Patriotic bunting is a cynical disguise for Tory failures

Figcaption Patriotic Bunting Is A Cynical Disguise For Tory Failures
Posted at: Author: Rain TV UK

For goodness sake (Government buildings to fly union jack continuously under new rules, 24 March). What problem precisely is this initiative designed to solve?

I’m as patriotic as the next man. I’ve had opportunities to live elsewhere in the world but have always chosen to return here. I am proud of our country’s achievements – the rule of law, representative democracy, a welfare state and national health service. These are the things that matter, not two world wars and the shrill hysteria of jingoistic flag-waving.

To really unify the country, how about some real measures to reduce the glaring inequalities in health, opportunity and standards of living? How about a prompt inquiry to establish why the Covid pandemic has hit the economically disadvantaged and BAME communities so much harder than everyone else? How about reversing the savage spending cuts that local governments have been forced to implement over the last 10 years? How about directing precious funds to the areas that really need them, instead of pork-barrel wheezes like the towns fund and the community renewal fund that shamelessly favour Tory constituencies?

I rather like the union jack and see no reason why it should not be flown outside government buildings. However, I am deeply suspicious of a government that uses tawdry bunting to distract from inaction and regressive policies. This government is fighting a crude culture war instead of addressing real problems, and the “levelling up agenda” is looking more threadbare and more cynical by the day.
Peter Hughes
Cambridge

My understanding of national flags is that they serve as a symbol of the underlying values of the country they represent. In defining “traditional British values”, I would include tolerance, freedom of expression, honesty, respect for others and the rule of law, and, above all, the defence of democracy. To wrap the union flag around the shoulders of a government that personifies the complete antithesis of these is an insult to the rest of us and, incidentally, to the flag itself.

What next? Compulsory singing of the national anthem at the end of cinema screenings? Schoolchildren required to recite an oath of allegiance before lessons? Where will this jingoism dressed up as patriotism end?
Lynne Copley
Longwood, Huddersfield

The paradoxical thing about this determination for ostentatious displays of Britishness is that it is a profoundly un-British thing to do.

After the battle of Waterloo, apparently, a communique from Wellington was read out in London in front of an audience of foreign dignitaries, and it was expressed in tones of such extreme modesty that at least one foreign ambassador went away believing that Wellington had actually lost. Maybe that was going rather far. But it sums up the culture of a country in which it is almost part of the DNA that you don’t boast, you don’t blow your own trumpet and you do not fill people’s ears with rhetoric every few minutes about how wonderful you are.

There is no mystery about where the change of style is coming from of course. American imitation has been the obsession of the British political establishment for two generations now.

If they want more Britishness they could start by showing a spot of self-dignity, and look for measures that are expressive of British customs, traditions and culture.
Roger Schafir
London

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