Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Flying the flag

What with the Jubilee and now the Olympics, recently you can't go anywhere without seeing the Union Jack, not just a printed logo but actual flags, flying singly or in strings. There's the traditional version, printed in primary colours on fabric, and similar plastic varieties. Then there's the Olympic version in pink and turquoise, a neat subversion of the nationalistic image. Rows of large Union Jacks are strung across Oxford Street (Regent Street features an international selection). Pubs are festooned with bunting, strings of flags hang all the way round Fitzroy Square, people even carry flags to wave. All interestingly reminiscent of the United States around the 4th of July, Independence Day, when the stars and stripes is on display in every public place, strung across streets and on house fronts, decorating pickup trucks and shop window displays. For now the right-wing xenophobic connotations are completely lost in the sheer enthusiasm for decoration, and maybe it will stay that way, but more likely everything will go back to normal around Christmas, and the NF will get their emblem back. But then again, maybe not.

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