SF’s proposals for “a single flag post in each area…”

Mark Devenport is manfully working his way through some of the submissions to Haass… But one from Sinn Fein deserves some open airing

1. No flags or emblems to be displayed on key arterial routes (to be defined) and town
centres.

2. No paramilitary flags, displaying symbols or names, and regimental military flags (e.g. Parachute Regiment) on display in public places

3. No flags/emblems to be displayed in the vicinity of:

a. Places of worship
b. Schools
c. Hospitals or any publicly funded buildings
d. Or within, or adjacent to, shared/mixed/new housing developments
e. Interface boundaries

4. Flags/emblems/symbols that are tattered, torn, discoloured or in general disrepair,  confer a lack of respect and should be removed.

5. Flag protocols could be developed in local or between neighbouring areas. Agreement could be reached on the following principles:

  • A no flag policy, pertaining to both identities
  • No pavements to be painted in ‘traditional’ colours i.e.  red/white/blue or green/white/orange.
  • In relation to the proliferation of flags, an agreement to establish a single flag post in each area, on which respective  national flags will be flown, and maintained over time.

6. Any actions under these protocols must be necessary, proportionate and in line with
the ECHR.

, ,

  • DC

    ‘Trickler’ hotspots.

  • foyle observer

    Great idea. Good to see Sinn Fein leading the way in progressive thinking, once again.

    Won’t be palletable to Unionists / ‘loyalists’ though. They are too paranoid and uneasy at the minute to accept any removal of their uber-Britishness, to accept any restrictions on flying of their flegs.

  • Alan N/Ards

    There should be no flags flying on lamposts. Not a single one. They are an absolute disgrace. The people who put them up need to get a life. The loyalist and republican’s who put them up need to stop doing it and give the rest of us a break.

  • megatron

    I think it is easy to come up with some agreed facts:

    (i) There are way too many flags
    (ii) In a lot of areas people would like some flags (possibly 1)
    (iii) It is hard to get an accurate read on what people really want due to influence of those who shout loudest

    I think SFs suggestions might constitute an improvement but the problem for SF (and more particularly the PUL reps) is that the people who actually put up the flags are not a party to the talks nor can they be.

    So their proposal needs filling out to see whether there is going to be encouragement or enforcement of the protocols.

  • megatron

    Alan N/Ards

    Agreed but there should be no robberies. The people who carry out robberies need to stop doing it and give the rest of us a break.

    In a school which never punished a bully is the bully the problem or the principal?

  • Drumlins Rock

    1. Yes and No, would probably go with principle but with some exceptions.

    2. Generally yes, although I don’t like equating the two types. But Regimental flags should be used extremely sparingly and with good justification.

    3. Unworkable.

    4. Agree.

    5. eh? not sure what sort of waffle this is, seems like left over bits from a “group think” and they didn’t want to leave anyone out.

    6. Vague but seems fine to start from.

    Just my personal views and leaves out more than it covers, but you have to start somewhere right?

  • ArdoyneUnionist

    Why no mention or murals they are as divisive as flags and overtly para political.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Megatron
    Flag flying is a working class phenomenon. You seldom see flags in middle class areas. Why do people need to mark out territory?
    I find it hard to believe that a man like Richard Haas is wasting his time discussing flag flying. I also find it hard to believe, that a political party, thinks that marking out territory with a single flag is the answer. Some United Irishmen they are. Why can’t they put their heads together and come up with a flag that everyone can accept and fly it over the city hall and town halls all over Northern Ireland and leave the lamposts for the dogs.

  • Morpheus

    “Leave the lamp posts for the dogs”

    Love it.

    The problem with saying that there should be no flags is enforcement. Would it become the responsibility of council workers to go into a Republican or Loyalist area and take down the flags? I wouldn’t fancy that job.

    On a practical level, if there is an agreed single flag then maybe the locals might listen and treat it with respect so in that regard I can see where SF is coming from.

  • JR

    The one criticism I would have of this is GAA flags. Would crossmaglen still be allowed to fly flags in the square if they won another all Ireland? If Ballybeag gets into a club county final for the first time in its history there are going to be flags on every pole in Ballybeag. Likewise if in 15 years time Fermanagh or Antrim get to or win an all Ireland you will see the flags everywhere lining the route to and from croke park. I remember this with Down in 1991 and 94 and Armagh in 2002. Or if even Ireland got to a Rugby world cup final or Ireland /northern Ireland had a good run in the European or world cup at some stage. There needs to be a provision for exceptional sporting achievement in the legislation.

  • between the bridges

    3a. Places of worship… many churches fly flags…

  • babyface finlayson

    The idea of a single flagpost in an area might work if negotiated at community level.
    I guess we would end up with some areas ignoring it and doing their own thing.
    Enforcement as always is the problem. Keeping the arterial routes clear might be enforceable which would be something at least.

  • MrPMartin

    Alan N’Ards

    Here here. I’ve been castigated here before for saying that there’s too much pandering to idiotic working class obsessions borne from their insularity and please spare me the poor things have educational underachievement etc
    Don’t they have books or teachers ?

