As far as I know there are no plans at present to redesign the Union Flag (as the Union Jack should be termed) – but in the wake of the George Floyd protests I think now is the time to do it. For a start, as many people have consistently pointed out, we have failed to paint it black (little Withnail reference there for those in the know) and I think it’s high time we had another go and made it more representative of those who have truly built this country. So instead of the current shape with its pattern of red, white and blue I propose a circle. The flag itself could still be a rectangle but on it there should be a circle in which people of all colours are standing, not necessarily holding hands but in equal relationship to each other. We could represent all strata of society and a number of essential occupations, such as cleaners, nurses, doctors and teachers. Heroes from the Second World War should be acknowledged. Some could be in wheelchairs or using zimmer frames (let’s not forget the elderly).
Of course, any attempt to redesign these things risks opening a can of worms. For a start any representation of people, however well done, is bound to leave someone out. And if we are to be truly inclusive we should also represent the establishment. Models of diversity often, for understandable reasons, focus on the hitherto excluded and forget those who are perceived to be at the top – but that way lies a backlash. So instead of forgetting the red, white and blue it should be included somehow – perhaps as a background or a design around the edges.
But of course this is a load of hippie nonsense. How could patriots go about waving such a symbol? It would be horribly divisive. In any case, no-one’s going to come round and ask me to design it.
But I still think it should happen. Anthony Gormley, anyone?