Thursday, 28 August 2008

Apology issued by 'View From Dorchester'

After last weeks erroneous article that accused us of selling the flag as 'official', View From Dorchester this week does another front page article relating to the Dorset Flag competition.

The bulk of the article encourages people to vote, but in bold was the following:

"Last week the View From Dorchester was told that one of the entries - St Wite's Flag was already being marketed as Dorset's 'official' flag.

We would like to make it clear that there is no suggestion that this flag's designers Dave White and Stephen Coombs were in any way involved in promoting their flag as the official version.

We apologise if they have been caused any embarrassment by our report."

I'd like to thank View From Dorchester for having some integrity and their apology. This was followed up by a letter from Chris Brown expressing his concern at what they'd reported.

In the Dorset Echo there was a letter from county complainer John Neimer. He absolutely insists that this competition is pointless(well, I agree somewhat) and that we should be using the DCC Arms as the flag. Lately, he's decided all the finalists are tea-towels and 'is he alone in that?'

Well, I responded to him - telling him to stop being Ebeneezer Scrooge.

He also got a bit of support from a couple other people:

The first, (MRS) Eileen Dickson; doesn't know what the flags represent. A statement basically saying 'what relevance does it have to Dorchester' is alarmingly insular. It's a Dorset flag my dear and Dorset is more than Dorchester. As for her not knowing what they mean, well DCC were a bit shortsighted in not disclosing that information when the finalists were printed. I did tell John Newth this information would be required. Or perhaps he realised that when people found out Design C represented the black death, it would literally be the death of it!

The second, John Rogers of the great Portland - insists that we should be using the Cerne Abbas Giant. That none of the designs say anything about Dorset, except ours which uses an irrelevant saint that is totally irrelevent to the current population of Dorset. He even invokes the mighty Thomas Hardy in his statement "Thomas Hardy, I firmly believe would have none of them."

Well, I don't think the Cerne Abbas Giant is appropriate for a flag really, recognisable yes - crude - yes. As a flag - no.

He also makes the mistake of generalising - '[St Wite has] no interest to the current population'. How does he know? We hear quite the reverse. Since when did Mr Rogers represent the population of Dorset? Arrogance doesn't befit Dorset people. Make use of this sentence 'in my personal opinion....'

Then to state that Hardy would dislike them - is grasping at straws there by invoking the mighty writer! It's all spin - "I'm more patriotic than you". Hardy, I firmly believe would rise above this prattle and give his support to the vote. It's raising the profile of Dorset and Dorset culture, which would have pleased him. Whether he liked any of them - well, who's to say? But then, that statement by Mr Rogers is supposed to give it some sort of authority. Like I said, it's all spin.

Now - it's a little late in the game for them all to be whinging now. (MRS) Dickson should make it her job to find out what the flags mean. Mr Rogers should have submitted a Cerne Abbas Giant design. Together, with John Neimer, they need to lighten up a bit! These four designs were selected by a panel of Dorset people and included the Chief Vexillologist of the Flag Institute, so they do know what they were talking about!(To a certain extent).

But in all fairness, at this stage - I don't really care what they think anymore. The process is in and the votes are being cast. By the 19th September, we should know the winner and that will be that.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Dorset Cross scoops award

Endorse It In Dorset Cultural Achievement Award 2008

:EDIT apparently, reporting this sort of thing in the Daily Echo is construed as making the flag seem official. Really?

The 'Endorse It In Dorset Festival' was again a massive success with over 5000 attendees this year.

The event, which annually sees bands from all over England flock to Six Penny Handley introduced their own 'Dorset Cultural Achievement Award' last year, with local band 'Who's Afear'd' picking up the award for 2007.

Since winning the award they have gone on to feature at many festivals, concerts and shows all over Dorset. They made a triumphal return to the 2008 festival and participated in the judging of this year's award along with organisers "Lamma, Fi & Big G".

The 2008 award went to the gold, red and white flag; the Dorset Cross - currently a contender in a vote that will see a flag of Dorset elected.

Big G said prior to the award that:

"The Endorse It In Dorset Festival now has a central place in promoting the culture of Dorset and has become a major source of tourist income for the County as a whole. We are delighted to be associated with this award and there was a clear winner in which we all agreed, the weather had been a bit miserable but the rallying call led by the bright and cheerful Dorset Cross flying all over the site kept our spirits and positive outlook flying high. We are delighted to award this prestigious accolade to The Dorset Cross as a unifying and bright symbol for the wonderful County of Dorset"

"The judges were impressed with the grass roots birth of Gold, Red and Silver cross which in production is yellow, red and white. It is such a good flag and has sold widely already. We think it is bound to win so we urge people to vote for Design B in the Dorset flag contest!"

