THE people of Dumfries were dumbfounded yesterday when the sound of a corpse birling in his grave came from the tomb of Rabbie Burns.

For that was surely the Bard’s reaction when he heard that the “great chieftain o’ the puddin’ race” has been renamed The Great British Haggis in a marketing gimmick that was looking to have backfired last night.

First it was “strawberrygate” and now it is “haggisgate”. For the second time in a month, food packaging is causing a rare old stushie.

Tesco infamously took the Saltire off their strawberries but this time the row is being caused by Scottish food manufacturer Stahly of Glenrothes who have created a product they are marketing as the “Great British Haggis”, complete with Union Flag packaging.

The dish is in a tin inside a cardboard box emblazoned with the Union Flag – albeit with a tartan effect on the red stripe – and the logo “Traditional haggis in a skin. Made with the finest British ingredients.”

On the Stahly website, the product is advertised thus: “The latest addition to the Stahly haggis family is the Great British Haggis.

“Made, of course, with the finest traditional ingredients, this modern take on the original Scotch Haggis is dressed to appeal to a wider audience. In a smart new coat of red, white and blue with a subtle hint of tartan to retain its proud Scottish heritage, the new Great British Haggis is a very modern version of a very traditional product.”

Just as with “strawberrygate” so “haggisgate” erupted on social media as the Twitterati on both sides took to their keyboards.

Tesco took off the Saltire and replaced it with the Union Flag after complaints from English customers, so it will be interesting to see how Stahly react when they read comments that appeared on social media.

On Twitter Sandy said: “Haggis should always be promoted as Scottish. British Haggis is just wrong.”

Ysabelle Stewart commented: “I don’t think most folk in the rest of the UK expect haggis to have a British label, let alone ‘Great British’.”

Johnny Dundee tweeted: “It`s the ultimate realisation of the 2014 No vote. Scotland voted to be British and so here we are. British haggis and Britch whisky.”

Shaun wrote: “Small potatoes but ... British haggis? British haggis? Hilarious stuff. Great British Lochs next. Or something”

Bartin Main was probably joking when he wrote: “The Great British Haggis is the final straw. I’m afraid it must now be time for armed insurrection.”

For the other side, Bertie Basset tweeted: “The @theSNP British-hating haggis-munchers never happier than when they’re fn miserable – how sad.”

Robert Burns died in 1796. We made up that bit about him birling in his grave in Dumfries, but his love of Scottish haggis was well known.

Stahly did not return The National’s calls and e-mails last night.