Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Offended? Well yes, I suppose 'you' would be...

Well I'm back from Egypt having had a great time, I'll write about my experiences at some other time though, possibly the weekend when I have a bit more time.
One of the first things to hit me upon my return to England was the work of property management firm Places for People who apparently finf my countries flag so offensive that despite it being on a blokes door for over 10 years decided that it would have to go, despite the guy having won awards for the upkeep of his house.
The Sun.
A PATRIOTIC ex-soldier who painted a St George’s flag on his front door has been ordered to cover it up by his housing association landlords who claim it could be considered "offensive" and may bring "distress" to neighbours.
Steven Rolfe, 52, painted the red and white colours of the English flag on his rented home in Preston, Lancs, 10 years ago and added hanging baskets to celebrate his love of England and mark his former career in the forces.
But despite being runner up in a council "best kept house" competition, he has now received a letter from an official at property management firm Places for People saying neighbours could be "alarmed" by the symbol.
The letter also warned the design could place him in a category of "nuisance neighbours" and said it could see him being evicted if he failed to cover it up.
In a letter to Mr Rolfe, Neighbourhood Officer Leanne Hardy gave him 14 days to repaint the door saying: "It has been brought to my attention that you have painted your front door in a way that could be considered offensive."
When he asked for permission to keep the flag, Ms Hardy sent another letter refusing his request and giving him seven days to paint over it in one colour.
She also warned him that failure could see him being in breach of his tenancy agreement.
In her letter Ms Hardy said the flag design fell foul of rules tackling unruly tenants who caused "a nuisance, annoyance, disturbance or harassment" of others.
Ms Hardy also said his conduct breached tenancy conditions concerning those tenants who were "injurious to the interests of neighbours" and those who "cause distress, alarm or interfere with the peace and comfort of any other person."
Mr Rolfe, who served in Northern Ireland, said: “I couldn’t believe it when I got the letter.
Why am I not surprised that Ms hardy is a Ms...
As it is, you have to wonder at what Places for People are playing at, sure the guy didn't have permission to paint the door, but considering that he did do it in 2003, you have to suspect that if there were a real problem, it would have surfaced by now.
Places for People have since apologised for calling the flag offensive, though one suspects that Ms Hardy doesn't agree with with their 'official' position, they are however still trying to evict the guy for having painted it 10 years ago without 'official' permission. This is the fallback position of any organisation where the actions of one of their officials however barmy need to be backed up no matter what the fallout from the decision.
It's interesting that only the company seems to have a problem with what Mr Rolfe has done, no one else from the local community or Labour Party seems to have an issue with the door. But, that's what happens when someone gets offended by proxy...

5 annotations:

tris said...

God, I have to say it, the English are weird. We have our flag all over the place here.

I have a French flag and a Scottish flag on my car.

One of my neighbours once told he he found it offensive that I didn't have a union flag, but I politely told him to go away.

I believe that once upon a time in Britain you could not display any flag unless you also displayed the union flag, but I think that is long since gone.

Bet it was warm out there in Egypt. It's been bloody baltic in Scotland.

Anonymous said...

@ tris

I have only visited your beautiful (best for beauty and I've been around the world a fair bit) country only the once.

I do recall that it was full of, well, Scots.

Scottish people here, there and everywhere

That's why you feel you can show the saltire without any problem.

Please vote YES for independence.

Scotland was, until the death grip of socialism, a powerhouse of thought and industry which punched above its weight. It can be that again.

And as for the Auld Alliance twixt France and Scotland, you deserve each other. Et j'aime bien la France Bon chance mon brave. Bon chance.

Anonymous said...

Well said Anonymous, how true. I understand Salmond wishes to welcome all immigrants (other than the English) to Scotland, so in time they might end us like us and not be allowed to wave their own flag. And how ludicrous is it that they wish to break away from the UK and join an even bigger corrupt one - good luck to 'em anyway.

pa_broon74 said...

Does that count the English SNP MSP's too? Damn that insular Salmond and his anti-English ways... ;-)

It seems to me, you wouldn't have a problem flying a St George's Cross anywhere in Scotland, we don't have the uncomfortable relationship with flags some English folk do.

The woman in question sounds like a right jobsworth, we have our fair share up here but we don't suffer them gladly.

tris said...

Anon: Merci beaucoup de vos très gentils mots au sujet de mes pays!

I would say that you're right. Scotland is full of Scots and some of them have brown skin (like our minister for external relations Humza Yousaf), but they feel Scottish.

I think we did a little bit better in the integration stakes than you did. We tried not to make immigrants feel unwanted by refusing to allow them to live in the same areas as us for fear of reducing the price of our houses, and we ran classes in the English language. By and large (although not without exception) we welcomed them into our country and made them feel at home.

I'm not pretending that it's perfect, but we don't seem to have the same issues as you do, even in our big cities.

Now religion is a completely different thing. Despite the fact that almost no one except the very elderly (and the islanders) ever goes to church, the Catholics hate the Protestants and vise versa with a vengeance...and the wee frees are something to behold. (Don't make your porridge on the Sabbath or the devil will get you.)

Second Anon: We do need immigrants, that's true. We have an aging population and our industries are starting to flourish after the downturn in the 80s, 90s and 00s, so yes, as long as you are prepared to come and live and work here, we're happy to have you, because we need you. And that includes English people. Yes, there are English haters, but as we have seen from the tweets of UKIP, there are people in England who loathe us Scots.

As for mr Salmond himself, he is an Anglophile. He loves England, as do many of us. It just doesn't mean we want to be run by a government we didn't elect. We love the Spaniards too, but we don't want to be governed by Madrid.

Mr Farage said that we were anti-English because he conflated the Union Flag (which he called the Union Jack for some reason) with the English flag. (Mais, comme il est de l’origine française, on peut l’excuser !)

Of course as Pa says, we do have our nutters here, just as you do, just as, I'm sure the Spanish and the Bolivians and the San Marinoins do.

It's called a free society.

I've seen houses here with norwegian, Swedish, German and English flags on flag poles in their gardens. So what? it says that at least one of the people who lives there is of that origin. Not an issue to most people.