At the end of last month, Mike Weatherly, MP for Hove announced via his weekly website posting that he believes that all publicly funded buildings should be obliged to fly the Union Flag in part as a response to the success of this years Diamond Jubilee and Olympics. He had in mind all Schools in particular and wants his colleague Eric Pickles to draw up legislation to ensure this will take place.
In his newsletter, Mike said: “Britain should seize upon the national mood that we proudly saw earlier this year with both Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games. I believe that schools, in particular, that receive public funding should be compelled to prominently display the Union Flag, with the Government introducing legislation if necessary.”
This is an idea that one imagines would have been grasped with both hands in a bygone age. However in a period of austerity with the nation still recovering from the cost of the Olympics and Jubilee, and waiting with anticipation for the true impact of cuts in many of our frontline public services is seems pretty bizarre. Assuming that the legislative will did exist, I have done a quick google check and found this company offering a flagpole and flag with internal lanyard for about £185. Assuming that there are some fitting costs (say around £100 per pole including labour) we are talking about £22,000 for Brighton & Hove schools alone. On top of this there is the need for someone to be released from other duties to put the flag up the pole each morning and down in the evening.
In the light of recent news regarding the cost of the second homes of some of our MPs, I did wonder what would happen outside these publicly funded buildings. It would be fascinating to see the homes of MPs decorated with a flag pole and Union Flag, in addition to the duck houses although the pole in those cases would not need to be so high!
Clearly the priority for this is not as high as Mike might have hoped, with only one more month to go till the end of the year and no answer as yet from Eric! Perhaps it will form part of the flag and flagpole act 2013 to add to Mikes other legislative triumphs. Mind you Eric was recently quoted in a national newspaper as saying that ‘as soon as we came to office we began taking the painful action needed to drain the financial swamp that Labour left us’ in connection with another matter so perhaps Mike won’t get a positive response from his chum Eric after all!