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Friday, June 09, 2006

Flying the flag

The Police are sometimes accused of acting in a heavy handed manner but Clive Wolfendale, the Deputy Chief Constable of North Wales, has taken the concept to a new extreme. His warning that people flying the English flag during the World Cup were failing to act in a decent and courteous manner is way over the top. Mind you North Wales Police have form on these issues.

It seems that we are being overrun with an unnecessary and disproportionate political correctness in a way that it is undermining the equality agenda. I know that Wales is a largely tolerant society. Some people may not like overt displays of Englishness but they are not going to turn it into a vendetta.

Mr. Wolfendale needs to chill out a bit and stop creating problems where there are none.
I'm sorry, but I disagree - the point is valid if one he made for column inches rather than out of any concern that violence would arise...

It DOES wind me up when England flags are shoved in my face in Wales... An englishman with flags on his car is one thing, but shops that plaster their facades with England's flag in towns such as aberystwyth are disgracefully disrespectful of the local population...

visit www.alcoflog.blogspot.com to see Gilesports in ABERYSTWYTH - apparently this is policy from Head Office.

It's a disgrace!

It has since been vandalised - and a bloody good thing too.
Just to be clear, my publication of the comment above by Ceri Grafu does not in anyway mean that I join with him in condoning illegal and mindless vandalism. Indeed I believe that the attack on Gilesports in Aberystwyth is a disgrace and is unjustifiable.
Fair enough, Peter! But do you accept the point that I was trying to make (before I got carried away)?

This example surely shows that the North Wales Policeman had a point...

While I fully accept that you have to condemn the vandalism, I find it bizzarre that you cannot concede that Gilesports contributed to the situation by covering a shop in the centre of Aberystwyth in England flags!

Your attitude is typical of modern polititians - if there is any chance of negative column inches you shy away and igore the issue, condemning people who raise the matter for 'creating a problem'.

The policeman in question did not create the problem that some of the population of Aberystwyth find it disrespectful for a chain to treat their Welsh shops exactly as if they were in England.

A phonecall to the shop in question revealed a member of staff (an Irishman, I believe) who agreed with Ceri Grafu. It was Head Office that had forced this ridiculous stunt upon them.

There is no doubt in my mind that it is disrespctful of Gilesports to ignore the cultural differences between, say, Aberystwyth and Bristol. Also, it was to be expected, that someone would take offence to that.

But you play it safe, Peter. Blame the poiliceman for creating the problem...
If saying what I think and believe is playing safe then so be it. I believe in live and let live. I do not accept that a display of support for a football team or nation should lead to violence or damage to property.
Ceri's comments, while probably not exactly typical of the majority Welsh population of towns like Aber - or even of most enthuisastic nationalists - are representative of an extremely unhealthy sizeable minority.

Ceri, try moving the venue of this incident to Birmingham, substituing the Welsh population with white English, and the English population ghto ethnic Asian.

Now read your suggestion again. Asians shouldn't fly the Pakistan flag during a cricket match because it might provoke white people to violence?

There's a word for people like you, Ceri.
It's sad that David turns to the convenient, and completely inapproriate, comparisons of asians and whites without considering my point in is context.

The fact that the Gilesports shop in Aberystwyth was vandalised because it had decorated itself as if it were a shop in the middle of England PROVES that there was reason to the North Wales policeman's point.

The rights and wrongs of a chain of shops ignoring the local population's identity is another matter... the fact of the matter is that it DOES upset people enough for them to commit vandalism. Therefore th senior policeman from North Wales was spot on.

I find it concerning that yet another AM has found it impossible to grasp an argument and understand it... the justification, or otherwise, of vandalism is neither here nor there - the problem exists but in your original post you refused to accept that, choosing instead to blame a policeman for creating the problem.

Your attitude, and that of other politicians, astounds me - the fat that it might be too unsavoury for your delicate tastes does not mean the problem doesnt exist.

You have rubbished a senior policeman for expressing a view that he hoped would make people think twice and, therefore, avoid any possible trouble - I think your attitude, on this matter is naive and irresponsible.
I see neither Peter nor David has anything to say... perhaps because you realise that your default 'avoid contreversy' political setting has led you to misunderstand the issue... have a peek at david banks' blog to read some sense...
I have already made my views clear. I do not condone what Gilesport did but they had every right to do it. No matter what the perceived provocation, the reaction of those who responded by vandalising the shop is unjustifiable in my view. I also believe that the Police Deputy Chief Constable did go over the top in making his remarks and that he has given people a convenient excuse to try and justify their indefensible actions.

Peter's view expressed above is one I hold too; everyone has a right to make their voice felt, nobody has an excuse for loutish and criminal behaviour.

If you want to read what I think about this take a look at my blog at cloudsoup.com
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