Welcome back, Union Jack!

One of the biggest things 2012’s orgy of celebration and sport has done for us is snatch the good old Union Jack brand, the very essence of britishness, from the sweaty paws of the far Right. 

If I’d flown a Union Jack outside our place last summer, I’d have looked like a member of the BNP. This year, thanks to the Olympics, Paralympics, Jubilee and royal wedding,  it belongs to the people again and we’re free to use our national flag as we wish without feeling weird about it.

Not that I’m hugely nationalistic or patriotic. But in a marketing and brand context, the flag is brilliant shorthand for a hard-to-pin-down concept that otherwise takes an awful lot of carefully-crafted words to express: Britishness.

So it does the spirit good to see people with flag-covered fingernails, shirts, shorts, pens, phone covers, t shirts, laptop decor, posters, watches and notebooks. Welcome back, Union Jack!