UKC

Flying the Union Flag

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
 Slackboot 12 Sep 2021

Over the past few years I have noticed more and more national flags flying at residential properties in the UK. On a recent visit to N.Wales it seemed like every other house was flying either the Red Dragon or the Gold and Black of St. David. In England the St. George's flag is seen more and more. It is very hard to hang these flags the wrong way up. But the Union Flag is of course different. It always amazes me that someone will go to the expense of erecting a flagpole in their garden, to presumably broadcast to the world how patriotic they are. But not quite patriotic enough to know which way up the Union Flag is meant to go. Or are these properties signalling their need for help?

In reply to Slackboot:

There's a fella that (sometimes) lives down on the sea front in Gairloch who has a big saltire flying, I think he's got a new one. There's also saltire bunting. The only exception was after the euro 2020 final when there was a giant Italian tricolour flying - for weeks! Now that's commitment!

I have that queasy feeling walking past that someone I've never met before hates me 

 Graeme G 12 Sep 2021
In reply to JJ Krammerhead III:

If it’s the house I’m thinking of, you should be fine. He had an England flag up at one point.

Post edited at 10:04
In reply to Graeme G:

I must be gettingboaranoid in my old age. What I would say is that after living in Scotland for going on 15 years I have never once had any bother about being English.

I also have an aversion to flags

Cheers Graham

In reply to Slackboot:

I actually own an EU circle of stars flag but daren't fly it because my neighbor regularly flies the st George's. In addition to what I view as his fairly right wing leanings I suspect he is also quite hard so the flag stays in a drawer lol

In reply to stealth_mode_rob:

There is a house in my village with a flag pole, and an amazing collection of flags - must have seen over 20 or 30 over the years.

I rather like the widespread display of flags as seen in places like Sweden, makes things pretty.

 Lankyman 12 Sep 2021
In reply to Dr.S at work:

I've had an old Soviet Union Uzbekistan flag since 1990. Haven't had any reason to fly it yet.

 Hardonicus 12 Sep 2021
In reply to Slackboot:

You want to try living in Yorkshire, cnuts with light blue flags everywhere.

 Slackboot 12 Sep 2021
In reply to OP:

 In the end I don't think I like flags. They look pretty fluttering away but often speak more of division than unity.

In reply to Slackboot:

>  In the end I don't think I like flags. They look pretty fluttering away but often speak more of division than unity.

Surely the whole point of the Union flag is that it speaks of, well, unity. Likewise the EU flag. I'd fly both alongside the Saltire if I didn't think it would result in my windows being broken.

I'm really tempted to have one of them behind me at the next online parents' evening like government ministers have the Union flag, but I honestly can't decide which would be considered most subversive.

Post edited at 20:29
 mountainbagger 12 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Surely the whole point of the Union flag is that it speaks of, well, ytinu.

FTFY (as people seem to hang it the wrong way up)

 john arran 12 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Surely the whole point of the Union flag is that it speaks of, well, unity. Likewise the EU flag. I'd fly both alongside the Saltire if I didn't think it would result in my windows being broken.

But take the George cross for a very different example. Seems most common to be displayed, not as a sign of Englishness per se (few people seem to identify with England as such as a regional identity distinct from Britishness) but as a sign of NOT being Scottish or Welsh or not British in any other way.

 Babika 12 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Agreed.

Unity is underrated, we need to celebrate it more often. 

I rather like the Olympics and Paralympics when, for once, everyone is keen to drape a union flag around their shoulders for the photo. 

I generally like all flags but was slightly unnerved at a campsite recently; the owner was flying something unusual in his garden so I looked it up - turned out to be the Orange Order NI. 

 Fat Bumbly2 12 Sep 2021
In reply to Hardonicus:

Remember seeing one of those in Glencoe

In reply to Robert Durran:

> Surely the whole point of the Union flag is that it speaks of, well, unity. Likewise the EU flag. I'd fly both alongside the Saltire if I didn't think it would result in my windows being broken.

The parliament does that and AFAIK they've never had their windows broken.

If you get enough CCTV and armed police on site it should be fine.

 Graeme G 13 Sep 2021
In reply to Babika:

> Agreed.

> Unity is underrated, we need to celebrate it more often. 

> I rather like the Olympics and Paralympics when, for once, everyone is keen to drape a union flag around their shoulders for the photo. 

Surely that’s a message of division? “Ya boo sucker, you lost, we won”

In reply to Graeme G:

> Surely that’s a message of division? “Ya boo sucker, you lost, we won”

It depends on the spirit of it. The Olympics and Paralympics are one of the great global unifying events.

In reply to Slackboot:

Ive always felt uneasy about flags in gardens, viewing them as divisive rather than inclusive. I suspect my home would be egged if I flew the Union and EU flags in my garden.

There seems to be quite an increase in flags as you get into the Fens.

A secondary issue not mentioned here Is house value. I would think very carefully about moving to a house next door to a flag waver of any description. 

To me it suggests the owner is angry and argumentative rather than quiet and thoughtful so over the hedge disputes might be troublesome.

Post edited at 08:55
 GrahamD 13 Sep 2021
In reply to Slackboot:

I started a similar grumpy old man thread on this a few months ago.  I think the conclusion was that some people are a bit thick.

 subtle 13 Sep 2021
In reply to Slackboot:

I have a Corsican flag, I suppose I should get round to flying it in the garden one of these days

In reply to Babika:

> I generally like all flags but was slightly unnerved at a campsite recently; the owner was flying something unusual in his garden so I looked it up - turned out to be the Orange Order NI. 

