The Saltire strikes back

A guest post by John Fitzpatrick

Lots of things are happening just now in relation to the chaos around Brexit and the goings on of Boris Johnson – Lyin Bastert Johnson as I think he is known on this site. Interesting they may be but they are not issues that would make me or many other people change their views on independence.

I would like to indulge in a personal comment that has no news value whatsoever but is a gut issue that might win hearts over more than shenanigans over Brexit and the ignored decisions of Scottish courts.

That is what is our flag and what are we as a nation and a people? Where do our allegiances lie? We should ask these questions because when – or if – we become independent then the UK will become a real foreign country – not the foreign country we have always know it was. This means we will be able to ignore Westminster, get rid of British troops from our soil, put our own interests first and hope our interfering southern neighbours will changes the habits of centuries and respect our right to live life as we see it on our side of the garden fence.

About 25 years´ ago I was going through US immigration at Miami airport and wrote “Scottish” on the form asking for my nationality. When I handed it to the official she scored “Scottish” out and scrawled “UK” instead. As I had already had experience of how American officials in uniform react to answering them back, I bit my tongue, dug my nails into my palms and entered the US legally but beelingly.

In fact, she had done nothing wrong and I had nothing to complain about because Scotland is not a sovereign state and does not issue its own passports. A smart-arse Irishman I knew gleefully pointed this out one drunken night, producing his Guinness harp-adorned passport for dramatic effect. Ouch!

A quarter of a century later I still have a British passport, a document I regard with the same disdain as the pass which black South Africans had to carry during the apartheid era. I might be accused of exaggerating because the English-dominated UK state has not treated me as harshly as the apartheid system treated non-white citizens. However, this “British” passport I am forced to carry in order to travel across an international border does not represent me or where I come from. It represents “This England”. After all, not only does “British” equal “English” in the eyes of many if not most English people but people in other countries know almost nothing about Scotland and think it is part of England. Broadcasters, newspapers and magazines routinely refer to England rather than the UK and show maps in which Scotland appears as part of England. I am sure all of us have had experience of this, either as visitors or as expatriates.

However, I no longer care or get frustrated. After all they are right. England has always been in the driving seat. Sure individual Scots have done well for themselves and even become prime minister or head of the military but the nation has never been given this chance. “England expects” and Scotland delivers.

The only view of “British” I now accept is related to geography – the British Isles – or history – the British Empire. The British army still flies the union flag over Edinburgh Castle like military occupiers showing who is in charge. It used to fly like that over places like Jalalabad, Delhi, Singapore, Washington, Dublin, Rangoon, Nairobi and Kingston just to remind the locals who was in charge. By continuing to fly over Edinburgh, it makes the point that Scotland is under British, i.e. English domination and there is a garrison there to show who is boss.

After all this Anglicization, I felt that if English people regarded British as being the same as English or associated with English values then let them use the term that way. Remember Humpty Dumpty in “Through the Looking Glass” who says, “When I use a word, it means just what I want it to mean”? So the English are welcome to it because “British” does not include “Scottish”, “Welsh” and “Irish” values and I doubt if it ever has.
Another term, “the Celtic fringe”, comes to mind. This is a patronizing insult used by the descendants of Anglo-Saxon invaders as if we Celts were an unsightly loose thread with a button on it dangling from a shirt. It might be best to try and sew it back on but why bother wasting time on such a trivial task?

This change from accepting to rejecting “Britishness” was a long process that took almost 30 years in my case. I was born in the 1950s when Scotland was an intrinsic part of the UK and nationalism as a political force was a dormant seed. The union flag flew high and the Saltire was relegated to cultural events. Supporters of independence in those days were portrayed as hairy, kilted savages wielding claymores and targes, the precursors of the woad-painted, bare-chested Conan the Barbarian types the unionist press still uses to illustrate articles about independence.

