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Union Jack to be redesigned?
November 28, 2007 1:53 PM   Subscribe

A British government minister has promised to "consider" a redesign of the Union Jack Apparently, the Welsh aren't happy because their country isn't represented in the current design. So they want to put a dragon on it. Yep, a dragon.
posted by alexanderj (86 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
The addition of a dragon would improve any flag. Even ones that already have dragons on them.

You can never have too many flagdragons.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:55 PM on November 28, 2007 [21 favorites]


What about a dragon taking a leak?
posted by Elmore at 1:57 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I like Wales' dragon a lot, but maybe the yellow cross superimposed on the red one, or vice versa? A little yellow would be an interesting contrast. Add a yellow circle to those RAF and RN roundels, too.
posted by pax digita at 1:58 PM on November 28, 2007


Apparently culture minister Margaret Hodge isn't using her powers for good. She's using them for awesome.

(Trogdor!)
posted by blenderfish at 1:59 PM on November 28, 2007 [8 favorites]


The example they have in the article is horrid. Looks like someone just dropped a dragon on a union jack.

Pity, since that could look totally badass.

And me at work, away from my copy of photoshop...
posted by butterstick at 2:00 PM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


I've also heard talk that they were considering removing St. George's Cross from it, out of multicultural sensitivity for Muslims living in the UK.

Of course, that would mean removing England's part of the Union Jack -- but who cares about the English?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:00 PM on November 28, 2007


I will totally give the UK $5 to make their flag one of those "dragons fucking cars" pictures.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:01 PM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


(Trogdor!)

Dammit!

(...And the Trogdor comes in the ni-iiii-iiiight!!)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:02 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


How about a glass of wine on it. For the whinging.
posted by contessa at 2:02 PM on November 28, 2007


Are we going to have to change all the flags that have Union Jacks in them too? Aus/NZ, Ontario, Manitoba, etc. ?
posted by glip at 2:03 PM on November 28, 2007


They want to add a dragon? How about adding a black field instead, and forever shut up the racist bastards who cry "there ain't no black on the Union Jack"? This is throwing away an opportunity to make a statement for equality, in my opinion.
posted by caution live frogs at 2:03 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


IIRC, there was some talk of adding a black band to the Union Jack in order to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the modern UK.

That didn't work out too well either.
posted by Bromius at 2:04 PM on November 28, 2007


caution live frogs: But then you'd have British racists who'd proudly fly the "pure" Union Jack and burn the "impure" version. Just because you change the flag doesn't mean people will change their opinions
posted by Bromius at 2:05 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


A dragon sitting on a thistle, which causes it to flame in surprise and roast some barley for Guinness, which the English can buy from the Irish after St. George is restrained because killing national symbols often offends.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 2:06 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Rawwwrrr
posted by Sailormom at 2:06 PM on November 28, 2007


IIRC, there was some talk of adding a black band to the Union Jack in order to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the modern UK.

I'd heard about that too. And the demo version was pretty nice. From what I remember, there is no "official" version of the flag, so people can fly whatever they want.

What I would do, if I were going to design a new version of the union jack, would be to take a black and white image of a dragon, invert it, change the colors to light and dark blue, and then take that image as the blue field in the background. So a red and white asterisk superimposed over my dragon picture

I'd be sweet.
posted by delmoi at 2:09 PM on November 28, 2007


Now they just need to combine the dragon and the recreational drugs from this contest winner (the 2nd one down) onto one flag.
posted by rottytooth at 2:09 PM on November 28, 2007


No way is Great Britain allowed to have a cooler flag than California. If they put a dragon on their flag, we're going to have to add some cybernetic parts to our grizzly.
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 2:10 PM on November 28, 2007 [10 favorites]


cymru am byth!!
posted by smoothvirus at 2:15 PM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


How 'bout they ditch St. Andrew's Cross and use the Lion Rampant instead? Then you could have the dragon fighting the lion. Unless you don't mirror one of them. Then you'd get something else... In any event, I suppose that would cause symbolic problems.
posted by prosthezis at 2:15 PM on November 28, 2007


How 'bout they ditch St. Andrew's Cross and use the Lion Rampant instead? Then you could have the dragon fighting the lion. Unless you don't mirror one of them. Then you'd get something else...

