Thursday, March 3, 2016

Change the flag!!

For NZ readers: I am unabashed and unembarrassingly for changing our flag.

Let's do it!

Let's throw off the shackles of the Union Jack.

All the best reasons for making the change are here, as well as the reason why the reasons for not doing so are poor.

40 comments:

Father Ron Smith said...

I have just voted to retain the emblem of our British forebears, whose Treaty with the Tangata Whenua needs to be honoured. The 'shackles' you describe, Peter, are the filial bonds that undergird the Treaty. But then, I'm a Pom from way back, who loves both countries, and doesn't need the Silver Fern to boost my morale.

Peter Carrell said...

Oh dear, Ron, we can't even agree on the flag :)

Says this only 50% English descended republican!

Anonymous said...

Fr Ron; I'm with you on this. I voted for the current flag under which New Zealanders spilled blood; not the tea towel. Peter, this has nothing to do with a republic. If we were proclaiming a republic we'd have a more meaningful option. It would actually mean something.

Nick

Peter Carrell said...

Oh dear, Nick, we can't even agree on the flag!

A new flag would be a god step on the way to being a republic.
Unfortunately our PM has supped too much at the Balmoral table to lead us to the next step but good on him for taking us this far.
It means a lot to me to lose the Union Jack.
It is a long time since we were ruled by Britannia.

Peter Carrell said...

Whoops that was meant to be "good" step not "god" step, though who knows, Ron and Nick, the Spirit might be moving among us!

Anonymous said...

Mmmm. Invocation of the Spirit is reserved for those who won't accept the obvious (not only in the area of flags)

Nick

Nick

Peter Carrell said...

Now you're speaking in other tongues, Nick :)

Anonymous said...

Peter, it's good that the proposed alternative has the White Tree of Gondor.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Tree_of_Gondor

Bowman Walton

Anonymous said...

Peter, why oh why do you aspire to be a republic?

As you see, the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia--

http://tinyurl.com/h45rvru

--shows the motto Sic Semper Tyrannus under the figure of Virtus standing with a foot on the neck of a prostrate Tyrannus with broken chain, scourge, and crown. However, the General Assembly still meets with the royal mace used in the C17. And somehow, when a royal is around, the Seal mysteriously reverts to one of the old colonial ones. This one from the Restoration is favoured if the royal is Charles--

http://tinyurl.com/hf44tzm

but this was seen when Elizabeth visited in 1957--

http://tinyurl.com/hgneyrb

In other words, even if you fight them off your land twice, you will probably still want them back from time to time. It may be wiser to keep them.

Bowman Walton

Brian Kelly said...

'Sic semper TyrannIs' - dative plural: 'Thus always (it happens) to tyrants'. Allegedly the words of Brutus over the slain body of Julius Caesar.
Ironically the assassination intended to preserve the patrician Roman Republic led to 14 years of civil war that ended the Republic and birthed the Principate, then the Empire.
Or as I slyly like to remind my American friends (if I still have any): 'July 4th commemorates the successful opportunism of the French King in assisting a rebellion by a minority of George III's American subjects in order to maintain their sacred right to slavery.'
Trump that one if you can!

Zane Elliott said...

Let the records show that on this day Fr. Ron and I agreed on something(apart from the fact that God loves ALL sinners)- the flag should not change!

Zane Elliott said...

Bowman, Belecthor II most certainly sits on the Throne here in Middle Earth! Oh how we long for a wise and noble ruler like Aragorn II!

Peter Carrell said...

Your lack of empathy, Bowman, is noted.
Not least for the surprising possibility that an America which ditched being ruled by a monarch from across a few miles of sea has failed to produce a citizen empathetic to the plight of a nation ruled by a monarch from the other side of the world!

Or, has the prospect of a President Trump set in motion a "buyer's remorse" 200+ years after the "purchase" of sovereign independence?

Pageantmaster said...

I wonder how the states of Hawaii, Manitoba, Ontario and the island of Vancouver manage, shackled as they are with the crosses of Christ and his Apostles on their flags.

It is of course up to you what flag you want to go into battle with and it is less relevant nowadays that it should be recognisable, sometimes from a considerable distance.

Anonymous said...

Hawaii has a superb flag. It's so good, it's almost worth borrowing.

Nick

Anonymous said...

