Part-time Perry sends distress signal with upside-down flag

Pole dunce: the Pakistan flag, the wrong way round, outside the Town Hall yesterday

Jason Perry’s attempts to pander to the borough’s various communities back-fired yesterday, when Croydon’s part-time Mayor presided over a ceremony in which he and an assorted clutch of dignitaries and hangers-on hoisted the Pakistan flag outside the Town Hall – but upside down.

The Pakistan flag was, in any case, only up the Town Hall flag pole for no more than a few hours (Sunday is independence day in Pakistan, which became a nation state on August 15, 1947), before it was removed to be replaced by the rainbow colours of the LGBTQ+ community.

It seems most likely that the irony of this civic flag swap – replacing the emblem of a state which criminalises homosexuality with a flag celebrating gay communities’ hard-won freedoms – will have been completely lost on Perry.

Star right: the correct way to fly the Pakistan flag

But that act alone might yet be interpreted as a deliberate insult to Croydon’s conservative Muslim community.

The vacuous lunchtime ceremony did underline the tokenism and lack of sincerity of the gesture politics being played by the flag-waving Tory Mayor.

Replacement: the LGBT+ flag in place at Croydon Town Hall yesterday evening

As any self-respecting vexillologist, or nine-year-old cub scout, could tell you (but apparently not Jason Perry), the flag which has served Pakistan for 75 years is green and white, with a crescent moon and star.

Importantly, the star should be above the moon, and not as Croydon Council presented it yesterday.

Perhaps though, as Perry reaches his first 100 days in office, this latest diplomatic gaffe was symbolic that things at the Town Hall are getting a bit difficult for the new Mayor?

Historically, from the age when flags were pretty much the only means of communication for sailing ships, flying a flag upside down was used as a distress signal.

Might the upside-down Pakistan flag be Perry’s way of showing that he is already all at sea?

Flagging up the error: how the council propaganda unit publicised the diplomatic gaffe. Mayor Perry is second from the right

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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8 Responses to Part-time Perry sends distress signal with upside-down flag

  1. derekthrower says:

    Not a flagging event that demonstrates part-time Perry is up for a photo opportunity, but not up to the job.

  2. Not only is the flag upside down (a sign of distress), it’s not the specified “dark green”, probably because it’s old or a cheap knock-off. Conservative incompetence or a calculated insult?

  3. Oh grief, this made me laugh. Upside down in the group shot!!! I’ve checked and this ceremony contravenes the Pakistan rules for their flag, apart from the upside down bit. First, it mustn’t touch the ground, shoes or feet or anything unclean, must be not be displayed anywhere where it is likely to get dirty.

  4. John Wentworth says:

    This article is deeply unfair to Mayor Perry. I was there. I specifically heard him ask the Pakistani community representatives if the flag was the right way up and they said it was fine. He may be responsible for a lot in the running of Croydon, but putting flags on the flagpole is unlikely to be in his job description.
    And it wasn’t ‘vacuous’ to those who attended. The community leaders I spoke to deeply appreciated the fact that both their Civic Mayor and Executive Mayor made the time to attend.

    • Here speaks the sometime agent of Steve Reed OBE, who has landed himself the gig as the vacuous “consort” to the pointless ceremonial Mayor (the councillor who presided over the Ofsted failure of the council’s children’s services).

      Defending the indefensible. Siding with Tory Mayor Perry.

      Croydon Labour 2022.

      A paradigm of pointlessness.

  5. Don White says:

    Croydon haven’t even noticed that it is the correct way up at the start of their tweet.

  6. If communities are worth celebrating they are also worth supporting with deeds, not just flags.

    The Pakistani communities might, for example, like to learn what the council has done to back local Pakistani community owned businesses, what aid is given to deal with particular health challenges of these communities, what has been done to provide local burial spaces, what has been done to have Islamic faith participation in the civic Remembrance Day service (Labour gave poor equivocal non-committal answers to me on that) and what lobbying has taken place for multi-faith academies with an Islamic ethos to match the support that has been given to other faith communities.

    If substance is not offered at Croydon council’s many flag wavings, then that is all that these occasions become.

    Well done to Mayor’s Consort John Wentworth for engaging with iC and confirming that Mayor Perry raised the flag upside down.

    The slipshod flag waving implies more thought needs to go into these occasions before they are embarked upon.

  7. moyagordon says:

    Very funny. There are few wry smiles from the Pakistani community in that photo. Could Perry have been set up for the gaffe? I wonder who’d want to do that?

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