MP sneers at Somerset Day
11 May brought out the best in Somerset. Yes there was a pandemic, yes there were restrictions. But many across the whole county took to flying the Somerset flag. There was a sense of pride. After all Somerset Day was created to recognise the historic county of Somerset. Not the rather truncated version served these days by the County Council. So it should not be a surprise to find Weston super Mare on the list of sponsors. Equally Bath University were out promoting the day and encouraging people to fly the flag.
The whole idea started with “Passion for Somerset”. It originated with a lawyer from Pardoes, Nigel Muers Raby. It morphed into a Community Interest Company that has many of the great and good. The likes of Michael Eavis are on board. Businesses like Haynes Motor Museum are involved.
The day was chosen by the public, following an election with three dates to choose from. The flag was chosen in a competition run by Passion for Somerset back in 2013. The flag was designed by Ed Woods. The specific reason for choosing a new flag was to have a flag for the whole of Somerset. To recognise the historic county at a time when it had been dismembered. Then Lord Lieutenant, Lady Gass was a strong supporter of the move to have a new flag. And of course the Lord Lieutenant represents the historic county.
One could argue that Somerset Day has been one thing in Somerset that was chosen by the people for the people. So on a day of pride which so many people embraced, it was sad to see one of our MPs sneering. While people were flying their Somerset Flags, the MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset looked down his nose at them. He told Parliament “Somerset Day, unfortunately, is a publicity stunt with no genuine history behind it. It was invented six years ago to offer credibility to the then leader of the county council—the one who today, I am afraid, was waving a rather pertuse flag that shows an overweight dragon with blood pressure problems and a background of fluorescent custard.”
This morning The Leveller® received a statement from The Somerset Day Community Interest Company as follows: “Mr Liddell Grainger appears to be misinformed in his comments about Somerset Day. Somerset Day is run by a not-for-profit Community Interest Company and has no political affiliations or connections whatsoever. It was not invented by the then leader of the County Council, but by an independent group of individuals and business leaders.
Mr Liddell Grainger is of course entitled to his views on the design of the Somerset flag, but we hope and expect he will issue an apology for his inaccurate and defamatory comments about Somerset Day which are a slur on all the Patrons (who include The Lord Lieutenant, the Bishop of Taunton and Michael Eavis), volunteers, businesses and individuals who have put in considerable time and effort to celebrate all that the Historic County of Somerset has to offer to residents and visitors”.