LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Scottish flag

So, Scottish saltire flags are upsetting to your correspondent, Brian Wilson?   It’s fair to say, attitudes to flags are worth examining.     I remember, many years ago, one of the Faslane Peace campers observed to me, that basically, flags were, ‘Just bits of coloured cloth and were not worth fighting over’.

I’ve often looked at my own Scottish saltire and honestly considered if there was any real purpose in carrying one. I then remembered that the guy who had made the remark that day, was quite happy, as was I, to carry a CND flag and in his case; an Anarchist flag.    So flags have something to do with identity – even to Anarchists!

When I see the man who was the chairperson of ‘Scotland in Union’, which bitterly opposed independence for Scotland in the Independence referendum – who also, in the past, was a Labour MP and Tony Blair government minister, who (with Blair), supported the war in Iraq and who never even wanted a Scottish Parliament, I can’t help wondering, if his comments are simply another of his attempts to be more unionist than the Unionists?

Strangely, he has (union) flag-loving bedfellows amongst the Tories, who also do not hesitate to state their objection to the St Andrew’s cross flag. Over the past two years, these same Tories have thought it really important to change the Scottish saltire, which is the mark of Scottish produce, to Union flags including (aye, really) even Scotch whisky bottles.

So, once more, Brian Wilson’s distaste for our Scottish saltire is shared by the Tories.

Apparently, some of his, ‘Scotland in Union’ friends, believe the Union flag is the antithesis of the Scottish saltire – hence their campaign, to remove the St Andrew’s flag logo, from Scottish produce and substitute the Union flag in its place.

Incredibly this also now extends to Harris Tweed and Scotch Whisky.

He gives himself away, when he ties his remarks, on flags, with a snide remark about Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond in relation to the Scottish saltire.

Up to that point, he might have convinced some, of his impartiality in respect of all flags, but given his own political history and the viciously anti-independence comments regularly attributed to him. I cannot help but think he has used his comments on the Scottish flag, really as a way of furthering his own views on staying in the UK union.

Some people actually use the word, ‘Unionist’ to describe folk like him – and I confess, I am one of those who sees him as a Unionist.

He believes in the UK Union and obviously, he is entitled to his views, but to berate those who proudly carry the St Andrew’s flag, and want out of the UK union as somehow, trying to use the history of Ireland as a way of encouraging anti-unionist views, is gross in the extreme.

All I can say to that is Grow up!

Everything in Scottish politics, is not about Ireland and he really should not go there in the points he purports to make.

Scotland is more than just the West of Scotland, which has many Irish connections and in many, many ways; a shared history.

Where I now live, I’m delighted to say, folks would not have a clue as to what he refers and I, for one, amongst very many, am happy to get on with working for a united Scotland, where religion, or lack of it, is only the business of an individual and no one else.

A unionist, with a history of opposing Scottish independence – including having been the chairperson of the main organisation which opposed it – giving advice to those of us who proudly carry a Scottish saltire?  I’ll keep flying my St Andrew’s cross flag!

Harry Bickerstaff

35 Davidson Place

St Cyrus

Aberdeenshire

DD10 0BS


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