  • JR

    I remember a number of years ago there was an agreement in Kilkeel now a 50/50 town about flags. The three masted flagpole in the middle of the town was supposed to replace all the loyalist/unionist flags. It didn’t last a week.

    Any agreement on flags only goes as far as the nearest numbskull with a fiver and a ladder.

  • Coll Ciotach

    1. Fly flags from private property according to the owners whim and public safety

    2 Fly flags only from council building according to the decision of the council

    3 Get Matt Baggot to ensure the police arrest people who fly flags from public property or paint kerbs.

  • Rapunsell

    I’m with Coll Ciotach largely – flags on your own house property to your hearts content. No flags of any description on public property unless through some sort of licensing scheme operated by the new local councils. i.e. a constituted organisation must apply and submit the flags you wish to fly – be if for a GAA club, orange parade, community festival – whatever , define the area you wish to put up the flags, pay a bond, prove you have public and employers liability insurance in place and then you can be granted permission for a defined period

    The issue of flags on public property will only be resolved when the public authorities enforce the rules and when the flags go up again – enforce them again and again.

  • Greenflag

    Put a 300% tax on all flags and a 300% tax on red , blue , green and orange paint . The extra revenues earned can go towards funding the local authorities clean up costs following cultural tyre burnings and orange order parades .

    NI’s fetish with it’s flags an emblems is on a par with North Korea or nazi era Germany or the Soviet zone slave states of Eastern Europe in their day : Will these people ever grow up ?

    Probably not 🙁

    So why not tax their so called patriotisms ?

    I mean its not as if they are overtaxed as it is given that 8 billion a year subvention is it ?

  • BarneyT

    My immediate reaction to this was that this is always going to target one element of the community more than another. Loyalism uses flags and emblems with proliferation, so naturally one side is going to have to make many more concessions.

    I would have thought that there is sufficient planning legislation in place to control the display of flags and painting kerbs surely can be regarded as criminality. Planning is a thorny subject I know.

    The proposal from SF does largely sound sensible, but I dont think it will make a blind bit of difference. Loyalism will continue to erect flags where they see fit, and I do believe its something that has developed culturally for whatever reason. It is surely heightened by moves last December.

    How will it be enforced?
    Who will go to the communities and remove the flags?
    Who will meet the costs? Will rates be adjusted at a local level to target the communities that flout the directives? Perhaps a levy or charge needs to be targeted towards all homes within 100 metres of a contiguous painted kerb.

    For key events, I think loyalism will need to vent their spleen on this matter and nothing short of a plethora of red\white\blue will meet their needs. I would allow this to an extent however under strict terms. i.e 3 days to remove otherwise the kerb tax kicks in

  • ThomasPaine

    Some good ideas from the Shinners here but three things come to mind (two of which have already been pointed out):

    1. These proposals won’t be accepted by Unionist politicians because (a) regardless of their merit, these ideas are after all from Sinn Fein and (b) the majority of the working class PUL community won’t accept them as they are in constant fear that if they go a few mile without seeing the Union flag their Britishness will melt away in an instant and in a matter of seconds the Pope would be dictating to them on what they can and cannot do

    2. There should be common sense when it comes to sporting flags. If Northern Ireland were to reach a major Championships, I would hate to think NI’s flag could not be flown anywhere.

    In fact, if truth be told, flying a NI flag in place of the Union flag should and hopefully would have prevented us from getting in to the moronic situation we have done in the last year or so. It is nowhere near as offensive to nationalist/republicans because it hasn’t been as bastardized as the Union flag has.

    The same goes for the flags and bunting of GAA clubs and counties and if the ROI were to reach a major finals.

    Sadly, common sense and flags/emblems in NI has never went hand in hand.

    For example, it is amusing how PUL’s burn the tricolour on bonfires and otherwise can’t stand the sight of it when the orange represents them and the white represents the aspiration of peace between religions.

    Or how NI’s flag is the red hand of Hugh O’Neill (who fought against British colonial expansion into Ireland) which is steeped in Irish gaelic culture, superimposed on the English flag, despite NI being represented within the Union flag as St. Patrick’s saltire.

    3. Is there anything more embarrassing, more tacky, more territorial, more juvenile and more scummy than painted curbs?

  • BarneyT

    …and another thing…in nationalist villages this proposal is in operation and as soon as the oranges fades to a yellow or shows signs of weathering, it is replaced. A single pole with a flag.

    There are other tricolour displays, marking where volunteers fell. This can work in alternative areas.

    However, even though is done well and in an out of your face way, it still marks territory, which I don’t particularly like.

    I’m sure there are unionists areas where a similar policy is in effect.

    We need to lose the fanaticism…but how do you differentiate between nationalistic fervour and celebration?

    We need to apply common sense here and perhaps a bit of science…what goes up must come down.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “◾In relation to the proliferation of flags, an agreement to establish a single flag post in each area, on which respective national flags will be flown, and maintained over time.”

    Erm, what does this mean exactly?

  • Charles_Gould

    Quite a high level of authoritarianism.

