Ian N Ford (ianford@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Fri, 5 Sep 1997 11:25:27 +0100
I hope non-UK readers will bear with me on this, but I think there is a
lesson on citizenship that applies to us all, irrespective of nationality.
There has been a lot of criticism of the Queen and other members of her
family in the tabloid press, and some of this has appeared on the net.
The silliest criticism was that there is no flag flying at half mast over
Buckingham Palace. The fact is that the tradition has always been that
when the monarch is in residence the Royal Standard is flown - at other
times the flagpole is left bare. The Union Flag has <never> been flown
over the palace when flags are required to be flown on Government
buildings - e.g. for the Queen's birthday, opening of Parliament, etc.
The decision to fly the Union Flag over the Palace on Saturday is unique,
and is in response to popular feeling. But the original thinking, that
failing to fly the Union Flag over the Palace was disrespectful to the
Princess of Wales is simply WRONG. Even when the reigning monarch dies
the Royal Standard still flies at full staff. When the sad day comes when
Queen Elizabeth dies her heir, Prince Charles will be announced with the
words " The Queen is dead ; Long live the King " The constitutional
theory of the Crown in Parliament as the source of power depends upon
continued and unbroken succession. The Royal Standard is the emblem of
the endurance of the monarchy beyond the mortal individual who wears the
Those of us who are Leaders of Scout groups in UK or the Commonwealth
need to set a positive example of living up to the Promise which we have
made to do our duty to God and to the Queen. That means that it is
encumbent upon us at this time to ensure that we do not add to the
distress of the family of the late Princess Diana of Wales by condoning
Scouters of other nationalities may well be able to draw analogies to
events in their own countries. It is surely encumbent upon us all to
help our young people to understand their constitution and culture. No
society is perfect, and it may be that there will continue to be
evolution in the workings of the unwritten British Constitution to take
into account a changing " style " of royalty along the lines of the late
Princess of Wales. But that needs to be a considered change, not a
reaction to the ill-informed and sensational ramblings of the " popular "
Ian N Ford
Views are purely my own, which is why I am not adding my
Scouting appointment to the signature block on this occasion.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City