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?