I RECEIVED an interesting reply from Sainsbury’s when I complained about them branding Scottish produce with a Union flag.

To summarise their reply: their market research showed that Scots customers prefer to see the Saltire on Scottish produce. (Well and good, thought I). However, English customers prefer to see the Union flag on produce. Because of this, the Union flag is used for all produce.

I suspect, although Sainsbury’s did not say so, that the St George’s flag has connotations of far-right politics.

Interestingly, from the wording of the reply, the Union flag is seen as sufficiently English to satisfy English customers. The Union Jack is interchangeable with Englishness in a similar way to which the British monarchy anthem God Save the Queen represents English sporting teams. Other current examples are the references on radio and television to Prince William as future King of England and a TV programme about the art collection of Charles I referring to that UK monarch as the king of England. On a programme on Saturday night about Queen Victoria, the same error was made in referring to her as Queen of England.

Specifically in terms of Sainsbury’s, the obvious conclusion is that Scottish customers are less important than English ones – hardly surprising in numerical terms and yet another instance of “being in bed with an elephant” – everything the elephant does will affect you!

Sainsbury’s tell me that they will add my comments to their customer research! As they have chosen to ignore Scottish customers’ preferences until now, I am not holding my breath. I will be shopping at Aldi and other shops which do not disrespect the Scottish brand.

Joan Savage

I AM afraid that I cannot share Edith Davidson’s congratulations to Albert Bartlett Potatoes (Letters, February 9) nor her suggestion that people bombard Sainsbury’s with complaints.

Some months back I wrote to complain to Albert Bartlett Potatoes about the mislabelling of Angus-grown potatoes as UK origin and bearing the Union flag. This was in my local Co-op but the practice is widespread and can be seen in any of our supermarkets. It is usually the same for “own-brand” produce.

The reply/excuse I received was that their potatoes are sourced from all over the UK but that they at least indicate the farm or the county of origin, eg Ross-shire, East Lothian, Borders etc. The fact remains, however, that even so they still give UK as country of origin and use the Union flag. Strangely enough the same company use the Saltire and identify Scotland as country of origin on their “Scotty” potatoes. It is clearly the case that this Scottish-based and headquartered company has taken the decision to use the Union flag for purely commercial reasons, probably reasoning that the proper use and application of the Saltire in England would offend more customers there than the converse does in Scotland.

It would appear to me that it is not always the supermarkets who are responsible for all this Union Jackery we are suffering. It would seem that some of our Scottish producers are guilty of mis-labelling and that is particularly galling and disappointing. I would urge people not just to carry on complaining to the supermarkets but to remember that the producers are equally, if not more, guilty of mis-labelling. So bombard them also with complaints.

I wonder if all this mislabelling could be in contravention of Trade Description legislation.

J F Davidson

IN answer to Lovina Roe’s long letter (Letters, February 10), the whole point of an independent Scotland in the EU is that it would indeed be more listened to than it is at Westminster.

We need only look at tiny Malta, recent President of the Council of the EU, and thus given the power to chair negotiations between other European states and take a lead on policy. We can look at other small countries such as Estonia, Latvia and Finland, not to forget Ireland, all thriving with access to the single market, to economic aid when needed and also to the security and power which comes with being part of a big economic and political bloc.

Ireland is a good example of the advantage of being in the EU not in the UK. From 2011-2013 it was given financial assistance by the EU and is “now set for the fastest Eurozone growth rate for the fourth year in a row” according to The Irish Times of May 8 2017, with their GDP settling at five per cent for 2017.

As well as being a good trading partner with rich natural resources, Scotland has a strategic geographic position in the world. I think it would be welcomed as a member of the EU, and incidentally non-EU countries would also welcome it as an English-speaking entry point to the single market.

Susan Grant

LOVINA Roe’s case falls at the first hurdle. The Catalonian referendum was not sanctioned by the Spanish Government, which held the constitutional power on the issue. That meant that the EU had no choice but to formally ignore it. The Scottish independence referendum was negotiated with the UK Government, rendering it legitimate, and it was agreed by both parties that the result would be honoured, which guaranteed acceptance of the result by the EU.

The notion that the EU would provide any impedance to the membership of the country with most of Europe’s oil and gas, most of its fishing waters and a strategic control of the north Atlantic is absurd. In real terms all we would have to do would be to negotiate such as our independent representation in it (as indeed would the rUK ).

Dave McEwan Hill
Sandbank, Argyll

“IF we held an ‘illegal’ referendum ... a Westminster government could jail Nicola Sturgeon, Mr Wishart and other elected politicians with full support from the EU.”

This is nonsense. Unlike in Spain, there is nothing in the UK unwritten constitution, or indeed in the Scotland Act, to prevent the Scottish Parliament authorising and holding a referendum. The only challenge to it would be civil, though the courts, not criminal.

Peter Piper
via thenational.scot