Thursday, 11 December 2008

It's a turkey !

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last post 11 DECEMBER '08

Our county flag.

How things happen, ..... if you are not careful !

A chap named Mike Prior runs a printing company and prints and sells flags.

There is an flag, established by custom, for Wiltshire.

The observant will note that the elements of the county arms (granted 1937) are incorporated in the flag, the green and white bars, representing the grass and chalk which defines the geography of the county, and the wyvern which is the symbol of Wessex of which Wiltshire is a large part.

However this chap has developed a great marketing ploy.

Invent your own flag, and con the gullible into giving it official status

Mike Prior, 61, of Ashton Street, wrote to seven of whom he considered the most prominent people in Wiltshire about his design for a county flag, featuring the previously extinct Great Bustard. Mr Prior, managing director of Bath Midway Litho Ltd in Duke Street, received confirmation on Monday that planning permission for him to fly the flag in his garden had been granted. Like many other counties of England, Wiltshire did not have its own flag, until 05/06/07, when the new flag was accepted and raised at County Hall in Trowbridge.

Among the 'prominent people in Wiltshire' quoted on his website are Robert Key, MP for Salisbury and Andrew Murrison MP Shadow Defence Minister. I have contacted these two prominent people and have been assured that their comments are entirely personal. I have contacted a councillor regarding the following ( with my added bold notes) that seems to give official recognition to the flag selling scam. ( I await a reply.)

County flag flies at County Hall

A Wiltshire county flag will be flying high at County Hall next week (June 5) at a special ceremony with Wiltshire County Council's leader and chairman.

Leader Jane Scott and chairman Judy Seager will attend the event at 9am on Tuesday, June 5, along with Mike Prior who came up with the design of the flag.

Flag enthusiast ( and person hoping to make money by selling flags ) Mike Prior of Trowbridge said: "I have always loved flag flying and I thought it would be good to fly something other than the Union Flag or national flags.(he probably loves making money even more)

"I have done my research and found there wasn't a flag for the county so I thought why not design one?" ( didn't even bother with this search in his extensive research or this )

Mr Prior's daughter, Helen Pocock, a graphic designer, came up with a design for the flag using the Great Bustard as the centrepiece. The bird was previously extinct in England, but is now part of a 10-year breeding programme on Salisbury Plain.

The white colouring in the flag is to represent peace, while the green can mean joy, hope or safety. A circle of six rocks is also featured in the centre of the flag, representing both the stone circles of Avebury and Stonehenge and the six counties on to which Wiltshire borders. ( oh for goodness sake stop)

Jane Scott said: "We are pleased that we are able support this project. People in Wiltshire are rightly proud of their beautiful county and this flag will help to reinforce a sense of community identity." ( people in Wiltshire would be pleased to be consulted, Wiltshire people are proud enough of their county and heritage not to have this flag foisted upon them )

Only a handful of counties in England have a flag of their own and Mr Prior hopes the Wiltshire flag could eventually become well used. ( same level of research as previously exhibited )

The flag will be flown at the front of County Hall, Trowbridge, at all times, except on official flag-flying days when the Union Flag will be flown and on days of county council meetings when the council's own flag will fly.

The flag looks like a flag from a banana republic or the 'house flag' of Bernard Matthews

To try to fob it off as a official flag for our historic county is an insult. The intended association with the Bustard, extinct in the county since the 1830s when my most of my great great grandfathers were working on the land on which it roamed, is silly. The bustard is not in the minds of even Wiltshire people and to most the representation of it on the flag would bring to mind turkey twizzlers.
There are icons of Wiltshire that would be recognised worldwide; the White Horses on the rolling downland, the beautiful Salisbury Cathedral, the icon of all icons Stonehenge and the Moonrakers, ..... I said, the flag is a turkey. Time to get it removed from any official or semi-official status; it is an abomination and an affront to any true Moonraker.

A correspondent has reminded me that the Moonraker Legend hinges upon a sharp witted native putting one over officialdom. We don't have the excisemen any more but we do have councillors, who are just as gullible it seems.


thud said...

The gut is prick on the make...sod show more pics.

wiltshireflagman said...

