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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

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That EU flag again

The European Union (Information) Bill currently going through Parliament, as well as making provision for more EU 'information' to be available in public places also makes provision for the flying of the EU Flag on various public buildings.



After successfully forcing the removal of the EU Flag from a number of public buildings across the country it appears that the Government is attempting to introduce legislation to give the European Union flag status equivalent to the British 'Union Flag.'

The proposal is contained in a Private Members Bill introduced by Lord Dykes and is currently going through committee stage. It proposes:

2. The Flag of the European Union
The flag of the European Union shall be flown on Government and public buildings alongside the union flag.


This appears to be a back-door attempt to legitimise the flying of the flag of a highly contentious political project. The EU is not a country and therefore presently cannot be flown from any public building. To do so would require planning consent as it is classed as 'an outdoor advertisement.' This most offensive piece of legislation means that the EU Flag will fly from ALL public buildings, including council offices and libraries.

In 2005 Neil Herron and the Campaign successfully forced the removal of the EU Flag from a number of buildings including Wear Valley District Council's offices. The European Parliament offices in London were also forced to take down the flag.

This created a considerable degree of political embarassment.

However, Minister for Housing and Planning, Yvette Cooper MP, wrote: "When new Advertisement Control Regulations are introduced in 2006, any country's national flag, however they are flown, as well as the European Union flag may be flown without having to apply for permission provided nothing is added to the flag. At present the European Union flag may be flown provided express consent to fly the flag has been given by the local planning authority. It is for the local planning authority to determine whether the European Union flag should be permitted and whether they consider it necessary to take enforcement action. Government buildings benefit from Crown immunity."

A consultation was undertaken but the results appeared not to have surfaced.

Speakout Campaign spokesman Neil Herron states:

"It seems strange to me that we have to fight to fly our National Flag and the flag of our Patron Saint even on just one day of the year yet sneaking through Parliament is a Bill which will give the flag of a highly contentious political project equal status to the flag that 1.25million in two World Wars laid down their lives for, and our troops continue to do so in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The British public is fed up to the back teeth of the continuous attempts to give extra credence to the EU and the all pervasive EU symbolism ... on passports, car registration plates, driving licences and now this outrageous attempt to give the EU Flag status equivalent to that of our own Union Flag. I for one will be deeply offended if this alien flag is flown over our Council or other buildings. The EU flag represents an undemocratic, unaccountable and corrupt institution that has never been given the British public's endorsement. The EU Flag here in the United Kingdom is a reminder of the complete betrayal of the people by parliamentarians through our entry into what the people were told was just a Common Market for trade. We are great friends with America, our troops are fighting and dying alongside Americans as I write this, but we do not harmonise our laws for them, they do not govern us nor do we fly their flag in preference to our own. The vast majority of British people are not loyal to or have any allegiance with the European Union? The time has come to give the British public a referendum on our relationship with the EU"

The Speakout will continue to campaign against the flying of the EU Flag and will take any necessary legal steps to force its removal from Local Authority and public buildings.

Conservative MP Philip Davies states: "This is the latest in a long line of attempts to try to make us feel European by stealth. If this is part of some grand plan to make everybody feel European then I think it's a pretty disreputable idea."
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