Monday, 9 March 2020

Personal Flags of the Government (Part 1)

insignia generally used on government podiums  
One of the things I like about how things are done in the United States is how every government department has its own seal. While a few ministries of the United Kingdom government do have their own insignia most do not simply using a variant of the Royal Coat of Arms which is usually in a black & white format. There are currently 24 ministerial departments, and as can be seen here only 8 have an insignia separate from that used by HM Government as a whole and of that eight 3 insignia are shared by another department and two are another variant of the Royal Coat of Arms. So the idea behind this post started off as a project to design some form of heraldic insignia for each ministry of the British government. However it went further as I thought heraldic insignia can be used on flags, and then I thought why not have a flag for every minister. Now the thinking behind these designs are not necessarily flags that would be flown from buildings but flags that would be flown from ministerial cars or that you might see behind podiums at speeches or press conferences.
Starting at the top with the Prime Minister I immediately ruled out a defaced Union Jack for two reasons. Firstly if such a flag is to be able to be used behind podiums then I think it would work better if it could be used alongside the Union Flag rather than be a variant of it. Secondly it would mean I could not use the above arms as the Union Jack with the royal arms in the centre is already a flag used by British ambassadors. So looking at history for some sort of base I came across the standard of Oliver Cromwell as the Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland (1653-1658):
Like the Royal Standard it is quartered however it features for the most part the national symbols of the constituent countries rather than the royal arms, with a personal coat of arms in the centre. As Cromwell was a member of parliament and lead that faction in the English Civil Wars (1642-1651) I think a flag along similar lines would make a good start for the Prime Minister and cabinet.

Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, Minister for the Union.

The proposed standard of the Prime Minister is simply a banner that has the arms attributed to the patron saints of the United kingdom; St George, St Andrew, St Patrick and St David.
standard of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland
Key thing to point out here is that rather than the flags of the constituent countries it features the arms attributed to their national saints (although in the case of England and Scotland the arms of the patron saint are used as the national flag). When you compare it in with the Lord Protector standard there is a historic precedent for this approach. There are also advantages to this approach over a defaced Union Jack which will become evident.

Secretaries of State and Members of the Cabinet (executive)

The cabinet is made up of  the Prime Minister most of the leaders of the 24 ministerial departments who are known as Secretaries of State plus any other Member of Parliament (MP) appointed to it by the Prime Minister. The idea for these is that they will use the above design but with the badge of their department in the centre. The order of the crosses might also change if the department is region specific. In these cases the relative arms will be moved to the 1st quarter and the others continues as normal, for example in the flag of the Secretary of State for Wales the arms of St David occupy the 1st quarter, then it continues with those of St George in the 2nd, St Andrew in the 3rd and St Patrick in the 4th. 
For the other MPs appointed to the cabinet without being assigned a role (minister without a portfolio) they can use the same flag as the PM but with a label.
flag for a cabinet member without a portfolio 
Currently there is only one member in the cabinet who would warrant such a flag but the system of labels I propose allows the theoretical possibility of eight cabinet members without portfolios to have an individual flag. This is because the labels are colour coded with points between two and five. After a labels with five points the colour changes from gold to silver and reverts back to two points, then three, four and five.
As well as the Secretaries of State in each department there are usually junior ministers (some of whom receive no pay in addition to their MP's salary) who answer to their relative Secretary of State. These are in two categories which are Ministers of State and Parliamentary Under Secretaries of State. The proposal here is that these junior ministers use the flag of their Secretary of State but with a label (gold for a minister of state and silver for a parliamentary secretary).

HM Treasury

The insignia I designed for the treasury is simply the traditional portcullis symbol ensigned with the crown. The portcullis is a historic emblem of parliament and government and has been used in the past by customs and excise for which the treasury was responsible. Added to that the symbol implies guardianship and safe keeping I think it is an appropriate emblem for the treasury. 
Flag of the Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Treasury is headed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer with three ministers of state and two parliamentary sectaries under him at present. Their flags are:
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
Minister of State without a title
Economic Secretary to the Treasury 
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury 

