Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas

I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.
I think it is appropriate giving the day to make a quick post about the North Pole.This is a part of the world that has been claimed and reclaimed by lots of nations, USA, USSR (more recently Russian Federation), Norway etc. Even though it is technically international waters, rather than land!
However no one ever thought of a flag. So here is my design.
It is a shared flag for a shared point on a shared planet. The design at the hoist comes from my 'Earth Flag' design. The white triangle is representative of the ice. The red and white stripes represent that regions association with Christmas. The symbol in the middle is a compass design which I think is the most appropriately neutral symbol.
All Comments Welcome
Flag by Samuel McKittrick

Blythe Yule an a haud Hogmanay!
 Happy Christmas and a happy New Year!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Coat of Arms of Brazil

This is not about flags as such but a flag related item, coats of arms.
My friend from the Flags Forum  Leonardo Piccioni has created a forum in the Heraldry section concerning the coat of arms of his native Brazil. The current 'coat of arms' for Brazil is below:
This is the Republic's emblem, used since 1889, but Leonardo's concerns are it isn't a coat of arms properly: it hasn't even a shield. It contains the Southern Cross, a national emblem, and a star to each state, over a star gironny in vert ("sinople" in original text) and or, bordered in red. The supporters are a coffee branch and a tobacco branch, and have been used on various historic coats of arms for Brazil.
To see the discussion on the flags forum and historic Brazilian coats of arms click Here.
To read more on the coat of arms past and present click here
Leonardo's proposal is below:
Designed by Leonardo Piccioni
This design keeps the supporters and places the central design of the present arms in a heraldic shield thus making it a 'proper' coat of arms. 

I also believe that as Brazil is such a large country and a top world stage player, and because it is hosting important spots events like the next football World Cup and Olympics the country deserves a 'proper' coat of arms.
My idea was to base the coat of arms on the badge of the Brazil Football Confederation (CBF) which is worn by the world famous Brazil international football team:
I don't know what significance if any it has, and Leonardo doesn't know either and suspects that it has evolved to its current form over time from a operate logo. See Here.
All the same I think it would be a good idea to use it as it is recognisable not only in Brazil but world wide thanks to the exploits of Brazil's footballers.
My first idea is below:
It has the shield design from the CBF and all the stars for the states. The Supporters are the same. There is also a crest which is a mullet gironny of ten vert, southern cross and olive crown (a republican symbol)
Leonardo suggested the use of 21 stars (the number of state when Brazil became a republic) as its easier
 to work with and is the number of stars on the Brazil Naval Jack. He also suggested the removal of the southern cross and olive crown, which I agree with.
improved design by Leonardo Piccioni
I also suggest the use of Parrot supporters (I originally wanted to use the national bird of Brazil Sabiá-laranjeira, or the Rufous-bellied Thrush but this was beyond my skills) I also suggested using a motto and including the Southern Cross, or armillary sphere design from the flag and use the old supporters on this. I sort of coat of arms within a coat of arms:
The motto translates to 'Order and Progress' and 16 November 1889 (the date Brazil became a republic). The countries full title is also present 'Federal Republic of Brazil' 
I also made another version with the floral supporters being the main supporters and the armillary sphere, if pre fared:
These two would be my favourite. 
All Comment mine.

All proposals by Samuel McKittrick unless stated otherwise. 

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Queen Elizabeth Land

After the Foreign and Commonwealth Office announcing it was going to name a large area (437,000 sq km) of British Antarctic Territory after HM the Queen, to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee I thought it would be a good opportunity to think of a flag and arms for this new territory (or region if it is not going to be counted as a different territory from Antarctic territory.)
First lets look at the flag of BAT:
It is unusual as it is a white ensign, the only other use of a (UK) white ensign outside Queen's Ships (by which I mean Royal Navy, Royal Yacht Squadron and ships escorting the monarch) is BAT and  the Commissioner's flag of the Northern Lighthouse Board.
Like most UK overseas territories flags its and ensign defaced with the territories coat of arms.
This flag is the official flag of the territory however I am unsure if it is actually used.
The UK presence in Antarctic composes of the Royal Navy's ice patrol ship HMS Protector. (which can be deployed far and wide in the south) which uses the St Georges ensign more commonly called the white ensign, and three research stations of the British Antarctic Survey. I have seen pictures of a BAS station but it was only flying a Union Flag rather than the BAT flag.
However BAS ships do use a blue ensign defaced with the BAT shield:
  File:Government Ensign of the British Antarctic Territory.svg

