With Europe Day next Monday, Twitter is alive (well, at least as far as Laura Kuenssberg is concerned) with discussion on who will fly the EU flag - or not. We have the BBC, (of whom Laura K is an employee) with their usual impartiality, stating that:
"Downing Street will not fly the EU flag over Number 10 during Europe Day on Monday unlike previous years, the BBC has learned. Some other departments, including the Treasury and Foreign Office, will also not hoist the European symbol.But the Liberal Democrat Vince Cable's Department for Business will raise the blue and gold flag."
Naturally, being the BBC, there is no mention of what the actual regulations are, thus helping to publicize yet another non-story. Of course the fact that the BBC is a receiver of EU grants has nothing to do with their inability to practise investigative journalism?
The EU directive regulating who should fly the EU flag on Europe Day is Commission Regulation (EC) No 1828/2006, Article 7, which states:
"The managing authority shall be responsible for organising at least the following information and publicity measures: …“(c) flying the flag of the European Union for one week starting 9 May, in front of the premises of each managing authority"
The European Commission says that just two Whitehall departments are managing authorities for these funds, Eric Pickles' Communities Department, and the Department for Work and Pensions. anyone else flying the EU flag on Europe day next Monday will be doing it by choice - so that shows where Cable's true allegiances lie!
This entire affair about flying the EU flags is a perfect example of politicians accepting a non-story and then using the paucity of truth contained in such a story to present a picture of standing up to EU diktats, thus demonstrating their "Euroscepticism".
One is reminded of: "where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise" (from Thomas Gray's poem "Ode on a distant prospect of Eton College" - 1742). This demonstrates how the political class rely on the ignorance of the public where matters EU are concerned. Were the political class wise to be honest, it cannot be illogical to presume the anti-EU mood within this nation would increase to such an extent that the failure of our politicians to agree to a referendum on EU membership would mean their life expectancy would be extremely short.