This was a ridiculous misrepresentation of Scottish nationalism then just as it is now. For example, it was not a horde of Bannockburn re-enactors that broke into Westminster Abbey in 1950 and repatriated the Stone of Scone but four middle class students with duffel coats and scarves. They “stole” it according to the press at that time although they were actually recovering stolen goods. I always found it interesting that none of these students was ever prosecuted. One of them, Ian Hamilton, claimed in 2008 that the UK government had taken this decision because it feared there would be protests in Scotland if they ended up in court.

This might sound irrelevant nowadays but it showed that these early supporters of independence – whether garbed in blue bonnets with eagle feathers or tweed jackets with leather elbow patches – were reflecting a genuine grievance. The dormant seed would start flourishing sooner than the complacent British Establishment ever imagined.

There may have been little support for independence among voters in those days but the UK governments were unknowingly stoking nationalist feelings by their contemptuous handling of Scotland´s interests. I don´t have space to go into all this here but a brief list would include the siting of Polaris missiles in the Holy Loch in the 1960s, the construction of a nuclear power reactor at Dounreay, which showed how that the UK regarded Scotland as a convenient carpet to shove its dirt under, the ending of steel production and coal mining, the Upper Clyde Shipyard closure, the poll tax etc. The discovery of vast oil reserves in the North Sea went to enrich the “British” Treasury. (Incidentally, I urge you to read James Robertson´s novel “And the Land Lay Still” which covers this period.)

After decades of this treatment Scots were finally learning that being “British” meant nothing. We were the minority then. The response of our unionist compatriots in the “Scottish” Labour, Conservative and Liberal parties was to say that the English were the majority so “sit back and dae whit ye’re telt!” As for the restoration of the Scottish Parliament, that was as a cynical move by the Labour government of the time to kill independence feelings “stone dead”. It backfired and provided a leadership under the SNP – OK and the Greens if you insist – that Scots did not have until then.

There was also a cultural undercurrent that was crucially important. This involved writers, musicians, artists, dramatists and film makers. Poets like Sorley MacLean, Robert Garioch, Norman MacCaig and, of course, dear old plodding Hugh MacDiarmid who tried to revive Scots as a language were and are unsung heroes. Our national anthem stopped being “God Save the Queen” and became “Flower of Scotland”. Andy Stewart and Moira Anderson stepped aside for the Corries, Five Hand Reel, Runrig and The Proclaimers.

The Saltire started to fly in public again, outnumbering the tired union banner that has outstayed its welcome. I cannot describe how thrilled I was to see the Saltire flying outside the City Chambers in George Square on a trip back to Glasgow. My dream is to see it fly over Edinburgh Castle and for the British flag to be hauled down, folded up and given away to whoever wants it because we certainly don’t.

I know there are still lots of Scots who regard themselves as British but they are an endangered species. The latest survey I could find from You Gov in 2016 showed that 56% of those interviewed felt “Scottish not British” or “More Scottish than British” while 29% felt “Equally Scottish and British”. Those who felt “British not Scottish” or “More British than Scottish” came to 10%. I imagine most of the latter were English or other non-Scots. This is an astonishing result and shows that more than half those polled were either hostile or indifferent to “Britishness”. Once that concept goes – as was seen in the Brexit vote – then the UK will collapse and Scotland will go its own way and be a nation again.

Don’t forget a majority of those born in Scotland actually voted “Yes” as did those aged up to 39 with the 40 to 50-year-olds split down the middle.

John Fitzpatrick is a lifelong supporter of independence. He comes from Glasgow and has worked as a journalist in several countries. He now lives in Brazil but visits Scotland regularly.

62 comments on “The Saltire strikes back

  1. An excellent read, many thanks. Your words reinforced many of my own thoughts.

  2. EllieD says:

    “As for the restoration of the Scottish Parliament, that was as a cynical move by the Labour government of the time to kill independence feelings “stone dead”.” This statement is incorrect.
    It was a requirement mandated from the Council of Europe and John Major would have had to restore the Parliament if he had not lost the election.

    • Golfnut says:

      Just so, but it doesn’t undermine the fact that devolution was a cynical move by both Labour and the liberals to undermine a growing movement towards Independence. The fact, that this was driven by the EU barely reached beyond the political anorak.