I based the arms of Queen Elizabeth Land (or Liz Land as I like to call it) on the BAT arms:
The Helmet, supporters and base are the same. What has changed is the crest is now a crown, the motto is Latin for 'Duty and Devotion,' which is not only a good motto but a tribute to the Queen. 
The shield has also changed a little. the Torch has been replaced with the Queen's coat of arms defaced with the crowned 'E' as a permanent tribute. The Diamond is self explanatory. 

The Flag is a separate, more difficult issue. Do I  break from the tradition of using ensigns or more unique flag? 
My first design is really a copy of the BAT flag.
The Government ensign is the same but blue.
My next design breaks from the ensign tradition:
It keeps the diamond and waves design, and crowned 'E' logo. I also kept the Union Jack as Antartica is so fast and as there is nothing there but snow, and so many countries have claims and territory there, it would still be useful to let people know what boarder they have crossed. (although I don't think too many people will be out for a walk.) 
Alternatively you could replace the Union Jack with the defaced Royal Arms from the Coat of Arms:
The chances are this place will continue to use the BAT flag rather than adopt one but a bit of fun anyway.
I also recommend looking at my friend Leonardo Piccioni's idea as I think it is much better than mine the link is here.

All Comments Welcome

British Antarctic Territory and Survey flags are from Wikipeadia, all other picture are by Samuel McKittrick

Friday, 14 December 2012

Northern Ireland Flag and Coat of Arms.

Firstly I would like to apologise to readers who have no interest in the Northern Ireland flags issues, as this is another post with more ideas. I strongly believe that my home country should have an officially recognised flag. I don't know what news has gone out to the outside world but in Ulster its been a rather extreme couple of weeks regarding displaying the national (UK) flag on Belfast City Hall and what is now spreading to parliament buildings too. The protests, public disorder and community and political tensions that have fallowed is one reason why I have been thinking up new emblems specifically for Northern Ireland, note I am not attempting to replace any national emblems either British or Irish but filling the gap for regional Northern Irish emblems.
Another reason is due to the result of the last UK census regarding Northern Ireland. Two-fifths (40%) of those who responded said they had a British only national identity, (personally I don't think there is such thing as to me British is a collection of English, Scottish, Welsh and N.Irish but that is irrelevant)a quarter (25%) had Irish only and just over a fifth (21%) had a Northern Irish only national identity.
Traditionally there were people who seen themselves as primarily British and Primary Irish, with Northern Irish being seen as a regional identity. But this enormousness rise of people regarding themselves as Northern Irish only also highlights the need for an officially recognised emblem.

My first thought was for a coat of arms. I broke a little from my usual designs as I didn't use my usual template and thus added some extra things:
It is not a complete break with tradition as it still has the lion and elk supporters and flag staffs (although with new flags) from the old coat of arms. I thought it would be interesting if the supporters represented the two communities and traditions helping each other supporting the country. The lion represents the British, Unionist tradition, with St Andrew's Cross being used to symbolise this side of the community. I picked St Andrew's Cross to symbolise the Scottish Ancestry  and the Scottish aspects of the Unionist culture and identity. It is also the most used flag by unionism after the Union Flag and Old NI flag. It also shouldn't offend Nationalists as many nationalists also have close family and cultural links with Scotland.  
The Elk represents the Irish, Nationalist tradition, with the green harp flag being used. This is seen as the secondary symbol of Irish Nationalism (Irish Tricolour being the primary one)  It was also used as an unofficial national flag for Ireland by Nationalists from 1798 to 1916. It also shouldn't offend unionists as green harp flags have been common among Irish regiments of the British Army.

