SCOTLAND will be exempt from Gordon Brown's plans to fly the Union flag from every public building, it was confirmed yesterday.And the Scotsman's site has 767 comments so far!
As part of a drive to increase the sense of Britishness and unity, the Prime Minister announced earlier this month that he wanted the Union flag flown all year round on government buildings and eventually on police stations and hospitals across the UK.
The blogosphere's been responding:
Understandably, English bloggers object to this example of asymmetrical Britain. Of course, Scots have been objecting to asymmetrical Britain for years. The common perception that England equals the UK is what drives Scottish Nationalism. Only now, with the coming of devolution and the awareness (although not the understanding) of the Barnet Formula and the West Lothian Question has England even thought about Scotland.
Here's what Thunderdragon has to say:
What this shows mostly, however, is that despite Gordon Brown's oft-made commitment to Britishness, he is still at heart a Scot - and will give things to Scotland that he won't to England.Well, yes and no. I believe that Brown is "at heart" both Scottish and British. Probably like most Scots. But he'll support Scotland against England on the sports ground. Like most Scots. I don't believe for a moment that he actually enjoyed that Gazza goal.
But on the flag question I don't accept that he has chosen to "give things to Scotland that he won't to England". Brown has done what we expect - he's acted as a politician. Politicians can't be expected to behave "rationally" or "symmetrically". They are in the business of power.
I don't think that Brown's Britishness campaign has too much to do with Scotland. It's predominantly about trying to deal with the chaos caused by multi-culturalism - chaos largely created by Brown's own party. He hopes that flying the Union Jack in England will help Labour. Maybe it will. But he also knows that Scotland is different. The Saltire has been flown on public and private buildings here for as long as I remember. We have an SNP government at Holyrood and the Nats are strongly represented in local authorities. Imposing the Union Jack on Scotland would cause a huge row that Brown doesn't need. The position in England is not the same - widespread use of the St George's Cross is a recent development and there are no English nationalists in positions of power. One day that may change and then other politicians will respond. It's a mistake to expect politicians to act consistently except in the pursuit of their own ends.