Sunday, July 24, 2011

2011 Streak Day 196/365: On Englishness

2011 Streak Day 196/365: Run - 3.32 miles, Time - 31min 46sec, Weather - mostly overcast, patches of sun
 I have mixed feelings about the English Flag.
I understand that flags are meant to be a symbol to rally around, a way of displaying pride in your own country. In most countries this seems to work well in binding people and giving a sense of identity in a benign way.
However, although I am English, I do not feel this about the Cross of St George. For too long it has been appropriated by the far right, nationalist groups and as such it makes me feel queasy. Except during World Cups, when I see the flag I see a symbol of aggressive defiance. I fear the hatred of outsiders and immigrants and I worry. 
I would be happy if England had a flag everybody had a flag they could rally around but I fear that is not the case. 
This flag was put-up overnight on the park railings and I wonder about its message.
In the photo though the counterpoint to the flag is poster for Carter's Steam Fair, which represents a different strand of englishness: love of a particular tradition, the technology from a past era, and the desire to preserve it. It celebrates both an age when machines were direct and physical and could be maintained and fixed by hand (i.e. they were not controlled by an electronic black box) and the skills of decoration and sign painting by hand
I actually think it is represents more of England than the flag

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