That's bad enough, but a hotel in a prominent location at Tintagel in Cornwall has recently flown the QAnon flag:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/jan/11/trum-and-farage-supporter-flies-flag-for-qanon-rar-right-conspiracy

 Iamgregp 13 Sep 2021
In reply to Slackboot:

Yes, I agree.  So often people the people who are most likely to fly the flag, are those least able to hang the thing the right way up.

They're also the same lot who angrily point out that "It's actually called the Union Flag, it's only called the Union Jack when flown from the Jackstaff of a ship".  Which is bollocks.

It's interesting how the England flag has become more prevalent in recent years, I watched the '66 World Cup final a while back and the crowd was awash with Union Jacks and red white and  blue.  You wouldn't see that if England got to a World Cup final now would you?

 Flinticus 13 Sep 2021
In reply to Slackboot:

If I had a flag pole I think the only flag I'd fly would be the Jolly Roger.

Or something declaring my loyalty to the Shogun

 henwardian 13 Sep 2021
In reply to Slackboot:

interesting topic.

If I lived in a town or city this would be tempting me to buy a pole and whole rag selection, I could have endless fun watching the reaction people had to an EU flag, UK flag, Scottish flag, USA flag and ISIS flag all fastened together and fluttering in the breeze.

 henwardian 13 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> It depends on the spirit of it. The Olympics and Paralympics are one of the great global unifying events.

So was world war II

 profitofdoom 13 Sep 2021
In reply to henwardian:

> interesting topic.

> If I lived in a town or city this would be tempting me to buy a pole and whole rag selection, I could have endless fun watching the reaction people had to an EU flag, UK flag, Scottish flag, USA flag and ISIS flag all fastened together and fluttering in the breeze.

A guy once put a North Korean flag up outside his Stockton-on-Tees home for a while "to keep his kids happy" as the Daily Mail article put it (see the link below - it has some good photos)

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4531050/Mystery-Middlesbrough-s-North-Korean-flag-SOLVED.html

In reply to henwardian:

> So was world war II

No it wasn't. What would be is an alien invasion.

 henwardian 13 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> No it wasn't. What would be is an alien invasion.

Yes it was.

It unified the earth in a desire to fight wars and kill people. Not all unifying forces are for good :P

 henwardian 13 Sep 2021
In reply to profitofdoom:

I like his style!
 

(btw. God killed a particularly innocent and cute kitten when you linked the daily mail).

 profitofdoom 13 Sep 2021
In reply to henwardian:

> I like his style!  

> (btw. God killed a particularly innocent and cute kitten when you linked the daily mail).

Sorry about the (I hope metaphorical) kitten

I like his style too. Refreshingly offbeat

PS I hate the Daily Mail and never read it.... but it was funny that according to the article, they phoned the North Korean Embassy in London and asked about the flag, and "a diplomat replied: 'Why would it be strange anyway for our flag to be up?'"

In reply to Lankyman:

> I've had an old Soviet Union Uzbekistan flag since 1990. Haven't had any reason to fly it yet.

You are Shona and I claim my five roubles.

In reply to john arran:

> But take the George cross for a very different example. Seems most common to be displayed, not as a sign of Englishness per se (few people seem to identify with England as such as a regional identity distinct from Britishness) but as a sign of NOT being Scottish or Welsh or not British in any other way.

Normally I see it flown by neo-Nazis trying to bash mine and other peoples heads in. Different neighbourhoods I guess. 

In reply to Slackboot:

My most intense patriotism is reserved for my beloved Black Country. I have flown the flag at a number of locations around the world, endeavouring to educate less enlightened kingdoms as to what a spirit of proud individualism really means.


 deepsoup 13 Sep 2021
In reply to Slackboot:

As I was driving to work today I wondered how many of the people who put up road signs for a living (speed camera warning signs in particular) have a Union Jack on a flagpole in the garden.  You would think a stylised drawing of a large format camera would be easier to get the right way up than an almost symmetrical abstract flag design wouldn't you?  Apparently not.

In reply to deepsoup:

I have absolutely no idea why people get so wound up about the Union Flag being flown upside down. I've no idea what the difference is. Just smart arses. Who actually cares?

 Fat Bumbly2 13 Sep 2021
In reply to Andy Clarke:

Got to like a conical flask on a flag

 Phil59 13 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Upside down its a distress signal (call for help).

In reply to Phil59:

> Upside down its a distress signal (call for help).

In that case a rubbish one because most people wouldn't notice.

In reply to Phil59:

A bit Stevie Smith, that. Something more obviously the wrong way up would be of better use.

 Phil59 13 Sep 2021
In reply to mbh:

In a maritime setting with no other form of communication.

In reply to Andy Clarke:

I grew up on edge of the Black Country (Stourport) and haven't seen that flag before I don't think. How old is the design?

I think local flags in the UK, or England at least, is pretty new thing in most places? I did a three day bike trip back in the summer hols from home (just over the Derbyshire border from Sheffield) out through Derbyshire, Notts and Lincolnshire. Up through the Wolds over the Humber and west to Selby, then down from Selby past Donny, Rotherham etc. back down to home. You see a lot of Lincolnshire and Derbyshire flags these days - but that appears to be a new-ish phenomenon. There have been more Yorkshire flags about for longer is the impression I've got over the last 7 years of living either in Yorkshire, or just over the border. But on the bike trip I saw a lot of South Yorkshire flags that I don't think I've ever seen before. I presumed that might even be a design from just this year?

