VE Day 75 years

A couple of days ago it was VE Day. All over the country people flew flags from their homes and other buildings. Mostly it was was the British flag but there were quite a lot of English flags to be seen as well.

I read a comment from someone on Facebook suggesting that flying the English flag instead of the British flag implies that only the English contributed to VE Day and that would be beyond the pale (his words). It was prompted by a misunderstanding but it does show that for some people there is a instinctive belief that only the British flag is acceptable such events.

The terminal decline of the British identity is well documented by pollsters. It has its temporary peaks but the downward trend continues unabated. The military response in the second world war was undoubtedly British and all of the member states of the UK fought alongside each other equally. The original VE Day celebrations saw union flags everywhere which was reflective of the prevailing national identity and that’s not the case in 2020.

But the fact that all of this was done under the British flag then doesn’t mean that we have to fly the British flag now. Things have moved on in the last 75 years and the UK has changed fundamentally. We don’t expect the Slovaks to fly the Czechoslovakian flag or the Russians to fly the Soviet flag when they mark the end of the war in Europe, we shouldn’t expect English people to fly the British flag either.

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