I still find myself almost overwhelmed by the stuff that needs blogging about. Some days I feel very fired up to have my go, only to crash when it feels like shouting at a hurricane. Fortunately, many of my fellow bloggers are made of sterner stuff and more ready for the fight. I wonder to what end I am blogging and who is listening. It is one thing to want to save a nation, but it is another thing entirely for a nation to want to save itself. Blogs in this niche has lost one of its champions this week as Captain Ranty. Ranty will be a loss to the cause but he is very much like Gene Hackman's preacher character in The Poseidon Adventure - sick of shouting his message of salvation to deaf ears and I understand the idea that he should focus his energies on himself and his kin in such circumstances.
For all of that, there is still a flicker inside of me and this week a little air was added to that small flame with a few things that came up.
First I had a real head shaking moment when I saw this video (h/t Vlad Tepes)
The story is utter nonsense when you hear the underlying logic as to why the flag shouldn't be flying year round. The story is even more odd if you know anything about the village itself in terms of its demographics and where it sits geographically. It sits right on the edge of one of Nottinghamshire's most prosperous suburbs - West Bridgford. I'm not here to debate the whys and wherefores of this except to say someone is making mischief here.
What it does show is how far we have slipped when a story such as this can gain traction and present with a degree of seriousness that any flying of the Union Flag is act of racism and hatred. In all seriousness, when the BBC first got this story the response should have been along the lines of "oh do p*ss off" or at least the interviewer should have asked if the offended man was out of his tiny mind with such a conclusion. They didn't however because it is a notion that has been given credence of the years and is an embedded part of the narrative and I'll explain why.
First, however I want to contrast that with a documentary I watched this week on the construction of the Ground Zero 9/11 memorial. The programme touched me in so many ways but the parts that particularly stood out, was the reverence for the people lost there on that fateful day and the dedication and care it inspired in those constructing it. Everything it seemed, mattered. Even making as much effort as possible not to break branches on the trees that were being transported to the site from their nursery.
There was however something else and it was flags. The US flag was everywhere and was flown with pride. It was swinging off cranes and even around the memorial, flags were added to anywhere that could take one. Furthermore, pretty much every hard hat I could see on the site workers had a stars and stripes on the back. They don't wear or fly their flag as tokenism in the US, they believe in it and all it symbolises and it is stirring stuff to see it in its host country
Flags have meaning. Regardless of the oft suggested idea that they are mere pieces of cloth I find flags have real meaning and symbolism. Flags are rallying points which call on individual and collective effort to keep them flying and send a signal to those behind it. They are a distress signal when flown upside down. They are also a signal to those who identify with it as their stronghold and their place of safety. When lost or in need of help, head towards the flag because that is where your own are. Like the US demonstrates also, they area symbol of pride in who you are and your nation.
It is for all of those reasons that I think it is part of the narrative to degrade the flag in this country and to ascribe the notions of evil and hatred to it. For me, flags are potent and uniting symbols. If I were part of group or ideology that wished to collapse a nation and its identity from within, including its social fabric, I would recognise that a key part of that would involve creating a toxicity to the symbolism of the flag so that people would be afraid of uniting behind that. Deny a point where like minded people could come together to stand behind their nation and its values and you keep them on the run. They remain weak and vulnerable to attack. Let them rally behind the flag and things begin to change. From that strong point they can begin to take back the argument and collapse the lies on which the propaganda stands. Not only that, more start to find their voice also putting to bed the falsehood that they are in the minority.
The flag doesn't belong to the BNP and any suggestion to the contrary is an out and out lie. The flag belongs to everyone who ascribes to the values of this nation and spends every day contributing to it. It does not belong to the BNP. If it was theirs, it would be because an ideology and movement has handed it to them by denying its true owners of it by creating a false narrative around it to suit their own ideological ends in order to make it toxic.
So what's my point?
We're not alone though and we need to send a signal to that effect. We need to start taking back our nation for all the good things that it is and ever was. We need to start sending a signal that all those who think likewise are not alone so that we can start finding each other, because as we do, more will stand. We need to create our rallying points so that we can start to push back the decades of decay.
How do we start? With our flag.
We start by taking back our flag by flying it wherever we can. Buy it and fly it! We prepare our argument to shoot down the notion that its a symbol of hate so we can explain politely and firmly that it is the flag of a fair place and a fair people and that it belongs to anyone of regardless of their colour or place of birth who comes here, contributes assumes our way of life and stands behind the values of this country.