  • Comrade Stalin

    My initial reaction was one of horror at the idea of state-sponsored recognition of tribal areas.

    But once you get past the idea of a state-supported flagpole it starts to look like a price worth paying in exchange for an end to paramilitary flags, excessive flags, kerbstone painting and so on.

  • looneygas

    Mr. PMartin,
    Allow me to add myself to the list of your castigators.

    “Alan N’Ards
    Here here. I’ve been castigated here before for saying that there’s too much pandering to idiotic working class obsessions borne from their insularity and please spare me the poor things have educational underachievement etc
    Don’t they have books or teachers ?”

    It’s not an obsession or a lack of books. It’s a matter of status. Those at the lowest rung of the socio-economic ladder need to feel that there is someone beneath them, hence the marking of territory which the Other cannot enter, the chest-thumping, the cries of “yooz are second-class citizens.”

    Hobbes said it plainly when he said, in Leviathan, that all men seek to increase their level of power(status.) They can do this by means of persuasion or by force(or show of force/strength.)

    The middle class have status aplenty and have no need to chest-thump or put up markers warning themmuns to stay away. Their gardens and hedges display their status.

    Simple(s)

    Sorry for the sloppy layout. I’m semi-computer-literate.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Am Ghobsmacht

    “Erm, what does this mean exactly?”

    You put up a flag pole and get someone to put the flag up in the morning and then take it down at night.

    If someone goes to put up a flag on a pole you ask them are they going to take it down at night? If they are not going to do that you ask them why are they going to disrespect your national flag?

  • Mick Fealty

    Whom do you put in charge though? What metrics do you use for siting and resiting flagpoles? Can people appeal? Once raised, can they be taken down?

    It’s a bit like the elaborate model for a bill of rights, once embedded you have licenced a form of permanent micro partition, and something approaching permanentalienation of the ‘other’.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Mc Slaggart

    Well, it says “on which respective national flags will be flown”, so, what other national flags will be flown from these poles (if any)?

  • “2 Fly flags only from council building according to the decision of the council”

    @Coll Ciotach,

    So we leave it up to each council to decide which country they belong to or claim to belong to? That kind of goes against the GFA with its logic of the Six Counties as a whole entity. I’m sure that if/when there is a referendum result to change the national sovereignty of the Six Counties you’ll suddenly discover the logic of my point.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mick,

    The practicalities are quite difficult. If you hold some sort of ballot it is open to the electorate being intimidated.

    You are right though, it is embedding the tribes in a form of micro-repartition. On that level it is obscene. But would the alienation levels of a single flag be quite as bad as the current situation where flags are elected feet apart from each other, and outside churches etc., for the specific purpose of intimidating ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    AnG,

    I think the Shinners are saying the prods will fly their flegs in “their areas” and the taigs will fly their flegs in theirs. For this to work a local authority would have to take on the responsibility of maintaining the fleg.

    It makes me gag just typing it. But I can also see potential ..

    The idea of flying two flegs from council buildings isn’t appealing either. What about something a bit more formal, like flying a fleg for each nationality represented by more than 500 residents within the council area ?

  • Mick Fealty

    CS,

    It’s very impractical nature gives away it’s purpose. It is not a serious suggestion, just a pill to freak unionists out. But what intrigues me is the obvious corrollory, which is to “nationalise” whole communities and give official sanction to the embedding of paramilitary turf.

    If we need to refine protocols to make effective use of laws to remove flags, why not make provisions similar to those allowing postering before elections around specific events? Other than that people can put flags up on their own property (which is what they do in the Nordic countries. And what used to happen here.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Cheers Comrade

    So, if that’s the case the tri-colour will have some sort of recognised status?

    I can see why they left that one near the bottom of the list:

    “◾Inrelationtotheproliferationof flagsanagreementto establishasingleflagpostineachareaonwhichrespective nationalflagswillbeflownandmaintainedovertimeCOUGH! COUGH!”

    “What was that about a national flag?”

    “Erm, nothing! Nothing at all!”

    Sounds like officialdom sponsored apartheid.

    Sod that, boringly and predictably, I will sound the three fleg option for public buildings: A Union Flag, a tri-colour and a (preferably ‘new’/official) NI flag.

    That way EVERYONE is represented.

    It also has the added bonus of giving people something to gurn about:

    “Themuns have their foreign fleg on UK soil”

    or

    “Themuns have TWO partitionist flegs!!!”…

    Although hats off for your outside the box thinking there regarding the 500 residents idea.

  • MarkB

    How about there’s no flags flown apart from the relevant flag on the designated days over government buildings and if a local Rugby / Gaelic / Football team do really well and their supporters want to put up some non sectarian flags to celebrate. These flags could then be removed after an acceptable period of time (1 – 2 weeks after the event).

  • babyface finlayson

    For the pavements maybe we could use the idea being tried in Cambridge;
    Visit glowinthedark path
    During the day when commuters are coming and going it looks like a normal boring footpath, but at night the residents will be treated to union flag , or tricolour footpaths to their hearts content.

