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Council leader calls for cross-party consensus on policy for flying flags

09 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Photo ell brown is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Bruce Sinclair, local democracy reporter

A cross-party consensus on the policy for flying flags is needed to avoid creating “the potential to cause controversy and create tensions between community groups,” councillors have been told.

At a meeting on 7 March of Pembrokeshire County Council, a pre-submitted call was made by Cllr Huw Murphy for County Hall in Haverfordwest to fly the Falklands flag on 14 June, to mark the islands’ “return of democratic rule following an illegal military occupation by Argentina” 40 years beforehand, in 1982.

In his submission Cllr Murphy said: “The purpose of raising the Falklands flag at County Hall on 14 June is to remind us of the ultimate sacrifice made by 255 service personnel serving our country during the Falklands war.

“Poignantly 22 of those lost in the conflict were serving on HMS Ardent, a Royal Navy destroyer sunk on May 22, 1982. HMS Ardent has a close association with the county of Pembrokeshire through its affiliation with Milford Haven.

“The raising of the Falklands flag at County Hall will have great resonance for the town of Milford Haven and for members of the HMS Ardent association, in that their service many years ago is still remembered.”

Answering the question, Council Leader Cllr David Simpson said: “I would like to suggest that collectively we really need to agree a policy both for the flying of flags and the lighting-up of County Hall.”

Holocaust Memorial Day

County Hall has previously been ‘lit up’ for a wide variety of reasons including Holocaust Memorial Day, Universal Children’s Day, International Women’s Day, in tribute to NHS workers, and to mark domestic abuse awareness month.

It has also been lit up for LGBT+ History Month and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, the latter drawing the ire of the-then Pembroke Dock county councillor Cllr Paul Dowson, who later unsuccessfully stood for UKIP in the Senedd elections.

Cllr Simpson added: “Like all symbols, flags and the lighting up of buildings are open to wide-ranging interpretations and therefore also have the potential to cause controversy, and create tensions between community groups whose opinions may differ, a situation which we ourselves have experienced here previously.

“County Hall should be a neutral venue and I therefore suggest we secure cross-party support for any cause requesting the flying of a flag or lighting up of the building, which will hopefully be achievable through the development of a suitable policy as a number of other public bodies have.

“My concern is this request will likely trigger further requests as we have seen in approaches for lighting up the building here at County Hall, and as a key civic building for the county I think we need a key approach in how to respond to requests.”

Consideration

He suggested the general matter should be referred to the meeting of the Policy and Pre-decision Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 19 March for further consideration before being brought back to council in May, along with Cllr Murphy’s proposal.

Cllr Murphy expressed his hope his request would be ratified, and the flag flown to “reflect the sacrifice” made by the service personnel.

The flag of the Falkland Islands features the Union flag in the top left along with a coat of arms featuring a ram and a ship, The Desire, which discovered the islands.


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Steve. Thomas
Steve. Thomas
4 months ago

Getting rid of the butcher’s apron would be a good start

Richard
Richard
4 months ago

“ discovered the islands “ ??

Had they been lost ?
Did they just appear ?

I would suggest they had been there millions of years and that the imperial & colony “ discovery “ might have been a shock to the wildlife living there unmolested there at the time.

Why vote
Why vote
4 months ago

So, Pembrokeshire county county has no policy for running a flag up a pole. And are afraid of upsetting someone if they do?

Rob
Rob
4 months ago

The Welsh flag and the Pembrokeshire flag will be fine for me.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
4 months ago

The Union Flag should never fly higher than the Y Ddraig Goch. If we in Wales were actually taught real Welsh history in our schools rather than being force-fed anglocentric propaganda would understand why Wales isn’t part of that bloodsoaked banner due our annexation & occupation in 1535 by England. And it makes me so bloody angry when I see those hypocritical unionists at Westminster wear gold & blue pins in solidarity with Ukraine while arguing they have a right to freedom & sovereignty while denying Wales.

Last edited 4 months ago by Y Cymro
Riki
Riki
4 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Yep, That’s why I cannot bring my self to support Ukraine. Not until we are treated the same!!! Oh and Bandera and the Natzee Azov Battalion too.

Another Richard
Another Richard
4 months ago
Reply to  Riki

So because the English have treated the Welsh badly over the centuries you’re comfortable with the Russians trying to extinguish Ukraine. It’s a position, I suppose, but hardly a very admirable one.

CapM
CapM
4 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

You don’t seem to recognise the reality.
A large majority of people in the Ukraine do not want to be part of the Russian Federation.
A large majority of the people in Cymru do want to be part of the United Kingdom.

At the moment the ones who are denying Cymru “freedom & sovereignty” are the people of Cymru.

Another Richard
Another Richard
4 months ago

England has a handy guide on this – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/flying-flags-a-plain-english-guide/flying-flags-a-plain-english-guide. If these rules were followed flying the Falklands flag would automatically be permissible and ought to be uncontroversial. However, the Council as planning authority would still have to make its own decision about whether to fly, say, the BLM flag and it is not obvious what form the guidelines for this would take. It would seem safest to take a fairly restrictive position rather than fly flags for politically contentious causes which could cause problems later on.

Owain Glyndŵr
Owain Glyndŵr
4 months ago

What’s politically contentious about flying the BLM flag? Oh that’s right, nothing! Please stop saying things are contentious and educate yourself on why the Black Lives Matter movement exists? FTR it’s Black Lives Matter, not Black Power. Learn the difference and stop seeing things that have no basis in fact.

Last edited 4 months ago by Owain Glyndŵr
Another Richard
Another Richard
4 months ago
Reply to  Owain Glyndŵr

If you think BLM is uncontentious take a look at their website: https://blacklivesmatter.uk/
Really county councils should simply not be getting involved in such matters when there are so many problems closer to home that they face.

Riki
Riki
4 months ago

Y Ddraig Goch first and Last. The true Flag of the Britons! Not that worthless Union rag. Love the Wales, England, and Scotland Flags. But not the Union flag.

huwcs
huwcs
3 months ago

the union flag is an imperial flag – first used at the inception of the ‘united kingdom’ – I’d always thought that the official flag in / of Wales (inc. royalty, govt. etc.) was the Ddraig Goch – so one national flag – go to Ireland, go to Croatia, etc. – there’s no ambivalence

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