June 17, 2014

In these globalized times, would you not want your flag to be a flag of convenience, flagged by many?

Sir, what extraordinary interesting questions and suggestion of answers those of Janan Ganesh in “Fly the flag for the liberal values that define Britain” June 17.

I have often proposed that in these days of social media with circles of friends and known and unknown acquaintances, we should always be able have a fast reference to where on earth we all find ourselves, what flags we feel we live under, and perhaps what flags we would like to live under… because, just as ships can carry a convenience flag, why should not a Venezuelan-Polish citizen, in Sweden educated and in Washington living individual like me not be able to carry a British flag if that was the flag I best liked.

And in this respect I do not think that asking what is the flag Britain should flag to rouse the nationalistic sentiments of the locals, is half as good as asking what flag should Britain flag to rouse the globals to want to align behind “the liberal values that define Britain”. In these days we must never forget that you do not need an Armada to conquer, nor do others need an Armada to conquer you.

Or, as Violet Crawley might have admonished, “Do not be so parochial. It is so middle class”.

And with respect to flagging and signalization let us never forget that the order is vital. For instance if you flag the ex-ante maximization of opportunities flag long before the ex-post redistribution of wealth flag, I am certain you will get much better results than flagging in the order that Thomas Piketty sort of seems to imply.