The Royal Court wanted some instant responses to the EU Referendum result for a Tumblr and so I wrote this. It was, quite honestly, a bit of automatic writing, pretty much, and took about 20 minutes, but I was - and still am - in a state of horror at the total disregard for honesty, evidence and argument in this whole debate and I wanted to express something about that,
I love my flag.
I love the flag.
This flag is about us, and me, no, us.
It’s called Union because it’s a tribute to the Union of Carlisle who were the, well, mercenaries who assisted in the Pennant War that led, bit by bit, to the formation of the United Kingdom.
It’s called Jack after Jack Friday, the leader of the Ranger Riders who galloped from town to town in the 1460s taking foodstuffs from the tables of rich lords and distributing it to the poor, which I read about on a website, because I think you have to, because there’s a tradition in this Isle of ours and we must never forget it.
I’m no expert but it’s what I feel.
It is blue because the first flag makers wanted to remember the dark of a night sky, those skies when they would sit in their broad yards sewing the first flags, looking up at the sky and blessing their freedom, the freedom that had to be in the flag, of course it had to be, so they took crocus petals and they crushed them in alcohol and left them for six nights and then used the unctuous liquor to stain their flags, deep and dark and free.
And then it’s red, red as blood, the blood spilled in the War of Ice Paper, so called because the cruel and rebellious Scots captain Abhainn mac Cennédig who took a treaty offered by the British at the beginning of the year 1681 and threw it into the loch where it froze so solid men could ride horses across it and legend has it this man in a pub told me that in the battle so many died and so much blood was spilled that the loch froze bright red, red as this flag I am holding against my thighs now, and so it had to be in the flag, it had to be.
There are crosses on the flag.
I am so happy there are crosses.
I heard that the two crosses are the true cross, the first of them the cross of Joseph of Japha, the man who carried his cross on his back for eighty years, some say ninety, walking across modern Syria spreading the Word of Jesus to all who would listen, and some who would not, and this diagonal cross reflects his crooked legs and yet never stooped and always spoke truly.
His message was heard by the Crusaders.
Some say he’s still walking, I don’t know about that but I know what I know.
The second cross is a sign that says no entry, this land is not for you, because we are here, we who traced our Saxon feet along the cliffs, you know the story, it’s a famous story, I don’t need to fill it in, but the chalk falling as the leather sandal scraped a line across the cliff edge? Yes, this is the chalk cross that says we are here and you will not pass, no passerán! as they used to say in Anglo-Saxon.
I heard these things and I love them and I know them because they feel right and when I hold this flag I know them even more.