When I moved to Finland the first time in the mid-90s I was gobbed smacked on my first "flag day" when every office building, apartment block, terrace of houses, detached house etc etc all had the national flag up. At the time coming from the UK it was completely weird and slightly unnerving - even when you found out it was for something like UN Day, or the National Poet's Day. You get used to it and that time Finns clearly didn't get my feelings, although as with so many other places the rise of populist-nationalism may have changed that now.

In reply to Robert Durran:

> Surely the whole point of the Union flag is that it speaks of, well, unity.

I came back from a family holiday in Northern Ireland just a couple of weeks ago. Even my just-4 year old was impressed by the number of what he calls "Britain flags" in some parts! But the Union Jacks definitely aren't signs of unity there - to say the least!

What I found fascinating wasn't just the large number of Palestinian flags in Republican areas there - I sort of knew that, although I didn't expect nearly as many as I saw, but also what I understand is a reasonably new thing of plentiful Israeli flags being flown in Loyalist areas.

In reply to TobyA:

> I came back from a family holiday in Northern Ireland just a couple of weeks ago. Even my just-4 year old was impressed by the number of what he calls "Britain flags" in some parts! But the Union Jacks definitely aren't signs of unity there - to say the least!

I suppose anything short of a global flag could be said to represent disunity. So maybe the Olympic Flag? Is there a UN flag?

> What I found fascinating wasn't just the large number of Palestinian flags in Republican areas there - I sort of knew that, although I didn't expect nearly as many as I saw, but also what I understand is a reasonably new thing of plentiful Israeli flags being flown in Loyalist areas.

Why is that?

In reply to TobyA:

The flag was formally adopted in 2012. The design, by a local schoolgirl, was the winner of a competition run by the Black Country Museum. Interestingly, at almost the same time my photo was taken, in 2015, a controversy blew up about it, on the grounds that the Black Country had supplied the chains (and manacles etc)  used by the slave trade.

 deepsoup 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I've no idea what the difference is.

Seriously?  The fatter white diagonal stripe goes to the top on the side next to the flagpole, or on the left if there is no pole (for example in the case of a sticker, a mural or something like that).

> Who actually cares?

Well, as the OP says, people who feel patriotic enough to go to the trouble and expense of erecting a flag pole in the garden and flying the national flag, you would think.  But apparently not a lot of the time.

There is a certain irony to so many making a public display of their patriotism inadvertently showing their ignorance to the world at the same time, but if you don't get it you don't get it.

Funny that you should pick my post to reply to though, I wasn't talking about the flag.  I was talking about road signs, one sign in particular that is installed upside down about as frequently.

Edit:
You always used to strike me as the kind of person who likes knowing the rules.  Here are the rules:
http://www.flaginstitute.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Flying-Flags-in-the-United-Kingdom.pdf

Post edited at 08:51
In reply to deepsoup:

> Seriously?  The fatter white diagonal stripe goes to the top on the side next to the flagpole, or on the left if there is no pole (for example in the case of a sticker, a mural or something like that).

So an entirely arbitrary, barely noticeable and eminently forgettable difference.

> Well, as the OP says, people who feel patriotic enough to go to the trouble and expense of erecting a flag pole in the garden and flying the national flag, you would think.  But apparently not a lot of the time.

Maybe they feel it is the gesture that counts more than silly arbitrariness.

> There is a certain irony to so many making a public display of their patriotism inadvertently showing their ignorance to the world at the same time, but if you don't get it you don't get it.

I would worry more about ignorance that actually matters.

> You always used to strike me as the kind of person who likes knowing the rules.  

Not really. I am particularly poor at things like which way to turn a screwdriver or hang a flag.

 deepsoup 14 Sep 2021
In reply to TobyA:

> But on the bike trip I saw a lot of South Yorkshire flags that I don't think I've ever seen before.

I still haven't (I just had to look it up to see what it looks like), but perhaps I'm just being unobservant.  Maybe I'll spot dozens of them this afternoon now that I know it's a thing.

I found this - apparently the flag isn't official and there isn't a single registered design.
https://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/gb-ensyk.html

It looks like somebody has just recently invented a flag so they can sell it - but there was a very similar design used by the old South Yorkshire County Council in its (ultimately unsuccessful) campaign against abolition in 1986.

 deepsoup 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> So an entirely arbitrary..

The flag is entirely arbitrary, they all are.  But people kill people for such things.  Simultaneously caring about it enough that you want to make a public display of it and not caring enough that you can be arsed to hang it the right way up is ironic, whether you can see it or not.

> I would worry more about ignorance that actually matters.

I do, I do!  But FWIW, worrying about a thing and appreciating the irony of a thing are not the same.

Post edited at 09:22
 Iamgregp 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

You really don't have to be that smart to learn how to hang the flag of our country the right way up mate! Think I was about 7 years old when my dad told me.  It's really not that hard.

Do I actually care if people hang the flag upside down?  No not at all, I'm not remotely wound up.  Couldn't give a sh!t....

That doesn't mean that I don't think the person who hung it that way is a bit thick though.  Pretty sure I'm entitled to make up my own mind about other people's actions.  

Post edited at 11:16
 Graeme G 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Iamgregp:

> I'm not remotely wound up.  Couldn't give a sh!t....

You sure? You don’t sound it. 

In reply to Iamgregp:

> You really don't have to be that smart to learn how to hang the flag of our country the right way up. Think I was about 7 years old when my dad told me.  It's really not that hard.

