A PATRIOTIC campaign calling for Bolton schools to permanently fly the union flag and for pupils to sing the national anthem at assemblies has been launched by a councillor.
Cllr Mudasir Dean has called for the changes as he hopes it will increase pupils’ national pride.
The Bradshaw councillor said he wants to show youngsters there is nothing wrong with being patriotic.
He also wants to see schools fly the St George’s flag on April 23, the saint’s day, and the Commonwealth flag in March.
Cllr Dean said: “My grandfather came to Bolton in the 1920s from India. He lived here all his life and he was the first Asian to settle in Bolton — he was a true English gentleman and a true Boltonian.
“Throughout my teens and growing up in Bolton, I’ve seen less and less of the union flag. It’s been hijacked by the far right and it’s time we take that symbol back into mainstream British, Bolton life.
“We hear complaints from people who come to this country and don’t settle, and some of it is our own fault.
"If we were more patriotic — if we sang our national anthem and flew our flag — and instilled it in our younger generations, they would do.
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“I think it’s a win-win situation. It’s not rubbing anyone up the wrong way. It’s a symbol of all the things we are proud of as British citizens.”
He added: “I really do hope that we get all parties on this. I believe it’s a non-political motion.”
Councillors will vote on whether to approve Cllr Dean’s motion tonight at Bolton Town Hall.
Speaking yesterday Cllr Chris Peacock, a school governor at Westhoughton High and The Gates Primary, said he had not yet decided how he would vote.
But added he was concerned with the practicalities of the motion.
Cllr Peacock said: “Who will pay for these new flag poles and flags? Schools’ budgets are already stretched.
“In the already packed school day, is there time for the national anthem to be sung?
“Does Cllr Dean want this to lead to us all 'pledging allegiance to the flag' as in America?
“If Cllr Dean believes this should be the priority for our schools, then I'm worried.
“Raising the union flag won't raise standards — that should be our priority.”
The Bolton News will be blogging live from full council tonight — follow all the action online from 7pm.
- The motion has now been passed. Read more here.