BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Politics  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Sunday, 22 April, 2001, 23:31 GMT 00:31 UK
Tories flag up national identity
Union jack
Drivers would be allowed to display the union jack
The Tories have mounted a campaign to boost the use of national symbols, accusing Labour of "erasing all traces of Britishness".

Under a Conservative government, motorists would be able to hold driving licences decorated with the national flag and royal crest.


Labour have deliberately created a licence that is devoid of all symbols of our national identity

Archie Norman
Drivers would choose their favoured emblem from the Union flag, Welsh dragon, cross of St George or Scottish saltire.

The same symbols could also be displayed on car number plates.

The new look, credit card-style driving licences are currently flag-less.

But the Tories claim national designs are permitted under EU legislation.

Archie Norman, shadow spokesman for the environment, transport and the regions said: "Photocard drivers' licences are replacing the old paper licence.

'Erasing Britishness'

"Yet Labour have deliberately created a licence that is devoid of all symbols of our national identity, leaving just the stars of the EU flag.

"This is clearly part of the New Labour project, erasing all traces of Britishness and forcing us into a Europe of the regions by stealth."

Repeating his party's objective to be "in Europe but not run by Europe", Mr Norman described Britain as "a united but diverse country".

Broadening their attack, the Conservatives targeted Labour and Liberal Democrat support for regional government.

Archie Norman
Mr Norman described Britain as "a united but diverse country"
Mr Norman accused the parties of planning to replace local councils with "unwanted regional talking shops packed with their partisan cronies".

"Historic counties like Kent, Lancashire and Cornwall could go the way of Westmorland and Cumberland and fade from the public consciousness," he added.

The Tories' initiative will be seen as an attempt to wrestle control of the agenda on national identity, following the refusal by several party members to sign up to the Commission for Racial Equality's controversial anti-racism pact.

'Outflanked'

The Labour leadership is known to have felt vulnerable over its image as a patriotic party in the past.

A leaked memo sent to the prime minister by policy chief Philip Gould last year said: "We are outflanked on patriotism. We have appeared lacking in gut patriotic instincts."

But the government says it is no longer on the back foot, with the prime minister championing "enlightened patriotism" as a way of standing up for the UK's interests on the international stage.

Michael Wills, the minister responsible for patriotism, said: "We're taking a lead on projecting a very positive view of our British identity".


Latest stories

Background

TALKING POINT
See also:

25 Nov 00 | UK Politics
14 Nov 00 | UK Politics
28 Mar 00 | UK Politics
19 Jul 00 | UK Politics
28 Mar 00 | UK Politics
07 Jul 98 | UK Politics
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


E-mail this story to a friend



© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes