by Rab Bruce’s Spider

The summer silly season has not stopped the flow of hyperbolic SNPBad stories even though most of them have been easily proven false or simply laughable. Now, though, the silly stories seem to have switched sides as it is the Yes movement getting itself all hot and bothered by the revelation that Tesco have removed the Saltire from the packaging of their strawberries and replaced it with the Union Jack because they had received some complaints from consumers in England about the fruit bearing Scotland’s flag. It is not clear whether the people making the complaints also objected to the flags of other countries like France and Italy being displayed on imported goods. If they were Brexiteers, that is a distinct possibility but the inference seems to be that the complaints stem from a belief that Scotland is simply a region of the UK and so should not have its flag displayed in England.

Before you get too worked up about this, it is worth reminding pro-Indie Scots about their outrage when news broke that the Union Jack was to be printed on Driving Licences, placed on bridges and even displayed on the packaging of Tunnock’s teacakes. Dislike of another country’s flag obviously isn’t the exclusive preserve of the Unionists.

However, it should be pointed out that Tunnock’s at least had the good sense to place the Union Jack on packaging for the English market, thereby showing that they at least recognise the potential marketing impact of displaying it in Scotland. Tesco seems to have adopted the “One Nation" approach so beloved by the Tories and I suspect they’ll see a corresponding decrease in sales of strawberries in their Scottish stores.

All of which is a bit silly on both sides but the whole saga serves to demonstrate just how emotive symbols can be, especially in today’s so-called United Kingdom. The constitutional fabric of the UK is slowly unravelling and this latest spat is a small indicator of the widening gulf between Scotland and England.