"A totalitarian foreign power which, with the help of Quislings in Westminster, intends to take over our country"
Superb stuff via Martin Stabe:
Pub landlord in EU flag row
With a heading like that, and armed with the perennial assumption that pubs are often home to rather more "traditionalist" (to put it nicely) views on national life, you'd probaby expect the landlord to be the one objecting to the flag. But no. Instead it is the landlord who is being fined - yes, fined - by Worthing Borough Council for flying the EU flag outside his premises.
The quote heading this post in fact comes from the chap who complained to the Council about the "foul emblem", which apparently offends him when he has to walk past it. The same chap who had a letter published in a UKIP newsletter in February this year in which he claimed that "if we... surrender our constitution by adopting an EU version our children may have to fight a civil war to get back the constitution which is rightfully theirs". He's certainly got a flair for the melodramatic, if not a very strong grasp on reality. Just because he finds the idea of the EU offensive, does that mean no one else should be able to fly the flag? Personally I find the UKIP pretty offensive, but I'll still defend their right to spout their nonsense.
But the silliness of the complaint is not the issue. Where are the Council coming from with their decision to fine the landlord, rather than tell the author of this bizarre complaint precisely where to go?
Well, a Council spokesman justifies the fine thusly: "The EU flag is not a national flag and thereby falls within the same category as any advertising-type flag. These require advertising consent from the council."
So there we have it - the EU is not a state - OFFICIAL. Does this mean that every building in the land which flies the circle of stars should be fined, or will Worthing's frankly bizarre (if, technically, perhaps correct) interpretation be swiftly overturned on appeal? Either way, methinks that the EU itself should probably have something to say on this - the precedent and implications could prove somewhat problematic if the decision is upheld.
There could also be implications for the forthcoming election campaign - if an EU flag is political advertising, and so the council should receive a payment, what about those posters for individual candidates which pop up outside houses across the land in the run up to a vote? Will individual homeowners have to fork out cash for the right to state their political opinions, or will it only take one person who disagrees with them to make a complaint for them to be fined, as has happened here?
Very, very silly at first glance, but worryingly so if you start thinking about it too much. The anti-EU lot will probably have a field day once they pick up on this... So, having helped highlight it - enjoy yourselves, guys.