No apology over torch flag grab
OLYMPIC bosses have failed to apologise after a policeman grabbed a St Piran's flag from the young Cornishman carrying the torch over the Tamar.
Liberal Democrat MP Dan Rogerson, who represents North Cornwall, urged them to say sorry for removing 20-year-old Andrew Ball's flag.
It was given to him by BBC Radio Cornwall's Michael Taylor, and initially carried without incident.
Mr Rogerson said a video posted online appeared to show a member of the Metropolitan Police's torch security team receiving instructions through his earpiece before confiscating the flag as Mr Ball approached the border – set in AD936 by King Athelstan at the Tamar's eastern bank.
Fantastic offer at Swanson Ford, Newton Abbot. 3 Years FREE Servicing and 5 Years Warranty available on your BRAND NEW FORD FIESTA with the AWARD WINNING ECOBOOST ENGINE!!!
Terms: Limited stock available. Only whilst stock lasts
Contact: 01626 240583
Valid until: Tuesday, December 24 2013
Mr Rogerson has written to Lord Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and himself a former Cornish MP, to ask for an apology.
He also raised the issue in Parliament and said the incident had sparked anger across the Duchy.
"To many in Cornwall, this sends out a signal that English, Welsh or Scottish identity is fine, but that Cornish identity is not to be accepted by the London-based Olympic authorities," he said. "Andrew Ball and the people of Cornwall deserve an apology."
However, a London 2012 spokesman said torchbearers were required to carry the Olympic flame in the official uniform only.
"We would ask that people respect that for the 300 metres they carry the flame," he said.
"Torchbearers are welcome to do any pre- or post-run interviews with their flags; it's just the run with the flame that we ask is undertaken in the uniform. Flags of all types waved by people along the route are very, very welcome."
Sheryll Murray, Conservative MP for South East Cornwall, said she was in Saltash standing at the bridge but did not see the incident.
"Having watched the video, I'm very disappointed that this has occurred and would like a full explanation," she said.
"Being Cornish, I'm very proud of our flag and it's good to see it mixed in with the many Union Jacks showing what a great, united nation we are."
Mebyon Kernow councillor John Gillingham, who publicised the incident online, said he agreed with Mr Rogerson, and hoped Lord Coe would apologise promptly.
"The UK Government has claimed in the past that not providing the same level of protection to the Cornish as they do for others does not result in Cornish culture or identity losing out," he said.
"This has been shown several times now to be false.
"Cornwall Council is apparently working hard to try and bring this about by gaining the Cornish people protection under the Framework Convention for National Minorities; I say it can't come soon enough."
To view the video, visit http://bit.ly/KfDJak