Family explains flying of Soviet flag in Stalybridge

THE family of Rod McCord has explained why they flew the Communist Party flag at New Stalybridge Labour Club at his funeral, a decision that caused a furore on social media.

The Communist Party flag was flying above the New Labour Club in Stalybridge

It was widely criticised coming days after the suspected Russian involvement in the nerve gas attack on double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

In a statement, his sons Danny and Patrick McCord said: “Our dad was a Communist and also a passionate local activist whose contribution made a difference to our community.

“We are very proud of him and wanted the memorial to be a fitting reflection of our father. As a family we took the decision to fly the Communist Party flag at full mast over the Stalybridge Labour Club.

“This was purely to mark our dad’s passing and in no way was it our intention to cause offence, upset or to associate the flag with the Labour Party.

“We also feel that given this has triggered a healthy debate, we recognise and acknowledge what this particular flag has come to represent. However, this is no different to the way many people across the world interpret the Union Jack, our national flag which has been hijacked by the far right.

“Had we taken the decision to fly the Union Jack, would this have been more appropriate? Certain not for our father.

“For our dad the Union Jack represents empire and as we all know the sun never set and the blood never dried. Atrocities have been committed in the name of all flags.”

Images of the flag sparked a furore on social media

Cllr Jan Jackson, chair of Stalybridge Town Council, said the flag being raised was a family matter and was “not aligned or associated in any way with the New Stalybridge Labour Club”.

The Labour councillor said: “It has gone viral and caused a furore on social media, something that should  not have happened.

“It was for the funeral of a very stalwart person who sat on the Tameside Hospital Action Board and did a lot of good work for the community.

“People are dying all over the world and struggling to put a loaf of bread on the table yet flying the flag has caused all this fuss. There are more important issues.”

Cllr Doreen Dickinson says she was received complaints from constituents, not only about the flag but also the Communist Red Flag being relayed by loudspeakers outside Stalybridge Civic Hall where the funeral took place. It is, however, the anthem of the British Labour Party.

Conservative Cllr Dickinson made a critical tweet, but removed the post after being contacted by Mr McCord’s family.

She said she never intended to upset the family, but added: “If it was a private funeral in a private building then you can you do whatever you wish, but the funeral was in a public building.

“The messages I received were not about the funeral, but about the flag flying and people were also disgusted about the Red Flag being played over speakers so it could be heard in the town centre.”

4 Replies to “Family explains flying of Soviet flag in Stalybridge”

  1. The red flag is a lovely song…as far as I am aware we do not have a law which bans communism. So what is the fuss about. Noreen is a member of a legitimate party also and as a councillor probably does unseen work on behalf of her constituents. However my advice to her (for what its worth) is like lots of politicians she should try to understand that trying to undermine others will not make her ideas any more valid. In may ways it diminishes them. Perhaps a little empathy for this family should counter the emnity displayed. And maybe an apology for her mistake would patch things up.

  2. Whoever was responsible for the reckless and horrific attack on the Russian former spy and his daughter and the consequent injuries to them and to a police officer, it was not the Soviet Union, which, for all it’s many shortcomings, sadly no longer exists.

    Perhaps what should be considered more relevant about this flag is that it was flown by the soldiers who defeated the forces of Hitler and his allies at Moscow, Stalingrad, Leningrad etc, those who liberated the Nazi extermination camp at Auschwitz (now commemorated as Holocaust Memorial Day) and flew it in triumph over the ruins of the Nazi capital.

    And we should also remember how many of those soldiers, along with countless other Soviet citizens died in that struggle, not to mention the heroes from our country and other Commonwealth and allied countries who died or risked death in sub-zero temperatures on the convoys to Murmansk and Archangel to provide much needed supplies to their Soviet allies.

    I never knew Rod McCord, but I certainly would have been proud to, and I would like to take this opportunity to pass on my condolences to his family and friends and to express my respect to those of them who chose to fly the Soviet flag in his honour.

    Evan Pritchard
    Communist Party of Britain
    Greater Manchester Branch

  3. Far right groups in this country may well attach themselves to the union flag, however, misguided as their politics may be they are at least in support of this great country with all its flaws and remarkable history. Those who choose to attach themselves to such a brutal regime such as the Soviet Union can also exercise this right under our protected freedom of speech, I wonder if the flying of the union flag would be tolerated in Moscow?

  4. The only people I saw stirring up trouble with regard this act of remembrance for a much loved man were members of the far right Conservative party, who hoped to gain politically from the fall out. They then like some dictatorial regime deleted any post that sort to add balance to the story before blocking the poster from commenting further;(

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