Thursday, July 05, 2007 

Scum-watch: Flag flying uber alles.

What then, according to the Sun, was the most important news story from yesterday? Alan Johnston's release? The continuing investigation into the botched "terror" attacks? The stand-off in the Red Mosque in Pakistan? Some inconsequential bullshit about celebrities?

No, it was something far, far more interesting than any of that tedious nonsense. Scotland Yard, where there certainly isn't far more important work to be doing than worrying about setting up flagpoles, has committed the cardinal sin of declining to rush straight for the red white and blue, despite the Sun's demands for every building in the country to be flying our brilliant banner from the rooftops.

STUFFY Scotland Yard REFUSED to fly the Union Flag yesterday — despite an appeal by the PM.

The Sun backed Gordon Brown when he said the flag should be hoisted on public buildings in defiance of terrorism and to promote “Britishness”.

Let's end this specious bullshit once and for all. Here's what the green paper on the Governance of Britain (PDF) says about flags, from page 58:

Box 6:Flying the Union Flag and other national flags

Symbols can help to embody a national culture and citizenship. The Union Flag is one of the most recognisable symbols of the UK. But while in other countries, such as France and the United States, the national flag is regarded as source of pride, in recent years the Union Flag has all too often become the preserve of political extremists, a symbol of discord rather than harmony. It is critical that this symbol is not hijacked by those who seek to work against the fundamental British values of tolerance and mutual respect.

While there are a number of reasons why the Union Flag may not be as widely flown in the UK as other national flags are abroad, regulations on the use of the flag may be playing some role.The Government has already removed many of the previous restrictions on flag flying by private citizens. But at present there are only 18 fixed days each year in on which the Union Flag may be flown on Government buildings England. These restrictions are clearly tighter than those used in many other countries.

The Government will therefore consult on altering the current guidance that prohibits the flying of the Union Flag from Government buildings for more than 18 set days in the year. There are particular sensitivities in Northern Ireland. The flying of flags there is governed by the Flags Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000. The Government believes that this is the most appropriate way to deal with the matter.

In other words then, it's nothing to do with either promoting Britishness or "defying terrorism", but more of an attempt to reclaim the flag from the far-right. Funny that the government blames the fascists for people being hesitant about flying the flag while the Scum predictably blames the "loopy left".
Back to the article:

But Britain’s biggest police force hid behind a government directive which specifies official days on which the Union Flag can be flown. It
WAS flying outside other police HQs.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “Guidance on the appropriate dates for flying of the Union Flag is issued by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

“We are aware of the proposals made by the Prime Minister. We would expect to be advised of any changes in the protocol by the DCMS and act accordingly.”

They're simply playing safe then and going by the current dates, as the green paper is only promising a consultation on changing the current directive. You'd really think that the police ought to be spending their time on err, protecting the public and preventing crime than having to worry about being pilloried in the Scum about not flying the flag, but this seems to show the Scum's own twisted sense of priorities.

Despite being happy about something involving the BBC, which makes a change, the Scum can't help but delve further into things it doesn't have the slightest clue about.

That said, one question hovers over his release. Was there a deal?

Depends what the Scum means by deal. If by deal it means that Hamas offered to for now spare any further crackdowns on the Dogmush clan in exchange for Johnston's release, then yes, there most likely was. If it means some sort of deal with the West or the BBC, then no.

Mr Johnston asks us to thank the ruthless Hamas regime for organising his release.

Seeing as if it hadn't been for them it's incredibly likely he'd still be languishing in a plain room, listening to the world service, I don't see how doing this is any sort of problem.

Brussels is preparing to lift its embargo on aid worth billions to these elected extremists. That money will undoubtedly be used to buy weapons and explosives.

Err, no it isn't. It's lifting the embargo on the Palestinian Authority now that Hamas is no longer part of the government. Hamas isn't going to get the money; Fatah is.

Under its evil rule, Gaza has been engulfed by civil war.

In actual fact, since Hamas fully took over three weeks ago the Strip has had a calmness that it hasn't enjoyed in years. This isn't to overlook how it came to take control, but the results on the ground speak for themselves.

We rejoice to see Mr Johnston free.

But not at the price of Israel’s survival.

Yes, because Hamas is just waiting to wipe Israel off the map, isn't it? Wade really ought to stick to commenting on the evil paedos; she's just as ignorant about the subject, but at least she doesn't come off as being completely illiterate.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007 

Scum-watch: The dead flag blues.

