Sunday, 11 April 2010

National logos

During my visit to the UK last week, I chanced upon the Cool Britannia store in Piccadilly. Once I'd got over the shock of thinking that I'd fallen into some kind of time warp and that the British will be re-electing Mr Blair in May, I had a quick look around this palace of patriotism.

As well as the "Best of British" brands such as Burberry, Marmite and HP Sauce, the national logo is served up here on everything from cars to underpants. "Cool" is not exactly how I'd describe it, but there is a rather glorious tastelessness about it that is strangely compelling. I felt taken back to the days when I envied Goodie Tim Brooke-Taylor's waistcoat (Union Jack, naturally, for those too young to remember).

I am sure that having an "iconic" (bleurgh!) national logo is partly responsible for our collective delusion that we still rule the waves, or the world, or something. This we share with our friends from over the pond. Other nations do this on a smaller scale, such as Brazil, or Canada.

But within Europe, the only country that comes even close to us when it comes to shameless commercial plugging of the national logo are the Swiss - is it any coincidence that they too are resistant to the single currency?

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