Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: The flag referendum: complicating your decision

108 Responses

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  • steven crawford, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    The “designer approved” thing bugs me. Basically, a flag is Art. There is a small aspect of the choice which is objective: can it be identified from a distance? how many pixels are needed to make it distinguishable? but beyond that, it’s all subjective.

    The question “is this flag any good” falls into the same domain as “is cubism/dubstep/conceptual art” any good – it’s a matter of personal opinion and fashion.

    It's more on the design end of the spectrum than art. Would you say that typography is art ?

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4310 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I'd say typography is maybe 25% "science" (around measurable stuff like usability) and the rest "art".

    Essentially, the "typography community" is a "guild" that has developed a set of rules or schema as to what is regarded as "correct". This schema is akin to the laws of rugby, chess or Mornington Crescent - they are internally consistent and testable, but there is no real empirical foundation for them.

    Of course, because the population are conditioned to accept these rules, we will tend to subconsciously favour compliant styles (and you only have to walk into a dollar store to see how non-compliance is subconsciously tagged as cheap and nasty - while presumably the packaging designers, coming from a different culture, consider their work attractive and professional).

    See also the fetishisation of Greek and Roman culture by the British education upper classes, including attempts to apply Latin grammar to the English language.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    By not just giving the job to a team of professionals and presenting the result as a fait accompli, the business necessarily becomes amatuer and political. The referendum should have asked if there was a desire for flag change and the threshold should have been really high 75% or more for change. Then passed on to experts, what the flag looks like is actually irrelevant, it is what it symbolises that matters. The flag is supposed to represent all New Zealanders. Not just a majority of New Zealanders.

    The biggest risk with the ‘new’ flag is that if voted in, a very large minority will feel left out. Bad flag. Being asked to swear allegiance to a symbol you don’t want is a fundamental of fascism.

    Since Mar 2010 • 378 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Being asked to swear allegiance is a fundamental of fascism.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Johnny Canuck, in reply to william blake,

    Being asked to swear allegiance to a symbol you don’t want is a fundamental of fascism.

    New Zealanders aren't asked (and don't have the opportunity) to swear allegiance to the flag.

    Many (new citizens, MPs, police officers, military personnel, judges ... and in theory teachers) are required to swear allegiance to a protestant monarch and his/her heirs and successors (presumably for eternity - even if they turn out to be frightful fascists).

    Vancouver BC • Since Feb 2013 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    Next Wednesday TV2 screens the episode of Big Bang Theory where Sheldon Cooper tells us to vote for a new flag.

    Since far more people will see this than an election day tweet, we can look forward to Jim Parsons getting a visit from the NZ police.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1321 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    akin to the laws of [...] Mornington Crescent – [...] internally consistent and testable,

    You've clearly never played Mornington Crescent.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1886 posts Report Reply

  • william blake, in reply to Johnny Canuck,

    New Zealanders aren’t asked (and don’t have the opportunity) to swear allegiance to the flag.

    Isn't that what the referendum is demanding, or meh not so much for you?

    Since Mar 2010 • 378 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to william blake,

    Nah. We really don't do that. Swear at the flag, maybe.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1886 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew, in reply to william blake,

    I'm pretty sure the wording of the referendum isn't "Which flag do you choose to bow down and abase yourself before". Even the FB lunatic fringe haven't raised that one yet.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to linger,

    You obviously don't understand the rules

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Hey, if you’ve understood the rules, you haven’t played it properly :-P

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1886 posts Report Reply

  • william blake, in reply to Jeremy Andrew,

    It's also not a colouring in competition.

    Since Mar 2010 • 378 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    West Finchley

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Many (new citizens, MPs, police officers, military personnel, judges … and in theory teachers) are required to swear allegiance to a protestant monarch and his/her heirs and successors (presumably for eternity – even if they turn out to be frightful fascists)

    Good point and a reminder that changing the flag design is as meaningful as re-wallpapering the house. The red ensign is not up for change. Our naval forces will still fly the Union Jack. Everything the old flag stands for remains regardless of if we adopt the dicky new domestic flag or not.

    We are being played as suckers. We are being offered a Clayton’s democratic choice.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4310 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I'd imagine there would be new naval and merchant ensigns after the fashion of Canada's. I don't think it wouldn't need legislation (at least for the Naval ensign), just a general order.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Not online yet so far as I can see, but John Roughan seems to have changed his mind. He really is agonising over this.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Not online yet so far as I can see...

    Here 'tis

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1385 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    You know, if I were Andrew Little, the week after Key's flag humiliation I would announce a policy of a move to a Republic with a new flag, the required legislation to be triggered by the death of the Queen.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2211 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    but John Roughan seems to have changed his mind. He really is agonising over this.

    He is still all over the place...

    The thing about good design is it's like a good waiter (and cooks) - you should never really be aware of them, as they just unobtrusively do what needs to be done.

    Same as typography is a craft that enables comprehension otherwise it's just making pretty patterns, not communicating.

    IMHO
    It's about the content not the process.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    a policy of a move to a Republic with a new flag

    But only after a long, thorough, and properly consultative process in which all the issues, especially the place of the Treaty in the new republic, are properly thrashed out and the best possible new constitution drawn up, then it all put back to the public in a properly organised referendum, perhaps requiring some sort of super majority to pass.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    But only after a long, thorough, and properly consultative process in which all the issues, especially the place of the Treaty in the new republic, are properly thrashed out and the best possible new constitution drawn up, then it all put back to the public in a properly organised referendum, perhaps requiring some sort of super majority to pass.

    What you really mean as you don't ever want there to be a republic. The process you suggest is not realistic in a messy pluralistic society. Has any new republic come about the way you suggest?

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to william blake,

    giving the job to a team of professionals and presenting the result as a fait accompli,

    You're aware we're living in a post-Somme/ post-Gallipoli political environment? It has been quite a number of decades since people have been happy to leave decisions to the experts, especially questions of national identity. Decisions which are left entirely to the experts (e.g., Official Cash Rate, which drugs to buy) are quite rare.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Couldn't agree more. I didn't vote in the first flag thingy and won't be voting in this one. I do plan however to join the orgiastic book burning that follows the announcement. Nationalismo o muerte!

    Since Mar 2009 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    It has been quite a number of decades since people have been happy to leave decisions to the experts, especially questions of national identity. Decisions which are left entirely to the experts (e.g., Official Cash Rate, which drugs to buy) are quite rare.

    Something about your comment suggests that you haven't spent a lot of time in post-quake Canterbury. BTW no-one appears to have tapped the hapless Roger Sutton to add his bit to the pro-change BS-fest. Bet it's been thought of, though.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

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