PATRIOTISM can invigorate a nation or shame a state. The nation rejoiced in the success of our athletes as the Olympics came to our shores, with Union flags decorating towns and cities across the country.
On the other hand, the St George’s cross has often been claimed by far-right jingoistic groups for whom being English is to denounce multiculturalism.
With standards proving so emotive, it is no surprise that Christopher Bishop’s flagpole has caused a stir at his housing association home.
But, among the prejudices and emotions, common sense has to prevail.
Here is a veteran who was willing to dedicate his time and, if called upon, his life for Queen and country.
He signed up to the Royal Green Jackets and was willing to fight for the Union flag that he now proudly flies in his garden.
With the Fallen at the forefront of many people’s minds with the centenary of the First World War and the 60th anniversary of D-Day this year, we must remember the sacrifice servicemen made or were willing to make.
In that context, the housing association should see sense and allow Mr Bishop his flag.
But he also must realise, and his patriotic stance over the Union jack suggests he does, that all flags are much more than cloth and dye. They can make a grown-man cry or strike fear into someone.
There has to be some vetting process of what he decides to fly to ensure the outrage he feels at being denied his flag is not matched by those offended by some of the standards he chooses to bear.
As a veteran, he should realise that a peaceful resolution is the best way forward.