As you no doubt know, Scots voted this week on whether to split from the United Kingdom. Ultimately they decided to stay.* Huge decision. I think I’ll stay out of it.
But, I cannot help but be struck by all the talk there’s been about what could happen to the British flag minus Scotland.
As you probably know, the union flag (It’s only union jack if it’s at sea, did you know that?) looks like this:
It’s a combination of the red-on-white cross of England’s St. George, the white-on-blue cross of Scotland’s St. Andrew and the red x-shaped cross on a white background known as St. Patrick’s saltire that represents Northern Ireland.
Something … seems to be missing. And that something is the beautiful red dragon on a field of green and white that is the flag of Wales. (My homeland, ladies and gents.) The dragon is the red dragon of the King of Gwynedd, Cadwaladr. (Obviously, that’s pronounced “Gwinneth” with the “th” as in than, not thin, and “Cadwallader.” Obviously.) and includes the Tudor colors of green and white. It was used by Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth. (That’s the one where Richard III went toes up.)
Why no dragon?
The official answer is that Wales is a principality, not a kingdom. Which, OK, fine … except Northern Ireland doesn’t use the red cross as its official flag. The union flag flies on government buildings there. So, if we’re talking symbolism, how about a little principality parity?
This issue has come up a time or two with various amendments proposed. This version was put forward by a Welsh MP (member of parliament) in 2007:
I think that looks rather nice.
And here’s a handsome rendition of a flag should Scotland ever gang awa’.
P.S. Honesty compels me to admit to one disadvantage to the Welsh flag. It’s the devil of a job to draw and crayon one yourself if you’re, let’s say eight years old and the Queen and Prince Charles are coming to your town and you need something to wave and you don’t have enough money to buy one ready-made. You end up, hypothetically, coloring madly away, sticking the paper on a knitting needle with a LOT of sticky tape, getting up at 6 a.m. and standing in the High Street frantically waving what looks like a prototype of Clifford the Big Red Dog.
I can only hope that should she have happened to catch sight of me, Her Majesty was amused.
*Edited 9/18 to reflect the independence measure failed.