What's in a bit of flag-waving

I do so think I deserve a pat on the back, a little praise or small republican treat of some kind for my exemplary behaviour during the last week or is it two weeks?  In any case it’s finally becoming a fading mirage of discordant primary colours. You can tell a decent designer has been nowhere near the union jack.  When Charles and Di wed the world was watching it on telly and I chose to go to the only place just about in Britain (see I’m even conditioned into the lingo again) where you couldn’t get TV. It was a blistering hot day, strangely silent like Italian siesta time and I opted to do a solitary trek across the hills of Hoy only returning when I knew that it might be safe to do so and the inbreds had finally been coupled. Back then I was smouldering with barely controlled resentment and anger. But having an adolescent strop in public never looks good and the gullible that have been starved of knowledge and education and lost the ability to question all the truly bad things about why the monarchy just cannot continue, can be dangerously rattled by attacks on the symbol of their own intellectual and material servitude. It’s a strange conundrum.

The cobwebbed alliances of the Masonic lodge and the Christian right came together with the sleeping republicans to produce I confess some undoubtably spectacular bonfire beacons, and depending on the concentration of your fervour, dubbed  ‘a community bonfire’ or a ‘jubilee celebration’. You could take your pick although I know of one beacon that caused not a little domestic strife  as the coastguard offer of £100 to cart the pallets to the top of the hill was not a sum that could easily be denied on grounds of republican principal. As a late arrival at the local bonfire I was greeted by fellow ‘quiet republicans’ who could appreciate a bit of a community thing for the kids and the good old primal charge of a raging inferno, and all muttering some conspiratorial mitigations as if caught in a guilty act.

Nature took its course on the bunting the new London neighbours strung out from their washing poles as a grim easterly gale swept in, to my (quiet) joy. I have been like a sugar addict who has not touched the bag of home made tablet, tantalising as it is because I know that once it takes hold I will make a pig of myself then feel sick. I could so have been disgraceful but instead I have been a quiet and well behaved republican, I have not sworn at any white haired grannies or derided the most tacky town hall pageant. You see I have known all along that it will pass. It’s pretty much on a posh Jeremy Kyle or rather more stuffy X-factor level. Even this second helping of torch-a –rama which I suppose is ok-ish until you talk about the cynicism of sports sponsorship, the bus-driver’s and their bonus, the fishing fleet banned from the Thames, ( you mean you didn’t know about that one – its pretty low status Iagree). I could go on and I think I will on money and then the wrecking of wee football teams, the absurdity of buying players like Pokemon cards and the obesity bomb that is fuelled by those very big companies that are part of the whole bloated charade.

As Arundhati Roy says, ‘flags are bits of coloured cloth that  governments use  to first shrink wrap people’s  brains, and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead.’

In her debrief on her day at the local old peoples’ centre my mother  ( a war widow of a war several wars back from today’s batch) likened it to being dropped into a 1930s Mosley rally, and like the rest of us kept stumm summing it up only later, safe among consenting adults with ‘I don’t know why folk are so stupid.’


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