Today, the 23rd of April, is St. George’s Day — the patron saint of England. It is also William Shakespeare’s birthday, if you can believe such a co-incidence. And to add incredulity to unbelieveableness*, it is also UN Official English Language Day (chosen because it is the Bard’s birthday).
I’m English, and I’m an English teacher. I’m also a bit of a patriot, so it kind of irks when the US flag is used to represent the English language, such as on Duolingo. Although I do understand and accept the reasoning behind this choice (way more Americans than Britons).
Instead of either national flag, some people and organisations combine the British and American flags and use the resulting crossbreed to stand for the English language. This version’s pretty nifty:
And BioWare, my favourite computer game company, have used the Canadian flag!
All of these options work really well. But I wondered to myself, What if there was a dedicated English language flag? What would it look like?
This is my answer to that age-old and most vexing of all questions:
What makes a good flag design? It should be well-balanced, distinctive, obey
vexilololo flaggy rules, and somehow represent what it is supposed to be the flag of. And it should stand out!
WARNING: Boring, Long-winded Explanation Here Follows; Feel Free to Zone Out
I think mine hits the nails on the heads. But what does my flag design represent?
The central pink stripe and the white stripes directly above and below it copy the horizontal part of St. George’s cross in their proportion. And pink itself was the colour of the British Empire. Whatever you think of the British Empire, it is clear that English would not have its current global reach were it not for the Empire.
The blue section at the top directly echoes the blue background of both the US flag (albeit, only in the top-left) and the British flag. The United States, and its cultural, social, economic, political, and military clout, has continued what the British Empire began — the spread and further global entrenchment of English.
Now the thin lines in the bottom. Their proportion, and the alternation of white and non-white, are deliberately meant to echo the US flag. The colours are meant to stand for the various nations which use English: orange, white and green for India, red for both the US and UK amongst other nations.
I make no apologies for recognising British and then American domination; the history of these two nations is utterly impossible to divorce from the story of the English language itself.
What do you think of my design? Do you think I spend too much time worrying about flags, too little about getting a real job?
*that was supposed to allude obliquely to the expression “to add insult to injury”, but I fear a little too obliquely, dear reader.
© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry
Some stunning facts about the rise and crash of the British National Party (BNP).
- In 2008, Richard Barnbrook was elected to the London Assembley for the BNP; the party had achieved 5.3% of the vote (130,714 votes).
- in the 2010 General Election, the BNP fielded a record high of 338 candidates (the fifth highest after Labour, Conservatives, LibDems, and UKIP) and polled 563,743 votes: the fifth highest number of votes, and twice the amount that the Green Party (who got a candidate elected) managed.
- In May 2010, the BNP had over 14,000 members — more than UKIP.
- By January 2015, the party had a mere 500 members.
- In the 2015 General Election, the BNP will field only 8 candidates — half as many as the Official Monster Raving Loony Party.
The phrase “Pyrrhic Victory” springs to mind: the 2010 General Election was the BNP’s most successful, yet 267 of its candidates got less than 5% of the vote and so lost their deposit — costing the party £133,500. This more-or-less precipitated their decline.
© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry
featured image edited from http://www.sparksunderland.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/BNP_logo-620×250.jpg
The 2015 General Election is a mere 21 days away. Please read the manifestoes of each of the main parties. I’ve also included links to policy guides. Place your vote with full knowledge of the facts.
Policy Guide: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2015/manifesto-guide
Conservative Party Manifesto: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/14/conservative-party-manifesto-2015-the-full-pdf
English Democrats Party Manifesto: http://www.englishdemocrats.org.uk/policies/full-manifesto.html
Labour Party Manifesto: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/14/labour-manifesto-2015-the-full-pdf
Liberal Party Mini Manifesto: http://www.liberal.org.uk/elections/manifesto.pdf
Libertarian Party, A Manifesto: http://libertarianpartyuk.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Libertarian-Manifesto.pdf
Libertarian Party 2015 Manifesto: http://libertarianpartyuk.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Manifesto-2015.pdf
National Liberal Party Manifesto: http://nationalliberal.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/GEManifesto.pdf
Plaid Cymru Party Manifesto: https://www.partyof.wales/uploads/Plaid_Cymru_2015_Westminster_Manifesto.pdf
Scottish National Party (SNP) Manifesto: <<forthcoming>>
United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) Manifesto: http://static.guim.co.uk/ni/1429097117463/theukipmanifesto2015.pdf
© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry
The General Election is a mere 30 days away and the politicians are desperately trying to make us choose them instead of whatever else is on the menu. But instead of setting the menu aside and just going for the same old dependable slurry that you always pick, open your mind up to change. I find think this quiz is pretty good. Take it and see who you really agree with (instead of who you think you agree with or who you want to agree with).
image from http://sinfest.net/view.php?date=2006-05-18