Place them on opposite sides and gang them up against a cloud labeled "MISFORTUNE."
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:18 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Envy the country that has dragons on its flag, huh? I say pity the country that needs them.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:19 PM on November 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


That's a little too much dragon - one of the reasons the Union jack is so visually stunning is the simpleness of the design. Changing the blue background to black really would be a nice compromise and make a pretty killer flag even cooler. I think that would still keep enough of the St Andrews cross (the white stripes) to satisfy the Scots.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 2:21 PM on November 28, 2007


What about a dragon taking a leak?

It's a Welsh dragon, so I would think it more fitting that it be a dragon eating a leek.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:22 PM on November 28, 2007 [7 favorites]


There are better ways to include welsh people. Perhaps they could keep the current flag's colors but make it out of taffy?
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:22 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Place them on opposite sides and gang them up against a cloud labeled "MISFORTUNE."

A tether-ball would work, too.
posted by prosthezis at 2:22 PM on November 28, 2007


Great idea, so long as they use the dragon from Adventure.
posted by dreamsign at 2:23 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've also heard talk that they were considering removing St. George's Cross from it, out of multicultural sensitivity for Muslims living in the UK.

Interesting. Got a link? I've googled union jack remove cross muslim but nothing's come up about that.
posted by jtron at 2:27 PM on November 28, 2007


I've also heard talk that they were considering removing St. George's Cross from it, out of multicultural sensitivity for Muslims living in the UK.

Fortunately, they were stopped by the all-too powerful syphilitic acne sufferers lobby.
posted by srboisvert at 2:27 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


(the above was a joke. I love you, Welsh people. I spent nearly a year in the Heart of Wales and I love Welsh culture and most of all Welsh people. I took my wife to the Radnorshire Bowling Centre on my honeymoon! Big shout out to the Llandrindod Wells Massiv! Don't threaten my pets!)
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:28 PM on November 28, 2007


Apparently, the Welsh aren't happy because their country isn't represented in the current design

Have they checked under "England"?
posted by cillit bang at 2:29 PM on November 28, 2007


The Union Jack is actually one of the most misdrawn flags. For purists, this is how it's done.

I wonder how many Brits would get it right if they were asked to draw it...
posted by sim.possible at 2:29 PM on November 28, 2007


DRAGONS ROCK! I do hope it's airbrushed! By Boris Vallejo!
posted by sourwookie at 2:30 PM on November 28, 2007


Heres the full quote:

"Mrs Hodge said: "I do acknowledge the comments on the Union flag and the need for Wales to be represented - I think a valid point has been raised."

The minister said there were currently no plans to redesign the flag but conceded that she was aware that some people did not feel that it was representative.

She added: "The Government is keen to make the Union flag a positive symbol of Britishness reflecting the diversity of our country today and encouraging people to take pride in our flag."
source
posted by Lanark at 2:30 PM on November 28, 2007


Ooops, mis-pasted that link...
posted by sim.possible at 2:31 PM on November 28, 2007


There are better ways to include welsh people

Why not add the green green grass of home? It's not unusual.
posted by CynicalKnight at 2:33 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


there ain't no black on the Union Jack

Of course, there's no pasty-faced git on it either.
posted by adamrice at 2:34 PM on November 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


OK, a little more googling turned up this blog post, where this quote from Chris Doyle of the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding
"A lot of Muslims and Arabs view the Crusades as a bloody episode in our history... they see those campaigns as Christendom launching a brutal holy war against Islam."
got turned into ISLAMISTS DEMAND THAT ENGLAND FIND A NEW FLAG. The original story is here and actually refers to a flap over the wearing of St. George Cross pins by prison guards, who aren't supposed to be modifying their uniforms anyway.
posted by jtron at 2:36 PM on November 28, 2007


I AM UTHER WELSHFLAGDRAGON, LEGENDARY KING OF THE BRITONS
posted by koeselitz at 2:38 PM on November 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


Oh, hell. True story about the epithet "Taffy":

So we were at the aforementioned Bowling Centre, my first visit to Landod in ten years. We were on the green, and two guys went to use the pitch next to ours, but one of them took his watch off and a minute later accidentally kicked about ten feet over to our stuff without noticing.

"Does he know he kicked his watch over?" said my wife in my ear.

"Oh, I remember him! That's Taffy! He still comes here! Say 'Taffy, you kicked your watch over here!' and he'll look over and recognize me!"

She was about a half-second away from doing it before I stopped her.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:40 PM on November 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


They should use the dragon AND represent the new, multicultural Britain by using Tiamat from Dungeons and Dragons.

Black, White, Red, Blue and Green, together in harmony.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 2:44 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


In other news, Gordon Brown has announced that, in order to further reflect ethnic diversity and to honor the linguistic contributions of the Welsh, a fourth verse will be added to "God Save The Queen" wherein singers of the anthem will be asked simply to mumble incoherently in a mellifluous and euphonious way.
posted by koeselitz at 2:44 PM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


I am reminded of:

Hawkins: But did you put the pellet with the poison in the vessel with the pestle?
Griselda: No! The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon! The vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true!
Hawkins: The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon; the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true.
Griselda: Just remember that.
source
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:53 PM on November 28, 2007


I'm impressed that not one single pompous UKian has started talking about Union Flags yet.
posted by genghis at 2:59 PM on November 28, 2007


Here is my dragon choice
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:59 PM on November 28, 2007


Steven C Den Beste, you are the principal leader writer for the Daily Mail and I claim my five guineas.
posted by athenian at 3:07 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fuck yeah a dragon, that’d be bad-ass. And maybe a skull with snakes coming out of it. Oh, and Taz, definitely Taz. And a chick with big boobs with sort of a zombie thing going on. And like a tribal celtic thing. And some barbed wire wrapped around the flag to make it look mean when it flexes.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:08 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Can someone draft a petition calling for the British repatriation of Canada and various Caribbean islands? Then we can have a half-dragon, half-beaver chimera with the head of a pirate smack in the middle of the Union Jack. Badass.
posted by CKmtl at 3:22 PM on November 28, 2007


Of course the irony being you only see the Union Flag* on offiical buildings and Tory and BNP rallies. The George Cross (And St Andrews cross... etc) in each of the home countries as totally taken over for when we get stuffed at sporting events.

But, yes, most of us know how to still draw it if we have to.

*Only a Union Jack when flown from a ship... or may be not, it's one of those endless arguments that has not right answer.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:25 PM on November 28, 2007


Dragons are cool. They should call it "Mister Splashy Pants, UK".
posted by ardgedee at 3:29 PM on November 28, 2007


I'd put a super star destroyer on it.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 3:45 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yes yes yes, but we all know that "promising to consider" something is a political euphemism for "not a ****ing chance".
posted by nthdegx at 3:45 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dragons taking over England? I saw that movie!
posted by quin at 3:48 PM on November 28, 2007


Surely Nicky Wire will be chuffed.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:51 PM on November 28, 2007


Only a Union Jack when flown from a ship

Only a jack when flown from the jackstaff. The UK is rare (possibly unique) that it flies a national flag as the naval jack.

Civilian UK shipping would fly the Civil Jack, which is the Union Jack with a white border. Ships and boats that actively took part in the Dunkirk Evacuation may fly the English flag at the jackstaff, this is the Dunkirk Jack.

Since the Union Flag is identical to the Union Jack, the only "correct" distinguishing feature is where you are flying it. In English As She Is Spoke, they're synonymous.

The traditional US Navy Jack is blue with stars -- take the US flag, remove the bars. (or, for flag geeks, the canton of the US Flag is identical to the traditional US Jack.) Navy Warships would fly a matched ensign and jack, where the canton of the ensign was the same size as the jack.

Currently, US ships fly the First Navy jack -- the classic "Don't Tread On Me" flag, before 9/11/2002, the oldest active ship in commission would fly the First Navy Jack in lieu of the standard Jack, and when the Constitution was underway, she flew the same jack.
posted by eriko at 3:55 PM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


It clashes with the sunset.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:05 PM on November 28, 2007


I like the basic idea, but I think it would look better to remove the white box around the dragon, and put a black border around the dragon itself, so it sits directly over the centre of the bars of the flag.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:08 PM on November 28, 2007


They could put Ivor The Fucking Engine on the flag for all I care.

The blue used on the Union Flag is Pantone 280 but the Scottish Saltire is actually Pantone 300. For this reason I therefore pedantically refuse to recognise it. That and it's association with Union, Empire, racism, hatred, bloodshed, oppression and worse still, Glasgow Rangers F.C.

(Actually if the wee dragon from Ivor The Engine [YouTube] ended up being used I would probably salute it till my arm fell off).
posted by brautigan at 4:19 PM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


They should put a cartoony drawing of a dragon in the corner with a word balloon coming out of its mouth that says, "It looks like you're designing a flag. Would you like to add even more things to the cluttered design you've already got?"
posted by tepidmonkey at 4:26 PM on November 28, 2007 [8 favorites]


In other news, Gordon Brown has announced that, in order to further reflect ethnic diversity and to honor the linguistic contributions of the Welsh, a fourth verse will be added to "God Save The Queen" wherein singers of the anthem will be asked simply to mumble incoherently in a mellifluous and euphonious way.

