I HAVE been following with interest the discussion in The National regarding the Union Flag being displayed on Scottish produce, driving licences, soap operas, etc.

It may interest your readers to know that potatoes are not the only item the Union Flag is displayed on.

In June of this year I spotted on television armed Police Scotland officers with the Union Flag proudly displayed on their body armour, on duty outside the Scottish Parliament.

I complained to the Chief Constable that a flag, any flag, or insignia was not covered by Police Scotland uniform regulations and should be removed, only to be informed that Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins personally approved the wearing of the Union Flag, as he thought the police charity it represented – the Police Firearms Officers Association (which, incidentally, is registered in England) – was “a good charity”.

When I asked about other police charities that I had listed in my complaint and why their insignia was not allowed on officers’ uniforms, I was informed that “they are different”. No further explanation given.

I also pointed out in my subsequent complaint to the Scottish Police Authority that Police Scotland is or should be politically neutral and the Union Flag on an armed police officer’s body armour clearly negates this neutrality.

Only this weekend two armed uniformed officers were pictured in a newspaper patrolling a street market in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, wearing the Union Flag on their uniforms.

So while I agree that Union Flags displayed on Scottish produce by retailers is wrong, I believe that Police Scotland officers, armed or not, wearing the Union Flag really is the thin end of the wedge and it should be removed immediately.
Gordon C Ford
Newton Mearns

SO there is no such place or company as Redmere Farms (Sainsbury’s: ‘We use Union Flag to represent England, November 24, The National). It is one of several names Tesco supermarket chain introduced a while ago for “own label” slightly cheaper brand fruit and vegetables which do not have a named farmer and county.

Now, if they had Scotland in mind when they chose the name it would more likely have been something like Redloch Farms.

Regarding the Redmere Farms, sometimes the Redmere Farms label is on produce grown in Spain or Morocco. On those occasions Redmere Farms appears without the Union Jack.

I notice the wee red tractor (to which I have no objection as it long pre-dates the present Union Jackery and is a separate category) is on this onion packet. I question Tesco’s use of the wee red tractor in this case as the origin of the onions is given simply as UK and I’m not convinced that Tesco will necessarily have sourced all or any of these onions from farmers registered to use the Red Tractor. For the red tractor to be valid the registered grower surely needs to be shown?

And Tesco is not showing the country in which these onions will have been sourced but shows only UK, never mind county or registered farmer.

Tesco sometimes sells potatoes with the Redmere Farms Union Jack label, again saying only that the source is the UK. Here in Glasgow the likelihood is high that these potatoes have been grown in Scotland since most potatoes that are sold in my local Maryhill Tesco which are more precisely labelled are from our Scottish potato growing counties – eg, Fife, Angus, Perthshire.

Please keep up the campaign and well done for having appeared for three years.
Maureen Carroll

RUTH Davidson tries to mock First Minister Nicola Sturgeon over the £2 billion Budget money supposedly added to the Scottish Budget allocation. Let me try to enlighten her. Suppose she sees a car she fancies and discusses the price with the garage. This turns out to be more than she can lay her hands on, so the salesman arranges a deal for her with a loan company. She can now get the extra cash for the car, but it must be repaid – not to the garage, but to the finance firm: the garage was an intermediary. The only extra money the garage receives is a commission – far less than the amount “lent”.

Is this not the same scenario as with the majority of the £2bn? The Scottish Government (the garage) must lend out more than half of it to private firms (buyers) for purposes specified by Westminster, and they are then obliged to repay that loan, not to the Scottish Government – the middle man – but to Westminster.

The Scottish Government, as commission for services as intermediary, retains only a small part. So whose money is, in reality, being lent? Surely, if the whole £2bn were to be a genuine addition to our budget, the money lent would be repaid to the Scottish Government?

Having successfully, with the bribe to the DUP, found a way to bypass the Barnett formula and hand out largesse “off the books”, the Tories are making it clear they will use this same chicanery to put money into the NHS without the equivalent cash coming to Scotland.

How often will they use this new loophole? Will it signal the demise of Barnett without any formal process?
L McGregor