In the lead up to the Scottish independence vote and the Brexit referendum, there were murmurings of the future of the Union Flag. The flag, in it’s current form, has served the United Kingdom since 1801. However, many have noted a distinct lack of representation for the Welsh on the flag. This is because when the flag was created, Wales was still considered to be a “principality” by many rather than a country. This is debatable however and has a rather interesting and ridiculously bureaucratic history of it’s own. But that is a story for another time.
Since 1801 the Union Jack has flown over the rise and fall of the British Empire, and many believe that in this time the nation has evolved significantly enough to warrant a new flag. Many citizens feel uncomfortable with the acts that were committed across the globe beneath the current flag.
In this article, we will take a brief look at one project aiming to create a more representative flag for the contemporary UK.
"The New Union Flag" Project
2014 saw the rise of the political party UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party), a group aiming to achieve independence from the European Union for Britain. This created what many communities felt to be a xenophobic, anti-immigration atmosphere within the UK. With this in mind, a British-Isreali artist named Gil Mualem-Doron created a “New Union Flag”.
The flag uses the basic shape of the Union Jack, but substitutes the red, white and blue for various ethnic patterns. The patterns come from communities within the country that have made a significant contribution to British culture in the last few decades. The flag is mostly used as an art installation that tours the country, aiming to reduce discrimination and increase awareness about the huge ethnic and cultural diversity within the UK.
Will The Union Jack Change?
While the intentions of the “New Union Flag” project seem to be more art based, the folks involved are not against it being considered as a legitimate replacement for the current flag. Whether this would go down well with the general public or not, they raise a valid point: The UK does not have an official flag. The Union Flag represents the country because of tradition, but there has never been a law from Westminster to officially recognise it as the official flag of the United Kingdom.
The last time an MP tried to raise this issue was in 2008, and his proposed bill never made it any further than that – a proposal.
However, with Brexit on the horizon, and further calls for Scottish independence, it could be the case that some time in the near future, a new flag all together may be needed. In the meantime though, there does not seem to be any mainstream movements in support of a change of flag.