  3. Stuart MacKay says:

    Siting the various reactors at Dounreay wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Although the reasons were somewhat dubious it did keep the local economy ticking over (and my dad employed). There was that wee incident when supposedly low-level waste dumped down a shaft went critical and the one where radioactive particles were scatted all over the place, notably at Sandside. However, generally, apart from a general sense of foreboding centred on imminent nuclear catastrophe, it wasn’t that bad,

    Fortunately the good folks of Caithness dodged a catastrophe when the British establishment decided not to go ahead with the testing of nuclear weapons off Noss Head on the grounds that the excessive rainfall in the area might cause problems with fallout. Instead they decided that Maralinga in Australia was, on balance, a better choice. Sadly I don’t have a reference for this – only a childhood memory of reading this in the “from the archives” section of the John O’Groat Journal.

    • Golfnut says:

      Your memory serves you well, Noss Head was one of I think 5 sites considered or recommended for consideration. I can’t remember though if it was the only site in the UK.

    • It was a bad thing to site a nuclear reactor in dounreay I passed it recently what a ridiculous blot on the pristine coastline it is .
      Sorry but sighting nuclear reactors to give peoples dads a job , or their mums for that matter isn’t good enough reason for doing it.
      Nuclear reactors get old , governments continue to license them even when old , they deteriorate and leak and governments cover up, people get sick and die and they continue to license them.
      We don’t NEED them, I know some say they are cheaper than other methods but the fact is we don’t NEED them.
      Recent disasters across the world do not deter governments, that’s because people in those governments get immediate warnings when things go wrong and have the finance and authority to escape quickly.

      • Stuart MacKay says:

        I don’t recall saying it was a good thing. Perhaps you missed the part where I mentioned the small nuclear “explosion” they had in a waste area that was supposedly low risk and that there was significant pollution of the surrounding area that needed long-term and expensive cleanup.

        • bringiton says:

          The main problem with nuclear power is not so much the reactors,which have a good safety record,but what happens with the waste when it comes out of the containment vessels.
          Having worked in the industry,I believed that the main purpose of the civil programme was to maintain the military one and Britain’s seat at the “top” table.
          Renewables now offer a better alternative along with things such as pump storage to maintain base load.
          However,as usual,not our (Scottish) decision.

        • No but I’m saying it’s a bad thing

          • Stuart MacKay says:

            For Scotland definitely. We’re blessed with an enormous quantity of renewable energy and the brains to make it work for us and anyone else who is interested.

            One reason that Dounreay was not all bad is that it provided the infrastructure (decent powerlines going south) that allowed the Maygen tidal power project to go ahead, https://simecatlantis.com/projects/meygen/ Now if they can make the Duncansby Ness project work they can do anything.

            Scotland as world leader in renewables. Sounds good to me.

        • Gordie says:

          You are of much the same mind as myself.

      • Andy Anderson says:

        It was built to get plutonium for nuclear weapons being to small to be commercially viable.

  4. Andy Anderson says:

    I enjoyed reading your take on our path to independence John. (Was that you who had immigration issues earlier this year for his wife/partner when you visited Glasgow)?

    I to long for the removal of the Union flag from official buildings in Scotland.

    Brazil!! I bet it is not 8C there.

  5. Golfnut says:

    I think this will resonate with many, like you, born in the fifties, britishness irked and the white Heather club made me cringe. Really enjoyed reading this.

    • The white heather club Andy Stuart etc etc presented on bbc and itv as Scottish my parents in hm forces we went country to country everywhere we went the English laughed at these tv programmes at new year etc, Scottish people we met didn’t like them , who were they for ?

  6. Mary McCabe says:

    When I was in my teens I got really angry when people said “English” when they meant “British” but by the time I was in my 20s I was avoiding using the term “British” at all except in the strictly geographical (British Isles) sense. In hopes the word gets confined to history like “Prussian” or “Norman”. Even referring to my passport I prefer the word “UK” as sound purely legal with no pretence to common culture or values.

