by Rab Bruce’s spider

When I first heard the story about a Marks & Spencer Customer Relations Officer telling a Scots woman that Scotland was now regarded as a part of England because of the result of the IndyRef, I honestly thought it was a spoof. Sadly, it seems to be true, but can we blame Marks & Spencer for this?

the thing we need to keep in mind is that, while every organisation is ultimately responsible for the actions of its employees, we cannot expect senior management to oversee the content of every letter and email, or to monitor every telephone call. If an individual employee does or says something which is inappropriate, the best we can expect is that the company take action to redress any damage caused and to ensure that there is no repeat.

What seems to have happened here is that a British Nationalist employed by M&S has written a highly offensive email, perhaps because it was his or her last day at work and they wanted to let rip with their true feelings. M&S certainly state that the individual responsible no longer works for them.

They also say that the email does not reflect their official policy, but it is here that we need to take issue with them. What seems to have been overlooked in all the stooshie about the "You are part of England now" email is that the original complaint was about the branding of whisky in M&S stores. The lady was asking why their whisky was labelled as British or English, but not Scottish. That’s a very valid question and one to which M&S don’t seem to have given a satisfactory answer. Scots must be left to draw the conclusion that M&S’s official policy is to obliterate the Scottish brand and subsume us into their vision of a united Britain. They haven’t gone so far as to say they view Scotland as a part of England, but they certainly aren’t doing anything to promote Scotland the Brand, and we are entitled to ask why.

This is a growing trend. Scottish goods are being branded as British in many supermarkets and even restaurants often list such things as "British chicken" on their menus. Whether this is some sort of anti-foreigner campaign which has arisen as a result of Brexit, or whether it is a deliberate attempt to impose a British identity on Scotland is difficult to say. It could well be a bit of both, or it may simply be the result of decisions made in a London-based HQ which is aimed at the company’s largest market and takes no account of the sensibilities of the smaller nations of the UK.

But what can we do about it? The sad thing is that the only choice we have is to boycott any outlet which adopts this policy. This is often denounced as a childish and petty thing to do by those who espouse British Nationalism, and it certainly could result in job losses for far too many of our fellow Scots if the practice were to become widespread.

On the other hand, why would you keep going back to a place where your nation and your ideals are constantly mocked and derided as being of lesser value than those of the British State? I mean, you wouldn’t keep visiting a neighbour who constantly insulted you to your face, would you?

It is, of course, up to each individual to make their own choice, and the list of companies who actively oppose Scotland becoming a normal country is now quite extensive. One thing is for sure, though; I won’t be going back to Marks & Spencer unless I really have no alternative.