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« Party democrats urge more than two names to be presented to country | Main | Andrew Lansley confirms he won't be standing »

Comments

michael

Henry, I agree with your comments. When I heard Fox and Cameron at the weekend (on Dimbleby) I was concerned that he sounded like a product of the Hague years. I have no huge objection to Liam Fox, but perhaps that's the problem...he just doesn't inspire or excite in the way that Cameron does.

AnotherNick

"This idea of flying the flag, for example, is just silly.

Why? It's not that long since the flag was flown on all our public buildings."

Okay James you are renowned for your ability to argue any point about Dr Fox, but in reply to your question, I will in all bad equite respond with questions for you?

How would you justify the expenditure of a flag for every school?

Do you accept that (like it or not) in Wales and Scotland the national flags would have to fly as well?

Would you propose flying a Union flag on a Catholic school in Northern Ireland?

I think my questions more than answer why the school flying the flag idea is ridiculous.

James Hellyer

No they don't.

A flag isn't expensive - so your first point is bogus.

Therefore two flags would cost not cost much more - although I actually fail to see why Wales and Scotlans shoulf fly theirs outside the relevant saints days. After all, we don't fly the St George's Flag all year round.

Would you propose flying a Union flag on a Catholic school in Northern Ireland?

If it's a state school, I don't see why not. Although Ulster is a special case in most things.

AnotherNick

May I suggest you have a look for a flag pole and flag, including the fact as it is outside it needs to be changed annually for a new one. The point is not bogus and quite frankly I'm rather disappointed that was the best comeback you could manage.

Face facts Wales & Scotland do have to fly their flags too.

I will not try and predict what forcing a Catholic school in NI to fly the Union Flag would lead to - all I know is it isn't worth the hassle.

AnotherNick

One minor point the Welsh flag doesn't relate to the Patron Saint, there is a separate St David's flag (Black with a Gold cross). So you point about the flags only flying on Saint's days is one might say "bogus"!

James Hellyer

No, it's just merely applicable to the St George's and St Andrew's flags. Not bogus at all then.

James Hellyer

The cost point is bogus. When flags were flown from all public buildings they weren't done so from erectes flagpoles US-style, but rather from a small bar on the eaves.

Yes, Scotland and Wales would probably want to fly their own flags too. My point was that they don't have to, but nobody would stop them.

And as for Ulster, I said it was a special case. It is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

AnotherNick

Even a small flag pole of a building in my experience costs hundreds multiplying that by the number of schools in the UK - I think there is a fair chance Labour would go to town on Tories wasting their money.

James Hellyer

If that was their best shot then they've lost. It would be a tiny part of each school's budget. I don't see that as an issue.

By contrast, Cameron's plan to reintroduce national service would be authoritarian and costly (yes, I know it's not military service, but compulsory service it is).

Simon C

Another Nick,

The cost of a flag is under £50 according to the first google search I did. This is an entirely bogus point. The cost would be a mere microdot in the education budget. More to the point, your thinking is entirely out of date. In the light of recent events, commentators on right and left, not least Trevor Phillips at the CRE, are looking for ways to emphasise what unites us as a nation, not what divides us. Flying the flag in our schools is an easy way of doing that. It would also mean that there is no possibility that the Union Jack could be claimed as their own by racists - rather as has happened with all the St George's Cross flags we see now, when England win at cricket and rugby, or play football.

greg

Cameron wants to introduce national service? I thought someone said he would appeal to the young?

James Hellyer

He doesn't call it that. He stresses it's non-military. But nevertheless he wants to compell schooleavers to do public works.

greg

I don't see why making it non-military is going to appeal to people.

James Hellyer

I guess military service wouldn't be modern enough, while being forced to do charity work would be somehow... "modern".

malcolm

But it's still a good idea in my opinion.

James B

With regard to the flag issue (non-issue), the French also fly their flag on public buildings as do the Americans. I wonder how copying the French (as well as the US) would wash!

I still believe that the idea of the flag is a good idea as it creates a sense of identity often missing and claims the flag as mainstream and not the exclusive right of the far right. I really do not believe that it is an election issue or vote winner/loser.

