Social media has reacted in anger after images used by a UK government department at a Scottish farming event showed iconic Scottish Landmarks, cultural achievements and food emblazoned with a Union Jack.
This year’s Royal Highland Show featured an exhibition from the UK government’s UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The stand was there to promote Scottish food and drink.
However the exhibit was festooned, not with the Scottish Saltire – a recognised symbol of excellence, but with images of Union flags. Social media users accused the UK government of trying to assimilate Scottish culture into a one-nation British brand.
The exhibit was attended by a string of UK government ministers including Scottish Office minister David Mundell. The Scottish Conservative MP was accompanied by colleague Michael Gove [pictured].
Amongst those iconic Scottish landmarks adorned with the Union flag included the Forth Bridge and the Kelpies.
Stornoway black pudding, shortbread and Scottish smoked salmond were similarly Britified with a slogan ‘FOOD IS GREAT BRITAIN’
The Union Jack branding was slated on social media with some users claiming the absence of the Saltire damaged the established ‘Scottish’ food brand, which is renowned for its quality.
SNP MP Douglas Chapman said: “I’ve attended most of the briefings at Westminster & told @LiamFox directly that ignoring #ScotlandtheBrand is a huge, huge error of judgement. A blinkered, “it will be alright on the night” approach doesn’t help #Scotland or his priority of whole of UK”
A campaign was launched last year with the intention of protecting the Scottish brand on food and drink. Keep Scotland the Brand began after Union flags replaced the Saltire on quality Scottish produce in many supermarkets.
Campaigners wrote: “Scotland’s name is synonymous with a premium quality product, recognised the world over. If we lose that brand recognition we lose tourists, we lose market share, we lose revenue, our economy will suffer. Our rural communities will be hit, hard.
“Scottish Beef, Scottish Lamb, Scotch whisky are just three products which will lose their Protected Status after Brexit.”
According to NFU Scotland: “The superior quality and provenance of Scottish produce provides an opportunity to develop markets at home, in Europe and globally – adding significant value to local and national economies.”
A short video explaining the aims and motives of the Keep Scotland the Brand campaign is shown below.
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