A word of advice from Wales


Originally published as a Letter to the Editor in The Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday, May 6, 1998.

I am merely passing through Sydney on a tour of Australia. I am a barrister-at-law and former Deputy Circuit Judge from Wales: no, not New South Wales, but Old North Wales.

I read the article (Herald April 29) by "my learned friend" David McBride – on the Australian flag – with interest and agree entirely with what he said. You may care to hear of some of our own experiences back in Wales.

The Union Jack is an amalgam of the crosses of St George of England, St Andrew of Scotland and St Patrick of Ireland. St David of Wales is not represented at all: consequently it is not our flag, though the English – "Poms", I believe you call them – maintain it is.

However, we have our own Red Dragon flag – a rampant fiery dragon breathing flames against a white upper background (the sky) and a green lower background (our land). It is reputed to be one of the oldest flags in Christendom, and predates the English people and the English language by many centuries. It is still in daily use, and is gradually ousting the Union Jack – particularly since last September, when Wales and Scotland voted to establish their own legislatures.

Our case is helped by the fact that English football hooligans use the Union Jack as their symbol all over Europe, thus confirming its status as an "English" flag. Likewise, our national anthem, Land of My Fathers, is supplanting God Save the Queen.

Lastly, may I point out that the last Prince of Wales died (allegedly murdered by English soldiers) in 1282. Since then Wales has only a "titular" prince, appointed not on merit or by acclamation, but by his own mother.

I live in the area around Caernarfon, where he was "invested" in 1969. The two years prior to his mini-coronation were sheer hell – we likened it to "investiture at gunpoint". So ditch the Union Jack by all means, but make sure that the ditch is really deep.