Wednesday 10 December 2003

Flags and anthems

I can see that this proposal will cause a hell of a row:
IMMIGRANTS living in Scotland who want to become British citizens will have to swear an oath of allegiance before the Saltire, under government plans revealed yesterday.

The new citizenship ceremonies are to be tailored to reflect the part of the United Kingdom in which they are performed, with the Scottish flag and the anthem Flower of Scotland being given prominence north of the Border.

It is surely wrong for Flower of Scotland to be used on such occasions, and not only that it sounds best when accompanied by a large, live pipe band. There are some good arguments as to why Scotland should become an independent country and also good arguments in favour of the continuation of the United Kingdom. The fact is though that the people of Scotland have always voted for unionist parties and therefore our new countrymen are becoming citizens of the UK, not of Scotland. God Save the Queen is the appropriate anthem for these ceremonies. There is nothing wrong with the Saltire being displayed along with the Union Jack at citizenship ceremonies held in Scotland. Similar dual-flag arrangements would of course be appropriate in the other parts of the UK. Failure to get this right will lead to the sort of disagreements that I wrote about recently in connection with sporting events.

(From the Herald:

SCOTTISH councils could drop God Save the Queen and the Union flag from the government's proposed civic ceremonies for immigrants wishing to become British citizens. Instead, the Home Office suggested last night, Scottish local authorities might be able to use the Saltire and Flower of Scotland.)