Interesting report form Haddock regarding the flag, not quite sure how to respond, but all we can say is the support we have received from the people of Wiltshire has been very positive. Not so much a marketing ploy more a representation of what the Great Bustard Group are trying to do to re-introduce the bird to it's original habitat where they thrived before they were all eaten, or the eggs destroyed by farming methods, by our ancestors. The bird is still unique to Wiltshire, but if our research is correct, common in parts of Russia and Portugal. The problem with the 1937 flag and the later badge of 1967 is that the former cannot be flown unless you buy one and get permission for County Hall and the latter is not recognised under the 1995 Town and Country Planning Act(display of advertisements regulations, (amended).
Key into the government website and have a look at Item 2007 No. 783 schedule 1 Class H subsection (c) and if our research is correct we believe the flag that we have "created"is now legal.In addition we chose Otis Tarda (The Great Bustard) in favour of a white horse as a white horse appears on the Kent flag and the white horse symbol is well known in Oxfordshire as well as Wiltshire, also The Great Bustard is a world wide symbol, more recognisable than the Moonraker legend which is well known only in this county. Sales of flags and merchandise are good, but if you look up the Companies House Register and find our company registration number you will note that the published accounts show the true figures.Hope that this helps with some of the points and we look forward to corresponding on this site again.

wiltshireflagman said...

Very good photos of Wiltshire, posted by Haddock. We in conjunction with the Wiltshire County Flag launch in 2006 produced a perpetual diary with 50 photos of the county, well worth a look. The book contains over 100 illustrations by the children of Churchfields schools in Atworth and Monkton Farleigh, all income from the diaries sold by the children went to school funds, part of our charity work to organisations in this wonderful county.

Dave said...

Wow, you're very, very bitter. One would think you oppose this as you didn't think of it yourself.

As for your 'research', a flag that appears merely on Ebay or an online shop does not mean that this is the official flag of Wiltshire!

If one searches for 'Dorset Flag' on Ebay, we see a copy of the County Council Arms - this isn't an official flag - far from it. Dorset doesn't have a flag, but someone knocked one up anyway without consultation.

Your comments are unfair. Mike Prior isn't on the take - that's your opinion. What he has done is created a distinguished image for Wiltshire - you won't find too many flags that look like that. This opposed to the bland green and white flag with the horrid dragon in the corner (and yep, someone created that one to make money - without consulting the people of Wiltshire.)

The very fact that you had to contact the MP's again show that you are very bitter and angry and your comments in bold are rather juvenile. Regardless if the comments were personal, they are endorsements.

I think you need to calm down.

CorshamJim said...

That bustard thing looks pasty and stupid. Why not use a white horse, which would be far more identifiably associated with this part of the country? And what's wrong with horizontal stripes? It would be much easier to manufacture or draw the flag if it had straight lines!

haddock said...

Dave, the 'horrid dragon' is a symbol of Wessex and far more suited to a county of Wessex than an upstart turkey.
I see in Dorset there is at least some sort of consultation going on.
One may think what one likes... I used to teach design, I would therefore not come up with that design as it fails in a number of areas...... especially "being far too complex and all the detail would be missed at distance" (your words about another design )

haddock said...

ps the last I heard of bustards is that one or more had cleared off and now reside in Gloucestershire.

Anonymous said...

'Ere - I see that there Chrys Fear has started a campaign to get the white horse on a green field recognised as the Wilts flag. You could do worse that support him.

Dave White said...


I take back everything I said. I'm not impressed with Mike Prior's approach to flags. He's copyrighted the design and sells it for £15 a go. That's steep. It will never be eligible for Flag Institute registration.

A flag should be public domain for all and sundry to do what they will with it.

I note that Chrys Fear had been talking about a white horse flag way before Mike Prior exploited the market - so I think there is some mileage in challenging Mike's position here.

A vote is a should be.

wiltshireflagman said...

Good morning to you all, as a member of the Flag Institute I have explained to them that the flag will be released into the public domain in the future when we have recovered the costs of manufacture and "research". The flag and associated merchandise are
proving very popular, and we have not had any complaints regarding the cost of £15 for a quality MADE IN ENGLAND, flag with rope and toggle size 5 x 3 feet.
Also we have not criticised any work carried out by other parties to create a flag for the people of Wiltshire. Copies of the correspondence from the two quoted MP's are available on request (both on House of Commons notepaper).
We must not forget that the Great Bustards were in Wiltshire long before the White Horses were carved, apart from the Uffington one, but that is in Oxfordshire and cannot be included in this discussion.
Many thanks for all the support, and to the detractors, it's not worth getting too hot and bothered about, taken in context with all the troubles in the world. Mike Prior

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