Thursday, 31 May 2012

When Is A National Flag Too Big?

(A health warning to my reader JRB - this post may be bad for you.)

Alyn Smith, an SNP member of the European Parliament, has complained to Seb Coe, the wunderkind chairman of the London 2012 organising committee, about the ban on the Saltire being flown over Scotland's national stadium during the Olympic games.

Under Olympic rules, Scottish athletes represent Great Britain, meaning only the Union flag should be officially flown at venues.

The rule hit the headlines during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics Games in 2002 when skier, Alain Baxter from Aviemore, was ordered to cover up a blue and white Saltire he had dyed into his hair before competing.

Terms and conditions on tickets for the 2012 Games state there should be no flags of countries that are not participating.

The rule means that the Saltire can't fly over Hampden a spokesman for the organising committee confirmed. "Common sense would be applied for fans, as long as there was no 'political statement' linked to the flag or emblem" they said.

Another response from the committee is 'that people have always been allowed to bring in flags and wave them provided they are not too big or on poles'.

I see two problems with the organising committee's responses.  Firstly, what is its definition of 'common sense'?  It's certainly very different to mine.

Secondly, I've searched in vain to find the definition of 'too big'.  I have a couple of Saltires which I use for a variety of purposes. Both are 5ft by 3ft - a handy size for anything from a table covering to flying from a flagpole.  But would one be too big for the Olympic flag-checking mafia?  Who knows.

If anyone attending a Game's event wants to take along their emblem to show national pride, forget a flag and consider a windsock. If money is no object how about a Saltire mohair throw to keep your shoulders warm?

I would suggest that anyone taking either of these items also remembers to carry the invoice with them just in case the flag-checking mafia don't know the difference between a saltire, a windsock and a throw. It's all down to common sense isn't it?



Anonymous said...

Sounds like bullshit. I'd suggest anyone wanting to fly a saltire comb through photos of the Sydney games and see if they can spot the New South Wales state flag alongside the Aussie one. Since both are normally flown alongside each other from the top of the Harbour Bridge, which as I recall had Olympic ring themed fireworks on it for the games, I wouldn't be surprised if this thing with the saltire is just gold medal standard twattery for the sake of it.

JRB said...

Yesterday, a mile long procession of vehicles led by a bloke in a white track suite passed through the tiny village of Much Wenlock, the supposed birthplace of the modern Olympics.
Those games of 1850 in Much Wenlock were probably the one and only time the true spirit of amateur Olympian sportsmanship has been seen.

Now the Olympics and all that surround it has descended into a vast international corporate money making machine.

Locog, the games organisers, would appear to have taken on the authoritarian role of a third world dictatorship.

- Locog is threatening to sue a florist in Staffs for having a tissue paper flower ring display in her window.
- Locog have banned spectators from posting images on the web.
- Locog have demanded of all local food retailers at 'torch' events that - “Traders who are food vendors must cover up or have no visible brand names, logos or trademarks on display while trading at the event. Traders can also only sell soft drinks that are sold exclusively from the Coca-Cola product range, including bottled water"
- Locog have banned all references and allusions to the use of the words 'Olympics' or 'London 2012'

So the very fact that we are discussing the London 2012 Olympics is probably an offence.

Banning of the Saltire is hardly surprising - then nothing about these damned Olympics surprises me.

(a special thanks for your kindly consideration for my health)

Independent England said...

The easiest way would be for England Scotland Wales and N.Ireland to enter their own teams for the Olympics. Hopefuly Scotland will declare independence and that will be the 2016 games sorted for Scotland at least.
What flag the remainder of the Disunited Kingdom will fly in 2016 will have to be decided. Surely not the defunct Union Flag?
I'd prefer the Cross of St George and an independent England.

JRB said...

Oh! - I very nearly forgot to mention …

- Locog banned the Scottish Women's Rural Institute (SWRI) from having a flower-arranging competition with an Olympic theme.
- Locog threatened the Sugarcraft Guild that any illegal icing sugar or marzipan references to the Olympics or 2012 at its annual festival of cakes would result in court action.
- Locog forced an 81year old lady to withdraw a hand knitted doll from a charity church sale because it had the five Olympic rings and the words GB 2012 sewn in. They told her that selling the doll, which had a £1 price tag, would be in contravention of the ‘London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006’ through which the copyright ban is enforced.

I don’t know if I said – but I think Locog are loco – but you might have already guessed that.

hector said...

at the moment i suppose scotland is not seen as a are we entitled to fly a national flag? a previous comment was near the mark.technically are we the same as new south wales or texas? we have however a chance to change this soon.

Clarinda said...

Wasn't there an early stooshie over Stella McCartney's London Olympic athlete outfit design as it was "too Scottish looking" with only a suggestion of the Union Flag red colour?
I've had a quick look at the mass of official London Olympic tat - sorry, memorabilia - available and I suggest the purchase of the Union Jack (sic) umbrella which is blue and white and could be legally displayed at £14 a pop.,default,pd.html
Scottish summers are usually pretty wet in any case - so a good investment?

subrosa said...

It does sound that way angryexcile, but have you read the 'rules'?

It's not only the Scots who will be affected but the Welsh, English and N Irish.

subrosa said...

Loco - no spelling error JRB.

subrosa said...

I rather like the Cross of St George IE. It has a certain dignity about it.

subrosa said...

The mafia will be out in force JBR. Seems their training has been lengthy and detailed.

subrosa said...

And we need to grab it with both hands hector.

subrosa said...

That's right Clarinda - too much blue and white like the Saltire.

The only problem I see with brollies is that they can block other's vision. I suppose a wind sock would too though.

JRB said...


… and today’s Olympic nonsense is –
- Locog and the sponsor Visa are banning the use of rival cards at Games venues. It is ordering the closure of all cash-points which accept either Mastercard or American Express.
- Locog ordered an estate agent who created an Olympic display using hula hoops as the five rings, to take it down or face prosecution.

… and so it will continue till this event(?) is all over.

The Saltire is well out of it and should be happy to dissociate itself from anything relating to Locog or the Olympics.

subrosa said...

Strangely JRB, someone said exactly that to me last night. 'We're well out of it'.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Careful JRB - I have very fond memories of my time in Much Wenlock - though I hasten to add it wasn't during the time of the first Olympics.

As to the present stooshie - my only wish would be it was as easily disposed of as my dogs business in the doggy bin. And you can add the present jubbly-bubbly celebrations to that.

subrosa said...

I too have fond memories of Much Wenlock Crinkly. I used to ferry children there on Saturdays for their pony riding sessions.

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