Barometer

Should 'Union Jack' just be used at sea?

Flagging interest; green fees; what you own of the nation

19 October 2013

9:00 AM

19 October 2013

9:00 AM

Union dispute

Pedants suffered a blow as the chief vexillologist of the Flag Institute declared that the Union Jack and Union Flag are interchangeable terms, the latter being just as correct on land as it is at sea. Here are both sides of the argument:

evidence for ‘union jack’
being correct only at sea

— A ‘jack’ is an old term for the bow flag of a vessel, and was in use before the Union Jack came into being.

— A proclamation by King Charles I in 1634 referred only to the ‘Union Flag’.

— The royal proclamation on 1801 which added the cross of St Patrick also used only the term ‘Union Flag’.

evidence for ‘union jack’
being correct on land and at sea


— An Admiralty circular of 1902 ruled that Union Flag and Union Jack were interchangeable terms, at sea or on land.

— The ‘Jack’ in Union Jack might not refer to a bow-mast flag at all but be derived from a popular name for James I.

Bits on the side

Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said the government would not reduce green taxes and levies on energy bills because ‘most of them are actually social policies to help the fuel poor manage their bills’. Is this true?

Average cost of green taxes and levies on energy bills this year: £112

Of which the main components are:

Energy Company Obligation (subsidises energy improvements to the homes of the less well-off): £27

Renewables Obligation (subsidises wind farms and other large renewable energy plants): £21

Feed-in Tariffs (subsidise solar panels and other small renewable energy sources on domestic properties): £21

EU Emissions Trading Scheme (obligation for owners of coal- and gas-fired power stations to buy permits to pollute, which are then traded in the City of London): £13
Source: Ofgem

Who shares?

690,000 private investors bought Royal Mail shares. Have privatisations since the early 1980s turned us into a nation of shareholders ?

Percentage of quoted stocks (by value) owned by UK individuals
1963 54%
1975 38%
1981 28%
1991 20%
2001 15%
2012 11%

Source: ONS

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