Johnny Rotten already mumbles incoherently but not in a mellifluous or euphonious way. Up the dissonance then!
posted by ersatz at 5:17 PM on November 28, 2007


Dragons are good.
posted by caddis at 5:39 PM on November 28, 2007


Wouldn't St. George be pretty pissed off about a dragon on his cross? Unless it was a depiction of a slain dragon, but I doubt the Welsh would be too thrilled with that.
posted by katemonster at 5:51 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Unless they are eating your neighbors.

Then they are great.
posted by quin at 5:51 PM on November 28, 2007


Fortunately, they were stopped by the all-too powerful syphilitic acne sufferers lobby. posted by srboisvert at 7:27 AM

Good to see the House of Lords taking an active interest in matters.
posted by ninazer0 at 6:38 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I spoke too soon.

fearfulsymmetry, eriko, and (to a lesser extent) brautigan, I'm very disappointed in you.
posted by genghis at 6:50 PM on November 28, 2007


They could keep the same flag, but change the name, from Union Jack to something Welsh like Unynnw Jckng.
posted by smackfu at 6:56 PM on November 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


The insult is that England considers Wales so piddly that they didn't bother to make a flag with England's cross dominating and obscuring whatever symbol Wales chooses.

If the dragon were shoved off to the side and chained by the neck to the St. George's cross (nyuck), that might have a chance of getting adopted.
posted by fleacircus at 8:13 PM on November 28, 2007


I took the liberty of taking a couple stabs at a new Union Jack with the Welsh cross of St. David rather than try to fit the dragon into the design.

Now, the result isn't exactly awesome, but I don't think it's as inherently ugly as it sounds.
posted by chimaera at 9:24 PM on November 28, 2007


The reason Wales isn't represented on the British flag is because unlike Scotland and Ireland, Wales was part of England. You can question if that is the case now but when the flag was designed it represented the union of three countries. Wales wasn't included because it didn't exist, not because it was a piddling country.
posted by seanyboy at 12:46 AM on November 29, 2007


From wikipedia ...
Wales had no explicit recognition in the Union Flag because Wales, having been annexed by Edward I of England in 1282 and following the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542, was legally part of the Kingdom of England and was therefore represented by the flag of England. (The present-day Flag of Wales and St David's Cross emerged, or re-emerged, in the 20th century
re: The blue used on the Union Flag is Pantone 280 but the Scottish Saltire is actually Pantone 300.
Again, from wikipedia ...
Various shades of blue have been used in the Saltire over the years. The ground of the current Union Flag is a deep "navy" blue, (Pantone 280), which can be traced to the colour used for the Blue Ensign of the Royal Navy's historic "Blue Squadron". (Dark shades of colour were used on maritime flags on the basis of durability). The currently accepted flag of Scotland however uses a lighter "royal" blue, (Pantone 300), following the Scottish Parliament recommendation of 2003.
There's a pile of bullshit about the union jack, and sadly a lot of it comes from Scotland and Wales. You can argue to add your scottish pantone shades or welsh dragons to the current flag, but don't pretend that they should have been there from the start.

And as for the terrible things commited in the name of England hundreds of years ago. (1) get over it. (2) You can't airbrush a non-existent Celtic magnificence into history by changing a flag and (3) If the English should apologise for anything from the 13th Century, they should start by apologising to the Jews for making them wear yellow triangles, and displacing or murdering them.
posted by seanyboy at 1:15 AM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


If the dragon were shoved off to the side and chained by the neck to the St. George's cross (nyuck), that might have a chance of getting adopted.

"I promise not to rant or roar, and scourge the countryside anymore!"
posted by Tehanu at 2:14 AM on November 29, 2007


The only one who doesn't care for sure is the Prince of Wales.
posted by ersatz at 3:39 AM on November 29, 2007


And as for the terrible things commited in the name of England hundreds of years ago. (1) get over it.

Oh aye, spoken like a true sassenach.
posted by brautigan at 4:00 AM on November 29, 2007


spoken like a true sassenach

I hope you're joking.
When I say what I said, I say it as someone who sees the world constantly redivided by old grudges. It's a testament to the fucked up nature of people that they can't let things like this go. I hope that in 300 years time, the same sort of attitudes don't prevail in the middle east.

