6 Reasons Why National Flags Are So Important To Us

Flags, Flags, Flags. Yeah, we all have them, but why are national flags so important to us? Scenes of Reason went and decoded it. Here are 6 things we found out.

1) National Flags make you look important

National Flag of America with Presidents Obama, Bush and Reagan

Americans love their national flags

Flags make you look patriotic. The bigger they are, the more important you and your country look. That’s the intended effect, anyway.

Flags were used as a method of claiming land for your country. When America became the first country to land on the Moon, they planted an American flag as a symbol of American power.

In tough times and in wartime, national flags are often used as a beacon of hope, and a symbol of what the country stands for. I’m getting emotional just thinking about it.

2) They are a good way of keeping track of where people are



Spot the flag.

Historically, flags were used in battle to keep track of where different armies were on the battlefield. Generals would use flags to work out where their regiments were.

However, they also showed the enemy where you were. Making you prime target number one. Not a good plan.


In the Napoleonic Wars between Britain and France the British regiments carried flags called colours. It was considered shameful to lose your flag in battle. Enemy flags which were captured would be paraded up and down.

3) National Flags can tell us about our history


National Flag of Great Britain, Union Jack and the evolution of the Union Jack

Nothing for Wales?

The Union Jack (flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain) shows how the country has changed over the years.

First we had the Flag of England, and the Saltire, the Flag of Scotland. The first Union Flag was created to mark the bond between the two countries.

Then in 1801, two red stripes were added to mark Ireland becoming part of the union. This is the version we have today.

The Union Jack has no reference to Wales, as it was already part of England when the English Flag was created. Rhy ddrwg (Too bad).

4) Flags aren’t just for individual countries, they are for the world


International Flag of Earth

International Flag of Earth: Now all we need to do is find a planet to conquer

We have flags for the European Union, the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

An artist has even created an International Flag of Earth. And it’s pretty cool. Even if it does look a little like a nuclear warning.

Somalia used the United Nations blue colour as part of their new flag design, to show appreciation for the UN support in creating their independent state. Ain’t that nice.

5) The number of National Flags you have can send out a message (apparently)

National Flag of Australia Tony Abbot Imported by ShutterSnitch;ShutterSnitch;MPB28521.JPG;

National Flag Overkill?

There’s a mysterious relationship between Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the number of Australian National Flag surrounding him.
When making official announcements he started off with two or even no flags. Then it grew to four; then to six. By the time he was making speeches with eight flags the world had noticed. Some bright spark even created this helpful graph to map his flag use.


People started making the link between the number of flags and the importance of the announcement. Or was it that the number of flags was a distraction from the announcement itself? Sending troops to Iraq?  Eight Flags. New changes to citizenship rules? An amazing ten flags!!


God help us if we get to a Twelve Flag Announcement.

6) Flags are all around you

Yeah, so they may not actually be on a pole, but it could be argued that the branded items you carry around are flags of some kind. Lots of products use the Union Jack as a design, and it’s the same in other countries. Products like an Apple laptop, a super-dry hoodie; all of these have logos on them. A lot like the national flags, the logos show that you belong to a certain group.

What happens when someone uses a flag to hijack your national identity?

After the Charleston shooting, where a white man called Dylann Roof shot and killed nine black people, many have been calling for the Confederate flag to be removed from the State House in South Carolina.

National Flag; the confederate flag linked to Dylann Roof and racism, but is this true? Or is the flag just a way of remembering the past

A source of evil?

The Confederate Flag was the flag used by southern general Robert E. Lee, in the American Civil War. After the war ended it was kept on as a memorial to those who died in the war. The American Civil War was caused when 11 southern states decided to leave the United States, over differences with the government led by Abraham Lincoln. One of those issues was the slavery of black people shipped to America from Africa.

The American Civil War wasn’t just about slavery, and for many the flag is seen as nothing more than a link to their past and to those who died in the war.

However, white supremacy groups like the Klu Klux Klan have hijacked the identity of the Confederate flag over the years; linking it to their causes.