  • foyle observer

    ”Sod that, boringly and predictably, I will sound the three fleg option for public buildings: A Union Flag, a tri-colour and a (preferably ‘new’/official) NI flag.”

    Am Ghobsmacht, boring and predictable, maybe, but still the only acceptable solution.

    Can’t see your typical flegger NOT kicking off over the tricolour flying over buildings here though.

    As a Republican, even the three flag approach is acceptable to me.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Mick Fealty

    “Whom do you put in charge though?”

    In the real world I have never seen it becoming an issue. Putting up and down a flag is a bit of pain and normally it becomes the job of the people who live near the flag pole. Officially it is normally given over to the local community group.

  • Mc Slaggart

    “Am Ghobsmacht ”

    ” so, what other national flags will be flown from these poles”

    The pole/s belongs to the community so they can put up what ever flag they like. I have seen the Spanish flag flying from one pole and the county flag is often flown from them.

  • Reader

    No mention of sporting clubs in the original proposal. Sporting clubs with flag rules or traditions might be hit by the restrictions in #3.

  • Barnshee

    I like it

    Fly the ” flag of state” of area chosen by the area population —-then send the bill for the area to the state chosen.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Barnshee
    I like it!!! Let Dublin pay for those areas flying the tricolour and London pay for the rest. A good idea.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Foyle observer

    “Am Ghobsmacht, boring and predictable, maybe, but still the only acceptable solution.

    Can’t see your typical flegger NOT kicking off over the tricolour flying over buildings here though.

    As a Republican, even the three flag approach is acceptable to me.

    Cheers man

    You’re absolutely right about ANOTHER Flegger backlash, but, as disruptive as they are, ‘Operation Fizzle-Out’ is no where near as disruptive as the Drumcree carnage extravaganza of the mid-late 90’s.

    No compensation to the traders of Belfast I’ll admit, but I’m just thinking of how much worse things could be.

    And the way I see it, a tricolour is going to end up on City hall some day in some capacity.

    Might as well sweeten it with a Union Flag and a (new?) NI flag as opposed to drawing ANOTHER line in the sand, creating a zero-sum situation and end up losing.
    Again.

    I wish some one would paint a mural of King Cnut in east Belfast or something, just so people might twig…

  • Since we now descending into the humour and ridiculous category, would it be inappropriate for me to ask if dogs of one persuasion would be allowed to make use of the other side’s flagpole. Just an extension of territorial marking as such.
    Can you guess whether or not I find the suggestion to be beyond sublime?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Mister Joe

    With the three flag solution dogs and even cats would be catered for…

  • AG,

    I’m with you. We need a new Northern Ireland/North of Ireland flag that is inoffensive to no one and which could gain the respect of most people over time.

  • Coll Ciotach

    tmitch

    How does the flying of the tricolour contravene the GFA? Who would have thunk it?

  • BarneyT

    Who owns the respective flags…officially. Who sets the rules that give the flag respect or determine that official offense has been taken?

    I regard the British Union Flag has a royal emblem chiefly, and if royal ownership can be established then the royal British institution (monarchy) should set the rules for is use. That should be delivered in the Queens speech this year.

    Equally for balance, and this is where you unearth the tribalism within Irish Republicanism, the Irish state, as owners of the Irish flag??? I know I am on dodgy ground here…they should equally set the rules and establish them in whatever government artefact gains universal recognition and respect for Irish nationals.

    I would expect loyalism to follow their Queens directive….largely. I am not sure the “Free State” is universally regarded by republicans as the true custodians of Ireland, its flag and all things Irish.

    The issue of flags is bigger in the loyalist community, so if irony takes a dive and they do follow the directives laid down, much of this may be resolved.

    On this whole flag notion, SF are playing a blinder. They have pitched a reasonable solution and pitched it early and it is designed to expose unreasonable elements within unionism. Its a game rather than a serious proposition.

    One last thing…the single flag will work in south Armagh, swades of north Armagh and generally in any locale where there is a definitive and distinct single culture. What happens in areas with more of a balance or if they are in transition? In areas where the protestant population is in decline and the “nationalist” on the up, at some point the protestants will have their flag removed to see it replaced by the tricolour. How is that going to work? The city hall scenario will just be repeated at a micro level throughout…regardless of any democratic decision taken.

    The solution surely is to only fly the two national flags or a compromise flag on official buildings…..extracting as much as we possible can from the universally accepted Red Handedness. We are so close. We agree on the hand and the red cross, despite it having a different origin.

  • Comrade Stalin

    An Ghobsmacht

    So, if that’s the case the tri-colour will have some sort of recognised status?

    I’m not sure. But as the demographic changes continue on their course I don’t see how we can continue pretending that a disputed territory with a fairly evenly split demographic has an official flag. Now if we define the purpose of flags as a recognition of the diverse cultures/identities in this corner of the world it starts to look different. And there are more than two of those.

    I don’t feel represented by either the union flag or the tricolour (and certainly not the flag of the Government of Northern Ireland). I’d be quite happy for the assembly’s nice, neutral flag to be flown. That flag symbolizes partnership and working together in government (however imperfect this turns out to be in practice).

