Christ Church JCR has passed a motion to fly the St George’s flag during the upcoming World Cup, despite concerns that the move would be “marginalising” and “a little bit EDL-y”.
The flag will fly in the college’s Peckwater quad for the duration of England’s participation in the tournament, subject to confirmation from the college’s governing body.
The motion passed with 24 votes for, 16 against, and 17 abstentions.
Callum Cleary, who seconded the motion, told Cherwell that the flag “will be a symbol of our backing for Gareth [Southgate] and the boys.”
During Sunday’s General Meeting, students asked if the motion might be considered “a little bit EDL-y”.
In response, the proposers said “all flags are a little bit marginalising. By [that] principle, all flags shouldn’t exist.”
Cleary told Cherwell: “As for marginalising, I think this is a completely legitimate concern. We wish to send Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere our condolences for not making the squad. However, I’m sure a couple more shampoo ads for Joe, and another injury-induced, matchless season (on full pay) for Jack will soften any feelings of exclusion.”
It was also confirmed that the flag will only fly while England are in the tournament – although Cleary suggested that will not entail it coming down early.
“[I] foresee the length of the tournament and England’s participation as synonymous, the only question being whether we beat Brazil or Germany in the final,” he said. “Personally, after we win the World Cup, I wouldn’t put it past Christ Church to leave it up all year round.”
The news comes amid police concerns that the flag might be seen as “imperialistic”.
On Tuesday, the head of football policing, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, warned England fans travelling to Russia for the tournament to be “really careful” about bringing flags overseas.
“[Waving the flag] can come across as almost imperialistic… and can cause antagonism,” he said.
“We really urge some caution about people putting flags out and waving them about in public.”
In 2012, a national survey found that nearly a quarter of English people (24%) and one-third of under-40s associate the St George’s Cross with racism and extremism.
Only 61% of the English respondents said they associated the flag with pride and patriotism, compared to 84% of Scottish and 86% of Welsh respondents, when asked about the St Andrew’s Cross and the Red Dragon respectively.
Christ Church has been contacted for comment.