The Helmet is a new addition and something I think was missed on past coats of arms. the Crest is the six flowers flax plant logo of the NI Assembly. The flax plant is quickly becoming the flower of Northern Ireland and is also present on coins and the badge of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. Although the shamrock is still present on the Royal coat of Arms and floral cyphers of the UK.
The chain is based on the Order of Saint Patrick and is displayed on the coat of arms in the same way the order of the thistle is used on the coat of arms of Scotland. This chain features flax flowers,  harps and St Patrick's Cross.
The base is the usual shamrocks and Giant's Causeway Stones.
the motto is "Culture makes Progress" hinting at peace and acceptance of each others cultures and traditions. It is in Irish Gaelic at the base and (Ulster) Scots at the top (normal in Scottish coats of arms) which are both recognised languages in NI and each associated with its relevant identity.
I also thought it would be nice to display the county coat of arms too. On the left from top to bottom are Counties: Fermangh, Antrim and Tyrone. On the other side is County Londonderry, Armagh and Down. The shield I will come to later. Of course the county arms don't need to be displayed all the time:
The shield I must admit is not my idea but that of Paul James from the Flags Forum who decided to use the Cross of De Burgh as seen on the Province flag on the NI flag, the hexagon was my suggestion as an alternative to the six pointed star as it could also represent the Giant's Causeway as well as the six counties. I have however altered it slightly so it is pointing to the top and bottom. A flag form of the coat of arms would be this:
By Paul James altered slightly by Samuel McKittrick
I have also designed a 'Royal coat of Arms' for northern Ireland. Of course not everyone would support the monarchy but the fact that a lot if people have described themselves as 'Northern Irish' suggests they are content if not happy with the constitutional status. This coat of arms is designed to be used with Lord Lieutenants and other representatives of the Queen:
It retains most of the features of the Government/Civil coat of arms. The crest is replaced with a crown which is also on top of St Patrick's cross. The shield is a harp on Blue Field taken from the Royal Coat of arms, the banner of which is also being supported by the lion. The Elk holds the Royal Banner of Scotland because the Ulster-Scots population who would mostly support the monarchy see it as another link with Scotland. However I am not completely sure if I should use it or not. A banner of the civil coat of arms (the flag above) might be more appropriate, The motto at the Base is an Irish and Scots translation of the motto on the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom "Dieu et mon droit" (God and my right). The motto at the top is Latin for 'Who Shall Separate Us?' which appears on the Order of Saint Patrick, and is the motto of the Irish Guards regiment in the army, it also appeared on version of the last NI coat of Arms. 
This is more for use of the representatives and institutions of the monarchy in Northern Ireland rather than the monarch herself. I would not be to keen on a separate version of the Royal Coat of Arms like what Scotland has. However if there is demand for such I propose the above design but with the Royal Arms of the three traditional British Kingdoms in the shield:
Of Course the Irish representation takes the dominant first and fourth quarters. As I stated above I was thinking of using a banner of the civil arms instead of the Royal Banner of Scotland. Well in this version I have no doubt that the NI banner should be used as The Royal Arms of Scotland is on the third quarter. 

Paul James idea is that none of the other three UK nations have a banner of their coat of arms as a flag and that the red hand replace the harp in the UK coat of arms and Royal Standard:
new uk hex.gif
 By Paul James (note Wales is also represented in the fourth quarter) 
I like his proposal. However I disagree with using the red hand as a replacement to the harp in the Royal coat arms as the harp is a symbol of Irish Kingship. But in the UK Government version of the coat of arms would perhaps be more appropriate.
I also see his point that the flag perhaps should not be based on the coat of arms for two reasons. Firstly this is not the case of the other UK nations and secondly this is what happened to the last flag, and when the local government was abolished in 1973 it ceased to have any standing. In order to survive political changes the flag should be separate from the government so an alternative I recently thought of is below:
This flag is based on the NI Football colours (Green, White and Blue) The celtic cross design is also inspired by NI Football. The red hand is changed from the traditional upright hand to a child's hand representing the future. The Coat of arms remains the same as proposed above, but it is also a though a banner of it could still be used by the government as I quite like it. I have posted the Celtic cross design on  the new NI flag Facebook and so far about two thirds of feedback has been relatively positive.