    BarneyT,

    You’re way off on several counts. The union flag is not a royal flag; the UK would almost certainly continue to fly it on the occasion that it became a constitutional republic (all other things assumed equal). The British monarchy is represented by several flags.

    The flag of the Irish government/state is the harp. The tricolour I would have thought is the flag of the Irish nation which stretches somewhat beyond the borders of the present day Irish state.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Comrade

    “I don’t feel represented by either the union flag or the tricolour (and certainly not the flag of the Government of Northern Ireland). ”

    You and many others no doubt, hence I risked the wrath of fleggerdom by suggesting another flag (Barney T’s avatar is a decent example, as was Otto’s, wherever the dickens he disappeared to…)

    The assembly flag is nice too I have to say.

    The way I look at it is I can relate to an extent to the Union flag and would be delighted to have a NI flag, my nationalist friends would relate to the tricolour and have a (varying) amount of relation to a (new) NI flag.

    Whereas before there were only divisions there is now a bridge (of sorts).
    Not ideal, but much better than before.

    The two flag idea is too binary. Irish OR British.

    What if you’re both?

  • Chinook

    It is sad that SF did not include a new flag for NI in this.In their minds a NI flag would give the “six counties” a seperate identity which would be totally against their UI view.
    There are quite a few flag designs on the net,my personal favourite being a green background,St.Patricks cross with a causeway stone in the centre and a red hand symbol placed within .
    Basically I’m all for a new flag for everyone in NI, why not throw in Danny Boy as well ,just to make it complete.
    As usual, SF proposals are extremely one sided,but are portrayed to be balanced and equal.

  • “How does the flying of the tricolour contravene the GFA? Who would have thunk it?”

    @Coll Ciotach,

    Flying of a national flag over a government building is an assertion of sovereignty for the jurisdiction covered by the building. Flying a tricolor over a council building is fundamentally different than flying it at a private home or in front of a hotel. The GFA has the Six Counties as a unit whose constitutional future will be decided as a block. I’d like to see what republicans would say in the future if all of Ulster returns to Ireland and unionists want to fly Union flags over council buildings where they constitute a majority.

  • Mc Slaggart

    tmitch57

    “I’d like to see what republicans would say in the future if all of Ulster returns to Ireland and unionists want to fly Union flags over council buildings where they constitute a majority.”

    An interesting question. Going by Derry city they would have tourist visit it as part of their tour.

  • Mc Slaggart

    At times I must admit I do not understand Unionists.

    We should fly the European union flag in northern Ireland as it is the “county” of our children.

  • Charles_Gould

    The SF flag proposal doesn’t work because it won’t facilitate and help transition to the shared neighbourhoods – mixed religion housing communities.

  • Charles_Gould

    In the areas that I have lived in there have always been both protestants and catholics around. I wouldn’t like a large official flag plonked down one day that declares my area to be one or the other.

  • How’s about this – take a google maps satellite display of Northern Ireland and use it with a white background as a flag for everyone.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Am Ghobsmacht

    ‘The two flag idea is too binary. Irish OR British. What if you’re both?’

    Then don’t think of the two flags as separate. Think of them as symbiotic, and together as a unified dialectic.

    In that case, the two-flag solution might actually be a very accurate representation of many people’s identity.

    BarneyT

    ‘this is always going to target one element of the community more than another.’

    Yeah. The more problematic element of the community.

    ‘How will it be enforced?’

    By the police and courts?

    ‘Who will go to the communities and remove the flags?’

    The police? If it’s an offence to stick a flag to lamp-post, then we can reasonably expect police to uphold the law.

    ‘Who will meet the costs?’

    It’ll have to come out of the policing budget. But costs may be offset by eye-wateringly punitive fines.

    ‘Will rates be adjusted at a local level to target the communities that flout the directives?’

    Oh, I don’t think anything like that should be necessary.

    Alan N’Ards

    I had a go at you over on the GAA at Ravers thread, so just wanted to say I agree with everything you’ve said here. Great stuff!

  • Charles_Gould

    Perhaps one could have a lot more official flagpoles – down each side of the road similar to the Mall between Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square. Then the flags would look more sensible.

    When I see the flags one problem is that they are placed *half way up* the lamppost, and it looks as though they are flying at half mast, which is distressing.

  • Charles_Gould

    I think a seven flag solution would make a lot of sense.

    First of all, there should be a large number of official flag poles in each town and city, similar to the type of flag poles you have on the Mall from Trafalgar Square, each with seven poles branching off one pole. These would line each side of the main routes into and out of the towns and cities.

    Then from each pole you would have the following, in no particular order: a UK flag, an Ireland flag, a NI flag (to be devised), a Scottish flag (to represent links to Scotland, especially if it goes independent), an England flag (to represent our links to London), an EU flag, a county flag (for example those flags the GAA use), and a municipal flag for the town or city.

    People may complain about the lack of a Welsh flag, but my reply to that would be (i) the cost of having an extra flag is not worth it given the small size of Wales; (ii) we have relatively little linkage to Wales and (iii) Wales is not a country, it is a principality, so technically it is represented by the English flag.

