Flying the Flag

The last few week, nay months, have given motorcyclists, cyclists, horseriders and road-crossing mammals a new game – dodge the flying England flag. These items are affixed (loosely) to a good many of the nation’s cars and are prone to being whipped off in the slipstream at any speed greater than that of an arthritic milkfloat. There may be one, two or more of these objects (I’ve seen five on one vehicle) and observation suggests that the number seen is in directly inverse proportion to the standard of the driving. So before I plunge further into rant mode on the things, I will consider the possibility that they should be made compulsory. Should they? Naah – the immediate problem of ducking the bloody things as they fly off at far outweighs the early-warning signs and, besides, such vehicles usually give off many other of the cues of approaching idiocy. I believe that all of this (and it took some investigation) is associated with some sort of football (that’s soccer to the Atlantically-challenged) competition that’s going on in Portugal as of this moment. While an early departure from this by England might be seen by some as a national tragedy, it can only be good for the heartrates of the rest of us. And, in the current furore over petrol prices, would any of the muppets displaying these be prepared to stomach an extra 5% on their petrol costs (at a rough guess) for the duration? Thought not.

I’ve also just come back from a long weekend in France, a country with a football team that shows every sign of actually being able to play the game and one whose supporters aren’t exactly noted for lack of expressiveness at times of excitement. But were there any crass showings of plastic tricolours adorning every citroen, renault or baguette? Not a one. Quelle pays civilisée…
Stop Press: England make early departure from Euro 2004. Anyone want to buy a job lot of stick-on England flags, cheap? Only slightly scraped and bloodied from contact with passing road users…

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