  7. Bob Lamont says:

    Bravo John, a tale of a personal journey in these absurd tumultuous times..
    The Miami experience seemed odd as even at that time a US official would have either entered English or British, but your tongue-biting response was indeed wise.
    One of the curious aspects in recent times with all the Brexit nonsense has been a growing awareness of Scotland, Scots, and their different politics and condition within the DUK. It must be infuriating for the Britnat troll armies and media manipulators that despite all their endeavours to bury Scotland, a separate identity and politics is emerging with greater clarity outside the UK. There were many overseas correspondents at the Edinburgh AUOB march, demonstrating both genuine interest and recognition the UK Press are “unrepresentative”..
    Like you, looking forward to that Scottish passport, it’s coming yet…

  8. The 10% English are still here , a bit more than 10% now I think , they increase by 1% a year according to govt stats , add to that people from countries outside the eu who are here in Scotland because they have either been here less than five years and are hoping to get british citizenship once five years is reached and then get a british passport or they have already got both either way they love Britishness and having a british passport and will never ever vote against the british state for fear of losing that british passport.
    This twenty percent of our Scottish electorate voting for Britishness before you start puts the achievement of getting over 50% in favour Scottish independence in perspective .
    It’s the Scottish Labour voters who decide to vote for Scottish independence that will decide matters.

    • Undeadshuan says:

      I dont agree with 10% English, all voting no, a lot of people are moving here to escape brexit and will vote yes to remain in the EU as that’s more important them. Do you have facts to back up what you are saying?

      I was born in England does that make me a no voter?

      The ones in Scotland who will vote consistently no, are those in the intersection on a venn diagram of Rangers supporters and orange members

    • Andy Anderson says:

      I am English, live in Scotland and actively support Indy.

      During my street stall activity the English belief we are subsidised by U.K. Once you correct this they listen.

        • Andy Anderson
          Sorry mate but people like yourself get on my nerves when you say stuff like this because we all know nearly every English person living in Scotland voted against Scottish independence in 2014 and they will do so again , so some including yourself vote YES ? it’s the huge majority of English people that live in Scotland and vote against Scottish independence that gets on my nerves and then when a Scottish person like myself complains up you pop with the I run a stall comment or Scotland for yes comment which I think is ridiculous , if I were living in England would I vote in a referendum on English independence ? NO I would not it’s nothing to do with me I’m Scottish not English doesn’t matter where I live .
          I didn’t become English during the fifteen years I lived in England and would never ever ever have dreamed of thinking it would be alright for me to vote on a question of whether or not england should remain in the U.K. or become independent .

          • Andy Anderson says:

            Have you ever heard of the indy grouping called ‘English Scots for Independence’

            Thought not.

            • Cubby says:

              I think Terence knows fine well about English Scots for Independence. He also likes to create his own stats as well about the number of foreigners living in Scotland – particularly the English, as they were beastly to him when he lived in England. Terence has a massive boulder on his shoulder about the English. Terence thinks only true Scots born in Scotland should be allowed to vote for Scottish independence. Terence is what is called a blood and soil Nationalist and every so often his hatred of the English boils to the surface. He just can’t help himself.

          • Millsy says:

            It is rather extreme to suggest that people who have moved to Scotland to live their lives should NOT get a say in how our country is governed . Yes , some may not vote in the way YOU wish them to – but so do many people born here . Your personal decision not to get involved in a country’s constitutional arrangements because you were not born there is admirable if a little difficult to accept .
            Anyone who has made the decision to contribute to a country has a right to make constitutional decisions for that country .

            • Jamie MacDonald says:

              ‘Anyone who has made the decision to contribute to a country has a right to make constitutional decisions for that country .’ Ha-ha!-you crack me up Millsy..Great guest post btw, thanks!

          • Undeadshuan says:

            Facts aren’t your forty are they?

            You have a narrative you are espousing, but have no facts to back it up.