  • Charles_Gould

    Welsh symbols such as the dragon and the leek could be incorporated into the design of the flagpoles.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Charles

    Lol.

    I wonder if anyone doesn’t realise you are taking the michael?

  • socaire

    Unfortunately, Mr Gould is serious and still multi-posting.

  • Charles_Gould

    Its actually not a joke – though I have deliberately posted it in a fun way so as to get away from the “angry young man” posts that people post here so often.

    The key advantages of what I have proposed (and it does not have to be 7 flags, and there could be a multicolour flag for the gay community) relative to that of SF are:

    1. Does not require designation of an area. All the flags are flown in all areas.

    2. It does not mark out areas as belonging to any one community; hence it is more welcoming.

    3. No flag dominates; it is non threatening. There is something for everything.

    4. It builds on our tradition of flags in a way that turns a negative into a positive. These displays are colourful and gay (in the old sense of the word).

    5. It is not so unusual: in French cities and villages they put up lines of flag poles and fly multiple flags.

    Some further comments: It is not essential for there to be seven flags. It is not essential for all the flags to be permanent. As with the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square, it would be possible to change one of the flags each year, to respond to topical events or issues. For example, instead of the English flag you could have a flag that changes each year. A “City of Culture” flag for the present year, etc etc.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “Billy Pilgrim (profile)

    25 November 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Am Ghobsmacht

    ‘The two flag idea is too binary. Irish OR British. What if you’re both?’

    Then don’t think of the two flags as
    separate. Think of them as symbiotic,
    and together as a unified dialectic.

    In that case, the two-flag solution might actually be a very accurate representation of many people’s identity.”

    Billy, how’s that even possible (NOT to think of them as separate)?

    They’re the polar opposite of each other in Norn-Irish fleggy terms.

    A fair whack of people (seemingly) want a Northern Irish slant to things, a sort of third community if you will.

    Surely then they are entitled to representation without having to be represented by a binary choice that they may not be happy with?

    Plus it serves as a sort of bridge between people of the middle-ground in either community.

    I see a tricolour-Union flag scenario as something divisive, very few people are going to rise to the challenge of your suggestion (as noble as it may be) to see the flags as you described (what a description BTW, hats off!).

    If the argument of equality is to be used to open the door for the tri-colour then it should not be slammed in the face of little Mr ‘New NI Flag’ as he tries to make his way through the same door.

    Three(?) groups and three flags. How’s that not fair?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Am Ghobsmacht

    ‘how’s that even possible (NOT to think of them as separate)?’

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

    (Granted, an imaginative leap is required. But aren’t so many problems here attributable to just how bloody unimaginative so many people are?)

    But I have to disagree that people who ‘want a Northern Irish slant to things’ amount to a ‘third community’. They aren’t. They’re a subsection of unionism.

    The reason your three flags suggestion is unfair is that, as a nationalist, I take far greater exception to an NI flag (even a new one) than to the Union Jack.

    It’s a fact that around half the population of this corner of Ireland is British. (British-Irish is the term I prefer, but it’s not for me to tell people what they are or aren’t.) I believe it’s right that their Britishness should be represented and accorded respect. (*) And of course, my Irishness should be afforded equal representation and respect.

    But NI iconography asserts an inherent separateness of this part of Ireland from the rest of our country – and that is something I will never, ever accept. I find that idea infinitely more pernicious than flying the UJ alongside the tricolour

    And I think this is something that the more cunning sections of unionism (whom FJH famously dubbed the ‘letsgetalongerists’) have twigged onto.

    I say: down with this sort of thing.

    This society CAN be at peace with itself, by seeing difference not as division but as dialectics at work.

    * For what it’s worth, I’d be in favour of a two-flags policy continuing in the event of a united Ireland, in the areas of the former NI, as well as relevant sites in the new Ireland.

  • Morpheus

    “But I have to disagree that people who ‘want a Northern Irish slant to things’ amount to a ‘third community’. They aren’t. They’re a subsection of unionism.”

    I disagree. I know of plenty who see it as a sub-section of Irish.

  • gendjinn

    Morpheus,

    Northern Irish of census speak is a subset of Unionism, as demonstrated by the political commentary and unionist editorials following publication of the data.

    Lower case n northern Irish is akin to southern, western & eastern Irish. That would be the grouping I’d expect non-unionists to be members of.

    This thesis will stand or fall on the results of the selection of Irish, British & Northern Irish in the next NI census (if they ask the question again).

    In the broad strokes of course, always going to be exceptions.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Morpheus

    A non-sequitur there. Unionist is a subsection of Irish too. ‘Unionist’ and ‘Irish’ are not antithetical terms, despite what the very worst elements of both unionism and nationalism might think.

    Nationalists who think of themselves as ‘Northern Irish’ are unionism’s useful idiots.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Billy
    Sorry to to disagree with you..again. I’m one of these pesky Northern Irish people. I use the term when abroad. I carry a British passport but am happier calling myself Northern Irish. It’s how I define myself. It’s my kind of Irishness. Maybe some day that will change. Who knows. I suppose in some peoples eyes that might lessen me as an Irish man. I can live with that.

