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: (Anubis)
New Iraqi government still using Saddam-era tactics.

"evidence that suspects had been subject to burning, strangulation, sexual abuse, hanging by the arms, the breaking of limbs and - in one case - the use of an electric drill for a knee-capping"

Worrying. I read the original Observer piece today. It's pretty grim.
mrph: (Agent Graves)
Iraq's ambassador to the UN has demanded an inquiry into what he said was the "cold-blooded murder" of his young unarmed relative by US marines.

It's currently just an allegation - there's been no investigation and all we've got is the ambassador's word for it (and the US comment that the allegations "roughly correspond to an incident involving coalition forces on that day and in that general location").

But news stories like this just keep surfacing, and I really can't see how the US/UK/coalition forces can 'win the peace' when even members of the shiny new Iraqi government accuse them of misconduct.
mrph: (Agent Graves)
[with many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] taoist_goth for posting about the boycott...]

Yes, them. You know. The bunch who campaigned so loudly against the BBC screening Jerry Springer: The Opera.

They've since threatened to lead a boycott of cancer charity Maggie's Centres if it accepts any money from the Springer opera's charity fundraising performance. Presumably because they see that money as tainted. They explained this away on their site as "Cancer Charity Escapes PR Disaster".

As [livejournal.com profile] taoist_goth also pointed out, they're fucktards.

So. I went to their website and read a bit of their blurb. Just out of interest, as you do.

They have a section called "Britain in Sin", revisiting the Ten Commandments and detailing just what they think's wrong with the country. It's a long list, but some of the things they're against include:
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, the abolition of the Witchcraft Act (1735), the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child, the Equal Pay Act 1970, the Sex Discrimination Acts 1975 & 1986, the Education Act 1987 [because it abolished the use of the cane in schools], the Firearms (Amendment) Acts 1988 and 1997 [they're pro-gun ownership], The Sexual Offences Act 1967 [for legalising homosexual acts between consenting adults], Suspension of the Gold Standard and, er, the introduction of VAT.
They also have a "No King But Jesus" section, based around a speech by one John Ashcroft (yes, that John Ashcroft). Combine that with their view on guns and you might start to wonder just where their support is coming from...

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