What’s sauce for the goose…?

Sir Paul Stephenson backs down in row over Union Jack badges. Will commenters high mindedly ignore this too predictable thread or take up the cudgels? Just a test!

  • Ulick

    “Will commenters high mindedly ignore this too predictable thread or take up the cudgels?”

    Then why bother posting it? Can’t ever happen here anymore, so doesn’t really have any relevance.

  • McGrath

    Who complained that they were offensive? Dress code issues aside, if its a simple pin representing the national flag, it could hardly be offensive.

    Or maybe the Brits doent even like the Union Jack?

  • 6countyprod

    Why don’t they just incorporate the union flag into the uniform and be done with it? 🙂

  • joeCanuck

    Each police force/service should maintain an approved list of insignia which may be used on uniforms. The Union Flag would be perfectly acceptable across the pond. For obvious reasons, no national flag is acceptable in N.I.

  • Frank Sinistra

    Brian,

    Of course republicans will oppose the PSNI wearing Union flag badges on the grounds both are illegitimate in Ireland. But nationalists like the SDLP and SF will now have to work out how they support the PSNI, accept Britain having sovereignty but still try to work up a stupid little gripe over cops wearing the badge of the state that pays them. I expect they’ll beg a British Minister or senior cop to spare their blushes in the end though.

  • rapunsel

    I’m a bit confused. Is it alright because it is a union jack , because it is supporting the troops or both? What if a copper wanted to wear a badge opposing the war , is that now ok too?

  • Driftwood

    indeed a predictable thread.
    The Met shouldn’t allow any such badges, whatever their merit, they are nothing to do with the job and will open the floodgates. Sir Paul Stephenson got this one wrong, presumably to please the daily mail crowd.

  • Big Maggie

    JoeCanuck,

    “The Union Flag would be perfectly acceptable across the pond.”

    Do you mean the Flag of the Union: the Stars and Stripes? I thought we were discussing the Union Jack, which for some reason, Unionists in NI insist on calling the Union Flag.

    See how complicated it gets?

  • oneill

    I thought we were discussing the Union Jack, which for some reason, Unionists in NI insist on calling the Union Flag.

    Yep. The whole business is probably far too complicated for you Big Maggie if you think it’s only Unionists in NI who refer to it as the Union flag.

  • Reader

    Big Maggie: I thought we were discussing the Union Jack, which for some reason, Unionists in NI insist on calling the Union Flag.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_jack
    The unionists aren’t wrong.

  • joeCanuck

    Big Maggie,
    My understanding which may be wrong is that the flag is only called a “Jack” when flown on a warship.
    I’m not a “unionist”.

  • joeCanuck

    Just checked the Shorter OED which should be somewhat authoritative.
    It says a “small flag indicating nationality flown from the jack-staff at the bow of a vessel”
    It ends: “In British use the jack has been since the 17thCc a small sized “Union Flag” of the period (Union Jack)which has also been , since 1707, inserted in the upper canton of the Ensign; hence the name “Union Jack” has been improperly applied to the “Union Flag” itself…”

  • RepublicanStones

    What Driftwood said.

  • iluvni

    whats it called when its on a pack of turkey slices in Asda?

  • Big Maggie

    JoeCanuck,

    “My understanding which may be wrong is that the flag is only called a “Jack” when flown on a warship.”

    Better tell that to the Royal family then. Two of them called it the Union Jack in my hearing, on two separate occasions.

    You’d think THEY’d know better than most, wouldn’t you? :^)

  • joeCanuck

    You’d think THEY’d know better than most, wouldn’t you? :^)

    Didn’t take you for a jokester, Big Maggie.
    Inbreeding doesn’t usually produce intellectuals.

  • Billy

    As a moderate Nationalist I have no problem with the Union Jack or thse badges.

    Having lived in London for many years, the overwhelming majority of GB people are friendly and decent.

    In fact, there were quite often more English people celebrating St Patrick’s day than Irish.

    I think it’s really unfortunate that the Union Jack was hi-jacked by groups such as the BNP/National Front and also so-called NI “loyalists” who simply disgrace it.

    This has led to the growth of English Nationalism and a massive increase in the appearance of St George’s flags.

    These badges are, of course, totally unacceptable in NI. This is purely down to decades of “loyalists” using the flag as a weapon to taunt Nationalists with rather than respecting it.

    Have you seen the vast majority of flags in “loyalist” areas? tatty, torn, dirty, upside down – Some respect there eh?

    Ditto with the painting of kerbstones and lamp posts – the vast majority of GB folk that I know find this either laughable or repulsive.

    However, within GB, I have no problem with the police or anyone wearing these badges. They are simply a way of those who wish to respecting their troops by flying the flag of their country.

    If you don’t support the war – that’s fair enough – don’t buy or wear one.

