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Every day is flag day - but not if you're in Haringey

PUBLISHED: 20:19 16 August 2007 | UPDATED: 14:37 07 September 2010

By Katie Davies A TUG of war is taking place in Camden with councillors arguing over whether the union flag should be flown above the town hall permanently. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has now allowed local authorities to fly the flag whenever they like

By Katie Davies

A TUG of war is taking place in Camden with councillors arguing over whether the union flag should be flown above the town hall permanently.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has now allowed local authorities to fly the flag whenever they like in a bid to promote 'Britishness'.

Before that they were only allowed to raise it 18 times a year for occasions such as Remem-brance Day, the birthdays of the Queen and her children, Europe Day and the opening of the Houses of Parliament.

Since Mr Brown's announcement, Westminster and Barnet councils have hoisted their flags every day but Camden has so far decided against it - and Haringey is unsure about which way to nail its colours.

Haringey deputy leader Lorna Reith said; "At the moment we fly the Haringey flag daily and the union flag on special occasions. We need to have a discussion about whether to change the arrangements. There are pros and cons either way."

Camden councillors are now urging the ruling executive to follow in more patriotic neighbouring borough's footsteps.

Tory Swiss Cottage councillor Don Williams said: "I think the union flag is symbolic and can bring people together. I think more needs to be done than just that to promote Britishness, but this is a start. We have brought it back as an emblem that everyone can support rather than what it used to be previously. Sport, particularly football, has helped, as have events like the jubilee to make it something that brings together rather than separates."

Labour councillors are also backing the flag. King's Cross councillor Jonathan Simpson said: "I think historically it may have had a fascist connotation, but what better way to end that than to see it flying from the Town Hall. We could fly other flags to mark cultural events. It could be a way to celebrate diversity and the more people who see the union flag associated with that - the less associated it will be with the far right."

And Barnet Councillor for Hampstead Garden Suburb John Marshall said: "I have just come back from America where flags fly on every public building and even private homes.

"I don't understand why we shouldn't take pride in our history and in our flag. Just as our rugby players sing the national anthem in Twickenham we should be flying the flag."

Haringey council leader George Meehan said: "Haringey is a diverse and cohesive community. People in the borough show respect and tolerance for each other. We will look at the Government's proposals on national identity and values and will follow any guidance issued by the Government on when the flag should be flown.

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