It now appears that the British are as ignorant of their own history as we Yanks ("St. George Usurps Union Jack as Flag of Choice in a More English Britain," Aug. 4). The original Union Jack, which consisted of the Cross of St. George for England superimposed on the Cross of St. Andrew for Scotland, was introduced after the accession of King James VI of Scotland to the throne of England as King James I in 1606. It symbolized that the two realms were equal--a multicultural statement if ever there was one. The Cross of St. Patrick, which represents Ireland and is not even mentioned in your article, was added in 1801 as a sign that Ireland was also equal to the others, especially after the abortive United Irish independence movement had called attention to English abuses there.
There is nothing wrong with displaying English pride by showing the colors of St. George, but the flag shouldn't be thought of as a multicultural emblem in opposition to the Union Jack any more than the flag of California should be considered a multicultural symbol in opposition to the flag of the United States of America.
It was mildly amusing to read that the famous Union Jack flag of the United Kingdom, once seen as a symbol of racist oppression, has been usurped by the Cross of St. George. Evidently, the Cross of St. George is now perceived as a show of support for multiculturalism and also interpreted by some as a magical antidote to English (white) racism.
Oh that the pundits of radical racial division in this country would accept the Cross of St. Andrew (the "Southern Cross") as a symbol of multicultural unity instead of ethnic/cultural animosity. Think of all the problems it would solve.
Joseph A. Lea