    As far as the flags go, I would like equal respect for both flags and identities on this island. If flying both flags is what it takes, then so be it. I have called for the IRFU to do something to recognise non republican’s who play and support Irish rugby, re flag and anthem so I support the flying of both or none. What ever it takes, get them off the lamp posts.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Alan

    So glad you’re still speaking to me!

    Apologies if I misunderstand, but are you saying you aren’t British?

    My definition of a ‘Northern Irishman’ is an Irishman from the state of NI who supports the partition of Ireland and (less necessarily) union with Britain and British citizenship.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Alan

    So glad you’re still speaking to me!

    I actually don’t think we’re really disagreeing here at all.

    My definition of a ‘Northern Irishman’ is an Irishman from the state of NI who possesses British citizenship, supports the partition of Ireland and (slightly less fundamentally) union with Britain.

    I don’t think that you’re one iota less Irish than me, or Michael D Higgins for that matter. But then it’s not really about quantity. It’s about where one’s loyalties lie.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Ooops, double posting. With the second one a slightly edited version. Please feel free to ignore my 4.24.

  • Morpheus

    My view on the Northern Irish issue is that if the people knew before the census it was going to be a stick to beat them with then I don’t think it would have been popular as what it was. Unionism said ‘Ah, they didn’t choose Irish so they must be British’ and Nationalism said ‘Ah, they didn’t choose British so they must be Irish” and not an ounce of sense was made out of the whole thing which I think taps into your comment gendjinn.

    I don’t think Northern Irish is a subset of Britishness anymore than I think it is a subset of Irishness. After the next census I am sure that Northern Irish will go back to being plain old Irish or British again.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Morpheus

    ‘if the people knew before the census it was going to be a stick to beat them with then I don’t think it would have been popular as what it was.’

    Spot on.

    I also think it was an heroic attempt to divert attention from the game-changing result of the census – that in a state that’s existence rests solely on the fact that there’s more Prods than Taigs, there are no longer more Prods than Taigs.

    The (co-ordinated?) tsunami of guff about the ‘Northern Irish’ was probably an attempt to steady the nerves of unionism – but the emergence of fleggerism suggests this attempt was in vain.

    It may also have been an attempt to gull sections of nationalism into believing a united Ireland has never been further away, at the very moment the perennial impediment to it (a permanent PUL majority) has fallen away. It remains to be seen whether this has been successful, but one suspects not.

  • babyface finlayson

    Billy Pilgrim
    “They’re a subsection of unionism.”
    Not necessarily though unionists may try to claim them.
    Incredible as it may seem in the world of certitude that is Slugger, there are people out there who are ambivalent about the constitutional issue. It just isn’t that high on their list of priorities.
    Perhaps they call themselves Northern Irish when asked, for simplicity.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Billy
    I think I’m trying to reclaim some of the irishness that I denied to myself. I listened to the rhetoric of many unionist politicians too many times. We’re british and that’s that. I also allowed “irish patriots” like the provo’s, to suck any irishness out of me with their united ireland murder campaign.

    I discovered my (northern) irishness in an irish pub in San Antonia, Ibiza in 1987. The pub was owned by a guy called Sean Mackle, who came from Clare. He played guitar and sang irish ballads. The bar was full of english holiday makers who loved the songs. I met people from Dublin, Galway etc. I enjoyed the atmosphere. No sectarianism, just good fun. One night, a few people came in the bar. They where from NI. They asked for a certain republican song to sung. Sean informed them that they where in the wrong bar if they wanted it sung. A number of the irish customers were very vocal as the group left. They didn’t want that crap about them. That holiday changed my thinking about a lot of things. You and I had our little spat about the GAA over past few day and it got me thinking about the people I met in Ibiza. A number of them were Dublin fans. They were passionate about the organisation. I can see why I annoyed you and people like you. Apologies.

    To answer your question on whether I see myself as British or not. I’m afraid I do. I’m very proud to be British. Many NI unionist’s refuse to use the word irish, even northern irish when describing themselves for the same reasons I did. It’s a bit like republican’s who can’t put the words northern and ireland together in the same sentence. It’s a sign of weakness.

  • Sp12

    The issue with flags is that they have been somewhat ‘debased’ in the eyes of most residents here, they conjure images of tatty and tacky territorial pissing.
    What we need are like enormous, and I mean GIGANTIC crowns.
    Touch of class.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Billy Pilgrim (profile)

    26 November 2013 at 12:56 pm

    “Am Ghobsmacht

    ‘how’s that even possible (NOT to think of them as separate)?’

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

    (Granted, an imaginative leap is required. But aren’t so many problems here attributable to just how bloody unimaginative so many people are?)

    But I have to disagree that people who ‘want a Northern Irish slant to things’ amount to a ‘third community’. They aren’t. They’re a subsection of unionism.”