Of course not, it is easily looked up. Though it is arbitrary and therefore hard to remember unless you hoist the flag on a regular basis. My point is that I don't understand why anyone cares, unless it is just to score points. 

> That doesn't mean that I don't think the person who hung it that way is a bit thick though.  

Maybe they are intelligent enough to realise it simply doesn't matter and so don't care.

In reply to deepsoup:

> I do, I do!  But FWIW, worrying about a thing and appreciating the irony of a thing are not the same.

Sorry, but I don't see any irony because I don't think it matters and can understand why somebody might raise the flag for a particular reason, know that there is a "correct" way up but not bother to looking it up.

Post edited at 12:57
 Iamgregp 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

It's really not hard to remember, I've never hoisted a flag in my life (not a euphemism) but I know.  Like I said, I remember my dad telling me when I was around 7 and haven't forgotten or had to look it up.  Wide band top left, it's 4 words. 

And besides, once you know what way it's meant to be hung you don't need to think about it.  If I see one upside down it looks upside down to me immediately.

And apologies for not realising that the reason that you didn't know how to hang the flag of the state you're from is because you're so intelligent.  I'm a bit thick you see

Post edited at 13:47
 Iamgregp 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Graeme G:

Tone is hard to get over on forums, but yes.  Genuinely.  I'm more leg pulling than actually care!

 Iamgregp 14 Sep 2021
In reply to deepsoup:

>  Simultaneously caring about it enough that you want to make a public display of it and not caring enough that you can be arsed to hang it the right way up is ironic.

Exactly this.  

 Slackboot 14 Sep 2021
In reply to OP:

I think it does matter that it is flown the right way up. In the end it's all about respect. For good or ill a lot of people have died fighting under it. It may be a bit 'old fashioned' but stuff like this matters. 

In reply to Robert Durran:

> Why is that?

That they fly Israeli flags? Or that I didn't know that they did?

If the former... the Republican - Palestinian link is just your standard socialist internationalism with an added twist of armed resistance to the colonial oppressor I guess. The Israeli flags in Loyalist areas (and they weren't everywhere but I saw it in Derry as well as Belfast) might not be anymore than "if the Catholics love the Palestinians so much, we're joining Team Israel", although over the last 20 years there has been a move in some far right circles to reject anti-semitism and lionize Israel as a bulwark against Islamic extremism (or even just as against Muslims more generally).

In reply to Iamgregp:

> It's really not hard to remember, I've never hoisted a flag in my life (not a euphemism) but I know.  Like I said, I remember my dad telling me when I was around 7 and haven't forgotten or had to look it up.  Wide band top left, it's 4 words. 

So is "Narrow band bottom right" (or any other of the eight permutations). I suppose that is a 1 in 8 chance of getting it right.

> And besides, once you know what way it's meant to be hung you don't need to think about it. 

That's true of any convention one uses frequently enough; I don't have any problem driving on the left but I do have problem turning a screwdriver the right way.

Post edited at 14:12
In reply to TobyA:

> That they fly Israeli flags? Or that I didn't know that they did?

The former. Thanks.

 Graeme G 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Iamgregp:

Yeah. Hence why I’m so careful how I post now. Email, internet etc is horrendous to get across any sense of emotion.

I just took your use of the word “mate” to be quite confrontational. Maybe a cultural thing. If you said that to someone around my gaff you’d def be signalling you’re up for a fight. Lol

In reply to Graeme G:

> I just took your use of the word “mate” to be quite confrontational. Maybe a cultural thing. If you said that to someone around my gaff you’d def be signalling you’re up for a fight. Lol

<engage scouse>
Eh!eh!eh! Calm down! Calm down!

<disengage scouse>

 Iamgregp 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Graeme G:

To be honest I did think that using “mate” in that sentence might be perceived as being confrontational, and did consider rewording. probably should have done really!
 

 Iamgregp 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> So is "Narrow band bottom right" 

It’s the wrong way round if you’ve got a narrow band at the bottom right!

I think remembering and looking at top left works well as that where we in the west start reading from, so feels familiar…. Maybe if we were Arabic we’d start with the top right? 
 

> That's true of any convention one uses frequently enough; I don't have any problem driving on the left but I do have problem turning a screwdriver the right way.

Same! Bloody screwdrivers. The amount of times I’ve mashed up screw heads thinking I couldn’t work them loose because I was turning them the wrong way!

 B-team 14 Sep 2021
In reply to TobyA:

> although over the last 20 years there has been a move in some far right circles to reject anti-semitism and lionize Israel as a bulwark against Islamic extremism (or even just as against Muslims more generally).

Probably more importantly, in right-wing evangelical Christian circles the state of Israel is central to prophecies of the coming Rapture. So it's not really Israel they care about, just it's role in Christian eschatology.

 deepsoup 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Iamgregp:

> It’s the wrong way round if you’ve got a narrow band at the bottom right!

That's the point he's trying to make I think, though he's wrong about there being 8 permutations, there are only two:
a) right way up
b) wrong way up

> Same! Bloody screwdrivers. The amount of times I’ve mashed up screw heads thinking I couldn’t work them loose because I was turning them the wrong way!

Robert is correct though, in that "wide band top left" is not an effective mnemonic if it's the actual words you're trying to remember.  They work best when they're a bit silly and have a rhyme, an alliteration or something like that in them.  Here's an example of a more effective one for both of you:

Righty tighty, lefty loosey!