Has Rebekah Wade finally lost the use of all her remaining mental faculties? The Scum this week hasn't had the slightest clue what response to make to the weekend's pitiful attacks by the "Doctors of Evil". Monday we had blitz spirit type defiance; yesterday it was scaremongering and demanding that Brown scrap the "hated" human rights act; today we've finally reached the predictable last resort of any tabloid hack, patriotism, never more accurately defined than by Samuel Johnson over 200 years ago, who presciently described it as the last refuge of the scoundrel. A lot of scoundrels have attempted to invoke it since then, and Rebekah Wade and Gordon Brown will by no means be the last.

Five Chinese Crackers has done his usual top job of showing that Brown actually ordered no such display of "defiance", simply suggesting amongst his other plans for constitutional change that the restrictions on flying the Union Jack on government buildings could well be dropped.

Now, it's always been obvious that Brown has long focused on Britishness because of his own unmissable Scottishness, and the gradual rise of the so-called West Lothian question, but even he would likely balk at the innate stupidity of putting up the Union Jack in response to a bunch of idiot jihadis that were supposedly doctors but who didn't even realise that gas patio canisters aren't going to make that much of a bang. There's nothing quite so eminently offensive as almost any flag on a pole, let alone flying the thing from every building in the land. The only thing they're useful for is as a quick standard by which countries can be easily identified; they are otherwise inherently meaningless, as much a mocked-up mumbo-jumbo of supposed pride as the 2012 Olympics logo is, only they were put together before brainless managerial brand consultants started decimating the English language. They're just as manufactured. It's also perhaps indicative of their worthlessness that probably the most pleasingly one on aesthetic terms is North Korea's, a nation on its knees but steeped in jingoism by its Stalinist masters.

In fact, the Scum's calls to fly the flag are even more facile and offensive than they seem on the surface. There's nothing wrong with wanting to fly the flag, but if we're going to do it, we should do so without having either a definite reason for doing so, simply because we live in Britain and its one of our national emblems, or as the Scum has, an ulterior motive which is the very definition of being a scoundrel. At the same time as the article states that by flying the flag we'd be making clear that we revere freedom, itself a highly questionable supposition, it's demanding that our new prime minister remove those very freedoms which we genuinely should be proud of and celebrate.

But Mr Brown REFUSED to rip up the Human Rights Act despite Britain’s security crisis.

This is what the Scum's crisis of patriotism is about. As shown yesterday, it loathes the HRA more than anything because it's European in origin, even though it's not anything to do with the European Union as it falsely stated. When all else fails, play the jingoist card.

He told MPs it must stay — in a snub to Sun readers who voted overwhelmingly to scrap the Act in our hotline poll.

Just how overwhelmingly? Well, according to the Scum:

A massive 23,919 Sun readers rang our hotline yesterday to demand new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith tear up the hated Human Rights Act.

That amounted to 98 per cent of those who voted. Just 358 people voted against.

This tells us more about the sense of the vast majority of Sun readers' than it does about anything else. The Sun sells just under 3 million copies a day and claims in its advertising propaganda that it reaches approximately 8 million every day. 23,919 is then a tiny amount, and considering it cost 10 pence to call, it means 23,919 individuals (or not, because it wouldn't stop multiple votes) have more money than sense. Those 358 brave individuals who voted against may have equally wasted their cash, but to oppose the Scum's overwhelming propaganda war is worthy of praise.

We had called for changes after revealing how the Act hampers our security forces’ ability to protect the nation.

In one of the most badly written, misleading pieces to appear in a tabloid newspaper this year. That's quite an achievement. Bravo!

But the PM said axing the Act would rob British citizens of their “fundamental rights”.

Judges who apply the Act in court would use the European Convention on Human Rights in its place, he told MPs.

Well obviously, considering the HRA is just the ECHR enshrined in British law. All repealing the HRA would do is mean that seeking justice would be made more expensive, difficult and lengthier. For a newspaper that supposedly seeks justice for victims, it's not something it should want to be associated with. Yet destroying one of the few decent pieces of legislation brought in by Blair in a fit of pique and publicity is more attractive for the ever knee-jerking reactionaries in Wapping.

Before we go on to the leader, guess what the Scum's offering!

We are giving a 36in x 24in (2ft x 3ft) Union Flag FREE to each Sun reader. Send a sturdy A4 SAE, with a 70p stamp affixed, to this address: Sun Union Flag Offer PO Box 5553, Brightlingsea, Essex CO7 OFB.

Will it by any chance have the Sun emblazoned across it?

Anyway, the leader:

We applaud the decision to fly the Union Flag from public buildings — especially when this nation is under deadly attack.