I also believe that the use of the flag in the US and France was used as a means of asserting the state as independent from the influence of Christian religion (secularism).

greg

Whether it's a good idea or not (it's a stupid one IMO and would cause nothing but resentment) it would certainly not attract the young.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Cameron wants to introduce national service? I thought someone said he would appeal to the young?"

If this is the best the Notting Hill set can come up with then it's no wonder that Cameron spends all his time making empty statements about repositioning the Conservatives without actually setting out what his position is (probably because it changes like the wind).

James Hellyer

From Dr Fox's "Broken Society Speech":

"Last year, John Howard’s Government introduced a policy of requiring every school to fly the Australian flag from a flagpole. In an accompanying press release,the Minister said this:

"Our flag reflects who we are, where we have come from and the historical circumstances and values of those who have passed on an economic and social legacy to our generation.By taking pride in the flag and its presentation, schools can help support parents’ expectations that our schools will foster values such as tolerance, trustworthiness, mutual respect, courage,compassion, courtesy and doing one’s best. Education is as much about building character as it is transferring skills, knowledge and the thirst for learning.

"I could not agree more. By requiring all British schools to do the same, we can remind everyone, what ever their background, of the values they share. I believe it to be vital to ensure future generations do not feel alienated from the country which nurtured them."

Ronald Collinson

Blast – on my last post, I meant 'patronising idiot', not 'patriotic idiot'! I was tired at the time.

BTW Ronald Collinson,I don't always agree with everything you say but to quote my favourite passage from Shakespeare and to describe Blair as an 'oleaginous shapeshifter'...absolutely priceless!

Thankyou very much. *smiles happily*

I would quite like to live in a world where flying the flag would not be counter-productive, and there would probably be no harm in encouraging it (a strongly worded suggestion often has a significant effect – a good example would be Circular 10/65, though I hate myself for citing that monstrous document).

To actually require schools to do so, however, might be seen as oppressive. As I said, there would be the danger of finding the flag ripped down by vandals and trailing in the mud.

The flag means a lot, and Dr Fox's statements are admirable. The fact is, however, that it fails to stir the heart from which patriotism has not already emerged. The idea is not such a bad one, but the time is not yet ripe for it. And I should hope that, when that time does come, compulsion shall not be necessary.

James Hellyer

To actually require schools to do so, however, might be seen as oppressive

I don't see why. Compelling US-style pledges of allegiance might well be oppressive, but no one is suggesting a daily act of homage before the flag. It will merely act as a symbol of the state on 'state-owned' building.

On its own it won't create a sense of national belonging, but it should help.


wasp

I'm 23 and voted liberal in 2001, most of my friends are the sort of people we have to win over to SURVIVE let alone win. And none of them can stand Liam Fox.

Oh and leaving the EPP would deprive a Conservative Governmnet of any influence in the EU. Too much of a backward step you have to be more positive when you are negotiating with your partners.

Also nobody seemed to want to pick up the Liam Fox pledge cards on the way out.

a-tracy

I'm intrigued to know why you changed from Liberal in 2001 to Tory today Wasp?

James Hellyer

I'm 23 and voted liberal in 2001, most of my friends are the sort of people we have to win over to SURVIVE let alone win. And none of them can stand Liam Fox.

I can respond by talking about the non-Conservatives I know who spoke warmly of Fox or Davis. Anecdotal evidence is not proof.

Oh and leaving the EPP would deprive a Conservative Governmnet of any influence in the EU.

Go and read the EPP's manifesto
http://www.epp-ed.org/Policies/en/policies.asp

with regard to social issues -
it reads more like New Labour, with strong endorsements of a 'social Europe'. It should be anathema to any right-thinking Conservative.

Too much of a backward step you have to be more positive when you are negotiating with your partners.

We can get new partners from Eastern Europe, who are more in tune with our values. We may even be able to ally with some of the more economically-liberal parties that are currently in the ELDR (liberal grouping)


greg

Compelling US-style pledges of allegiance might well be oppressive, but no one is suggesting a daily act of homage before the flag. It will merely act as a symbol of the state on 'state-owned' building.

Is Liam Fox not in favour of having school buildings owned by the private sector?

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