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I always wondered what it would take for a global media group to report on Chorley. I had guessed it would be a regional war between East and West Lancashire that Chorley, maybe through referendum, was obliged to join. Central Lancashire has never sat comfortably within old school shire definitions.

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But no! The Washington Post focused on a story (originally featured on the beeb) that gave a tip of the hat to religious tolerance amidst the sterile, linear preoccupations of western medical science. I am a huge supporter of accommodating cultures as best as is possible within state institutions. It’s a simple argument – Flexibility = Awareness = Concern for the Individual = Fewer feelings of being damaged goods inside a process beyond ones control. Of course this doesn’t help

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the Muslim lady who still suffers the sight of old men and their bared arse-cheeks strutting around in the old hospital gowns. This development of fashion occurred shortly before doctors were asked to leave their ties at home. An NHS initiative realised that if they were going to put a stop to MRSA, which a couple of years ago accounted for 5,000 deaths in UK hospitals, then they should start by preventing unwashed lengths of cotton dangling from the necks of bedside carers. It was a practical piece of advice that may or may not have contributed to the fall in MRSA victims last year. It wasn’t a totally uncontroversial change in policy. My Dad pointed out that, oncemore, it was the little-man that suffered. Whilst the lowly doctor was instructed on what he could and could not wear for work, the high and mighty consultants cavorted along unaffected and unaware; “They all wear bowties” said Dad.

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Whilst the folks covering up in hospitals maintain their religious modesty thanks to the concern/ingenuity/market exploitation of others, Southern Belle-Ends (my term) go out of their way to make an individual statement directly opposed to any consideration of modesty. This lasses dress might not be dangerously short, but it is dangerously racist. She was shocked to be turned away at the door when she rocked up to her senior prom wrapped in a confederate flag. Look, we’ll forgive the dukes of hazard but we won’t forgive you. If a few moths can feast whilst the rag rots then at least some good has come of it. All this got me to thinking about visual culture, flags, fashion, signs, insignia and the weight people attribute their beloved ideology and its associated images. It would be great to be a global village without discontents. We could all be Happy, Happy Happy Island People and

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the Island would be earth. If on the way to that we burnt all flags, and by defacto dissolve nationalism, patriotism and (Britain’s favourite) Jingoism, that would be perfect. I was surprised to learn that it is illegal to burn the star-bangled-spanner, but then again I surprised to see a n 8 year old girl on the roof of my local school reverently lowering and folding the flag daily. It was blowing a gale and the rain was lashing in sideways on her this afternoon. She got wrapped up in the 9 foot piece of cloth a couple of times, but like a trooper, still maintained poise and dignity throughout the task – probably the same temperament that secured her the distinguished responsibility. Which brings me merrily to this image.

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Why at the top of a mountain, would one choose to mimic-mock-homage a heavily politicized and iconic image of American identity? Well, in this case, it was because one of our party found a miniature flag on the trail and this was a better use than leaving it to degrade the wilderness.

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