All Comments Welcome
For other NI Flag suggestions see links below:

Other Related posts
Northern Ireland Flags Guide

All designs by Samuel McKittrick unless stated otherwise

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Cook Islands

The Cook Islands (Kūki 'Āirani) is a self-governing parliamentary democracy in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand It is composed of 15 small islands whose total land area is 240 square kilometres (92.7 sq mi). The Cook Islands' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), however, covers 1,800,000 square kilometres (690,000 sq mi) of ocean. Defence and foreign affairs are the responsibility of New Zealand, in consultation with the Cook Islands. In recent times, the Cook Islands have adopted an increasingly independent foreign policy. Although Cook Islanders are citizens of New Zealand, they have the status of Cook Islands nationals, which is not given to other New Zealand citizens.
The coat of arms of The Cook Islands is below:
File:Coat of arms of cook islands.gif
The shield is blue with fifteen white stars (one for each island) arranged in a circle, as found on the national flag, and is supported by a flying fish (maroro) and a White Tern (kakaia). The helmet is an ariki head-dress (pare kura) of red feather, symbolising the importance of the traditional rank system, and the name of the nation is on a banner below the shield. The achievement is augmented by a cross and a Rarotongan club (momore taringavaru) used by orators during traditional discourses, respectively symbolizing Christianity and the richness of Cook Islands' tradition, placed in saltire behind the shield.

The current flag is below:
File:Flag of the Cook Islands.svg
The flag is based on the traditional design for former British colonies in the Pacific region. It is a blue ensign containing the Union Flag in the upper left, and on the right, fifteen stars in a ring. The Union Flag is symbolic of the nation's historic ties to the United Kingdom and to the Commonwealth of Nations. The stars stand for the fifteen islands that make up the Cook Islands (TongarevaRakahangaManihikiPukapuka, Nassau, Suwarrow, Palmerston, AitutakiManuae, Takutea, AituMitiaroMauke,Rarotonga and Mangaia). The blue represents the ocean and the peaceful nature of the inhabitants.
I am going to address two main flag related items about the Cook Islands, first are national flags. I think this flag can be misinterpreted suggesting that the islands are a British Overseas Territory rather than a (mostly) independent country, if it was going to relate to any other nation it should be New Zealand?
There have of course been varyous flags representing the Cook Islands see here.

My first idea taking replacing the UK flag with something more NZ like:
I thought green and gold from the 1973 flag should be used, The green colour represented continuous growth and life; the yellow represented the faith, love, happiness, and commitment shown by the islanders. I kept some blue as I like the way its seen to represent the ocean and peaceful living, it also ties in with the current NZ flag. The red southern Cross of New Zealand is at the hoist. However as you might agree this is awful looking.
So I improved it by placing the Southern Cross inside the circle of stars:
However I would prefare no references to any other nation only the Cook Islands so the flag can be used no matter what the future holds:
My ideas for maritime ensigns are as fallows:
Like most Commonwealth Civil ensigns it is red, but still has the original blue and green layout.
The government ensign is below:
Again reflective of the Commonwealth its blue, I used white stars as I think they stand out more.
These are my prefaced flags but encase NZ ensigns need to be used I still feel they should reflect the islands, for example for the merchant ensign use the NZ red ensign but with the Cook Stars below the union flag. The Government ensign would be the same but Blue. There is also a  'Queen's Representative  on the islands, who have their own flag, currently the national flag but with a crown in the centre of the stars. If the National flag changes then the Queen's Representative flag should change, my idea is below:
It is based on the current flag but with a Green Field, I decided to keep the UK flag in as its the monarch's representative. Although the Queen's Representative has a flag, I am not aware of a Royal Banner for the islands, so I based it on the above flag but with the Queen's Personal emblem on it which often appears on the Royal Banners of the Commonwealth:

That's national flags out of the way what about flags for the individual islands? I also made some suggestions. However not

all the islands are inhabited so I didn't make flags for all the islands, as I don't see the point of an uninhabited island having a flag.

First is Tongareva also called Penrhyn:

It features the national colours and national stars in the Canton, the two stars in the fly represent the island's to villages.


