JUST cast your eyes above the headline.
Fill you with pride?
Makes your chest swell?
Well, it should.
That’s our flag you’re looking at, chum.
Yes, I know it isn’t red, white and blue. And yes, I know it should.
But it isn’t.
That’s the European flag. The proud emblem of a united Europe. The banner under which the nations of our continent stand side by side as proud equals.
Its history goes back to 1955, when the Council of Europe, which had been set up some time before to busy itself with defending human rights and promoting European culture, was considering what symbol it should adopt.
You can see the result above: 12 gold stars on a blue background.
The number of stars has nothing to do with how many member states there are. There are 12 stars because the number 12 is traditionally the symbol of perfection, completeness and unity.
It’s also, of course, the number of months in a year and the number of hours on a clock face.
The circle is, among other things, a symbol of unity. So the European flag was born, representing the ideal of unity among the peoples of Europe.
In 1983, the European Parliament adopted the flag as its official emblem.
Still not getting it?
For the flag, in my book, is becoming something of a symbol of oppression.
And a costly one at that.
Did you know that when the EU hands out some money for this or that project, it generally includes a condition that they have to put up a permanent plaque boasting the fact that the scheme was supported by European Regional Development Fund?
And the price for ignoring this European Directive?
A hefty fine.
To date fines coming to almost £500,000 have been issued to councils, museums, universities, travel firms and business groups in the UK who forgot or saw no reason to comply with this bit of self promotion.
They include Advantage West Midlands, a regional development agency, which was fined £201,801 for not using the EU logo on publicity material; Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, fined £77,609 for using its corporate branding rather than EU logos; Peterborough YMCA, fined £1,325 for failing to display the correct material on leaflets...
The list goes on.
Ignore the fact that European grants are generally matched pound for pound by the British government or that the money they are giving to the UK came from the UK in the first place...
Just concentrate for a moment on what this is all about.
Nothing more and nothing less.
Someone, somewhere has decided that we should be perpetually beholden to the monster we have created in Europe.
These organisations which went, cap in hand, to ask for a share of our money back from Europe were deemed to be worthy causes in the first place.
They wouldn’t have been given any cash in the first place it matters had been otherwise.
So what is Europe doing fining the worthy and, obviously, the needy?