There is such a thing as forgiveness.

And as a sassenach, I've managed (like pretty much everyone in this country) to get over the invasion of England by the Danes, the French & the Italians.
posted by seanyboy at 4:37 AM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm so glad the English have been able to overcome the difficulties of being annexed by Italy. I know the last time I was in England, I was impressed by their persistence in using English on road signs right along with the legally-required Italian.
posted by katemonster at 5:54 AM on November 29, 2007


Steven C Den Beste, you are the principal leader writer for the Daily Mail and I claim my five guineas.

SCDB is impervious to insults. And logic. And facts.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:13 AM on November 29, 2007


katemonster: 60% of English has its roots in Latin.
Given the preponderance of Roman place names in England, I wouldn't be suprised if this percentage was higher on road signs.
posted by seanyboy at 7:15 AM on November 29, 2007


Gengis, sorry to disappoint. Hope you're flying your An Bhratach Náisiúnta with pride.

And if I had a flagpole I'd be putting this one up.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:25 AM on November 29, 2007


Yeah, and the tribal British managed to drive the Romans (not Italians) out after nearly 500 years of violence and resistance. Doesn't sound like they got over it or forgave until quite some time had passed - and they'd managed to ditch the invading force.
I honestly don't have a strong position on Wales vs. England, but I think it's disingenuous to compare their objections to ongoing union with England to residual feelings about the Roman occupation of Britain. When England has left Wales alone for 1500 years, and Wales has in the intervening time had its own vast imperial successes, then I think it might be fair to compare the two. It's been within the past several decades -- many, many people's lifetimes -- that Welsh has even been allowed to be used in courtrooms, much less given relatively equal status as an official/quasi-official language. I don't think that's at all the same as having roots in other langages. The Sicilian language has roots in Arabic, Norman French, Spanish, Albanian, and Italian, but the biggest objections among Sicilians are to the Italians who are still in power over the island, not to the people who got booted out of there a few hundred years ago.
posted by katemonster at 8:51 AM on November 29, 2007


I like abstract flags. I don't like flags with recognizable animals, monsters, objects, etc. on them.

For that reason I propose using not a full dragon, but rather adding an abstract symbol that would be evocative of dragons.

Such as some V's. Consummate V's.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:56 AM on November 29, 2007


These are not old grudges seanyboy, these are current ones. The sooner Scottish independence come about the better my friend.
posted by brautigan at 10:15 AM on November 29, 2007


I've no problem with a desire for Scottish or Welsh independence. (although I think its a daft idea) What drives me mad here is the persistent desire for the Welsh and Scottish to renew a false cultural heritage.

There's an implication that I'm coming at this issue from a patronising english perspective and to a degree, maybe I am. But what I'm trying to say is that this desire to invent an identity (which at its heart is anti-English) is a dangerous thing.

The Welsh flag was invented. Huge swathes of modern Gaelic are invented. The lighter colouring of the Scottish Blue was invented. I don't care that they were invented, but I do have a problem with this idea that they've always been there and there's an English conspiracy to stop that history coming out.
posted by seanyboy at 10:58 AM on November 29, 2007


katemonster : My point wasn't that things are comparable, but that these languages persisted after occupation. There's an issue with Latin because it owes much of its success to the Catholic church, but the other languages stuck around after independence was achieved. People didn't run around making up words so we could be free of the memories of their oppressors.
posted by seanyboy at 11:08 AM on November 29, 2007


Seanyboy, you are a troll. And an ignorant one at that.
posted by brautigan at 11:40 AM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Welsh flag was invented. Huge swathes of modern Gaelic are invented. The lighter colouring of the Scottish Blue was invented.

The Union Jack was invented, too. So was the St. George's Cross.

ALL things are invented at one point or another.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:08 PM on November 29, 2007


Show me where I'm trolling. Where I'm saying stuff I don't believe in order to get a rise from you. And show me what I've said that is ignorant.

And OK Chrysostom - I meant recently invented. And I also said that I didn't care if it was invented, just that people acknowledged when it was invented. Forget that bit did you, or do you just want to show off your superb arguing skills?

You know - I'm being pulled into some fucking stupid England v Scotland & Wales argument that I don't really give a shit about and all because I had the temerity to suggest that an invented history was a bad thing. And all the while I've had the main thrust of what I was saying ignored so people can nit-pick at the periphery points.
posted by seanyboy at 2:35 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


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