Today Mssrs White, Brown and Chisholm, supporters of St Wite's Cross met with John Peake, Chairman of Dorset County Council, along with Sally Northeast, DCC Public Relations Manager.
Chris Brown and Alistair Chisholm in full Town Crier dress vocalised very much the frustration St Wite's campaign now finds itself in and how St Wite's Cross very much meets criteria laid down by the Flag Institute and at least has some historical bearing.
Sally understood this, but both John and herself still wished to see a more democratic approach. John Peake was also regretful at his statement in 2007 where he stated they would not create a flag.
The 'competition' will still go ahead, but it has been stated that there will now be a clear end date within the next couple of months. Concluding that there is nothing the St Wite Campaign can do about that, we will go along with it(perhaps reluctantly - we didn't want council interferance and Chris made this clear a few times.)
When all submissions are in, a panel selected from a cross-section of the Dorset community will make a shortlist of flags to be voted on. The shortlist will then be presented to the public in a publication - votes will likely be either by post, phone, email or on a website - this hasn't been finalised yet.
Alistair and myself made it very clear that the panel should have at least some heradic and vexillogical experts onboard and provided Sally with the Flag Institute's 'Flag Design' booklet as well as the NAVA 'Good Flag, Bad Flag' booklet.
Sally will use this information to create criteria that flags must meet if they are to be considered.
Hopefully this will be a speedy process and Sally seemed to indicate that it would be. A new press release will goto the Bournemouth and Dorset Echo's detailing the new 'rules'.
It was established in this meeting that the question was no longer 'should there be a Dorset flag' but 'What will the Dorset flag be'?
Bournemouth and Poole Boroughs at this stage have declined to be part of this. This does not mean that he people cannot adopt the winning flag or indeed, St Wite's Cross. The St Wite's Cross campaign will continue with large flags becoming available in under two weeks.
Well, this is pretty much how I thought this meeting would go. It was worthwhile grilling them about what had previously been said. More importantly though, it was worth giving Sally the booklets with how a decent flag should be designed and to make it very clear that a flag needs to be simple and NOT have charges placed on it.
We are disappointed in what has happened, given how much time and work has gone into this from our end. So ours now becomes a campaign to win the vote as it were. We have no choice but to play along.
If you haven't, I would advise re-reading our detailed explanation for our choices of colour and why we truely believe St Wite's Cross should be the flag of Dorset.