The Union Jack is a precious national asset. We must protect and make the most of it.
The whole topic of Vexillology (the study of flags) is extremely interesting and brings forth a deep understanding of world history, politics and art.
Our Union Flag (Union Jack) is one of the best known flags in the world as it has been a symbol of British national pride for over 400 years.
Sadly, our wonderful flag has been stolen as a symbol of the far right British National Party (BNP) for the last few years and must be recovered from their grasp and reinstated as a proud symbol of British culture for display by citizens one-and-all, irrespective of any party affiliations. It is also been marginalised by some on the left as a symbol of ‘old Britain’, which they would like to expunge from our consciousness.
In 2004, Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown concluded his annual British Council lecture with these words:
“I believe that we should respond to the undermining of an inclusive citizenship by the British National Party by not only fighting their racism but by asserting at every opportunity that the union flag does not belong to a vicious minority, but is a flag for all Britain – symbolising inclusion, tolerance and unity; and that England, Scotland and Wales – whose celebration of national identity is to be welcomed and encouraged – should also honour not just their own flags but the union flag for the shared values it symbolises.”
For this reason, I encourage every business and private citizen in the UK who holds our wonderfully rich culture with high esteem to fly our Union Flag at every opportunity. Indeed, why wait for a national event when you can fly the flag today and every day!
The great news is that anyone may fly their national flag at any time in England subject to a small number of common sense requirements, as listed below.
Flags which do not require consent
(a) Any country’s national flag, civil ensign or civil air ensign;
(b) The flag of the Commonwealth, [the European Union], the United Nations or any other international organisation of which the United Kingdom is a member;
(c) A flag of any island, county, district, borough, burgh, parish, city, town or village within the United Kingdom;
(d) The flag of the Black Country, East Anglia, Wessex, any Part of Lincolnshire, any Riding of Yorkshire or any historic county within the United Kingdom;
(e) The flag of Saint David;
(f) The flag of Saint Patrick;
(g) The flag of any administrative area within any country outside the United Kingdom;
(h) Any flag of Her Majesty’s forces;
(i) The Armed Forces Day flag.
Flags which do not require consent - provided they comply with certain restrictions
A number of categories of flag may be flown without consent, subject to certain restrictions regarding the size of the flag, the size of characters on the flag, and the number and location of the flags. Categories of flag that can be flown are:
(a) House flag - the flag is allowed to display the name, emblem, device or trademark of the company (or person) occupying the building, or can refer to a specific event of limited duration that is taking place in the building from which the flag is flown;
(b) Any sports club (but cannot include sponsorship logos);
(c) The horizontal striped rainbow flag, such as the “Pride” Flag;
(d) Specified award schemes - Eco-Schools, Queens Awards for Enterprise and Investors in People.
The restrictions on flying this second category of flag relate to where the flagpole (flagstaff) is located on a building or within the grounds of a building.
Flags which do require consent
Other flags may be ‘restricted’ or require ‘express consent’, please see the links below for full details.
How can you fly your flag?
(a) You can have a vertical flagpole on the roof of a building AND/OR a flagpole in the grounds.
(b) You can have a flagpole projecting from the side of a building AND/OR a flagpole in the grounds.
(c) But, you cannot have a flagpole on the roof AND a flagpole projecting from the side of a building.
Useful Links below
Flags & Heraldry Committee - an All Party group of the UK Parliament : Flying Flags in the United Kingdom - pdf download (20 pages)