            EU nationals and any one who lives in Scotland from commonwealth country will quite rightly get to vote in the next independence referendum as they did the last time.

            To go down the path of excluding sections of people is a path to the dark side.. apologies for plagiarising Yoda.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      That’s quite a leap from ‘Those who felt “British not Scottish” or “More British than Scottish” came to 10%’, to voting against Indy. Is your voting intent predicated on your sense of national identity?
      To then assume that this 10% does not already include those who have acquired or are acquiring a UK passport via citizenship is an even greater leap. Doubling the 10% on the basis their citizenship is revoked? Really?
      “It’s the Scottish Labour voters who decide to vote for Scottish independence that will decide matters”, presumably ignores how many are English, or those who acquired UK citizenship, let alone those who for a multitude of reasons are set against it?
      According to independent polling we are around the 50% mark already, soon enough Johnson and Westminster’s antics will swell that upward, but if you can convince Labour voters to rally to the cause, so much the better. I wouldn’t bother with Leotard though, not because he’s English, but because, you know, he’s a twit. 😉

  9. Chaz Wisdom says:

    👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👌 Tiochaidh ar la.

  10. Liz g says:

    A great post John,it mirrors my own experience.
    But…. And don’t shoot the messenger.

    We’re in that flag too,who says England get to keep it?
    We’re one half of the “British Union ,there are only Two Kingdoms in the United Kingdom . Wales is a Principality and N. Ireland a Province.
    Why are we to give up the “British” identity when we end the Treaty that both Scotland and England signed up to,to create it?

    We have been led by the Media and the BrItish Nationalists to think of and refer to the – rUK- narrative. I’ve done it myself.
    That Scotland is a new State and England Wales and N.Ireland are the Continuing State seems to be very important to Westminster.
    Probably because of the International Brand Recognition having value.
    That Brand Britain belongs with what will be the English Parliament seems to be almost automatically accepted!!!
    Well that’s no exactly true or more to the point agreed upon.
    We’ve as much a claim to the use of it as Westminster/England do?
    Therefore I’d say that we shouldn’t be so quick to walk away from the Brand.
    Not without extracting a price.
    Giving it up should be part of the negotiation.

  11. Petra says:

    Great post John. Thanks for that. Like you and hundreds of thousands / millions of others I can’t wait to see every last Union Flag (nukes etc) removed from Scotland and be replaced by the Saltire. Seemingly the cabal at Westminster are planning to flood Scotland with UF’s and of course there’s a massive move on to brand our foodstuff with their Butchers Apron.

    Our latest Governer General, Alister (Union) Jack, has also suggested that we that hold a “Union bank holiday” by forfeiting “a left-wing” holiday. Left-wing, eh? I wonder what one that would be? New Year’s Day or St Andrew’s Day?

    Stuart here’s a link to their proposed nuclear weapons test on the Scots. Reported over 60 years later. Makes you wonder what else they planned to do? More so, what they’re planning to do with Scotland now.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duncansby_Head

  12. Willie John says:

    Whilst you are waiting for my Scottish passport I went on the internet and purchased some small ‘sticky’ Saltires. They were just the right size to cover the UJ on my drivers license. I also put one on the front of my UK passport, if anyone complains it’s so I know which one is mine and which is my wives.

    • Dave Albiston says:

      I also have a sticker on my driving licence. As I recently moved house, I have sent it off for a new one but have requested one without the UJ which I pointed out was available in NI.

  13. bringiton says:

    Thank you John and I am sure that this reflects what many Scots feel.
    Identity is in the hearts of most people,they identify themselves with fellow humans who have a common cause and culture.
    Many British Labour supporters I have met in Scotland do their very best to deny that Scotland is a country and along with that Scottish identity.
    Their main prop is that nationalism is bad and that there should not be any borders (divisions) between people.
    Laudable but naive.
    Brexit has shown us that the English establishment do not believe in any of that pooling and sharing malarkey but that it has to be their way or else and since we voted (for ever) in 2014 to continue to be ignored,that is what they are going to do (for ever).
    Let’s hope that in the coming democratic expressions of will,Scots manage to gird their loins and decide to go for self governance.
    I live in hope.

