Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Can this really be the end for the St George flag?

Outrage over Euro Banner
by David Pilditch and Mark Blacklock
Daily Express
Saturday November 26, 2005

A fresh attack was launched by the Government yesterday on the Union Flag.
It wants to give the European Flag the same status as our treasured national symbol, the Daily Express can reveal.
The contraversial move could spell the end of the four flags for England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The European symbol could soon replace our national flags flying outside public buildings.

And yesterday one council moved to take down the flag of St George and replace it with the blue EU banner with its ring of yellow stars.

Critics bitterly condemned the Government move as a disgrace.

The news comes after the Express revealed yesterday that Eurocrats are trying to force Britain's merchant navy fleet to fly the European flag.
Critivs say that this could relegate the traditional Red Ensign - under which the merchant ships have sailed to war - to history. Under British law all non-national flags are classified as "outdoor advertisements". The EU's uninspiring flag can only bt flown above public buildings with planning permission from local councils.
Two authorities and a police force in England have been forced to take the flags down from their buildings after complaints from campaigners.
At one stage the European Commission's London office was ordered to remove the banner.
Last month Wear Valley District Council in County Durham was forced to take down the EU banner from its headquarters after being told that it was flying illegally.
After the error was pointed out the standard was replaced with the flag of St George.
At a cost of £265 the council then applied to its own planning committee for permission to restore the EU flag.
This week the planning committee approved a revised application to fly the flag applying for "advertisement consent".
Despite 19 objections put forward all 14 councillors on the committee supported the application.
Yesterday Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's office admitted it is introducing rules next year which will raise the status of the Euro flag.
Angry anti-Europe campaigner Neil Herron said: "It is illegal to fly the European flag without planning permission. At present the European flag has the same status as the Jolly Roger. But at least the people who flew that flag were honest about their intentions.
"The Government's proposal will give the European flag the status of our national flags. In the case of local authorities this is a contentious issue because the EU flag is not the symbol of a nation state but of a political project.
"It falls foull of local government guidelines which state you cannot use public money to promote a political issue.
"This is a disgrace. It's being done through the back door."
Tory Peer Lord Waddington condemned the proposal, saying the EU flag had "the same status as the skull and crossbones - which some might think appropriate".

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