May 20, 2013

England (United Kingdom)

Today's post is inspired by a news that shocked me: the council of Radstock, Somerset, banned the use of St. George's cross (the unofficial, but recognized, symbol of England). The reason is that this flag was used on Crusades, what should offend the Muslim inhabitants of the local, and that it's used by the far right.

About the latter, it's important to remember that every national flag is subject to be used by hatred symbol. Whatever, the biggest polemics is related to the former. The fact that the English flag was originated on the Crusades is irrelevant currently and, on the words of Rizwan Ahmed, spokesman for the Bristol Muslim Cultural Society:
"It is political correctness going a bit too far." 
"Use by the far right is one thing, but to say that Muslims are offended I don't think is correct. We understand the flag is part of this country's heritage, and in fact many many Muslims will identify as being British themselves."
"In actual fact we are normal people. We have a sense of humour and have the same concerns as everyone else – we are not just some single group."
The Saint George's cross:

The Saint George's cross was one of the many flags conceded by the pope to the kings of Europe for being used during the Crusades. Actually, England gained a red flag with a white cross, and France the red cross on white, although they latter exchanged the flags (France latter adopted a white cross on blue).

Here I present a compilation of Crusade flags used during the Crusades to identify nationality (the sources are very confuse, use at your own risk):

  • White cross on red: England (1st), France (2nd).
  • Red cross on white: France (1st), England (2nd), Genoa, Aragon, Holy Roman Empire.
  • White cross on blue: France (3rd).
  • Black cross on white: Brittany, Holy Roman Empire (possibly).
  • Green cross on white: Flanders.
  • Yellow cross on white: Italy, Holy Roman Empire (possibly).
  • Blue cross on white: Portugal (possibly including Galicia).

By the way, the association between the cross and St. George possibly occurred on Genoa, on 12th century,  that also adopted the flag and the patron saint in same period.

I hope you liked the post. If you have any comment about England flag or the incident on Radstock, leave your comment, please.

May 8, 2013


Today's post has two objectives: firstly, talks a bit about the current Canadian flag and its origin and, finally, comment a news related to this flag.

Until 1965, Canada used this flag:

Then they finally changed to current flag:

Between 1963 and 1965, occurred what was called the "Great Canadian Flag Debate", that gained popular repercussion after Lester B. Person, then prime-minister, proposed that Canada should change its flag. In the end, the right above flag won the debate.

Differently of current absolute acceptance of the maple leaf flag, there were, on the times of the adoption, a loud opposition, fearing that flag change would lead Canada to became a republic and leave the Commonwealth. Until now, fortunately or unfortunately, it never occurred.

The new Canada flag is much simpler, original and distinctive than the older flag, and became so popular that reverting it would cause popular un-satisfaction. Canada flag change happened to create what's called Canadian pale, posteriorly adopted by many Canadian territories and towns.

Now the second part, as promised on first paragraph... since Sunday (May 5th 2013), Canadian naval jack is the new naval ensign, and the naval ensign is the new jack i.e. they exchanged places. The old naval ensign, now the naval jack is the national flag; the new naval ensign (the old naval jack) is the following:

I think the change makes Canada nearer of the standard. Usually (specially on Commonwealth countries), the naval ensigns, by major influence of the United Kingdom, takes the national flag on the canton (what now happens). The jacks use to have simpler designs and, in countries where the naval ensign is different of national flag (like Canada), the national flag is the jack. So I totally agree with the change, as the things makes more sense now.

You may be questioning: what have really changed? According to international protocol, jacks are flown on the bow (front), while the ensigns are flown on the main mast (on sea) or in the stern (if the ship is anchored, moored or alongside).

Please, leave a comment. Your opinion is welcome.