This flag also features the national colours, and stars in the canton. The two big stars represents the two tribes, each tribe is divided into seven sub groups each represented by the smaller stars round the main two stars.
The flag of Manihiki represents the same ethnic break up as Rakahanga, however the central blue bar is replaced with gold to distinguish it.
Pukapuka is a coral atoll, with three small islets, the three green star represent the islets they also represent the geographic positions of them. 
The Atutaki flag is a simple green flag with eight stars representing the eight villages.
The flag features the national stars in the canton with four gold and blue bars representing the four inhabited villages.
A blue flag with four gold stars at the hoist representing the sub divisions and the national ring of stars at the fly.
The flag features three green and blue bars and three white stars representing the three sub divisions and three tribes on the island.

Last but not least is Mangaia:
The flag features six stars representing the sub divisions and a broke Union Jack. The reason there is a broken UK flag is down to one of the islands stories.
In the 19th Century during a trip to London,the Islands ruler Numangatini, or"King" John of Mangaia, received from Queen Victoria herself a Union Jack. The flag still exists, albeit in two pieces, half is supposed to be in Oneroa, and the other half in Tonga. The broken Union Jack in two pices is reflected on the flag. There is however an alternative without the Union Jack:

All Comments Welcome

All new designs by Samuel McKittrick some information from Wikipedia 

Friday, 7 December 2012

UK Prime Minister

As I have mentioned before on my blog many world leaders have a personal flag. Now what has recently been brought to my attention is that the elected Leader of the United Kingdom the Prime Minister has no flag. The UK is considered one of the top players on the international stage (not as top as we might like to think but certainly in the top six or seven at least) so I think it is right that our leader has a personal flag.
Of course it could be argued the Monarch is the British leader and has the Royal Standard, which is right however although in theory the monarch is the leader and all power comes from the crown, in practice the monarchy is only the figure head and does more public work such as opening hospitals, being patrons of charities and taking part of ceremonies of state. In fact the Queen very rarely addresses the nation Christmas day being the one regular address  Compared to the Prime Minister who is head of the House of Commons and makes laws and holds numerous conferences and meetings.

Compare this picture of the US President:
Notice the President's flag on the right. Now look at the UK Prime Minister:
No Personal or office flag

The first design is for indoor purposes like the flags in the above pictures it can be displayed alongside the Union Flag:

It contains the coat of arms of "Her Majesty's Government" in the centre, the wreath is common on most diplomatic flags. It contains the shields of the four Constituent Countries: England(top left) Scotland(top right) Northern Ireland(bottom left) and Wales(bottom right). Northern Ireland is repressed by St Patrick's Cross because this is what represents it on the UK flag, and in the lack of an official flag is increasingly used alongside the other flags to represent NI, for example the Royal Barge Gloriana flew it to represent Ni at the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant. There is a red, white and blue boarder reflecting the national colours and I used a navy blue field as I think this colour when used like this has a rather official and authoritativeness feeling. The Text emphasise that this is the flag of the bearer of the office of Prime Minister rather than a political or personal flag. The Full title of the country is also used.
The Coat of Arms used by the government is different in Scotland than in the rest of the UK. So I made a separate flag to be used when the PM is making a speech or holding a conference in Scotland or  specifically addressing the Scottish people:
First the coat of arms id that which is used in Scotland with the Royal Arms of Scotland taking the dominant positions, The shield is surrounded by thistles rather than a garter, the supporters have switched places (a unicorn traditionally being used on the Scottish arms and is now in the position of honour) and the crown of state being replaced with the Crown of Scotland. The Scottish Saltire is also now in the canton rather than the fly. "United Kingdom" has been moved to the top and shortened to the name in common usage rather than the full name. "Office of the Prime Minister" in Scots and Scots Gaelic is in the bottom. The red, white and blue boarder has been replaced with a blue, whit, blue boarder reflecting the Scottish colours.