And, Nick, with the flag comes a royal family that is much closer than London, which should satisfy Peter. The House of Kawananakoa is associated with the Church of Hawaii (now part of TEC), although Abigail, Princess of Hawaii, the great-grandmother of the heir apparent (shown st the link below with Edward, Prince of Wales), became a Roman Catholic.

http://tinyurl.com/hu8rqna

http://tinyurl.com/jn255k3

These royals are, of course, distantly related to the aboriginal people of Aotearoa, although both Englishmen and Scots have married into the family.

http://tinyurl.com/jvdm4e6

Bowman Walton

Anonymous said...

Brian, I mistype seven languages fluently. On the war, I have always felt that the chief credit should go to the 1780 hurricane season in the Atlantic.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1780_Atlantic_hurricane_season

If not for those deadly storms, the British Admiral Rodney would not have sent half of his fleet home to wait out the 1781 season. Because he did do that, the French Admiral de Grasse was released from the Caribbean to sail north with his own fleet to the Battle of the Chesapeake. His victory there ensured the success of the Siege of Yorktown.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Chesapeake

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Yorktown

Bowman Walton

Brian Kelly said...

Nick is right: the Union Flag emblazoned on the State Flag of Hawaii is a fitting reminder of that great Scots-Englishman who died there, Captain James Cook, the man who more than any other created New Zealand. The Hawaiians are not ashamed to fly the flag, and perhaps they would have been a happier people if they had not been colonised by those Yankee planters. And imagine what a safer world we would have had if that Hawaiian chap Obama had been born a British subject, just like his father.
As for the NZ flag, commemorating the (astronomical) Cross of Christ across the blue of the South Pacific with the crosses of St George, St Patrick and St Andrew in the northwest, indicating the origins and biculturalism of NZ's peoples and their founding faith, I cannot imagine a finer flag for a Christian New Zealander, whether Pakeha, Maori or Pasifika.
Only in the fevered imaginations of the racist Mau Mau or the fascistic nationalist IRA (or the tax-avoiding, slave-owning American colonist)has the Union Flag ever denoted 'shackles'. For the rest of the world it has signified Christianity, democracy, the rule of law, modesty, Shakespeare and a proper cup of tea.

Brian Kelly said...

"If not for those deadly storms, the British Admiral Rodney would not have sent half of his fleet home to wait out the 1781 season. Because he did do that, the French Admiral de Grasse was released from the Caribbean to sail north with his own fleet to the Battle of the Chesapeake. His victory there ensured the success of the Siege of Yorktown."

Yes, the French never missed a chance to stick it to the Brits. (They're still doing it, in their threats over Calais, where I was on Wednesday, to flood the UK with 'migrants' if the British vote to leave the EU.) Helping the American slavers was no doubt revenge for losing Canada. Of course, it could never occur to them that within a generation their own tyrant, Napoleon - surely The Worst Person Of The Nineteenth Century - would sell Louisiana for a song, in pursuit of his war against Perfidious Albion and its 'shackles'.

Anonymous said...

Fr Ron, Rev Dr Brian Kelly, Rev Zane Elliot, Bowman; I respectfully move that Rev Canon Dr Peter Carrell is wrong. :) It doesn't happen often!!!

Nick

Pageantmaster said...

Oh dear, I do seem to have stirred up a bit of trouble with my thoughtless comment.

Nevertheless, there is one instance where having a distinctly and colourfully recognisable flag would still be a matter of life and death, and that is where flags are painted on the rear and roofs of military vehicles so that they can be recognised by their own troops and aircraft at 5 or 10 thousand feet.

I recollect there were more than a few casualties in the Gulf Wars when either no flags were visible or dust and debris had obscured them and some of our own vehicles were destroyed by 'friendly fire.'

If the new flag is a little monochrome with the blue and black being quiet close, maybe New Zealand can have a battle ensign, perhaps substituting red for blue or black to make it a little more distinctive as per the colours of Wonderwoman's cozzie in Peter+'s right hand column. The Union flag, like almost all old club flags and ties is almost tastelessly colourful by modern standards and certainly stands out.

Peter Carrell said...

Imagine, Pageantmaster, Kiwis and Aussies fighting side by side against an enemy intent on bombing only the Aussie vehicles. How would they tell us apart, save that we change our flag?

Yes, Nick, I am outvoted. I imagine Bernie Sanders is feeling the same way these days.

Brian Kelly said...

"Imagine, Pageantmaster, Kiwis and Aussies fighting side by side against an enemy intent on bombing only the Aussie vehicles. How would they tell us apart, save that we change our flag?"

Collateral damage, old chap, can't be helped. Just think how it is for the poor Arabs. All their flags look the same and they spend most of their time blowing each other up for being the wrong kind of Muslim. They must make the occasional mistake in the pursuit of peace.
No, the Australophobic Zelandophiliac aggressors will just have to follow the shibboleth principle with any survivors they capture: get them all to say 'fish and chips' or 'Sydney' and act accordingly.

