The Guardian has published an horrifically anti-British op-ed by one of its art critics Jonathan Jones, in which he calls the flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – otherwise known as the Union Flag – “divisive and ugly”.
Jones and the Guardian – who refer to the Union Flag as the Union Jack despite a long, ongoing dispute over the matter – published the piece after it was revealed that the new British Athletics uniform will no longer carry the nation’s flag.
The deeply unpatriotic opinion piece reads: “I have every sympathy for the designers who removed it from the British athletics team’s vests for the imminent World Athletics Championships in Beijing,” and calls the flag – which is usually only referred to as the Union Jack when at sea, or on a ship – “jagged, explosive” and “aggressive”.
Look at it, if you can bear to. With its cluttered burst of both right-angled and diagonal radiating lines, the British flag is heavy and overbearing, forceful and strident. On a battlefield it would make sense. Sure, this virulent standard served to rally regiments at the Battle of Waterloo. But today? At sporting events? It looks crap. Instead of suggesting unity, its sharp-angled divisions imply fragmentation. In fact, the relentless dynamism of its design evokes the shock and shatter of a cannon ball smashing into a French ship at the Battle of Trafalgar.
Jones argues that his position may be the more patriotic however, claiming that the flag epitomises fragmentation, and claims: “Its sheer pompous ugliness unconsciously damages the image of the union.”
“So here is an idea to save the United Kingdom as a political, emotional and cultural entity. Let’s invent a new flag. Let’s visually forget the history of internal compromise and external violence this flag so unattractively embodies. A new flag for a new Britain might help us love our – whole – nation again.”