My Lords, I must admit that I probably move in lower social circles than the noble Lord, Lord Smith of Clifton. Perhaps for that reason, and as a Member of Parliament for getting on for 27 years, I have lost count of the number of occasions when I have been approached by young Catholics to provide a supporting reference for their applications to join the RUC. Parents would say, "Eammon wants to join the force. He hasn't time to come and see you. Would you prepare a reference? We'll collect it on Saturday". It was quite a common occurrence. I am sorry to disagree with the noble Lord, but I have been a native of too long standing--80 years or so.
Noble Lords who have today proclaimed the virtues of ditching the present all-Ireland emblem remind me of citizens of various parts of the United Kingdom, particularly in that area of London where I reside for four or five days a week, who confess that they have switched their votes to another party, "Because it was time for a change". When asked, "Change to what?" they reply, "We don't get involved in politics and so forth. It's just time for a change".
So this is a change to what? We shall ditch something which should appeal to people in all parts of Ireland and Irish people abroad. Shall we switch, for example, to something as meaningless as a Sainsbury or Texaco logo? Is that the kind of logo to which we shall descend? If that is so, it is far better for us to forget about it altogether.