  14. Muscleguy says:

    Why the sneering ‘and the Greens if you insist’? What is it with SNP types who cannae handle democracy?

    The problem is that with both the SNP and The Greens disappearing down the GRA rabbit hole who are us yessers going to be able to vote for? There MIGHT be a Wings Party on the List but what about otherwise?

    I may not vote SNP or Green again unless they stop throwing women under the bus. When the SNP should be figuring out how to get us out of this septic Union fastest instead they are pushing the line by a tiny number of entering radicals who do not care about women’s rights and Nicola sees nothing wrong with this.

    Meanwhile Stonewall has split with Lesbians and Gays leaving the Trans lovies to it. Now it will be LBG and over there QT. The Tavistock is being sued right left and centre and Nicola notices nothing amiss?

    • Petra says:

      ”When the SNP should be figuring out how to get us out of this septic Union fastest instead they are pushing the line”…

      It’s been put on the back burner.

  15. Cubby says:

    An interesting post.

  16. Eckle Fechan says:

    My daughter, aged four and a half, loves the Saltire. She refers to it as the “Freedom Flag”, an endearing term she learnt from her Mother while I was away from them briefly last year on the AUOB march in Edinburgh. (It was great to be back in the city of my Father’s birth, and to pay pilgrimage to him atop Arthur’s Seat, where I’d scattered his ashes a couple of years earlier – the answer wis blawin in the wind that day as it carried him all the way home to Musselburgh.) But I digress.
    It was an emotional homecoming, and equally emotional too when I returned back to be with my family after the glorious sight of endless Saltires adorning the Royal Mile and Holyrood Park, held aloft by Independence supporters who had travelled far and wide to be there.
    Sadly there’s no local indyref group and unlikely to be where I live, in rural Bucks, with my English daughter and Indian wife.
    I am a working class economic migrant propelled South by necessity having been furtherly educated in the grand academic Scottish tradition during the latter days of the Th****er era, an instinctive survival impulse to go-to-college after leaving school, mainly to avoid the unemployment stats at the time.
    How ironic then that I should end up living in such a quintessentially Tory constituency, represented by none other than the man Bercow himself, settled but unsettled as I have been for years with the political situation in the Motherland.
    But I believe, and I still long for the day when the rightful balance will be restored and a new era of enlightenment will emerge and bloom from freethinking citizens of a progressive social democracy that acts in the interests of the common good. Given the opportunity to seize victory in an indyref2, I only hope that I am brave enough to enact the power of my convictions and migrate homewards again, if practical circumstances allow, and perhaps sow some seeds for my daughter to play a role in shaping a more equitable and fair society, one preoccupied with the interests of people over profit.
    But hey, this my dream, not hers, and I need to be mindful of that. Nature and nurture have to work hand in hand, values are also handed down like the genetic blueprint, and that can make all the difference too, I hope.
    Back in the 80s my Mother pleaded with my Father for well over a year to sign the papers that would allow her (and him, as the joint named tenant) to purchase their council house. It created tension that I could never fathom at the time but much later, near the end of his days and long after she had dearly departed, I did get the chance to ask him why he was so resistant and what made him change his mind. His answer was simple and so typically human of a man truly detached of earthly possessions. He said, “Think aboot it. These hooses were made fir folk that couldnae afford tae buy. If we buy this wan, whaur ar the next generation gaunnae live?” So why d’ye sign then? “Ye’r Mither wanted it fir you.” You can imagine, perhaps, the lump in ma thrapple after that yin. Years later (after the early rise trip tae Auld Reekie and padding the hoof in the dark onto the top of Arthur’s Seat fir sunrise and The Scattering), I contacted the local council and attempted to sell it back to them as council housing stock (recognising that our neighbouring semi had never been bought/sold). You can imagine the response I got from the official jobsworth who couldn’t even be arsed to consider helping that notion.
    If you’ve made it this far, thanks for indulging me! One final thought – I have Chris Cairns’ fabulous cartoon of Nicola Sturgeon as the Statue Of Liberty (following her successful States-side trip two or three years ago) pinned up on a wall. This has also served as a handy educational frame of reference for my daughter as she learns the fantasies of princes, princesses, kings and queens. When I ask her, “Who is the the Queen Of Scotland?” she’s quick to reply! Just as she reads about Paddington’s trip to the Palace by day, she gets the Mary QoS story for kids at bedtime, alongside Bannockburn, Wallace, and the Young Robert Burns. Perhaps there will be a Nicola for kids story in the future, perhaps my daughter will write it. Look who’s fantasising (again) now! Education. Education. Education. Slàinthe!

