Soaring Like An Ego

So, right, you know how we’ve had this lockdown in the UK for the last few months? And how everyone’s now abandoning it for various reasons, including boredom, nice weather, and so on; but that one of the more legitimate (if still not *right*) reasons is that they’re struggling financially because they can’t work during lockdown, or they’re losing the business they’d normally have?

Also you know how the nation has just left a massive economic market that it’s been an integral part of for forty years because forriners something something fishing taking back control something something – oh, and unelected bureaucrats although apparently we’re okay with them now because Dominic Cummings said so – and how in six months we crash out of the transition period without anything like sufficient settled arrangements with the EU to cushion the devastating blow that’s going to deal to our national economy?

So you know all that stuff?

The paint job on this plane cost a million pounds:

This plane. This paint job.

One million pounds. To paint a plane white and put a Union Jack fin flash on it.

No, you can’t have more government funding to see you and your business through furlough due to this unprecedented natural disaster we currently face, because the country can’t afford it. Prole.

But sure, we’ll spend a million quid on an ego-boost for De Pfeffel, Man Of The (Rich) People.

What’s that? A white-elephant railway line that nobody really wanted that’ll cost over a hundred billion quid? Yeah, we’ll still buy that. Money for our chums, what?

Oh, also, new nukes for two hundred billion plus? ‘Course! Why not?

How lovely it is to have entirely honest, sensible and not-at-all corrupt leadership.

Erm… What?

Sorry – I mean how nice it would be to have entirely honest, sensible and not-at-all corrupt leadership.

Caution: post may contain political tetchiness. (Should I have put that warning at the beginning? 🤔)

Incidentally, everyone’s getting squabbly over the said Union Jack design, because some people are claiming it’s backwards and some people are explaining that it’s not.

Here’s the skinny on the flag:

1. Yes, it’s correctly called the Union Jack even when it’s not on jackstaff on a ship at sea. The Union Jack has never been constitutionally formalised as the flag of the UK, but it’s recognised as such by convention and usage. The Admiralty – which had maritime vexillological responsibilities – confirmed in a ruling in 1902 that both Union Jack and Union Flag were proper and correct names for the flag regardless of where it’s being flown. The idea that it must always be called the ‘Union Flag’ when flown on land is a quite recent urban myth, which seems to have cropped up around the turn of the millennium. Union Flag and Union Jack are both correct names.

2. It’s not backwards. It’s American. You may have noticed on American military vehicles and uniform patches that sometimes the flag appears backwards:

This is because it’s tradition in the US to view the flag as if it’s being flown regardless of whether it’s actually fabric hung on a flagpole or a patch on someone’s arm. The point is that the flag is always displayed as though the wearer is moving forwards – advancing in battle, so to speak – and that means the ‘flagpole’ is always presented as being to the front, with the flag trailing behind it. Thus, viewed from the left, the flag would have the canton – the blue patch with the stars – on the left as normally seen; but viewed from the right, the canton would be seen on the right of the flag.

TO MY KNOWLEDGE – and as always I’m open to correction if any of you lovely folk out there have a background in the UK military or other flag-brandishing profession – that’s not a custom that’s used in the UK. Our flag is generally either actually flown off a staff in which case it tends to sort itself out, or, if it’s printed or patched on something, it’s displayed as though the staff is on the left. (About the only damn thing in Britain that is on the left right now OHO MORE POLITICS GET ME.)

In De Pfeffel’s constant desperate attempt to be as trumpy as he can possibly be, he’s using American flag conventions* on the ship that is literally supposed to shout nothing but “UNITED KINGDOM” at everyone it struts around in front of.

Now as I say I’m open to correction on that point, and it may be that this practice isn’t unheard of in the UK. It’s unheard of by me, but that’s no guarantee of reliability.

Still. Did I mention that this paint job cost us, you and me (assuming you’re a UK taxpayer, dear reader) a million pounds?

[* This isn’t me whinging about ‘Americanisms’, by the way. I stopped complaining about them years ago when I finally decided why bother, since most Americanisms are just rooted in older British usage anyway, and in the end I thought screw it and just started using them myself. As anyone who’s been irritated by my unthinking pronunciation of ‘Z’ can confirm.]

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