Flags at ‘Proms in the Park’ – some sort of evidence about English identification, perhaps

Rather unexpectedly, I found myself at the ‘Proms in the Park’ event at Hyde Park in London on Saturday evening.  This is the Radio 2 version of the Last Night of the Proms – there’s a video link-up for the songs at the end, but otherwise a quite separate programme including Westlife, Russell Watson and Rolf Harris (who sang his version of ‘Stairway to Heaven’, I’m pleased to say).  The event in the park boasts a much bigger attendance – the hall can hold about 6,000 when full, while the enclosure at the park had over 30,000 in it, apparently.

What was interesting was the choice of flags being flown.  There was quite a range; a smattering of Scottish saltires, Welsh dragons and Irish tricolours, at least three Lions of Flanders, plus one Australian aboriginal flag and one Devon county flag.  Unsurprisingly, the Union flag dominated, but there were also a lot of St George’s crosses, far more than there would have been a decade ago.  My informal estimate – confirmed by one of my companions – was that the ratio was about 3:1.  Intriguing, especially as much of the singing is about Britain (‘Britons never being slaves’ and so forth) rather than England, if less scientific than a survey putting the ‘Moreno-Rose’ question.

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6 Comments

Filed under Culture, English questions, Public opinion

6 responses to “Flags at ‘Proms in the Park’ – some sort of evidence about English identification, perhaps

  1. Isn’t it time for England to get its own National anthem, or, better still, for then to Keep the Queen dirge and for ‘Britain’ to get a new anthem for the last few years that it remains.

  2. Geoff, England

    Why should we English have to suffer GSTQ? We didn’t vote for a monarchy. Let’s reserve that dirge for when the monarch is present at an event, and then declare a republic.
    Although it’s unofficial, Jerusalem is regarded as England’s anthem by many English people.. At least it’s a stirring anthem, unlike that ‘musical’ equivalent of the ‘Union’ flag.

  3. Any Cornish flags present? It seems strange that there wouldn’t be.

  4. Jack Houston

    Blimey, lot of nationalists in tonight…

  5. Rob

    Which Cornish flag would that be? the red cross on a white background dedicated to St. Michael the patron saint of Cornwall, or the white cross on a black background, the German miners’ flag (St Piran is the patron saint of miners)?
    Coming back to symbols, a nation’s soul is in its language hence the rise of New English (see David Cowley’s book “How We’d Talk: if the English had won in 1066” and other books). The Irish have the Irish language and the Welsh have the Welsh language, but the English only have Eng-glob (English as global language)

  6. Andy Monaghan

    “What was interesting was the choice of flags being flown”

    Hello Alan, you just decided to join the debate? When was the last time you seen a union flag up here in Jockland? – Outside of Bridgeton that is.

    While you “chateratti” ponder over constitutional niceties and wonder whether this strategy or not is appropriate, you have obviously missed the fact that the “people” – remember them?, have already decided.

    We’re going our separate ways, we just need the politicians to ratify it.

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