Pageantmaster said...

Being mistaken for Ozzies, or being mistaken for ISIL - That's a tough one, I agree Peter+

What to do?

Anonymous said...

A New Zealand battle ensign... A second integrity for Kiwi militarists... Actually, if you squint at Peter's alternative, it already looks rather fierce-- a toothy Red Menace advancing upon four hapless jellyfish.

Bowman Walton

Father Ron Smith said...

As for the idea of a sort of 'nationalist cringe' for people living in New Zealand. Does one's attitude towards the existing flag stem from one's origins in the U.K. - either an Irish or English background?

Not to make an issue of it. Just wondering!

Brian Kelly said...

Peter's alternative isn't an alternative. The upper part is black in the referendum, not red. Peter is hankering for a flag that will never be. Once again he is trying to reconcile irreconcilables: the Orthodox Flag and the Revisionist Rag.
This cannot end happily ...

PT2 said...

No good reasons? Apart from substance preceding symbols, and having a flag design that works as a symbol. Exnibit 1 > https://www.facebook.com/nzflag/photos/a.441643342001.243206.286730032001/10153988318477002/?type=3

Sounds like another boomer's hearing his clock ticking ...

carl jacobs said...

This isn't just about NZ becoming a Republic. If you get beneath the surface of the arguments, you find a fair amount of hostility to what the UK represents - European civilization and Christendom and the presumed superiority of both. That is what is being rejected. It's not hard to find people who despise the Union Jack because of its association with Empire. Not that they would want to cast aside the received benefits of Empire. They just don't want to be associated with it. They want to keep the cake even as they spit on the baker. That's why so many soldiers are opposed to the new flag. They know that what is being rejected is the nature of the country for which they fought - a country that rooted itself in Western Civilization and saw Paganism as something to be overthrown. How many of the other designs sought to embed Pagan symbolism in the new NZ flag? Even the suggestion speaks volumes about the spirit behind this debate.

I stand (FWIW) in solidarity with the RSA.

Anonymous said...

Peter, I suspect that we agree that flag changes and republicanism need not be connected. The Queen of Canada seems secure (though there is also a royal union flag in Canada). From my perspective, I am happy with a New Zealand flag minus the Union Flag ; but it must mean something. The usurper cannot be the creature of a popular art competition chosen by a committee of worthies after the PM said he liked ferns. He probably likes pavlova too. It cannot be surprising that polls continue to favour the current flag. The best I hear from the other side is that we should choose an unpopular choice because we will not get another. That doesn't sound like excellence.


Nick

Brian Kelly said...

There was no solitary political entity in Aotearoa before the British came, only numerous pagan Maori tribes, sometimes at peace with each other, sometimes at war. Britain created the concept of New Zealand to begin with, and most Maori professed Christianity within a generation, mainly though Maori evangelists with a Maori version of the Gospel of Luke. Maori traditional religion was quickly repudiated in the new nation, along with traditional Maori cannibalism and enslavement of other tribes, and the late-modern attempts to evoke Polynesian polytheism and its supposed affinity with nature is really politics dressed up as pseudo-romanticism.
I have seen plenty of fern leaves emblazoning NZ war graves in Belgium and the Somme and have no problem with it as a national symbol, although there is nothing uniquely kiwi about it as there is with the national bird - which is, admit it, a rather comically shaped creature. But the more I look at the proposed flag, the more it reminds me of a teatowel than a national ensign.
If a nation must have a flag, then it should be basically simple and geometric in form. The uneven lines and the irregular fern leaf make this impossible for anyone to draw accurately freehand. The best flags in the world consist basically of bars and stars and maybe the occasional circle. If a banner can't be drawn with a straightedge and a compass, it's an advertising logo, not a flag.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Nick
Agreed that flag change and republicanism are not necessarily linked.
I don't agree that the design is a "creature of a popular art competition chosen by a committee of worthies." The design is a creature of a participative process of submission by all and sundry, with committee selection (is there another way in a democracy, or would we prefer, say, Cabinet to make the choice?), to which all true flag designers as well as all others were welcome. I am not at all sorry that the sudden emergence of a hitherto unknown class of Kiwis, the "We know how to distinguish a flag from a brand logo" class coincides with their being offended by the process. Why didn't they submit a "superior" design?
However I agree that any sense of "we'll never have another opportunity" is a poor argument for changing.
A better argument in my view is this: if you think that one day we should change the flag, why not make that change now, because it will be some 20+ years before another PM is brave enough to propose another process for change, and there is no guarantee that in 20 years time the chosen design to run off against the Union Jack will be any better than what is on offer now.

