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Marcus Middleton Headshot

Keep the Union Jack Flying High

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Firstly... The question I need to ask is; "Do you think me strange for caring so much about a flag?"

I know that to some, fighting over "what flag flies where" might sound a bit petty and maybe even a touch 'precious'... And you might be asking why I think a piece of cloth is so important.

When I heard that British institutions were not going to be forced by the "Bureaucrats in Brussels" to fly the "Eurosport Logo" above Government Buildings permanently throughout the year... It made me feel good inside.

I remember when Local Government Minister Eric Pickles decided back in April to lead the charge against the EU diktat, many applauded him, but some also thought there were more pressing matters to deal with rather than what flew above Whitehall, and some of the cynical of you out there even thought this fight was just an easy way to score some cheap political points. Whatever you may have thought about that melee, I can assure you it was the right thing to do.

I was in London for Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee and upon driving from Heathrow into town, straight away I was immediately inspired by the wash of red, white and blue bunting decking every High Street. I was taken back with just how many flags were being flown. Immediately upon seeing this marvellous sight, the first thing that came into my mind was the phrase "British Valour" as the scene invoked in me memories of our rich, proud and distinguished past.

Is this something you would ever want to give up?

When I return to London, if I was to see the circle of stars flying above any building in the place of the Union Jack, I'm not sure how I would feel... Although, the feeling of disappointment springs to mind.

Because is there any symbol as widely known, respected and as awe inspiring as the Union Jack?

Sure, you can argue there's the flag of our greatest ally, the "Stars and Stripes". However, that surely has to come in second, because disgracefully, in some pockets of the globe, especially in the Middle East, the "star spangled banner" does on occasion have a tendency to 'spontaneously combust'.

However the Union Jack constantly stands strong. While its roots are in Great Britain, to the world over it means many great things to many people. To me, it's always been a symbol of pride. It represents who I am, what I believe in, what I stand for and where I come from... I know I'm an Aussie... But it's my flag too.

Granted since it was first raised here, we've taken the liberty of 'sprucing' it up a bit, you know, adding a few things, namely a Federal Star and Southern Cross, but still... 'Our' Union Jack has always flown proudly.

So, if you were to replace the Union Jack on the great British establishments that created your country, and my own, it would be a symbol that you were willing to sacrifice our past so you can conform in a bland, European future.

Like anything in life, the harder you push for something, the greater the chance it will slip through your fingers. This can also be said of the European Union.

I for one have always found the push for conformity in Europe puzzling. Because to me, the most inspiring thing about the European Union is that each country is so different and yet still you find a way to band together. It really is a vision of what the future should be.

But the Union should never jeopardise a countries own national identity. Some of the wisest words I've ever been told were "If you want to know where you're going... Make sure you always remember where you've been". The only way to truly have a great, noble, rich and vibrant global community is not through assimilation, but through valuing your own traditions while respecting those of others.

I would never place another country or culture above Australia and the Commonwealth, nor would I expect any other patriotic person anywhere else in the world to place Australia or the Commonwealth before their own.

That's why I think the flag debate is important. Because a flag isn't just a piece of fabric, as nations, a flag represents the fabric of whom we are.

So give the continentals their week of seeing the European Flag flying in May if it keeps them happy and gets them off your back, but for the other 51 weeks of the year keep our Union Jack flying high and flying proud!