If you think about it, it certainly gives Coca-Cola, Shell, Apple and even the Nazi Swastika a run for their money. Recently and rather uncharacteristically for me, the sight of a union flag has given me squirts of emotion which I can't really pinpoint. It's a type of pride which runs beyond mere patriotism, jingoism, nationalism etc., because I've never been that way inclined. I suppose it appeals to me as a creative type, as a 'marque' – and always has done.
As a kid I loved drawing the union jack in all its complex, quirky asymmetry, plus red and blue crayons were readily available just about anywhere. The crucifix and the Star of David are undeniably uber-iconic but they don't get printed on guitars. The 'jack' appears alongside Aston Martin, Triumph and scores of other huge global brands to add value. Traditionally it's recognised as a symbol of strength and historical influence on national flags and maritime ensigns. Teenagers from Beijing to Venice to Mexico City wear it on their clothes, although they're probably not sure what it is – it just looks cool.
Today, in May 2012 you could fill your supermarket trolley with goods festooned with the damn thing – anything from commemoration Marmite to 'Jubilee' eggs and British sparkling wine – because it adds value. The Queen's Jubilee is the reason of course – duh! But hang on a second, I think 2012 in all its consumeristic glory is going to make 1977 look like a wet Welsh village by comparison. Sure, this explosion of 'Brand UK' is down to the Jubilee but also it's down to our history too, plus the olympics, plus the fact that everyone has embraced our national logo as their own, during this fleeting period of rare British positivity.
The sun is shining and we are (for now at least), one nation under a groove. Que Funkadelic track...