Pageantmaster said...

Peter+ - You say:

"The design is a creature of a participative process of submission by all and sundry, with committee selection"

Reminds me of that old joke that a camel is a horse designed by committee.

Anonymous said...

Peter, I think that flags come out of constitutional change seasoned with sacrifice. That's why the US and France have meaningful flags and national personae. The sacrifice brings an acceptability that "worthies" cannot. To answer your comments, the process was lawful if we ignore the PM's injudicious personal views, readilly promulgated. Democracy only required a government bill to pass through parliament. It seems clear that the PM did not have the numbers in his own party. As for the 20 years and bravery, any PM can promote a republic anytime soon. Hopefully we'll then get rid of the two dirges for national anthems. Do we really need two bad ones? One good one would suffice.

Nick

Brian Kelly said...

"Hopefully we'll then get rid of the two dirges for national anthems"

Can't agree here. Both songs are excellent, are hymns addressed to God (not just anthems) and are very singable.

Compare them with that appalling, unsingable lament that the Americans have that not even their own pop singers can remember at football games - and the tune is an old English drinking song too! No wonder most Americans prefer the banal but memorable 'God bless America'.

Getting rid of the crosses from the national flag and ignoring God in a national ditty are the very acts of a deliberate attempt to efface Christianity from public life.

Jean said...

Arghhh muddle with the flag but touch the national anthem and I may have to be more vocal or jump up and down : )

I am finding what to vote quite difficult because although I was open to a new design the one chosen to vote on doesn't do it for me. I would have supported Peter's choice, but preferred the one with the Koru and the Southern Cross, the red and blue as it carries meaning about both our place and the cultures who formed Aotearoa. So now I am left floundering...

FYI - the red in flags in the Pacific have primarily represented the blood of Christ (ie: Tonga); It was not Western Civilisation that brought Britain to colonise NZ but the lack of it; the insistance Britain do something to control the unruly behaviour of its citizens - alongside of course the threat that France may colonise us first (interesting given above comments); Christianity was brought by Western missionaries to this land but as mentioned quickly taken up by the Maori population and actually the Missionaries were all for an Independent Christian Maori State as their preference.

I am all for not being a republic; the connection with the UK does make up part of our heritage and I think our sense of national identity is strong as we are - plus its kinda nice having visits from the royals once and a while. I can understand the sentiment towards the current flag of those who have fought under it, however it was for the country not the flag one fought. We are after all, more than a flag : )

Cheers Jean

Anonymous said...

Brian,

my comments about the anthems were a wind up. I was assuming that Peter likes God Defend New Zealand even though he does not like the current flag. I was looking for an inconsistency in his reasoning, but he isn't biting.

Nick

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Nick and Brian
I think there are different issues at stake between flag and anthem.
My core argument for a change to flag is that we should have a flag that represents what NZ is today, and that is not a country which is ruled from Britain on an effective day to day basis (not for a moment forgetting that we remain a country with a monarch who resides in Britain).
Thus the consistent question re the anthem is whether it reflects NZ as it is today, with a particular question about whether requesting God to defend NZ reflects the overall belief system of NZ today.
Clearly we can have a statistical debate over whether a majority do or do not believe in God.
But what I think is beyond debate is that the changing face of NZ re migration patterns is that migrants come who believe in God: from Asia, from South Africa, from the South Pacific and, still, from Britain. There might be a question mark over godless Ozzies :).
This migrants include believers thesis is readily demonstrable at any Catholic Mass!

The question of whether the anthem is a "dirge" is stylistic rather than substantive. Personally I do not think it a dirge, but I accept that quite a few folk say it is.

Liturgy said...

You must have been horrified, Peter, and I imagine you did all in your powers to prevent the change in the name of our Church from a name that made no reference back to England to the new name which focuses on "Anglican" meaning "of England".

If the English shackles are not thrown off our flag on Thursday - let's at least get rid of the "of England" = "Anglican" in the (confusing) name of our Church.

I'll speak in favour of your motion to make us "The Episcopal Church in the South Pacific"

Blessings

Bosco

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Bosco
I do not like the thought of being shackled to any of the Episcopal churches around the world, and certainly not to the Scottish one with its connections to the Union Jack.
I would be very happy if our church were called what it is already called, Te Haahi Mihinare!