Friday, 18 January 2013

Fly the flag: a historic perspective

Here in Northern Ireland we hear the argument that the flag has always flown 24/7/365. It is like something set in time immemorial. So imagine what happens when someone actually scours through some historical documents. Here is the page about flying the flag in the 1950s. Note the lack of the Princes Andrew and Edward and the fact that Charles most senior title is that of Duke of Cornwall. Note also the time for flying them is 8 a.m.till sunset.

The days are:
  • 1st January - New Years Day
  • 6th February - Her Majesty's Ascension
  • 17th March - St. Patrick's Day
  • 31st March - Birthday of the Duke of Gloucester (note this is Prince Henry the son of the current Duke and son of George V)
  • Easter Day
  • 21st April - Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen
  • 25th April - Birthday of the Princess Royal (again note this is Princess Mary, daughter of George V at the time)
  • 24th May - Empire Day
  • 10th June - Birthday of the Duke of Edinburgh
  • 12th July - Bank Holiday
  • 4th August - Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
  • 18th August - Birthday of the Princess Anne
  • 31st August - Birthday of the Princess Margaret
  • November - Remembrance Day
  • 14th November - Birthday of the Duke of Cornwall
  • 20th November - Her Majesty's Wedding Day
  • 25th December - Christmas Day
Also to be flown for the official celebration of Her Majesty's Birthday and the Opening and Closing of the sessions of the Houses of Parliament of Northern Ireland.

A grand total of twenty days.

So when people tell you it has always been that way, ask them to check the facts.

Just like the name of Northern Ireland's second city, where if like me you look at family census returns from 1901 and 1911 where protestant children are born in the City of Derry and family live in Derry, this issue didn't become political until one side made it so. Now is the time for grown up politics.

In the UK we don't fly the flag every day. But we do fly it from civic and government buildings on a set number. That should apply to all council offices including those that do not fly it. Flying it any more than this is the equivalent of a dog marking their territory, and we know how they go about that.

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