Post edited at 15:01
 Iamgregp 14 Sep 2021
In reply to deepsoup:

That’s the point I’m making though, I don’t have to remember the words. I just look at it 🤷‍♂️

 deepsoup 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Iamgregp:

Me too, I don't use a mnemonic or anything to remember which way up the flag is supposed to go, it just looks wrong when its upside down.

In reply to Graeme G:

> I just took your use of the word “mate” to be quite confrontational. Maybe a cultural thing. 

Yes, I find being addressed as "mate" by a stranger pretty provocative. I counted to 10 and ignored it when he used it replying to me earlier.

 Iamgregp 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Apologies, really didn't mean it to come across that way.

Post edited at 15:33
In reply to Iamgregp:

> It’s the wrong way round if you’ve got a narrow band at the bottom right!

That is precisely my point. Your mnemonic is arbitrary and therefore useless.

In reply to deepsoup:

> That's the point he's trying to make I think, though he's wrong about there being 8 permutations, there are only two:

> a) right way up

> b) wrong way up

True! Four of my permutations end up being correct and four wrong.

> Robert is correct though, in that "wide band top left" is not an effective mnemonic if it's the actual words you're trying to remember.  They work best when they're a bit silly and have a rhyme, an alliteration or something like that in them.  Here's an example of a more effective one for both of you:

> Righty tighty, lefty loosey!

That is the most stupid mnemonic ever. You don't rotate a screwdriver or anything else right or left; you rotate it clockwise or anticlockwise.

However, I'll be honest and admit that it now works for me because I have got into so many discussions about its stupidity (including on here at some length not all that long ago) that I now simply know that many people bizarrely and arbitrarily associate right with clockwise.

Edit: Someone on here actually did come up with a roundabout way to link right with clockwise in the end.

Post edited at 15:45
 Iamgregp 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

It's not mnemonic. I never called it a mnemonic.  It was just me demonstrating how very easy it would be for you to learn how to hang the thing.  That's not how it was explained to me by my Dad all those years ago.

Mnemonics use coding, imagery and memory cues to make thing easy to remember. "Richard of your gained battles in vain" and "Every good boy deserves favour" are mnemonics. 

Wide band top left is just a very short description I wrote to illustrate that your point that it being hard to remember is a bit silly.

Post edited at 15:59
 Jenny C 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Iamgregp:

> Same! Bloody screwdrivers. The amount of times I’ve mashed up screw heads thinking I couldn’t work them loose because I was turning them the wrong way!

righty tightly, lefty loosey

In reply to Iamgregp:

Fair enough. It is not a mnemonic. But it is not memorable either - it is no more memorable than simply trying to remember that you turn a screwdriver clockwise to tighten a screw. 

Post edited at 16:09
 Iamgregp 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Iamgregp:

Oooooh whilst we're on the subject of fun with flags...

My most favourite bit of pedantry ever arose at a pub quiz a while back... The quizmaster asked what is the only only country without a rectangular flag?

Some people answered Nepal, others Switzerland.  He read out the answer as Nepal, and there was all sorts of protests from those who answered Switzerland.  The quizmasters reply? 

A square is a type of rectangle.

He was bloody right and all.

 Iamgregp 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Or which way up to hang a flag

 petemeads 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

It turns out the only reason the Union flag is not symmetrical is because the Saltire would overlay St Patrick's cross - once you Scots leave the Union we can get our new flag tidied up and fully symmetrical. Wonder what we should call it?

PS - it gets weirder. St Patrick apparently should not qualify for a cross in the first place...

 Iamgregp 14 Sep 2021
In reply to petemeads:

It's kind of a strange design isn't it?  It means that the fours diagonals of the St Patricks cross don't actually line up with each other, it's not really a cross at all...

In reply to petemeads:

its also the state flag of Alabama 

In reply to B-team:

That's sort of true although in the Christian Zionist tradition, particularly in US conservative Christian policy circles, their philosemitism seems to have transformed into a pretty straightforward political support of the modern Israeli state, particularly when Likud and it's rightwing allies are in government. The level of Islamophobia, and demonisation of Islamism in particular, in US is on a higher level than here I reckon - Israel as a successful opponent of Iran in particular makes it very popular  in those circles.

In reply to Robert Durran:

> That is the most stupid mnemonic ever. You don't rotate a screwdriver or anything else right or left; you rotate it clockwise or anticlockwise.

Surely that's a bit of an anachronism it this digital age?

In reply to Ridge:

> Surely that's a bit of an anachronism it this digital age?

Why?

Edit: Just realised why it might be. Do you really think people don't know the meaning of "clockwise" any longer? And in which case what has replaced it - a term is certainly needed.

Post edited at 18:31
 petemeads 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Ridge:

Veer to tighten, back to loosen. Uses the travel of the sun through the sky, works for winds...

In reply to petemeads:

> Veer to tighten, back to loosen. Uses the travel of the sun through the sky, works for winds...

How do I know it is not Veer to loosen, back to tighten?

In reply to petemeads:

Veering sideways if I may, a student caught me unawares last year when she, her peers and I  were talking about plotting things in graphs. I had been speaking as though x and y could be understood to mean the horizontal and vertical axes. They were honours degree students after all. But I was mistaken. A discussion ensued at the end of which she told the others:

x is across.

I'd never heard that. Brilliant.

Post edited at 18:38
 petemeads 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

You know now...

In reply to petemeads:

> You know now...

Why?

 Iamgregp 14 Sep 2021
In reply to mbh:

This is so brilliant it took me a while to get it. 

Fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

 deepsoup 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Iamgregp:

On the screwdriver thing, I'm curious - do you also struggle to remember which way to turn traditional (admittedly a bit old fashioned now) taps? 

It's kind of the same thing as using a screwdriver - when you turn off the tap you're tightening a screw (with a right-handed thread) to shut off the water by clamping a rubber washer over the end of the pipe.

In reply to deepsoup:

> On the screwdriver thing, I'm curious - do you also struggle to remember which way to turn traditional (admittedly a bit old fashioned now) taps? 

I'm mostly ok with taps because I use them many times a day (rather than a screwdriver a handful of times a year) as long as I do it on "autopilot" and don't stop to think about it, in which case I might have to blank my mind and "reset" auto mode. 

In reply to Iamgregp:

> This is so brilliant it took me a while to get it. 

It is brilliant - I'm amazed I've never come across it as a maths teacher!

In reply to deepsoup:

> Righty tighty, lefty loosey!

We've been here before... Robert will be along to point out that's not a useful mnemonic, either...

[too late...]

 Iamgregp 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Yeah I’m mostly ok with taps, but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t ever turned one completely on whilst trying to turn it off!  Like Deepsoup said though mostly old fashioned now as all the taps (all 3 of them, ‘tis a small house!) in our house are lifty up mixers now.

With screws, I’m normally ok as muscle memory seems to work, but it’s when something is different, like I’m upside down or using my left hand or something that I make mistakes. Or screw up, even!

Basically I think my muscle memory works fine. It’s my brain that can’t remember things.

 Iamgregp 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Ha! It’s so simple you kick yourself for not thinking of it!  
 

Tell you what, I wish someone had too my maths reacher that 30 odd years ago. Would’ve saved me a lot of bother!

 FactorXXX 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Iamgregp:

> With screws, I’m normally ok as muscle memory seems to work, but it’s when something is different, like I’m upside down or using my left hand or something that I make mistakes. Or screw up, even!

Righty Tighty:
Do a 'Thumps Up' with your right hand.
The thumb is the screwdriver blade and the fingers point in the direction to tighten.
Lefty Loosey:
The opposite of the above.

 OrangeBob 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Slackboot:

An easy way to remember it is, the band Screwdriver love Union Jack's.

In reply to FactorXXX:

> Righty Tighty:

> Do a 'Thumps Up' with your right hand.

> The thumb is the screwdriver blade and the fingers point in the direction to tighten.Lefty Loosey:

> The opposite of the above.

That actually makes sense! It is not how most people think of it though - for some strange reason many people simply associate clockwise with right. When it was discussed on here before, somebody eventually pointed out that you turn a steering wheel clockwise to turn right (I had never seen that before in many discussions on this over the years). My only explanation is that this somehow makes people subconsciously associate clockwise with right.

In reply to FactorXXX:

I'm left-handed...

 FactorXXX 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

>  for some strange reason many people simply associate clockwise with right. 

Most people would use the 12 on a clock face as the origin. 
Looking at the clock, if the hand moves clockwise from that origin as per normal, then it's moved to the right and that's enough to define it as being a rightwards movement and what happens after getting to 3 is classed as immaterial as it's only the original movement that people think about when it comes to things like tightening screws.

 Iamgregp 14 Sep 2021
In reply to OrangeBob:

There we go, there’s our mnemonic…

When Skrewdriver got up tight they went to the right.

 FactorXXX 14 Sep 2021
In reply to captain paranoia:

> I'm left-handed...

Buy a left-handed screwdriver then...

 Graeme G 15 Sep 2021
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Righty Tighty:

> Do a 'Thumps Up' with your right hand.

> The thumb is the screwdriver blade and the fingers point in the direction to tighten.Lefty Loosey:

> The opposite of the above.

That doesn’t work. Right hand ‘thumb up’ leaves your fingers pointing anti-clockwise.

 FactorXXX 15 Sep 2021
In reply to Graeme G:

> That doesn’t work. Right hand ‘thumb up’ leaves your fingers pointing anti-clockwise.

Try visualising what is actually happening and it works.
If your thumb is up, then you're effectively screwing in to something from below and therefore if you view it from above it will appear to be anti-clockwise.
View it from below and it becomes clockwise.

 Doug 15 Sep 2021
In reply to FactorXXX:

this all reminds me of  using your left  hand to visualise magnetic fields caused by a current flowing in a wire. Or was it the right hand ? (long time since I took A level physics).

 petemeads 15 Sep 2021
In reply to FactorXXX:

Better still, buy a ratchet screwdriver and mark Tighten/Loosen on the barrel positions after performing a one-off test. Would work for left- or right-handed folk. You could even get someone else to perform the test if unsure...

In reply to Graeme G:

> That doesn’t work. Right hand ‘thumb up’ leaves your fingers pointing anti-clockwise.

The point is that your thumb points in the direction of the screwdriver. It works!

In reply to Doug:

> this all reminds me of  using your left  hand to visualise magnetic fields caused by a current flowing in a wire. Or was it the right hand ? (long time since I took A level physics).

Yes, that is a monumentally hopeless way of remembering it. I don't think I know a good one. I ended up remembering it as s vector product equation and knowing that I x j = k. Doesn't really work at school level though.

In reply to FactorXXX:

> >  for some strange reason many people simply associate clockwise with right. 

> Most people would use the 12 on a clock face as the origin. 

