

    What joy do unionists get from being hated on both ends?

  • Jeremy

    I demand that the symbol be introduced so that a local MP can get up in Parliament and be offended, offended I tells ya, by this “unrepresentative” symbol just like the whinging no-entities demanded the pound coin to be changed because they had forgotten that they were included and then after wasting money wanted another symbol.
    People there will have to realise that the world does NOT, repeat NOT, revolve around them.

    Keep on sponging in the unfree state.

  • David

    “as occasional Alliance commenter and councillor Ian Parsley notes, it really should be ‘UK’ rather than ‘GB’, shouldn’t it?”

    Not sure it should, as many Olympic competitors from both sides of the community in the North, seem content to represent Ireland rather than GB.

    Paddy Barnes,Melonie Nocher,Andrew Bree,Richard Archibald etc…

  • Plastic Paddy

    Hugo:

    Read this very very very slowly and hopefully you will get it.

    Northern Ireland is part of an island known as “Ireland.” People from Ireland are Irish.

    England, Scotland and Wales are parts of a different island known as “Britain.” People from Britain are British.

    Northern Ireland is part of Ireland.

    Hmm, seems that this method of talking to one another as though we were all idiots doesn’t get us very far, does it?

  • IJP

    David

    That’s all true but it’s besides the point.

    As Dave notes, the point is to identify the EU state in which the vehicle is registered. Personally, I don’t like “GB” being the identification (even though I’m obliged by international convention to display it), because my vehicle was not registered in “GB”.

    The whole thing from the Department of Transport is a nonsense, because designations such as “WAL” would be meaningless elsewhere in the EU. Where do you stop? Split Spain into “CAT”, “CAS”, “EUS”, “AND” and “GAL”?! Allow “VL” for Flanders? “BY” for Bavaria? “KER” for Cornwall? “YOR” for Yorkshire?!

  • dantheman

    How about NI instead of GB??? As GB and NI have separate licence plate numbering systems and all that. Forget about UK as there are two systems in operation…

  • Gareth

    Dave

    Actually, if you checked out the IPS’s website you would see that the draft design for the UK ID card carries the royal coat of arms rather prominently.

    I think you have misunderstood that the card currently being issued to non-nationals (the thing with the bull and stars) is in the standard EU design for residence permits (whether paper stickers for passports, or in card format) and therefore by default would (and is indeed) not be used by any country for its own citizens as they already have residence rights.

  • Dave

    Gareth, so does the design for the card in question. That, however, is the symbol of the ‘regional’ government, and it is not a symbol of national identity (only the EU ‘national’ identity symbols are permitted to be used on the card). And in case you think that you are not citizens of the EU (because only a country can have citizens), then I suggest you read Article 8 the Treaty of Rome which is ratified as a part of your uncodified constitution.

  • Hywel y Bryniau

    This debate has solved a problem for me as a small-boat person. When at sea I fly the red duster (a red rectaangle with a Union flag in the top flagpole-end corner) at my stern as required by maritime law. When in my home port in Wales I fly a Draig Goch as a courtesy flag from the starboard side of the main mast. When in a Scottish port, the St Andrew’s cross, in England the St George, and in the Isle of Man the three legs, and the tricolour when in Irish Republic. All that is easy and well understood by sailors. But what to do in Northern Ireland ports? Any flag I have would be contentious. But now, thanks to you, O Slugger, I know what to do. I need to buy – or more likely, to make, as I’m sure they don’t yet sell them – a St Patrick’s cross. Diolch o galon!

  • “I need to buy – or more likely, to make, as I’m sure they don’t yet sell them – a St Patrick’s cross.”

    Google is your friend: linky

    And I gather the reason for the GB rather than UK is because GB is the ISO country code for the United Kingdom. Wonder is it anything to do with the fact that GB is still GB in French (and Spanish, and German), but UK would be RU or some-such.

  • Jeremy

    But when people realise that the flag of Jersey is a mistranslation of Ierse Vlag they will be annoyed and demand its withdrawal.

  • catchagrip

    I was fined once in Austria for not have a country sticker on my NI registered car. It was just after Austria joined the EU and I tried to talk my way out by saying to the copper that I thought it wasn’t necessary now that they were in the EU. He wasn’t having any of it and told me I should have a GB sticker. So, I guess all those who drive their NI registered car and have a IRL sticker are liable to be fined. It could be a new revenue raiser for the PSNI.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Who gives a toss?

    Seriously?

  • catchagrip

    that bloody policeman did!

  • Jimmy Sands

    Sorry catchagrip, that wasn’t directed at you but to the thread topic.