As I have stressed before these designs are for decorative indoor use. My idea for a flag for outdoor use (flown from buildings, cars, flag poles etc) is more conventional. A Union Flag with the Government coat of arms in the centre of the diplomatic wreath: 
File:British Ambassador Ensign.svg
The problem is this flag is already in use! This is the flag used by British embassies all around the world!
So to make a more unique flag I took away the supporters and the motto:
The crown is also moved to rest on the shield rather than the garter. Again there is a separate Scottish variant but the only changes are the state crown being replaced with the Scottish one, the movement of the Scottish representation on the shield and the absence of a garter:
Scottish Variant

At present in the UK there is a coalition government. Meaning that two political parties are power sharing so there is a Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) from the lesser party shearing power. So in the case of coalitions I think the DPM should also have a flag. The DPM flag is based on the indoor flags except it is quartered with the full flag rather than a shield in each quarter. 
Deputy Prime Minister Flag

Deputy PM Flag for use in Scotland

These are outdoor flags, the DPM can use the PM indoor flag for decoration as in a coalition this is supposed to be a shared office. 

In the UK many of the Constituent Countries have their own local governments with devolved powers from the central government in Westminster for governing their own local and regional affairs. As such these regions have a secretary of state who represents the central British Government in the regional parliament or assembly, although they have little or no voting powers. Each region also has a First Minister who is the head the elected head of the regional government. I have also designed personal flags for these offices, there can also be coalitions at this level so I have also designed a secondary flag for the Deputy First Minister in this event.

First off  in no particular order is Scotland. Now I have on other sites using an ensign type flag for the Scottish First Minister but this was for an independent Scotland.

For Scotland within the United Kingdom I suggest a saltire defaced with the Royal Arms of Scotland and Scottish Crown(as technically the FM is governing on the Queen's behalf):
The secondary flag for a Deputy First Minister is the same except there is a crowned thistle rather than a coat of arms:
The flag of the secretary of state for Scotland is a Union Flag(which will be standard for secretaries of state) defaced with the badge used by the Scotland Office of the British Government (Which is the Scottish version of the Government coat of arms):
This flag can be used on both sides of the boarder.

Next up is Northern Ireland. According to the terms of the Good Friday Agreement Unionists and Nationalists must share power so the NI government is always a coalition.

The flag of the First Minister is a St Patrick's Cross defaced with a gold harp on blue shield. This can be interceded as an Irish Symbol or NI's Representation on both the Royal and Government coat of arms, and hence avoiding (in theory) any political sensitivities. 
The flag of the deputy First Minister is the same except with the flax flower badge of the the Northern Ireland Assembly:
As is standard the flag of the secretary of state for Northern Ireland has a union flag. It is defaced with a coat of arms I designed for the Northern Ireland Office. Which is the same as the British coat of arms except the shield only contains a harp, but the crown, supporters, garter and motto are all unchanged.

The next country is Wales I have two proposals for the flag of the Welsh First Minister and  secondary flag for use by a deputy First Minister in the event of a coalition.
The first flag is based on the National flag of Wales, the dragon flag:
It features the Royal Badge of the Welsh Assembly (minus the floral design around it) on a green and white field reflecting the national flag.
The Flag of a Deputy First Minister features the Welsh Dragon Shield, topped by the crown of state in a plain circle similar to the garter design, and the Prince of Wales Feathers at the base, the design is inspired by the badge of the Wales Department of the UK Government:

The other proposals are the same badges but on a cross of St David:
First Minister
Deputy First Minister

The Flag for the secretary of state for Wales is a union flag defaced with the badge of the Wales Department:

Now England currently has no devolved government and is under direct rule from the central government of the United Kingdom. But you never no what could happen in the future. So here are flags for an English First Minister and Deputy First Minister and Secretary of State in-case England ever gets a devolved government. (although at present there is no real demand for one)

First Minister of England flag is St George's Cross defaced with the Royal Arms of England and State Crown:

The Secondary flag for a deputy first minister is the same except it has a Tudor rose. (Keeping with the flora designs of Scotland and N.Ireland's Deputy FM):

The Secretary of State for England will use the same badge but in a union Flag:

All Comments Welcome.

All designs are by Samuel McKittrick and reflect creativity and imagination and are designed to represent the respected offices not the individuals or political parties that occupy them.