A DIPLOMATIC row has broken out after the UK government ordered the removal of the Saltire from the roof of the Gleneagles hotel ahead of next week’s G8 summit and its replacement with the Union Jack.Isn't there anyone in the Foreign Office with the most basic understanding of Scottish sensibilities? Don't they understand that this is precisely the sort of thing that pushes people into the hands of the Nationalists?
Foreign Office officials demanded that the Scottish flag should be taken down, despite the fact that it flies permanently over the Perthshire hotel. They insisted that only British symbols should be on display during the visit of world leaders.
Clearly the folk who'll be serving the G8 leaders aren't at all happy:
Gleneagles flies the Saltire as a representation of pride in its Scottishness, but staff have complained that they are powerless because the building has been taken over by the Foreign Office for the duration of the summit.Let's hope someone pisses in Jack Straw's soup.
Peter Lederer, the general manager of Gleneagles, refused to comment on the row. However, an insider said: “The UK government really doesn’t care about Scottish sensibilities. I’ve been shocked at some of the things they’ve said.
(UPDATE: Under the headline "G8 Protestors Warned: You Will Be Shot", the Mail on Sunday (no link) reports that: "Heavily-armed agents guarding the G8 leaders have been told that they can keep their arsenal of weapons during their visit to Scotland" and that "police chiefs have been ordered to ignore a blatant breach of UK firearms laws.." The paper states that this order has come from the Home Office. Fair enough you may think. But according to Professor Robert Black of Edinburgh University: "The Home Office has no authority to instruct the Scottish police on anything - that's the responsibility of the Lord Advocate in Scotland." Apart from any other chaos that might be expected, this whole affair will inevitably exacerbate tensions between Scotland and the UK authorities.)