The Charleston shooter Dylann Roof was photographed holding it, and now people are demanding it be removed.

Once you have a national flag, it’s hard to change

New Zealand is discussing whether or not to get rid of the Union Jack, which is part of the design for their national flag. This dates back to when the United Kingdom ruled New Zealand. They are planning a referendum to decide whether or not to change the design. Good to see the important decisions are being made.

Things we flagged up; even if you don’t know the history of a National Flag it doesn’t matter all that much. New events constantly change the meaning of the flag.

Are people demanding the removal of the Confederate flag right to do so, or stupid? Is there really a link between the flag and the murders committed by Dylann Roof?

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When is a Hate Crime not a Hate Crime? When it’s a Terrorist Act…

OK, what’s a Hate Crime?

The organisation Stop Hate UK defines a “Hate Crime” as a crime “motivated by hostility or prejudice towards any aspect of a person’s identity”

These aspects can include; Race, Disability, Faith, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation. Why can’t people just learn to get along?

So, can a racist attack be a Hate Crime?

The difference between Racism and a Hate Crime. A black woman holds up a sign saying "Racism"

Doesn’t matter if it’s Racism or a Hate Crime. Just don’t.

For an act to be classed as a Hate Crime it has to break criminal law.

So if a physical attack is made because of a person’s skin colour, yes, it is a hate crime because the law has been broken.

However if a racist comment is made, it may be categorized as a Hate Incident.

If the police decide no law has been broken then it’s defined as an incident not a crime, but still motivated by hate.

Even though no laws are broken, you’ll still get in trouble. If reported to police they would still record this as a Non Crime Incident. Sorry, there’s no escape for being a racist.

What’s the difference between a Hate Crime and a Terrorist Attack?

The difference between a Hate Crime and Terrorism

Quite a big difference, actually.

Terrorism; the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.

Terrorism causes harm to life, buildings and infrastructure, resulting in fear within communities. If acts of terror specifically target a certain group within recognised hate crime strands (Disability, Faith, Gender Identity, Race or Sexual Orientation) then you could define these as Hate Crimes.

In an interview with KCUR.org Professor Steve Dilks from the University of Missouri-Kansas City states; that Terrorist attacks are often planned attacks to draw attention to a political cause, rather than a spontaneous attack for personal reasons. Terrorist attacks are often part of a larger plan.

Even when Hate Crimes are committed by a group, the aim is usually to send a message to people of a certain race, sexuality or gender, not make a specific political point.

For example;

In 1999 bombings in Soho, London; targeted the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender community (LGBT). Because the attacks targeted the LGBT community and ethnic minorities specifically this could be classed as a Hate Crime.

However the bomb set off by the rebel group the IRA (Irish Republican Army) in Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre in 1996, was an Act of Terrorism. This is because it wasn’t aimed at a specific group of people; it was designed to scare and injure as many people as possible, and to make a political statement.

The Small Print: the definition of a Hate Crime is based on perception. Any incident or crime could be reported as being hate motivated by the victim or any other person. Some might argue the IRA attack could be interpreted as a Hate Crime against all British people.

So, can a terrorist attack be a hate crime? Potentially, though usually the motivations behind the attack make it one or the other. Basically, neither is very nice.

Why are we talking about this?

Hate Crime

Does the media report some Hate Crimes differently?

Yesterday in South Carolina, America; a white man opened fire on an African-American church, leaving nine people dead. The church’s pastor Senator Clementa Pinckney is among the dead.

At the moment very few details are known. The police have arrested a suspect, Dylann Roof and are investigating the incident as a Hate Crime.

On social media some people are already commenting on how the media is reporting this incident. Many people think that because the shooter was white, the media will report differently than they would if he was of another ethnic group.

What are people saying?

South Carolina, Hate Crime, Reaction on Twitter


What we learned; Haters gonna hate, we hate all crime, but it has to break the law to be classed as a Hate Crime.

Does the media report Hate Crimes differently if a white person is involved? Is doing that actually a Hate Crime itself?

Don’t be hatin’

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