Quarter of Britons look down on those who fly English flags

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
November 26, 2018, 9:14 AM GMT+0

Middle class people and Labour/Lib Dem voters are more likely to disapprove of flag flying.

In 2014 Emily Thornberry was forced to resign from the shadow cabinet after tweeting a photo of a house in Rochester flying England flags, after many interpreted it “derogatory and dismissive”.

Thornberry maintained that the tweet wasn’t meant to be insulting, and in any case her career has since recovered, having been shadow foreign secretary since 2016.

But a YouGov survey reveals that there are plenty of people who really do look down on people who fly the England flag from their home. Close to a quarter of Brits (24%) say they take an unfavourable view of such patriotism.

Such disdain is not reserved solely for St George’s Cross, however. Similar proportions of people express disapproval at those flying the Scottish flag (21%), Welsh flag (19%) or Union Jack (20%).

A hard core of Brits seem to disapprove of flag flying in general. While one in three Brits (32%) are opposed to the flying of at least one flag, more than a third of this group (or 13% of all Brits) disapprove of the flying all four of the flags.

Middle class people and Labour/Lib Dem voters are particularly disapproving of flag flyers

Class is a key distinction, with middle class people (those in the ABC1 social category) being more likely to disapprove of someone flying a flag than working class people (those in the C2DE category). One third of middle class people (37%) disapprove of at least one of the flags listed being flown, compared to 23% of working class people.

The biggest difference comes over the English flag, which 30% of middle class people would judge someone negatively for flying compared to 16% of working class people.

Labour and Lib Dem voters are also much more likely to hold unfavourable views of those flying of England and UK flags than their Conservative counterparts.

Three in ten Labour voters (31%) and four in ten Lib Dem voters (42%) have an unfavourable view of someone flying the England flag. Among Conservative voters this figure is only 16%.

Likewise, 26% of Labour voters and 30% of Lib Dem voters have an unfavourable view of someone flying the Union Jack, compared to just 12% of Conservative voters.

This holds true even when accounting for the fact that Labour and the Lib Dems have a higher number of Scottish and Welsh voters.

St George is cross

Welsh and Scottish people display a level of antipathy to the English flag that is not reciprocated by the English.

Only 44% of Welsh people and 30% of Scottish people hold a favourable view of someone flying the English flag. By contrast, 56-57% of English people have a favourable view of someone flying the Scottish or Welsh flag.

Photo: Getty

See the full results for Britain and England, Wales and Scotland