GOVERNMENT departments were told this week they should fly the Union Jack every day as a proud reminder of our history and the ties that bind us.
And immediately everyone in Bristol took to the streets to set fire to various police vehicles and defecate in front of one another.
Meanwhile, everywhere else, students with Sanskrit tattoos ran around waving their arms in the air, jabbering on like confused robots about racism and slavery and how Winston Churchill was the most evil man ever to have lived.
It’s strange, because in America, people are considered weird if they don’t have a stars-and-stripes flag hanging from their front porch.
And it’s the same story in France. Wherever you go there are red, white and blue tricolours hanging from every lamp post.
Presumably so that when you are being attacked by a raging, garlic-infused mob in yellow vests and berets, you can look up and know immediately where you are.
In Britain, though, it’s different. Because if you fly the national flag outside your house you are asking for a passer-by to throw a brick through one of your windows. Why?
We’re told that it’s a symbol of Britain’s dark-hearted past and that anyone who wells up and bursts into a spontaneous rendition of Rule Britannia when they see one is basically a closet Nazi with a cellar full of swastikas and a head full of jackboot fantasies.
But hang on. Lots of countries have dodgy histories.
The Italians were fascists only 78 years ago, but their young people today don’t feel the need to get naked and shake with rage when they see their flag flying over a public building.
And then you have Spain, which was a global plunderer for centuries and then a basket case until about ten minutes ago. But when their national football team is in action against us, they are still proudly supporting them.
I’m not saying British history is a fairytale full of nothing but pink unicorns and goodness. We had our moments, for sure.
But let’s not forget that this is a country that did more than any other to end the slave trade.
It’s the country that gave the world the internet, for free.
Along with penicillin and a vaccine that doesn’t need to be stored at minus a million degrees.
We brought peace to the warring maharajahs in India and law and order to the squabbling tribes of Africa.
And for a long time, we alone stood up to Hitler and his fascist dreams.
The Union Jack should be a symbol, then, that reminds us of all this and makes us feel warm and gooey inside when we see one.
Mick, 1 simple fact
TOMORROW afternoon, Michael Schumacher’s son Mick will roar off the grid for the first race of this year’s F1 world championship.
Apparently, he has chosen the number 47 for his race car because – deep breath – his favourite number is four, seven is the number of world championships his dad won and 47 is the number you get if you add his children’s ages together. Snappy.
And short-lived, too, because the fact is that very soon, he will be racing as world champion with the No 1 on his car.
You see, the thing is that you can be well funded and well prepared and you can have a great car and tremendous reflexes. But if you really want to win in F1, it’s a big advantage to have a dad who did it before.
Just ask Damon Hill and Nico Rosberg.
Life is Grand
YOU may be interested to hear that, at long last, the Grand Tour team is back out in the world making shows.
We were in Egypt last week, trying to get from Port Said, on the Mediterranean, to the small village of Abu Sultan, on the Red Sea.
I chose a dune buggy and went through the desert, James May used a steam train and went through Saudi Arabia and the accident-prone Richard Hammond took command of a container ship called Ever Given and attempted to make the journey using the Suez Canal.
Why is Pete so fat? It’s the booze
MANY people are wondering how on earth Pete Doherty managed to get that fat quite so quickly.
One minute he was a waif-thin stick insect on Kate Moss’s arm and the next, people were pouring water on him and calling Greenpeace every time he lay down on a beach.
Well, when I was young, I was very thin and now I’m very not thin, so I think I can shed some light on the secret. It’s called “wine”.
THE British Museum says it will not hand back its collection of bronze sculptures that were stolen from a Nigerian city.
It says that devastation wreaked on the city by British soldiers a couple of hundred years ago is mentioned on their website, so as a result it’s OK to keep the bronzes.
Right. I see. So if the guys who stole my quad bike a few years ago put up a sign outside their home admitting that it belongs to me, and that they nicked it, it’s OK for them to keep it.
Bit of a Bard joke
WE have been told the National Trust, an organisation popular with white-haired old people in Citroen Picassos, has lost more than £200million since the pandemic began.
So I was a bit surprised to read this week that it has been busy trying to work out whether the house where poet William Wordsworth lived is racist.
I have no idea how much this ridiculous investigation cost.
But if I were one of the 500 people recently made redundant by the National Trust, I’d be quite keen to find out.
Uni boff warning
AS we all prepare for the day when the pubs and restaurants of Britain reopen, we receive news from the University of Spoil- sport in Iowa that people who often eat out are 49 per cent more likely to die early.
What’s next? People who go on a summer hols are 75 per cent more likely to get chlamydia?
Great use of space
SOME bores from the French wine industry recently got high on their own supply and decided to send a few bottles of claret to the International Space Station.
The idea was to see what effect the radiation levels and microgravity in space would have on the wine.
No, I don’t know why this matters either but, whatever. When the wine was returned to France, a dozen pompous dullards gathered round to decide whether it was better or worse than the same wine that had been in a cellar.
NOTE AT THE OPRAH
Meghan’s dad delivers letter to Oprah asking to be interviewed by her
TO THE RESCUE
Kidnapped woman saved after giving man secret note when abductor pulled over
Ricky Gervais mocks rage after teacher shows Prophet Mohammed cartoon
Mum, 29, found dead at home after being ‘attacked outside shop’ is named
Police desperately searching for girl, 14, who vanished in Suffolk
SHOP A LOAD
Shops to open until 10PM for six days a week when lockdown ends
Eleven of them, apparently, said it was better and so, as a result . . . nope, I’m still stumped, I’m afraid.
I have no idea how this new knowledge could be of any use whatsoever.
I do, however, sympathise with those poor astronauts who had to sit up there in their polo shirts and chinos, staring at the agreeable Petrus and knowing they didn’t have a corkscrew.
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