Why especially when we're under not so deadly attack? What difference will it make? Are the terrorists going to stop in their tracks when they see us brandishing pieces of cloth in the wind like a bunch of sheep? Or is it rather something to make us feel better about ourselves without considering why we're being attacked or how to stop it happening again without removing freedoms which we might find difficult to replace? It's the equivalent of masturbation, a brief feeling of euphoria which quickly subsides and mutates into visceral self-loathing. There's more to be said for self-loathing than there is for ludicrous shows of so-called defiance.

This simple act of national pride is commonplace in countries like America and France where householders fly the flag in every front yard. Yet for decades, thanks to the loopy Left, we have seemed ashamed to raise a banner marking 300 years as a United Kingdom.

Ah yes, it's all down to the loopy left, no doubt also feminists, one-armed black lesbian Trotskyists' and politically correct bank managers banning piggy banks. In actual fact, and as is often the case, it's actually the fault of the loopy Right, as the Union Jack and flag of St. George have never been fully reclaimed from either the National Front or the British National Party, making people reasonably reluctant to fly it outside of football tournaments. If the Sun wanted to make a difference, it ought to campaign against the far right which it does so much to succour. This isn't even getting into how as a nation we are also suspicious about such displays of unabashed self-love, which is why those outside the lovers of the royal family have never joined in with such flag waving fervour.

So let us all, whether Christian, Muslim, or any other faith, unite together and fly the Union Flag to show we are one nation united in common cause. Patriotism, for too long, has been a dirty word.

And what cause would that be? If it's preserving freedom, then this very newspaper wants to do the exact opposite because a bunch of lunatics with petrol succeeded in setting themselves on fire. Patriotism isn't a dirty word as long as its for a noble cause: this is most certainly not.

The new PM makes clear there is NO question of scrapping the Human Rights Act which puts our security at risk.

There is NO plan to deport known or convicted terrorists, a top priority for police and security services.

I've made this challenge in the past about the Human Rights Act, and I'll do it again in a slightly different manner. If Rebekah Wade, because I'm sure she's reading this, can prove how the HRA has put our security at risk, and I mean conclusively, then I'll stop calling her a traitor. Additionally, it's odd how the police and security services consider deporting suspects a top priority when they've never stated such a thing in public. Odd that.

And, crucially, there will be NO referendum on the EU Constitution — even though Labour was re-elected in 2005 on this very pledge.

Or, to rephrase, the Scum supported Labour in 2005 because Blair promised a referendum of the constitution. Seeing as the EU constitution no longer exists and that rather than actually having a referendum on the EU reform treaty and how it changes the European Union, the Sun wants it to be a referendum on Europe itself, Brown is right to resist.

Far from dishing out real power to the people, Mr Brown has set up talking shops.

However worthy, they are unlikely to give punters the leverage to change the minds of elected politicians.

The Scum has this odd way of referring to citizens as punters, as if they were somehow the clients of a prostitute, which is rather strange. That aside, the Sun has already made up its mind that the people consider the HRA "a bad thing".

Brown knows the HRA harms our security but won’t axe it because he thinks there are good things in it.

Fine. So why not incorporate those in a new bill of rights which judges must obey, then repeal the HRA?

Because any bill of rights worthy of the name would contain the exact same provisions in the HRA and the ECHR. If we're going to have to a British bill of rights fine, but it musn't be a watered down sop to this very tabloid. Only then should repealing the HRA be considered.


There is one area where this newspaper believes the PM has wrongly surrendered real executive power.

MPs will get the right to decide whether this country goes to war. This is a risky proposition. Military threats come out of a clear blue sky. Lives depend on swift action.

It is every Prime Minister’s job, in consultation with his Cabinet, to take the lonely decision to defend the nation.

Not wait around for 646 waffling MPs to give their opinion.

In other words, the people of this country will themselves then be denied any voice in the most important and onerous decision that any government will ever take. Those "waffling" MPs are our voice, and it's disingenuous to suggest that MPs can't be summoned quickly to vote on such matters in case. The Sun in effect supports an elective dictatorship: one which as well as leading this nation into glory, as during WW2, can lead it into the ignominy that unjust, illegal wars bring down on them. Voting isn't necessarily a barrier to that happening, as we've seen, but they provide at least a plausible block on such overarching executive power. Is there anything more ridiculous and hypocritical than demanding the public have their say on the EU constitution, but not on the declaring of war?

The Scum remains then as traitorous as ever.

Related post:
Sunny - Flagging nationalism

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