Maybe. Though mathematicians start at 3 on the clock (the x axis). Maybe just depends how one's brain works. To me clockwise is an entirely rotational thing, the only directional thing being the axis around which the rotation happens.

 deepsoup 15 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> When it was discussed on here before, somebody eventually pointed out that you turn a steering wheel clockwise to turn right (I had never seen that before in many discussions on this over the years). My only explanation is that this somehow makes people subconsciously associate clockwise with right.

It's much more fundamental than that.  It's as fundamental as the convention that we draw a map as a plan view looking down from above (not up from below).

Turn the steering wheel to the right a bit, clockwise, hold it there and the car continuously turns to the right, as you drive around in a circle, clockwise.  Turning to the right rotates the vector of your velocity clockwise on the map.  You drive clockwise around a roundabout by keeping it on your right.  If you drive clockwise around the roundabout at a constant uniform speed, in which direction are you accelerating?  To the right.

This is all because "turning to the right" and "clockwise" are the same thing by definition - it's an arbitrary convention but such a fundamental one that nobody ever gives it a second thought.  If mechanical clocks had been invented to replace sundials in the Southern hemisphere it would be the other way round.

There's another assumption we're all making btw, though nobody has mentioned it yet, while we're talking about tightening a screw by turning it clockwise - that it has a right-handed thread.

Post edited at 10:12
 deepsoup 15 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Though mathematicians start at 3 on the clock (the x axis).

Unless they're navigating.  Then they take their bearings relative to the direction they're facing, same as everybody else.  'Right' and 'left' are defined by their relationship to 'forwards'.  It's when you're moving forwards that you steer your course clockwise around the map by turning right.

> To me clockwise is an entirely rotational thing, the only directional thing being the axis around which the rotation happens.

That axis being the direction of the vector you use to describe the angular velocity of the rotating thing mathematically.  And how do you conventionally relate the polarity of that vector to the direction of the rotating thing's rotation?  The right hand rule.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-hand_rule#A_rotating_body

Rotate a screw with a right handed thread around it's longitudinal axis, it travels in the direction of the vector that describes its angular velocity relative to the nut.  (As defined by the right-hand-rule.)

If that helps you to remember which way to tighten a screw with a screwdriver, it really is time you acknowledged that the way you think is very different to the way most people think.

In reply to deepsoup:

I am an intelligent blob of jelly, living my life propelling myself around in outer space. Do I have any reason to associate right with clockwise?

 john arran 15 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I am an intelligent blob of jelly, living my life propelling myself around in outer space. Do I have any reason to associate right with clockwise?

Not without context, no. But our (Western) society prioritises things at the top, and typically marks progression from left to right. So it does make sense that a clock dial would move rightwards at the top.

Not the most universal of associations though, I'll grant you.

 Hooo 15 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Surely the concepts of "right" and "clockwise" only apply on a plane? Floating in space they are meaningless?

 deepsoup 15 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I am an intelligent blob of jelly, living my life propelling myself around in outer space.

I'm actually not at all surprised to hear that, it explains a great deal about your responses on here.

> Do I have any reason to associate right with clockwise?

Yes.  Apparently you speak English.  This is a language spoken primarily by humans living on Earth, one which originates on the Northern Hemisphere of Earth specifically, and the meanings of the words "right" and "clockwise" are defined accordingly. 

The definition is arbitrary, you're quite correct about that - as an intelligent extra-terrestrial observing humans from out there in space you would have learned what we humans mean by "right" and "clockwise" at around the same time you discovered which of our planet's poles we have arbitrarily decided to call "North". 

If you've never actually seen the Earth and don't know which pole we humans call 'North', it's possible that what you think we mean by "right" is actually "left" and that what we mean by "clockwise" is actually "anticlockwise", you would have had to guess with a 50/50 chance of getting it right.  But you would still associate your concept of "right" with your concept of "clockwise", even though from our human frame of reference what you're actually doing is associating left with anticlockwise.

As a sentient blob of jelly living in space, I can see how the concepts of "up" and "down" would also be rather difficult for you.  It's only relative to the gravitational field of a planet that you can tell the world you're an ignorant numpty by flying your Union Jack upside down.

 deepsoup 15 Sep 2021
In reply to john arran:

> But our (Western) society prioritises things at the top, and typically marks progression from left to right. So it does make sense that a clock dial would move rightwards at the top.

It makes perfect sense, but actually I think it has more to do with the direction the shadow moves around a sundial (in the Northern hemisphere).  If you already had a sundial and were inventing a mechanical clock for the first time, you'd make it so the hands travel the same way round the dial wouldn't you?

Before there was 'clockwise' and 'anticlockwise' there was 'sunwise' and 'widdershins'.

 john arran 15 Sep 2021
In reply to deepsoup:

That's a very good point. Why didn't I think of that‽

In reply to deepsoup:

> It makes perfect sense, but actually I think it has more to do with the direction the shadow moves around a sundial (in the Northern hemisphere).  If you already had a sundial and were inventing a mechanical clock for the first time, you'd make it so the hands travel the same way round the dial wouldn't you?

I was thinking exactly the same thing the other day. If clocks had been invented in the southern hemisphere they would go the other way.

In reply to deepsoup:

>   But you would still associate your concept of "right" with your concept of "clockwise".

I'm beginning to think you might be right. Not totally convinced yet though.

In reply to Hooo:

> Surely the concepts of "right" and "clockwise" only apply on a plane? Floating in space they are meaningless?

I think you have to reference them to a fixed direction (gravity on the surface of the earth - if we used anything else we would disagree with people in Australia about which way was right/left and clockwise/anticlockwise). In space we could (locally) agree on the direction to a particular star. This direction defines a particular set of planes perpendicular to it, but motion need not be confined to any one plane. A corkscrew spiral round our fixed direction could be clockwise - just project the path onto a plane if you wish.

