C’mon Gordon, join the rest of us and fly the flag for England
Surrender! At last! For you, Blair, the culture war is over. Downing Street yesterday ran up the white flag – the one with the red cross on it. For the period of the World Cup, said a cowed Labour spokesman, the emblem of St George would fly from No 10.
Across England yesterday there were still Leftist forces that were keeping up resistance, oblivious to the Hirohito-like capitulation of the high command. In the country’s Labour-controlled urban jungles, the culture warriors fought on with the pointlessness of Japanese privates lost in Burma in 1945.
In Salford City Council there was still a bonkers cell of Marxists, who insisted that the England flag be banned from all vehicles in its control. “The council must be sensitive to how residents of other nationalities would react to England flags being displayed,” said a Salford spokesman.
In Blackpool, the Labour council has maintained its ban on the town’s taxi drivers wearing football shirts, or any other item of apparel bearing the word England, or a red cross with a white background, or three lions.
In British prisons last night it was still unacceptable for gaolers to be found wearing Cross of St George tie pins, since these are allegedly thought by some inmates to be an insensitive reminder of the crusades.
But in London, here at Westminster, at the heart of the Labour machine, the surrender has been abject.
You could hardly move for red and white flags or for Lefty politicians prostrating themselves before them.
Lunchers in a Commons canteen were treated to the sight of a bearded Labour sports minister, in full England kit, complete with hairy knees, raving into the microphones about the joys of waving the flag. Tessa Jowell has two fluttering from her ministerial limo.
Dear old Blunkett could be heard denouncing the “political correctness” that for so long had prevented the English from waving their national symbol.
Down with “political correctness” said this ex-leader of Sheffield City Council, and I leave it to you to savour the enormous and blissful hypocrisy of it all.
These are the same Labour apparatchiks who have spent their political lives trying to banish this symbol from our national iconography.
Imagine what would have happened, even three years ago, if you and I had crept into the car park and slapped a St George bumper sticker on the rump of Tessa’s ministerial limo. Imagine her horror when she came upon it.
Her hands would have flown to her mouth; she would have given a little gasp, and then with feverish fingernails she would have tried to detach this appalling mark of the Little Englanders, and its horrible associations: pitbulls with studded collars and five-bellied owners with buzzcuts and beer bottles thudding on the bonces of foreign football fans; long, hot weed-gardened terraces in Essex with satellite dishes on the walls and nothing on the shelves inside save a few back numbers of The Spectator, and possibly the odd well-thumbed polemic by Roger Scruton or Simon Heffer.
“Ugh!” she would have exclaimed, and if she had been unable to peel it off, she would have amended it with her red nail varnish until it resembled something more politically correct, such as the flag of communist China.
That’s what the Labour elite used to think of the English flag, and they only capitulate now because they have no choice.
It is the cultural equivalent of the storming of the Bastille or the Winter Palace. It is a revolution that was born among the scaffolders and the taxi drivers and the pub owners, and then spread to the bourgeoisie to the point where the Labour elite knew they could no longer contain it; they had to co-opt it.
They know in their hearts that, yes, there is still much about the exuberant display of the English flag that they find ideologically troubling.
Yes, it is still intended, by some people, to be a little bit in yer face. It is being flown with ever greater passion because a growing number of people are obscurely aware that England gets a raw deal in our constitution.
It is fashionable to say that the West Lothian question is just a “beltway” issue. But wherever I go I find people who instinctively understand the absurdity that Tony Blair is set to transfer power to Gordon Brown – with all the democratic accountability of the transition from Claudius to Nero – and that Gordon Brown, a Scottish MP, will be able to impose very controversial measures on English constituencies, when English MPs have no corresponding say over those questions in Scotland, and when (the crowning absurdity) he, Gordon, will have no say over those questions in so far as they affect his own constituents.
That is why poor Gordon gnaws his nails, and looks with ever more despair at the growing Labour claque for the English postman Alan Johnson, a claque that I now officially join, not least since he is probably a distant cousin and we Johnsons must stick together.
That is why Gordon now announces, pathetically, that he will be supporting the English team, and that is why I have no doubt that before the World Cup is out poor Gordon will have been bullied by the actions of his neighbour into submission.
Tony has pledged to fly the flag. Will Gordon have the nerve to do the same? Will Gordon have the nerve to resist? Yes, my friends, such will be the hysteria over the next few days that I predict that we will eventually see the hilarious and pitiful spectacle of the England flag being raised over No 11 as well. Gordon will put his ambition before his national feeling, to the derision of his fellow Scotsmen.
The Labour classes will finally bow to the masses and in the matter of the flag the masses are right. The prevalence and success of this cross shows how wrong and how misguided the multiculturalists have been, in the past 30 years, to try to suppress national symbols, and how powerful a flag can be in uniting a country rather than dividing it. Oh yes: I almost forgot. Everyone, whatever their race, creed, colour, is also flying the flag because they want England to beat Paraguay on Saturday.