    However, GB folk shouldn’t be ashamed of their flag due to the actions of racists and so-called NI “loyalists”.

    They should reclaim it from them.

  • Slimer

    @Billy

    These badges are, of course, totally unacceptable in NI.

    ON PSNI active cops perhaps you might argue. In general certainly not. If someone wants to wear a union flag, a flag of India or a flag of South Ossetia in a private capacity then (to quote the cliche) it’s a free country…

  • Billy

    Slimer

    Yes – poorly expressed on my part.

    I certainly feel that they are unacceptable on the PSNI. Whether Unionists like to admit it or not – NI is not as British as Finchley (and never has been). If police forces in GB want to wear them, that’s fine by me. The environment in which the PSNI operate is totally different and unique – these badges would be totally unacceptable.

    However, your main point is totally valid. If members of the NI general public want to buy and wear these badges, that’s entirely up to them As you say, it is indeed a free country.

  • John

    I agree with Slimer and Billy’s point on the PSNI and flags… but what about all of our public buildings and street lights etc..?

    Surely we have the same problem here do we not?

  • Sarah Lavender

    “Or maybe the Brits doent even like the Union Jack?”

    Brits presumably like the Union Jack, but those who consider ourselves English, Welsh or Scottish and _not_ British, don’t.

    However I strongly doubt that the feelings of nationalists on this island were being taken into account. Nationalism in England is strongly supressed.

    Unfortunately both the British flag and the English flag have, in the past, been used by the scumbags in the NF and BNP and now everyone in England who tries to express British or English national sentiment however civic, liberal and inclusive, gets accused of racism. Police will and have forced English people to remove English flags on the basis that its racist.

    I have a tiny enamel badge on my bag with the English flag and and the white dragon of England on it… and get a surprising amount of negative reaction to it.

    But even as an ardent _English_ nationalist I don’t have any objection to police wearing badges to support soldiers, I just wish the makers of these objects had chosen a symbol which represents the soldiers on the front line that are dying and not the British establishment that is sending them out there to die.

  • Rory Carr

    The badges are not simple replicas of the union flag they also contain the slogan “Support our troops”. This can clearly be construed as political support for a war which is opposed by at least half the population according to available polls. Such flaunting of a political stance is most certainly not appropriate for police on duty. Consider the effect if officers wearing such insignia were called upon to police a demonstration in opposition to the war.

    My little conspiracy antennae are atwitch with the idea that the whole controversy and subsequent backdown have been drummed up by government spin doctors to generate a crude jingoistic backlash in support of police officers being allowed to show “support for our boys” that can be interpreted as popular support for the war. Which, we may consider, is not beyond the bounds of reason especially given the coincidence of the opening of the inquiry into the war in Iraq today.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Billy,

    “NI is not as British as Finchley (and never has been).”

    NI is more British than Finchley. Finchley is an Anglo Saxon town first mentioned around the 13th Century. Our British heritage is much more ancient than that. Our ancestors were British before the English left Germany.

  • joeCanuck

    I don’t see any dichotomy between supporting the troops (Fathers Mothers, sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters ) and not supporting a particular war. The troops don’t decide to go to war; they are sent to war by the politicians supported by the top brass.

  • Brit

    “NI is more British than Finchley. Finchley is an Anglo Saxon town first mentioned around the 13th Century. Our British heritage is much more ancient than that. Our ancestors were British before the English left Germany.”

    Interesting the whole NI as British as Finchley. Why Finchley, which in places is quite Jewish and/or Asian, is seen as quintessentially British is quite odd – unless it was just because it was Mrs Ts constituency.

    The point is that Britain is a multi-national construct by definition. It is also very varied and very multi racial and multi-ethnic.

    Southall, Kilburn, Tottenham, Bow are all British but all very different. Glasgow, Bournemouth, Newport (in Wales), rural Norfolk, Sunderland, Cornwall. All British. So the fact that NI is different does not make it less British. The fact that a large proportion of its population are not British save for in a legalistic sense does. Having been to Belfast and some town county Down (very Prod area) it felt very familiar to me but I daresay Dublin wouldnt feel alien either.

  • Driftwood

    Billy
    You’re behind the times,
    Northern Ireland is as British as Witney.

    Do keep up old boy.

  • CW

    As a resident of Finchley who occasionally frequents some of its local watering holes such as Toolans, the Wishing Well and Gertie Browns (and formerly the Erris before the credit crunch took its toll) on Sunday summer afternoons to watch the various counties do battle on the road to Croker and listen to the banter from the punters, I sense that sometimes it seems more Irish than NI.

  • CW

    “occasionally frequents”

    Isn’t that a bit of an oxymoron?

  • Big Maggie

    “Northern Ireland is as British as Witney.”

    Except the parts which aren’t.

    But I thought she was American? Or is that Britney? Mind you, she sounds even more of a Brit.