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”.

8 comments

  • Having lived in Somerset for most of my life, I have never even heard of Somerset Day. My family has been in Somerset for at least a dozen generations without a flag or a day to celebrate Somerset with. Somerset was, is and will remain the landscape, the people, the cuisine, the dialect, the folk tales, the family memories of Somerset families and of visitors to our county, and the rich history. The flag and day are contrived and, at worst political posturing, at best a misguided marketing gimmick.

  • Having a Somerset Day is an excellent idea We are so lucky to live in such a lovely county Why not new traditions?

  • If people want to see the Somerset history county boundary
    Have a look at the website for The Diocese of Bath and Wells

  • Sean Dromgoole

    Somerset does new as well as old, creates as well as observes and should certainly celebrate rather than just mark. We have so many blessings here, devoting a day to prize them is entirely sensible and if no-one thought of it before, we have now. The celebration starts with the recognition that the people of Somerset are as creative, generous, witty, convivial, compassionate and funny as any on the face of this earth. We lucky beyond measure, not just in where we live, but to have each other. If this simple truth has thus far eluded Mr Liddell Grainger it will come to him eventually. That’s the way Somerset works. It is inescapably good. That and everything else about it are well worth taking a day to celebrate.

  • Graham Livings

    MP ‘sneers’ at Somerset Day!

    Bravo! Yet again The Leveller’s rise & rise against the ‘trend’ in the ‘wanton’ demise of our century’s ‘local’ newspapers; recognising at ‘root’ the former ‘historic’ county of Somerset, coterminous with the ‘diocese’ of Bath & Wells, as reminded from a previous contributor. Local government reform, pace 1974 a ‘Balkanisation’ of a once ‘proud’ City & County of Bristol and recognition the ‘standing’ of ‘unique’ city of Bath. Aided and abetted by the BBC and much of the ‘alternative’ media in referring to a West of England Combined Authority; it’s nothing of the sort, remnants of the former ‘proud’ City & County of Bristol ‘annihilated’ in the ‘crass’ former Avon County on the ‘altar’ of ‘party’ politics and subsequent ‘phoney’ Unitarizes’ of North Somerset/Bath & North East Somerset the ‘crumbs’ left in the creation of four ‘district’ authorities, pace Bridgwater & West Somerset/Mendip/South Somerset/Taunton Dene The writer born and bred as they say ‘west’ of the River Avon, therein your geography!

    I would have expected the member for West Somerset, declaiming his ‘royal’ lineage to have embraced with alacrity the ‘initiative’ of ‘Somerset Day’ evoking an identity across our excellent Somerset schools and vitally our ‘tourism’ industry of which the MP should be wholly cognisant, pace Minehead/St Audries the ‘internationally’ recognised Exmoor Park?

    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. One would have expected he’d have learnt a thing or two from the former ‘distinguished’ Bridgwater & West Somerset MP, Baron King of Bridgwater CH PC, the ‘constituency’ deserves better of its ‘representative’ in parliament.

    “Ich Dien”!

    Graham E Livings
    sometime 611th Mayor of Wells

  • Sadly, our Conservative MP’S in Somerset appear to have nothing but contempt for our County. . . .

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