You must obey. No no, just you - not you.

I started this blog by talking about the Shabina Begum case earlier this year. Remember Shabina Begum? She had tried to make her school allow her to attend wearing a jilbab, and the press didn't like it. Remeber their arguments? You know, ones like - the school has a uniform and rules and if Begum doesn't like it, she can bugger off to another school? If the school starts allowing pupils to break the uniform rules, there'd be chaos? The sky will fall on our heads?

You'd think this means the press takes a hard line about people following rules laid down for them by authority. Anyone opposing rules about uniforms and such can just nick off, right? But wait!

Cabbies banned from wearing Three Lions, Council bans patriotic drivers from flying the flag, Tesco U-turn over England flag ban, School relaxes England flag ban, England flag ban fury

It seems they don't mind when people want to break their school or company's rules on uniforms after all! It must have all been just one big mistake!

It's not just the rank hypocrisy that's so annoying - it's the invention of an evil PC conspiracy against displaying the English flag out of unrelated cases. It's also that people will unquestioningly believe this arsery.* Think about it. Only two of the places in any of these stories prohibited displaying the flag specifically because it was the English flag - and both of those relented.

Of the rest, we have one council (out of 70-odd) that prohibits its licensed cabbies from displaying any sort of football memorabilia and one that only mentions the crappy plastic things you stick to the door; we have one police force (out of 29) specifically mentioning the same crappy plastic door attachments; we have the BAA saying construction workers at Terminal 5 can't fly flags because they might fly off and, you know, kill people; and we have one Fire Station told off for flying a flag without the commissioner's permission.

Talking of the Fire Station, the Sun story is well dodgy.

The opening sentences misleadingly mention 'Firemen' and the only clue we get that the story is only relevant to the Barking station is halfway through. Then we get this:
London Fire Brigade confirmed staff needed permission from the commissioner to hoist flags.

A spokesman said: “We are addressing this issue locally with the station.”
So, the actual story is that somebody has claimed that Barking Fire Station has been told not to fly an England flag, and that the London Fire Brigade have said Fire Stations need permission before thay can fly a flag. What a non-story that is. Also, notice the second paragraph:
Stunned crews were told the Cross of St George could offend ethnic minorities.
Firstly, who told the 'stunned crews'? Was it someone in charge, a member of the public, or someone somebody made up? If it was a real person, why aren't they mentioned? If it was a member of the public, thier comment's irrelevant. It's unlikely that it was the 'spokesman' quoted at the end, or it'd have been attributed to him. It couldn't have been the journalist themselves, could it? Surely not.

(Also, notice how the local Mosque is used as an illustration of whether or not ethnic minorities would be offended. Presumably, the Sun thought the Mohammed cartoons were racist as Muslims count as an ethnic minority now. Ooh, brainaches!)

This whole 'flag ban' thing is such confected nonsense. The papers find two - that number again in case you have trouble putting such a large number into perspective - two - places in the whole country where flags are prohibited explicitly because they're the English flag (I'm being generous here - the Mail article says Tesco had prohibited 'football flags'), and even those relented. So we're left with a grand total of no places banning the flag because it's English. That number again - none. From this, I'm going to have to face another summer of sitting in pubs listening to some goon mouthing off about how we're not even allowed to display our own flag while he's wearing an England shirt, I'm wearing an England shirt, every other fucker in the place is wearing an England shirt, the bar is strung with hundreds of little England flags, England flags are flying from windows all up the street and every other car driving past has the crappy plastic things sticking out of their doors.

Don't believe me? Some comments from Tesco U-turn over flag ban:
When are the British people going to wake up and stop these PC nobodys [sic] telling us we cannot be proud of our country and flag, do you think this would happen anywhere else in the world?

- R.Allen, Prenton Merseyside

How dare anyone say that we can not display our flag, our flag should fly (with pride)on all main government building [sic], surely one of the troubles with our country is no pride in itself [sic].

- J.M.Hixon, Rayleigh. Essex

It appears that in recent tmes, one can support any country without question unless it is England. Is this a form of racial prejudice by certain persons and organisations.

- Mayberry Jones, East London, UK

see that the anti-British machine is getting more powerful by the day. One does wonder whether either the French or the Americans are forced to endure such self-loathing anxieties as we UK patriots?

- Darren Marsh, Sutton, Surrey

Pathetic! England must be the only country in the world where flying the national flag is banned in case we upset - well, who? If anyone in our country is upset by the flag, they should not be there!

- Peter Smith, Montreal, Canada [Ah - the wonderful smell of irony]
Etcetera, etcetera. These sheep are so easy to lead.

*Like archery, but with more bums.

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