Piers Morgan insisted he took pride in the use of the flag and did not appreciate the symbol being perceived as threatening because of its misuse. The comments came as part of a discussion on patriotism during which commentator Owen Jones insisted deeds are a far more powerful sign of one’s pride in the country than a flag. Mr Jones claimed patriotism can be “dangerous” for a country when the Government dismisses criticism of its actions as “unpatriotic.”
The Good Morning Britain presenter however insisted he liked showing off his appreciation of the country with the Union Flag.
Mr Jones said: “We don’t talk about history enough. There is a proud history in this country, it’s of people who’ve stood up against injustice often called unpatriotic at the time.
“The Suffragettes, thrown into dirty prison cells. The Chartists in the 19th century, the first great working-class political movement on Earth. The trade unionists who fought for workers’ rights like my great-grandad who got his wages docked for going on strike.
“The people who fought for the welfare state, the National Health Service. People who fought against racism and sexism and homophobia spat at in the streets, demonised by the media. Those are the giants whose shoulders we sit on.”
Piers Morgan cut Mr Jones off to say: “I would agree with that. What I don’t agree with is the kind of demonisation of patriotic symbols like the Union Flag.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a more important time to fly the Union Flag as the whole union is under threat.
“If your first thought is all the negative stuff, I think that actually that clouds the purity of patriotism too. It’s just pride in your country.
“It’s always going to be hijacked by nefarious people. They’re always going to try to drape themselves in the patriotic emblems of their country for nefarious reasons. But we shouldn’t lose track that you can wave a Union Flag and be proud of your country.”
Mr Jones insisted he remained very patriotic but took issue with the way pride in the UK had been used to dismiss criticism towards political action.
He said: “I am patriotic, I think there’s nothing more patriotic than wanting to rid your country of injustice.
“What shows your love for the country than wanting to feed all your children or putting a flag behind?
“When I say it’s dangerous and the way I think it could be dangerous, I think you’re actually an example, I’ll tell you why.”