Anyway up!

Jingoism aside, this summer has seen a real celebration of all things ‘Great Britain’.

The world’s attention has been drawn to the celebration of our Queen’s 60th Anniversary, the Olympic Games and now, the Paralympic Games.

One of the strongest symbols of Great Britain is our flag – the Union Flag (I think we’re allowed to call it the Union Jack again – but can’t be sure), which has fluttered across the country and on television sets across the world for months now. It is a distinctive flag, often seen included as part of other country’s flags: e.g. Australia, New Zealand.

But it’s often upside down! I don’t really want to nit-pick, but well, here I go …

See for a nice illustration and explanation of the ‘right way up’ and the ‘wrong way up’.

How do people learn which way up is correct these days?

When I was younger, I was in the (wolf!) cubs and (boy!) scouts, and we were taught that sort of thing. We were taught a lot of other ‘stuff’ too, much of it useless today, but quite a bit of the ‘stuff’ has been life forming. The flag issue was just one of those things that stuck. I don’t remember being taught about the flag (as such) at school, but we were sort of just expected to know. Many of my teachers were ex-service personnel, it being the time of compulsory national service, so perhaps they just thought we would know.

Sharon, who spent her formative years at school in America, hadn’t a clue there was a right way and a wrong way. I’m sure that many young people these days don’t know either.

But there is a wrong way; and it’s jarring to see it hoisted, printed, hung or displayed wrongly. The various websites I’ve seen (more than those listed) suggest that besides being disrespectful, hanging the flag upside down is illegal. I wouldn’t know about that, there are many more issues far more worthy of prosecution, but … well, I’m just saying.

Also see: