Boris Johnson’s government is big on patriotism, which it projects by making sure that Ministers are standing in front of massive flags at any available opportunity. I assume that this is in recognition of our new status as a sovereign country, or a demented effort to ward off the threat of Scottish independence. Whatever it is, it’s weird.
Readers from other countries might not find this behaviour strange, but the UK is not an overtly patriotic country. We don’t sing the national anthem at school, and there is no pledge of allegiance. I do not own a picture of Queen Elizabeth II, nor do I own a Union Jack. I do, for reasons that I do not fully understand, own a picture of The Pope. Our patriotism, where it exists at all, is subtle, which makes the excessive flag-waving so jarring.
Things came to a head when two BBC breakfast presenters quipped about the size of the flag belonging to Housing Secretary Robert Jennick. This led to a Twitter war between those that see mockery of the flag as treason, and those that think this new patriotism is a bit wank. The pejorative ‘flagshagger’ has now been added to the updated lexicon of British politics, along with Brexiter, Remoaner and a bazillion others that I can’t remember.
It’s all very silly, but silliness, unlike patriotism, is one thing that we excel at.
UPDATE: There is more on the flag waving silliness over on the blog of David Allen Green, including the rather obvious, but not often mentioned assertion that an indoor flag makes no sense at all.
UPDATE II: Oh no. No, no, no: