Yesterday some journalists belatedly woke up to the fact that they had dicked around with the flag change process and suddenly realised that they didn’t like the final four flag choices.
Quite a bit of media and social media had not taken the flag change process seriously, or they thought that if they criticised and ridiculed enough it woukd all go away.
But many people did take it seriously and submitted proposals. The flag consideration panel took their responsibilities seriously and consulted and listened to feedback and polled and came up with a short list of four.
The knockers suddenly realised that the flag choice was happening without them.
Yesterday Toby Manhire wrote Let’s run up the red flag.
Until very recently, my response to the flag ballyhoo swithered between indifference and annoyance. Mostly annoyance. It might have something to do with the fact I fractured my fibula and no one offered to fly me to Fiji to smear leaves on it. But mainly it’s because the debate has been so annoying.
The current flag is definitely annoying. It is annoying that it is almost indistinguishable from Australia’s. It’s annoying and outdated that a Union Jack sits there, haughtily, taking up a whole quarter. Why not stick another flag in the corner of the British flag and then another in the corner of that, and so on and so on? That would be annoying but at least interesting.
But the case for change has been annoying, too. It’s been annoying to feel infantilised, herded into a nationwide social studies project. Actual grown-ups holding aloft “I stand for …” sheets of paper and smiling mawkishly, annoyingly.
The Prime Minister’s call for more “overt signs of patriotism” has been annoying.
Toby was annoyed so he didn’t taske part in the process. Until now.
In a heartfelt and constructive blog post, Wellington startup guy Rowan Simpson makes a cogent argument for the missing Red Peak (bit.ly/redpeak). He notes that it looks like a flag, not a logo, and illustrates the point by placing it, and the officially shortlisted options, alongside some other great flags. It is simple enough to be drawn by a child – one of the criteria emphasised by the panel – yet there is genuine substance; the historic, cultural, mythological and even topographic references are there if you want them.
And it just looks right. In one photograph at aotearoaflag.tumblr.com, Dustin shows it floating in the breeze at sunset. Spectacular.
Red Peak has won me over. I love it. And I’m not alone – a Red Peak groundswell is building. Team Red Peak. Unfurl the fifth flag.
Red Peak should be added to the shortlist.
No it shouldn’t be added to the shortlist. I would have been happy if a flag like Red Peak was in the short list bit it wasn’t chosen.
If Red Peak was able to be added because a few journalists try to use the power of their keyboards and claim a groundswell of support there would be likely be a clamour of claims for groundswells for different flags.
But it would be ridiculous for the flag change process to be re-written because a few flag dissers suddenly realised that their dissing and dismissing had been ignored and the process had continued without them.
And it’s not as if Red Peak is a compelling choice. It would not be readily recognisable as a flag of New Zealand within New Zealand let alone around the world. It could mean anything and could represent anyone.
Those like Manhire who have suddenly realised that they had sidelined themselves in the flag change process will just have to accept that they have left their input too late.
They can join in the process and choose one of these designs:
Or they can keep sulking on the sidelines, waving alternate flags in futility.