Dave White, one of the founders of The Dorset Cross said:

"It's wonderful to see a distinct Dorset culture emerging at such an impressive event. I applaud the efforts of the organisers and am honoured that they should so whole-heartedly adopt the Dorset Cross as a symbol of the event. I'll certainly be back next year!"

Friday, 22 August 2008

Officialdom and when the results will be known.

We were recently attacked in the 'View From Dorchester' newspaper by having our flag on sale and marketing it as 'official'. Of course, this is complete nonsense.

Our flag is on sale, but we market it as a contender. It has been on sale for quite some time now, other vendors now sell it. As far as I'm aware, none of them market it as official and if they do, I will certainly be having words with them. Also, people seem to be concerned that our flag is on sale - they fail to realise that the Dorset Cross predates this competition and has every right to be.

Chris and myself have complained to 'View From...' who have apologised and the editor, Philip Evans has promised to issue a full apology in next weeks edition.

Officialdom. Registering a flag at the Flag Institute does not make a flag official. The Flag Institute is a registry and not the College of Arms, which is the only body which can award officialdom to any symbol. They work at the request of the Queen and I'm fairly sure she's not going to order a flag for Dorset anytime soon.

What we will have in Dorset, is a publically elected flag(which the council will presumably endorse) that will serve as de facto flag. I understand this better than most, so would never be so arrogant as to market our flag as official.

Results of Competition
I'm reliably informed that the results of the vote will be known somewhen during the week after voting ends(12th Sept), thus superceding the terms and conditions stating it would be 24 hours later.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

From Poole or Bournemouth Borough? Read On....

It has come to our attention, that due to the two unitary authorities not being 'interested' at this time with regards to a Dorset flag - NONE of the libraries in those areas will be carrying voting forms or drop boxes.

It is hoped that the Daily Echo may run the story with voting slips printed in their pages.

The two unitary authorities seem to forget that we all live in the geographical county of Dorset - this is not a political thing, it is a symbol for all the county and they are within it. As are the people.

This separatist attitude is frankly ridiculous. Give the people the chance to make their views known!

If you are in these affected areas - the best thing you can do is email with you choice of design (A, B, C or D), name and full address with postcode.

You can also download the voting form and send it to county hall from here:

Bournemouth and Poole - we need you votes!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

At last, voting starts....

I've been monitoring the DorsetForYou website for weeks now looking for a PR release that says voting has started.....and this morning.....

11/08/08: Have your say on the design for a Dorset flag

People across Dorset can now vote for their preferred design for a flag to represent the county and its people.

Creative local people sent in a range of design ideas for a flag after an appeal through local newspapers by Dorset County Council chairman John Peake.

A panel chaired by Graham Bartram from the Flag Institute chose a shortlist of four designs from a total of 29 - now the choice is in the hands of local people.

Posters featuring the four designs are on show at the county's libraries and are also posted on the Flag Institute website.

You can also pick up a voting slip at your local Dorset library, download one from the website or just send your choice and contact details in on a postcard to Flag Institute.

Alternatively you can e-mail your choice of A, B, C or D to, including your name, address and phone number.

Graham Bartram, Chief Vexillologist (flag expert), said: "We were impressed by the range of designs sent in and feel we now have a strong shortlist for the voters to choose from.

"It's important that as many people as possible send in their vote so that the flag which eventually represents Dorset is truly chosen by the people of the county."

Voting closes on Friday 12 September."

Well, I have to say I'm feeling a bit more relieved now that it's started. I've been madly advising everyone to vote. Seems to have taken a lifetime to get here(in fact, DCC announced the comp on the 23rd April - so near four months). Voting ends in precisely one month.

This comes at a time when our flag has been sold in the hundreds, is being sold by several different traders on Ebay and Amazon and now appears in sticker, flag, badge, card and clock form. It is the most recognisable Dorset flag in the county, despite not being official. So if a vote swings against it - what does that then mean? It's not going to simply go away.....unlike the other designs that are just designs on paper!

Anyway - vote for design B, send an email to with your name, (Dorset) address and phone number.

Monday, 11 August 2008

EIID official programme....

The Endorse It In Dorset festival took place this weekend(8th-10th) with major acts from all over England and especially Dorset. I didn't quite manage to survive, having been completely and utterly washed out thanks to Devon rain on Saturday! I'm obviously far to used to creature comforts....

Chris Brown and Mell Gudger did various DJ sets and stayed for the whole weekend.

I caught splendid performances from Dorset's own 'Kings of Cowpunk' Pronghorn and Who's Afear'd, both fierce supporters of the Dorset Cross.

The flag itself was on sale and it was great seeing people flaunting it around the site. My only gripe was the cheeky b*stard flag seller who had up the Armorial Banner of DCC and had the audacity to call it the 'REAL Dorset flag'. I set Chris on him Sunday....

I'm sure Chris will do a better report, but I thought I'd get this one up quickly and show the excellent official programme!