Doreen Tipton: Am I flagging a dead ‘oss?

By Doreen Tipton | Weekend | Published:

I’ve decided to open a flag shop. Bear with me – there’s method in my madness.

Flag it up – moon story

You might think this is a rubbish business idea. You might think the only place you’d want a flag factory right now is in North Korea. After all, flags are having a really bad time of it lately – especially in America. For example, there’s a new movie out called First Man. If it had been made in the Black Country, it would probably have been called Fust Bloke – but it wasn’t, it was made in Hollywood, and that explains a few things.

First Man is not about biblical Adam, as you might expect, but about a bloke called Neil Armstrong, played by Ryan Gosling. For the benefit of those you born before 1969, Neil Armstrong was the first bloke – or indeed the first human – ever to set foot on the moon. So as you can imagine, at the time he was hailed as an all-American hero. But the movie has run into some controversy for its decision to leave out the planting of the American flag on the moon’s surface.

Flags, you see, represent pride in nationality, which is something the Hollywood luvvies (and many current-day politicians) aren’t very keen on. A few decades or so ago it was a very different story. Hollywood, of course, has always enjoyed re-writing history in its movies. But back then it was doing it in the opposite way, suggesting that Americans single-handedly won the war, invented telephones, built the Taj Mahal, conquered poverty and disease, ended Apartheid, taught the Apaches how to play a banjo, and generally ruled the world with compassion and a moral compass pointing firmly at Mother Theresa (who was originally from California). In short, it was a great time to own a flag shop.

But not now. Even the humble Black Country flag was criticised recently, because it displays chains, which as we all know have nothing at all to do with the Black Country’s industrial heritage, and everything to do with a deliberate and provocative celebration of colonial slavery in 19th century Tipton (shame on the young schoolgirl who designed it for not realising this). So no doubt we’ll all be sent for mental re-programming soon and shamed into destroying the flags before they infect future generations.

So, with all these factors in play, why would I want to commit financial suicide and set up a flag shop?

Well, as is the way with these things, a group of rabid loony activists straight out of college, egged on by their institutionalised and even more loony professors, are currently on a desperate mission to correct the faults of our forefathers. So they want to go 180 degrees the other way, and set fire to every flag, smash every statue, re-write every Enid Blyton book, re-gender every Thomas the Tank Engine toy, tear down every historical portrait and curse and kick every war veteran they can find sleeping rough on the streets. Nationalism, you see, is officially now a very naughty word, and any hint that you might actually take a pride in the country you live in could get you the ultimate punishment – a Facebook and Twitter ban.

And that’s where my plan to own a flag shop starts to make sense. Because the Americans have an old saying: What goes around, comes around. By going way over the top, the actions of the loonies will eventually fire up the temper of the otherwise mild-mannered peace-loving ordinary folk, and lead to what’s known as ‘an equal and opposite reaction’. That was one of the only things I remember from physics lessons at school – I think it was a bloke called Neutron who discovered it, and it’s a fact of nature. No longer left alone to be quietly proud of their territory, the ordinary folk will get increasingly riled as they see their neatly ordered world trampled on, and eventually they will decide that enough is enough.

The mouse will roar.


It may take a while – it may be long after Ryan Gosling has become a fully-fledged goose – but those mice will eventually roar. And that’s when they’ll reach for a flag. Not sure about a mouse reaching for a flag, actually – that’s a rubbish mixed metaphor, but you know what I mean. The mice, who never felt the need for a symbol of allegiance before, suddenly will. But of course, by then most of the flags will have been burnt, and all the flag shops will have long since gone out of business. Except mine.

I’ll be waiting patiently in my shop for the next generation of flag wavers. On the whole they’ll be people with jobs – the ones who were previously too busy earning a living to go on protest marches – so they can afford to pay a small premium for a quality flag. I’ll have plenty of Star and Stripes in stock, because I predict the replacement market in the States will be huge. And a modest supply of Black Country flags, politicians willing. And I’ve even got a revolutionary idea for a brand new product to scupper the objections of those obsessed with identity politics. Individual flags. Unique designs made just for you. One for each person, passionately showing your allegiance to yourself and nothing else. Try and object to that if you can.

And I reckon I’ll clean up. Because nobody will have thought about this idea except me. Oh, and anybody who reads this column.

So, just me then. Tarra a bit x

Doreen Tipton

By Doreen Tipton
Columnist - @DoreenTipton

The Queen of the Black Country shares her take on the week's hot topics.


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