Letter to The National 06/09/16
I’ve often heard Unionists complain that the saltire is not the property of the SNP or the Yes movement. If that’s the case, why do so many Unionists seem so reluctant to be seen with the flag of their own nation? A case in point is Ruth Davidson. Have a quick search on Google for images of Ruth Davidson. You can add on the terms Scotland or saltire if you wish, the result will be the same: one solitary photo out of hundreds where Ruth and the flag of our nation appear together. It’s a similar story with Labour’s soon to be ex-branch leader Kezia Dugdale. One solitary photo, and she’s probably gritting her teeth while it’s being taken. There are no photos of Willie Rennie with our national flag, but there is one of him being bopped on the nose by a spaniel.
It seems clear to me that for all their words to the contrary the three Unionist parties are not representing Scotland in the union, quite the reverse. They represent the union in Scotland. They are ambassadors for Britain, they sell Britishness to us. They want us to be regionalised and marginalised. They are in effect “so-called Scots”, who will say they are Scottish while doing everything to the contrary. Their every utterance is to play down Scotland’s potential, to spread the message that we, among all the other nations on the planet are unfit to look after ourselves and that we need London to do that for us. They exemplify the “proud Scot but” mentality, where no matter what this country achieves it’s never quite good enough.
I initially asked why so many unionists seem reluctant to be seen with the flag of their own nation. The fact is they aren’t. Their nation is Britain, and they will wrap themselves in the red, white and blue all day long. Stand them in front of a flagpole and hand them a saltire and a union flag and ask them to choose one. They’ll hoist the union flag every time. So they shouldn’t be allowed to peddle the lie that they are representing Scotland’s best interests, when in reality they will always put Britain first.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t about a piece of fabric. The saltire will not feed us, it will not defend us, and it will not put a roof over our heads. But the unwillingness to be associated with the flag of Scotland must cast serious doubt over the intentions of the parties loyal to crown and union. Already companies sympathetic to the union are rebranding themselves to eradicate the saltire from their brands. In the last few days we have seen “British Haggis” hit the shelves, no doubt appealing to the “so-called Scots” who feel guilty at eating unpatriotic Scottish haggis. They can now wash this down with union flag wrapped British Whisky and top it off with a wee slice of British shortbread. An array of ethically cleansed foodstuff awaits the British patriot. All they need is for the Daily Record to return to its original name of the North British Daily Mail and they will be in heaven.
Another referendum is coming and we can’t allow them to peddle the “best of both worlds lie” unchallenged. Lose this referendum and we will have given up our nationhood once and for all. What is on offer is the choice between Scotland and Britain, and the question to the waverers must be: Are you a Scot or are you not?