Salute to all who don’t get in a flap over flags

LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
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Flags. Simply. Do. Not. Get. Flags.

Never owned one. Never waved one. Never run one up a flagpole to see if anyone saluted it or, for that matter, saluted one myself.

Never crudely daubed a flag on my face (never crudely daubed anything on my face. To be honest, whenever I see anybody over the age of 10 with their face daubed it is invariably perceived as a direct consequence of either peer pressure or mental illness).

Never gone lumpy about the gizzard upon seeing a flag slowly ascend in a sporting arena to the strains of this or the other national anthem.

National anthems. Simply don’t get national anthems, etc.

Like flags, loaded with multiple meanings and fluid ideas – these in permanent flux according to the political imperatives of the day – which only make any sense at all to those to whom they make any sense at all.

Nonsensical and periodically scary to those who hear no more than maudlin tunes and vicarious boasts, or see sheets of fabric and arrangements of coloured blocks.

Seem to send people loopy, mostly to no ill effect, often in dark and damaging ways.

Preston Council found as much on their recent foray into the murky world of symbolism; an escapade which, as of late last week, they were still struggling to put behind them.

Will they end up pressured into flying the flag of Israel for a bit? It is hoped so, as appalling an affront to my ordinary sensibilities as that would be. A harsh lesson.

Naturally a mob will soon form demanding it be taken down. Down it comes. ‘Mob rule’ will cry the mob that demanded it be flown in the first place, insisting it be raised anew. And so on, and so forth, until the sun goes down on us all.

They believed in their liberal good-heartedness the whole world was horrified by the murderous and disproportionate collective punishment unleashed on Gaza.

Many, as we learned every day of the onslaught, not only couldn’t care less, they actively approve.

But so certain was the council of the ubiquity of this sentiment among those they administrate on behalf of, I doubt they paused for a second to envisage the furore which would inevitably ensue.

A naivety unique among those in thrall to their own virtue. To save time, in future, just run up a red rag.

Then everyone who buys into this bull can get angry at once.