    Allow me to reword the question then:

    “‘how’s that even possible (NOT to think of them as separate) IN NORTHERN IRELAND?”

    The concept and the application of it in the grim north are 2 very different things.

    As for the sub section of Unionism, well, I think you’re wrong about that, I’ve met too many people from a nationalist background who have hit the floor of apathy and casually refer to themselves as Northern Irish or have no problem with other people referring to them as Northern Irish.

    Now, if that is common ground for both communities then it is a mighty precious gift that I think should be seized upon.

    I mean it in the interests of genuinely breaking down barriers which I am sick to death of, not as a cunning instrument of some quiet unionist master plan (do unionists DO master plans?).

    The tricolour-UJ solution is quite simply an amplifier for “Themuns vs oursuns”.

    It will be divisive.

    I understand your views about the NI flag being offensive to some nationalists, but, I don’t think you should have a right to airbrush us out of existence.

    For what it’s worth, I’d gladly ditch the union flag and replace it with an NI flag.
    However, I’m trampling on the feelings of a lot of other people in NI and denying their existence with that option.
    Ergo, the need for a Union Flag too.

    Fleggerdom and ‘British nationalists’ will be enraged at the recognition of the tricolour and at the replacement of what they see as the NI flag (the Ulster flag).

    We exist and I call for recognition of this Northern Irish aspect.

    Nationalists and republicans want their flag up: tick

    Unionists and ‘British nationalists’ want their flag up 365: tick

    Nornlanders, in-betweeners, and getalongerists would like a new NI flag up too: tick

    Everyone is accounted for. The perception that ‘themuns’ are getting something extra is of secondary importance to the primary objective.

    There’s been too much stating of said objectives for any back-peddling now.

    Like I say, there’s chat about equality,

    I give it the thumbs up.

    But I don’t believe that some are more equal than others.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “For what it’s worth, I’d be in favour of a two-flags policy continuing in the event of a united Ireland, in the areas of the former NI, as well as relevant sites in the new Ireland.”

    Likewise, for what it’s worth, you’d probably find a United Ireland would be easier to achieve if people would be willing to sacrifice the tricolour.

    New Ireland new flag, so to speak.

    There’s a belief that De Valera had the opportunity to sit down with the British during the War to discuss receiving NI.
    But he realised that the ‘dream’ of a Unitied Ireland would not match the pragmatic reality,

    Some people aren’t willing to pay the price for what they say they want.

    If a border poll came to be, I’d say the chances of a people saying yes to a United Ireland could be improved if the tricolour was going to be replaced.

    Could be wrong, but it’s food for thought.

    Incidentally, what was the flag of Irish nationalism before the Easter Rising?

  • Charles_Gould

    A seven flag solution offers something for everyone and hence is very inclusive:

    1 Union flag for UK lovers
    2 Ireland flag for Ireland lovers
    3 Scottish flag for Scottophiles; the Scottish link
    4 EU flag for Europhiles
    5 Northern Ireland flag for NI lovers
    6 Metropolitan flag for those who love their city
    7 Gay flag to be inclusive to gay and lesbian people.

  • Charles_Gould

    The advantages relative to SF’s one flag solution:

    1. Does not require each area to be assigned to a group
    2. More inclusive and welcoming to minorities in any area
    3. Allows areas to become more mixed over time.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Charles Gould

    “The advantages relative to SF’s one flag solution:

    1. Does not require each area to be assigned to a group
    2. More inclusive and welcoming to minorities in any area
    3. Allows areas to become more mixed over time.

    Agreed.

  • babyface finlayson

    sp12
    Yes it looks well too. Regarding the planning permission the council chief executive said:
    “On the basis that approval was unlikely to be denied work proceeded”
    A rigorous process then.

  • Sp12

    Don’t knock it Babyface
    It’s bringing tourists to Larne, said the man in the council with a straight face.
    There’s probably a big gap in the market catering for people that don’t know what to do with their money since Ratners went tits up.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Great discussion guys. Only got a moment, but will hopefully return later. But couldn’t resist answering Am Gobsmacht’s question.

    The tricolour didn’t get its first airing in 1916. It dates back to the Young Ireland rebellion of 1848. It was presented to Thomas Francis Meagher by a bunch of French republicans who were sympathetic, and who remembered the United Irish republicans of half a century previously. (The tricolour / tricolore being an explicitly republican emblem.)

    Funny enough, the only flag that’s specific to 1916 is this iconic fellow

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Irish_Republic_Flag.svg

    But the flag of Ireland that was universally accepted for centuries prior to 1922 was this one.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Naval_Jack_of_Ireland.svg

    I’d be willing to return to this one as an agreed flag for a united Ireland.

    Although I actually prefer this classy affair, despite the sacrilegious absence of green.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_President_of_Ireland.svg

  • Neil

    Meanwhile in Down Council the DUP vote for designated days, while the shinners say it’s both flags or none. DUP defeated 11 – 6. Shockingly Alliance voted in keeping with their policy. Again.

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/dup-does-uturn-by-voting-for-designated-flag-days-at-down-district-council-29787563.html