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

The insignia of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office who oversee the UK's foreign policy and relations is simply a globe inside a garter belt with the crown, the symbolism being obvious.
Flag of the Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs
The Foreign Office is one of the biggest ministries as under the Foreign Secretary there are seven junior ministers (four ministers of state and three parliamentary under secretaries) each of whom is responsible for a region of the world:
Minister for the Middle East & North Africa

Minister for the Pacific and the Environment


Minister for Asia

Minister for South Asia & the Commonwealth

Minister for Africa

Minister for European Neighbourhood & the Americas

Minister for the Overseas Territories and Sustainable Development

Home Office 

The UK equivalent of the Ministry of the Interior the Home Office is one of those ministerial departments that already has its own insignia, all be it a variant of the Royal Coat of Arms. I actually think using different variants of the arms is a good idea for government departments which is why I have kept elements of the arms on a lot of these badges (like the garter on the Home Office badge), however the problem is you can only get so many variations. The Home Office however I think is one of those departments I think should continue to use the shield garter and crown from the arms:
Flag of the Secretary of State for the Home Department
The Home Secretary has six junior ministers under her; two ministers of state, a lords minister (which I have considered the same as a minister of state) and three Parliamentary Under Secretaries:

Minister for Security

Minister for Crime and Policing

Lords Minister
Minister for Safeguarding

Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts

Minister for Future Borders & Immigration

Ministry of Justice

The badge for the Ministry of Justice is the symbolic sword of justice and scales of equality being supported by the supporters of the Royal Coat of Arms with the royal motto.
Flag of the Secretary of State for Justice
The Secretary of State for Justice has five junior ministers under him. However here we start to see some double jobbing, as an MP can be a junior minister in more than one department. For example the minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts is also a member of the Home Office (I actually think thats two offices the minister for Courts part being answerable to the Justice Secretary and the immigration part to the Home Secretary) and Ministry of Justice spokesperson to the House of Lords is the Advocate General for Scotland which is a separate Office in its own right!
Flag of Her Majesty's Advocate General for Scotland
The I didn't design a Ministry of Justice flag for the Advocate General who uses a variant of the standard with St Andrew's Cross in the first quarter as it is a region specific title, and uses a badge of the sword and scales of Justice behind the shield of the Scottish variant of the Royal Arms. The othe MOJ flags follow the standard pattern:

Minister for Crime & Policing

Minister of State without a title

Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State without a title
I am not sure how to treat ministers with two jobs, perhaps they could only use the flag on which they are most senior. For example in the Ministry of Justice the Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts has two labels whereas in the Home Office he has three so could be considered more senior in the Ministry of Justice. Either way I will include both flags in cases like this to provide a sense of continuity.

Ministry of Defence

The Secretary of State for Defence is perhaps the only member of the government to currently have a flag. This is a flag of the Tri-service colours with the Royal Crest on it.
Military flag of the Secretary of State for Defence
However for the purpose of consistency and to provide a base for the junior ministers, I have included a MOD variant of current pattern that uses the badge of HM Armed Forces.
Flag of the Secretary of State for Defence
There are four junior ministers who serve under the Secretary of State for Defence, two ministers of state and two parliamentary under secretaries of state .
Minister for Defence Procurement

Minister of State without a title
Minister for the Armed Forces

Minister for Defence People and Veterans

Department of Health & Social Care

The badge of the Health & Social Care Department is the crown and garter with the Rod of Asclepius inside and on a burgundy field to help make it more distinct.
Flag of the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care
Under the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care are four junior ministers.
Minister for Health

Minister for Care

Minister for Prevention, Public Health & Primary Care

Minister for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention & Mental Health

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy 

The badge for this department is quite complex but I have managed to make one in which every word in the name is represented. The badge is a crowned gear/cog wheel a reference to industry in which is a caduceus crossed with a lightning bolt representing commerce/business and energy respectfully. Above this is a bee which in heraldry often represents industry and as the department is also about future strategy there is a chess rook/castle.
Flag of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
There are five junior ministers in this department all of whom except one are Parliamentary Under Secretaries of State

Minister for Business, Energy & Clean Growth
Minister for Business & Industry
Minister for Science, Research & Innovation

Minister for Small Business, Consumers & Labour Markets

Minister for Climate Change and Corporate Responsibility

There are only a few of the ministerial departments covered here, the rest is covered in post 2 which is available here.

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