Skirmishes in Scotland

8 August 2007

Guy Aitchison (Bristol, OK): More clashes between the SNP and Unionists north of the border. Individually these may seem superficial or largely symbolic, but as others have been pointing out on OK, together they amount to a sustained Executive strategy to move towards independence. One of the ongoing battles is over flags. The Scotsman today reports the latest row, which is over who has the authority to decide which flag flies highest over Edinburgh castle, the Union Jack or the Saltire. SNP MSP Christine Grahame claims it is the Executive, the Royal British Legion Scotland and the Scotland Office say it's the Queen. The Executive is perhaps wisely carrying out a review of guidelines on flag-flying policy.

Salmond has also been championing a News at Six for Scotland and has announced a commission to look into Scottish broadcasting (one of the powers retained by Westminster in 1998). This particular battle has the potential to be even more significant than the flag furore, with the UK government, according to the BBC, warning Salmond that creating a "Scottish Broadcasting Corporation" is a backward-looking proposal.

A White Paper on the issue of independence is apparently imminent. These ongoing skirmishes will help shape the climate in which it is received.

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