Councillors plan for Oldham schools to get picture of Queen, Union Jack and national anthem practice


Hundreds of schools could soon be expected to show a picture of the Queen, fly Union Jack flags all year round and teach pupils the national anthem after plans to fight back against ‘cancel culture’ were mooted by a local council. 

Oldham Borough councillors will tomorrow debate a motion titled ‘For Queen and Country’ that discusses potentially installing a picture of Queen Elizabeth II in ‘a prominent place’ in every school in the Oldham area, fly the national flag of Great Britain and ensure every pupil knows the national anthem and its history.

Furthermore, Conservative councillors aim to secure an official stance against ‘cancel culture’ and an affirmation from elected representatives protecting the notions of freedom of speech and democracy. 

If approved, Harry Catherall, chief executive of Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council, will write to Michael Gove and Gavin Williamson asking for support for the plans. 

The motion states: ‘Saying you are proud to be British should not be a source of shame, and there is nothing wrong with patriotism of flying our national flag.

‘It is one of many things that binds our society together.’  

Pictures of Queen Elizabeth II could soon be placed ‘in a prominent position’ in all schools in Oldham should a Conservative party motion be passed

Union Jacks would also be flown year round and at the Council's headquarters should the plans get the green light

Union Jacks would also be flown year round and at the Council’s headquarters should the plans get the green light

Proposed by Conservative councillor Dave Arnott, of Royton North ward, and seconded by Cllr Pam Byrne, the full council will debate the proposal at a meeting on Wednesday evening.

Cllr Arnott was elected after defeating the incumbent Labour Party candidate in the local elections held in May. 

His patriotic proposal asks the council to ‘cherish’ free speech and refute ‘cancel culture’.

The motion continues: ‘The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is in fact a unique bastion of freedom and that we should be proud of the outstanding role it has played across the world in education, art, culture, science, engineering and in exporting democracy and the rule of law.

‘We all have heroes in our communities – whether they are historical or present day, and we should properly celebrate these individuals, and their contribution to our country.

‘This Council rejects the phenomena known as ‘Cancel Culture’ and that it holds these truths to be self-evident, that of freedom of speech and democracy. Truths which must be cherished and defended.’

If approved, the Council would erect a picture of the Queen, or any future ruling sovereign, in its chambers and reception along with a Union Jack flag. 

The Conservative group also wants the Council to ‘reaffirm’ support for the ‘sovreignty of the Union of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Crown dependencies and United kingdom Overseas Territories.’ 

If the motion passes, the scheme should be adopted by schools across the country by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, the motion states.

Councillor Dave Arnott

Cllr Pam Byrne

Proposed by Conservative councillor Dave Arnott, of Royton North ward, and seconded by Cllr Pam Byrne, the full council will debate the proposal at a meeting on Wednesday evening

Liberal Democrat councillor Sam Al-Hamdani told the Express he would not ‘dismiss’ the ideas, but argued the move ‘seems like an attempt to get on a cultural bandwagon.’ 

Some previous plans to instill a patriotic education into schools have been met with ridicule, including a viral song for One Britain One Nation Day held on June 25.

Pupils were expected to sing along with the tune, which had backing from the Department for Education, and hold a minute’s applause in recognition of the campaign’s aim to create ‘a strong, fair, harmonious and proud British nation.’ 

Asked whether it was sensible for the department to encourage schoolchildren to sing the OBON patriotic song, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘The Prime Minister supports schools promoting fundamental British values, including tolerance and respect, and we endorse One Britain One Nation’s aims to help children learn about equality, kindness, pride, but I will point out the department has not asked people to sing songs or promoting any specific materials for One Britain One Nation day.’   

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