  17. Iain Patterson says:

    As a student at Edinburgh College of Art in the 60’s – since the college looks directly onto the ‘back’ of Edinburgh Castle, some students with a telescope noticed one day that the Butcher’s Apron was flying upside down and informed the garrison by phone.
    Later that evening some heavies descended on the nearby college bar.

  18. Willie says:

    Take a look in Morrison supermarket and you’ll see a company that has implemented an orgy of Union Jack branding on most of its fresh meat – beef, lamb, pork and chicken.

    With the previously Saltire branded beef all but removed from the shelves, together with on many occasions the non display of labelling showing cutting and slaughter house codes ( which show traceability !) the intention to ditch the Saltire and submerge Scottish meat is crystal clear.

    Branding everything with a Union Jack destroys the ability of consumers to readily choose Scottish produce. It also gives retailers the opportunity to commingle produce under a generic label.

    A veritable race to the bottom and one does not have to think to hard about British beef and its reputation in tatters following the BSE crisis. But British Union Jack branding is back, at least in a Morrison’s as they promote their new pre Brexit agenda. Well why else would they start ditching the Saltire now?

    If it’s got a Jack then we should put it back. Better still avoid these Uber Brit supermarket chains who come to Scotland to flag out in Union Jackery.

    Aldi by comparison in Scotland have made a virtue out of sourcing Scottish produce and labelling it as such – beef, lamb, pork, chicken, fish, vegetables, cooking oils, and even things like sauces and jams.

    But Aldi are a German company attending to the markets they serve whereas Morrison’s are not – as their recent rebranding shows. Jeepers they’re even got Union Jack flagged fresh milk and cream now sitting next to Saltire flagged milk and cream.

    Consumer choice, yes we should all remember we have consumer choice. No one forces us to shop in a particular chain.

  19. Willie says:

    And whilst we are on the subject of supermarkets like Morrison’s who have moved to brand most of their fresh meat in Union Jacks let us also consider their neighbours the Walmart owned ASDA.

    Big issues their as that particular chain seeks to enforce new employment conditions on 100,000 who are being told if they do not accept the revised conditions then they will be forced to leave.

    And of the changes to their terms and conditions under-noted is a copy and paste from today’s BBC.

    “ The new contract drafted by the firm, which is owned by US retail giant Walmart, offers a pay rise to £9 per hour – but removes paid lunch breaks, while also cutting premium pay on bank holidays and reduces the number of night shift hours where workers can receive higher rates of pay.”

    “ The contracts, which also say staff must accept shifts that vary between 8am and 10pm and department changes at the supermarket’s discretion, must be signed by ASDA’s more than 100,000 hourly paid staff on 2 November.
    If not, staff will be forced to leave the firm. “

    And is this is the same ASDA who not so many years ago allegedly threatened to sue the SNP with more lawyers than you could shake a stick at because the issue of Union Jack branding of Scottish produce had been raised with them.

    Thankfully, the allegation of the threatening to sue appears not to have come to fruition when ASDA subsequently released a statement to say that they were thankful to an alert constituent who had raised the issue of their not complying with their own declared local produce procurement – minimised food miles policy and the suspicion that Union Jack branding could have been an opportunity to maybe mask product origin.