 Iamgregp 15 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Whilst I think you've both raised good points, I tend to agree with Deepsoup on this. 

I think if you gave instructions to a sample of people in the uk, and used the phrase "turn to the right" in them I think although there would be some complaints about the ambiguity of the wording, the vast majority would turn whatever it is clockwise, rather than anti-clockwise.

This is just a hypothesis of course, but certainly one that would be easy to test!

In reply to john arran:

> Not without context, no. But our (Western) society prioritises things at the top, and typically marks progression from left to right. So it does make sense that a clock dial would move rightwards at the top.

I'm not sure it is a western thing. The key thing is that we use the direction of gravity as our reference and that is universally towards the ground for humans.

A related conundrum is why we think of/perceive out reflection in a mirror as being flipped left to right rather than top to bottom. I think this is because we privilege up/down over left/right because gravity makes our our sense of up/down stronger than our concept of left/right. So we preserve up/down in our perception of our reflection. 

As a blob floating in outer space I don't have this privileged direction so I simply see my body parts in my reflection opposite their positions on my body - I see my mirror image but no particular line of symmetry it has been flipped around.

In reply to Iamgregp:

> I think if you gave instructions to a sample of people in the uk, and used the phrase "turn to the right" in them I think although there would be some complaints about the ambiguity of the wording, the vast majority would turn whatever it is clockwise, rather than anti-clockwise.

Yes, but would it even in principle be possible to give such an instruction to a sample of my kindred blobs floating in outer space?

 Iamgregp 15 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Indeed, but then towards the ground is actually in the opposite direction to how we see it https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/91177/how-our-eyes-see-everything-upside-down 

But of course, as the article explains, it doesn't actually matter as our brains are able to process the information whether it comes right way up or not.

 Iamgregp 15 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Well your blobs will be able to see to read, or have hearing and be able to understand language, but then of course they're in the vacuum of space so maybe they'll need some atmosphere to hear....  

Then they'll need appendages, and opposable thumbs would be helpful.... 

So we're talking about unintelligent blobs, that have some kind of semi-movable limbs, superficial motor neurone skills, basic reading or listening ability, and live in an environment that has little more than an atmosphere?   Or in other words, Sunderland. 

 kathrync 15 Sep 2021
In reply to Iamgregp:

> I think if you gave instructions to a sample of people in the uk, and used the phrase "turn to the right" in them I think although there would be some complaints about the ambiguity of the wording, the vast majority would turn whatever it is clockwise, rather than anti-clockwise.

If I turn my body to my right (as opposed to turning a screw or some other arbitrary thing), I am turning myself clockwise. 

With that in mind, righty tighty, lefty loosy makes more sense to me if I imagine that I am the screw...

 deepsoup 15 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I think this is because we privilege up/down over left/right because gravity makes our our sense of up/down stronger than our concept of left/right.

Not so much stronger as defined differently.  Relatively, not absolutely.

In our ordinary experience we define up/down according to gravity, but left/right/forwards/backwards are terms we define relative to the current position of our bodies.

If you do a headstand you still think of 'up' as 'up' - which is now the direction from your head towards your feet.  If you're facing North and you point to the right you're pointing East, but if you turn to face South and point to the right you're now pointing West.

Standing in front of a full-length mirror, your reflection's head is above it's feet the same as yours.  If you're facing North and you wave your East hand at your reflection it waves its East hand back at you.  The thing that has flipped is that you're facing North towards your reflection, whereas your reflection is looking South back at you.  The reflection isn't flipped left/right, it's flipped forward/back -  it's because we define those terms relative to each other that we tend perceive it as being the same thing.

Not all humans use the concept of left/right/forwards/back.  There are languages that have no equivalent terms, and people who navigate their world entirely in absolute terms.  This is interesting:  https://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/magazine/29language-t.html

(Skip the gender stuff and scroll down to the paragraph that begins: "The area where the most striking evidence for the influence of language on thought has come to light is the language of space — how we describe the orientation of the world around us.")

In reply to deepsoup:

> Standing in front of a full-length mirror, your reflection's head is above it's feet the same as yours.  If you're facing North and you wave your East hand at your reflection it waves its East hand back at you.  The thing that has flipped is that you're facing North towards your reflection, whereas your reflection is looking South back at you.  The reflection isn't flipped left/right, it's flipped forward/back -  it's because we define those terms relative to each other that we tend perceive it as being the same thing.

Yes, I know it is not flipped about any line. But my point is that we perceive/think of it as being flipped around a vertical line rather than the horizontal, and I think that is because of our stronger sense of up/down than left/right.

 Graeme G 15 Sep 2021
In reply to FactorXXX:

So it’s actually ’thumbs down’? 

 FactorXXX 15 Sep 2021
In reply to Graeme G:

> So it’s actually ’thumbs down’? 

Up, down or up your bum.
If you follow the Right Hand Screw Rule, then you will tighten and not loosen them. 

In reply to Slackboot:

I was leafletting on a posh estate during the last election. I saw one of the houses had a Union Jack flying from a proper flag pole (not some old bit of bendy wood or an aerial antenna like most of them). I thought: post 'em a leaflet, you can't make assumptions about someone's politics based on a flag. Then I started walking down their drive and noticed the name of the house, carved on a big block of stone, "Agincourt".

They got a leaflet, but only because I knew it would annoy them. 


Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
Loading Notifications...