Union Jack

Jul. 7th, 2005 11:54 pm
mrph: (Default)
Go back a couple of posts and you'll find my link to the preacher's Civil Religion piece. Churches, flags, that sort of thing.

Given today's events, it's quite appropriate. There are a few Union Jacks springing up on livejournal today, for obvious reasons, and I'm a little... uneasy... to see them there.

I'm not sure I'd class myself as a patriot. I disagree with the government over an awful lot of things.

I don't think there's any particular virtue that makes the UK 'the best' - and I'm reassured by that, as I hope the things I do like in that regard are things a lot of other countries share (or aim for).

I quite like it here, though. I like the geography, I like the people and the lifestyles, I like to think that on the whole it's a good place and a lot of people try to keep it that way.

The flag, however... that's slightly more complex. It has a place, on formal occasions. Sporting events. Ships. The military. Anywhere you're likely to see royalty (or their property). But it seems to me that we've never really gone in for more everyday flag-waving - certainly not in the same way as some other countries - and I quite like it that way.

The new War of the Worlds film springs to mind, just as a comparison. Tom Cruise runs out of his house to see what's happening on the street. Seen in the background, almost every house on that street seems to have an American flag - a dozen different copies of the stars and stripes, all in a row. Viewed from the UK perspective, that's a very alien thing. Maybe Hollywood is playing it up for effect, maybe not - but either way, you just wouldn't do that with the Union Jack.

[Every year I go to the M'era Luna fest in Germany. Every year there are half a dozen Union Jack flags flying over the campsite. None of them will be on a British tent. Guaranteed. The German campers may use them to identify their tents, but the UK visitors wouldn't. Just doesn't seem right to go hoisting the UK flag in someone else's country and doesn't seem appropriate to use it like that anyway, in an odd sort of way]

It exists. That's enough. It doesn't need copies in every town, on every street, to constantly remind us that it exists. That would just be missing the point, somehow.

And if today changes that, I'm going to be deeply pissed off.
mrph: (Setzer (Amano version))
It's been a strange day, for the obvious reasons.

On September 11th 2001, I was working at Itronix. One of my co-workers looked over the partition at me and said "some idiot's flown a plane into a skyscraper". We followed things from there on the internet, checking LJ to see if friends were ok and eventually joining a bunch of other co-workers who were watching the news in a meeting room set aside for that purpose.

These days I work for a bank. Very limited internet access. No LJ at my desk. Temporary lack of access to external email. One of my co-workers came back from her cigarette break and said that something had happened in London. Then she went back to work. I had a quick glance at the BBC website, bookmarked the Reporters Log for future reference, went back to work. Chatted to some co-workers about it at lunch (one of whom is very young - she doesn't remember the Brighton bombing at all and hardly knows who Mrs Thatcher is). Caught a few minutes of the BBC News 24 coverage. Asked [livejournal.com profile] drivenapart if the usual suspects had checked in on LJ. Went back to work. Very normal day, really.

Then I came home and read 600 LJ posts.

I'll probably have something to say about the actual events later, but other people have aleady said some very good things that deserve to be read. So here are some links.

[livejournal.com profile] s0b - Communique #2

[livejournal.com profile] tyrell - Quotes of the day

[livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours - Refusing to let the enemy win

[livejournal.com profile] markeris - There will be no Terror

[livejournal.com profile] sheepthief - meanwhile, in Coventry... (sandwiches and headless chickens)

That last one explains why I didn't get the bus home today, btw. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] drivenapart for the lift!

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