    Anyway, past product labelling issues aside, the threat to impose revised working conditions or else be forced to leave ( sacked – or selectively sacked – or selectively selected to have shifts cut ? ) does not seem to be the actions of a company with good employee relations.

    Anyway, maybe something consumers should bear in mind as we hurtle towards the very real threat of a Post Brexit – Out of the EU assault on workers rights.

    Well, do you think the elites like Boris Johnson, or the Rees Mogg’s will improve worker protections ?

  20. supchick says:

    I think it is really disempowering the way that the Scottish history of Edinburgh Castle is swept away to a corner and most of what the 1.5+ annual visitors only get to see how it was used as a military base for the suppression of the people of Scotland. It must have so many other empowering stories to tell and yet that is what one of the most visited Scottish symbols is reduced to. As members of Historic Scotland we have seen this in other places too such as a recent visit to Corgarff Castle when I asked the attendant about the horrific manner in which the British Army turned the occupants out and used it for a base for their soldiers and was met with what seemed like a dismissive comment about how it was ‘a dark and turbulent time in our nations history’ with absolutely no seeming empathy towards those the crime had been committed upon. Even in Kelvingrove there is a section on cultural minorities around the world which ends with a nod to the depopulation of the island of St Kilda but nowhere is there any reference to the Scottish culture pre-English occupation.
    Thanks for your post!

  21. raineach says:

    My nationality is Scots, my citizenship UK. The trouble is you were asked the wrong question

    • Liz g says:

      Are you no in fact a mear subject of Auld Lizzie Windsor?

      • Bob Lamont says:

        Subject was suspended in favour of citizenship. a quaint habit of most european countries.
        With the re-introduction of blue passports, JRM had already pressed for reversal of this stain upon sovereignty post-Brexit, but suggested rather than restoring to “Subject” for the generality, Serf, Oaf, and Village Idiot should be applied. This seemingly annoyed Boris Johnson supporters who knew him and the proposal was dropped before Mark Francois could have the different terms explained to him via a twanswator…

  22. I will be dressed in black tomorrow

    Supporting the all blacks wishing that they give England a tanking in the rugby world cup

  23. velofello says:

    At a party I had a discussion with a Spanish lady as the Catalan referendum approached, I expressed my view that… if I had moved to live Catalan in retirement I would not vote in the Catalan referendum, it was a matter for the Catalans.However had I moved to Catalan and raised a family there I would expect my children to vote. The lady agreed.

    And so I think English people in particular, and other nationalities moving into Scotland, need consider also – have you moved to Scotland to settle, and accept the democratic politics, way of life, of the Scottish people, or have you moved here solely for economic benefits and with intent to maintain/impose here, the politics and culture of the country you left?

    Finally I must add: where would we Scots be without the cultural and cuisine contributions of so many nations’ people who have settled here? I won’t name nations for fear of missing out, and offending, many welcome peoples.

  24. Petra says:

    An interesting turn up for the books, if Police Scotland gets a move on and isn’t nobbled by the Met.

    Indycar Ross:- https://youtu.be/-xraRUdbpXs

    Background information on Richard “dark money” Cook … Scottish Conservative and Unionist party. Mate of Ruth “dark money” Davidson … Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.

    http://www.opendemocracy.net/en/dark-money-investigations/revealed-dirty-secrets-of-dup-s-dark-money-brexit-donor/

    • Golfnut says:

      That would be the ‘ dark money ‘ Davidson never gets asked about, but Police Scotland isn’t the media. This will come back to haunt Police Scotland after Indy if they try to bury this.

  25. Petra says:

    Kind of sums it up, but no mention of us being trapped in their hell. Surprise, surprise.

    ‘The UK has messed up Brexit. Now Boris Johnson is trapped in hell.’

    …”Brexit is supposed to be done next Thursday. In reality we will probably still be talking about this for months, if not years, from now.”

    https://edition.cnn.com/2019/10/26/uk/brexit-was-not-meant-to-be-like-this-analysis-intl-gbr/index.html

  26. Cathy says:

    Well said and The Land lay still is a wonderful book!

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