An Interesting Campaign

If you can avoid the usual anti-scottish rants in the comments that is…

it’s been a while since I posted, largely because I have been quite content with the world. Sure, there’s a lot of stuff there to annoy a Scottish Atheist if you look hard enough, but for a while at least, things are ticking along nicely.

Labour has been self destructing nicely, eating itself to death, culminating in them losing Glasgow East to the SNP – good days indeed. The SNP government have been getting on with governing (and doing a darn good job of it) and drawing praise from the Scottish business community to boot.

But this one caught my eye today – I was following the hoo-hah of the Olympics banning the ‘other’ UK flags – the Saltire, St George’s Cross and the Welsh Dragon.. it’s because of Tibet, naturally, but annoying nonetheless. I don’t really have the stomach for waving a Union Jack. So, on the forum, someone linked in the Fair Flags campaign..

The basic upshot of the campaign is that lots of food is labelled as ‘English’, then has a Union Jack added, rather than the English flag – which is the St George’s Cross.

Now this is one I can really get behind – it’s a natural justice thing. I remember as a schoolkid being taught how to make up a Union Jack from the Saltire, St George’s Cross, and the St Patrick’s Cross of Ireland. While we have a Union, we have to remember that we are the United Kingdoms plural, not the United Kingdom singular.

It seems only natural that just the same way a Scotsman would wave a Saltire in support of his team, an Englishman would wave the St George’s cross – and you would expect that just the same way butter from Dumfries and Galloway or cheese from Ayrshire was labelled as local produce with a Saltire, there would be no problem with cider from Somerset, or Bacon from Yorkshire carrying the English flag – loud and proud.

Tesco, on the other hand, thinks otherwise – they claim that this is because Scots and Welsh would not buy produce with an English flag.. well maybe during the world cup qualifiers, but seriously? this is ridiculous. It’s like authorities falling over themselves to avoid offending muslims when the vast majority of muslims just don’t care. A completely non scientific straw poll of opinions here says that this is just wrong – English strawberries in particular are highlighted as being extra juicy: the climate further south is much better for them apparently.

This is basically like the West Lothian question all over again – and in the same way, it’s not a difficult problem. The West Lothian question, of course, is whether Scottish MPs (elected to the UK parliament) should be able to vote on issues affecting only England.. and the answer is obviously no – what moral right does one population have to inflict policies on another population that didn’t vote for them.

And that’s, unfortunately, where the Fair Flags campaign turnsĀ  a bit ugly – England is currently enduring a Labour government (well, really, we are all enduring a labour government) that they did not vote for. It’s unfair, and a lot of English people are unhappy about it. I would be too… and I was, when it was happening to us. England voted in Thatcher’s government, Scotland didn’t want her, and she set about dismantling and destroying our industry as punishment. We had the Poll tax inflicted on us two years before England as a trial – because she knew fine well it wouldn’t make a difference: Scotland’s votes didn’t matter to her.

The commentors trot out The Barnett Formula (where Scotland is funded at a higher rate than England), but oddly enough, fail to consider the income to the treasury *FROM* Scotland (hint – Scotland puts in a lot more than it gets out, even when you don’t consider THE OIL. Remember? The Oil off Scotland’s coast?)

All this does is underline that Scotland and England have wildly different electorates – and the ‘Union’ is like the front end of a pantomime horse stitched onto the back end of a pantomime cow. It’s fooling nobody – and it’s time to bring the whole sorry thing to an end.

Oh, and in the meantime, please let Tesco know that Real Scots are not so petty as to avoid fruit and veg because it comes from England.