I AM a keen follower of news and current affairs in all its forms and an avid reader of your two fine publications and thought I’d throw in my tuppence-worth about the increasing trend our supermarkets emblazoning even Scottish produce with the loathed Union flag.

This has irked me more than usual during the Covid-19 crisis as I have been doing the bulk of our household shopping after spending some months on furlough. Our “big” shop is done usually in Dundee or Aberdeen, but trips to Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and the like serve to make me increasingly angry when I pick up, say, a packet of chicken breasts and see the packets plastered with the red, white and blue.

Tesco has also recently taken to plastering potatoes and parsnips with what I regard as an offensive decoration.

On occasions when I have queried the reasons for this branding on what is in many cases Scottish produce, the poor assistants are left struggling to answer and can usually only mutter something about recognition that the products adhere to UK-wide regulations set by the Food Standards Agency.

And when I point out that there is a Food Standards Scotland agency which is separate from the UK version – which covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland – I am met with a blank look.

At this time I usually make a point of replacing the food on the shelf or in the freezer cabinet and continue my shopping elsewhere.

However, therein lies a problem. Aldi and Lidl for a time had the nerve to host Scottish Meat Weeks complete with Saltire-framed cabinets, but packed with meat from English sources. Again I complained and found the staff even more clueless than their colleagues in the bigger chains.

I have since noticed that both of these German outlets now make a point of having cabinets stocked with real Scottish produced and branded accordingly. But that came too late me.

Has the UK government been pressuring supermarket chains to keep Britain and British at the forefront of their activities, in much the same way as he and his Tory cronies repeat the words at every opportunity – usually in every other sentence?There is, however, a good side to this complaint.

When I was a child before the huge outlets we have now I was dragged out to the local shops for our weekly shop, which usually involved queuing up in the butcher’s, the greengrocer and the baker.

Now I find myself repeating that same exercise years after the passing of my parents. There is no Union Jack in sight on the meat, fruit, veg or bread counters in either of these establishments, and while they may be slightly more expensive it is worth the extra coppers to buy good, Scottish produce without battling rising blood pressure.

Russell McGregor


I AM disgusted that Mackie’s “of Scotland” is the latest company to use the Union Jack on one of their products rather than the Saltire. The company claims this is a result of requests from overseas retailers but I can’t see how the Union Jack would be more popular abroad than the bold blue and white of the Saltire. Mackie’s has branded the flag on its dark chocolate, yet states it has been made with Scottish mint!

The company also claims it is extremely proud of its Scottish roots! If that’s the case where’s the Saltire?

I will be joining those who have said they will boycott Mackie’s “of Scotland” and all those others that have rebranded their products with Union Jackery.

It is astonishing too that Jackson Carlaw and Oliver Mundell had the cheek to ridicule a senior civil servant over a legitimate attempt to persuade Marks and Spencer’s not to market Scots beef with the Union Jack, as revealed in Kathleen Nutt’s exclusive on Friday (Tories Face Rap for Mocking FM Adviser in Union Jackery Row).

Good for the FDA trade union for standing up for the First Minister’s special adviser Kate Higgins saying the criticism is “wholly inappropriate” and reminding MSPs that special advisers are civil servants and should be treated with respect.

It is just another instance of the Tories trying to blame everything the Scottish Government does on a “grievance culture”. Has it not dawned on them yet that there is plenty to be legitimately aggrieved about?

The fact is that Scottish products sell at a premium because of their high quality so to diminish this by stamping them with a Union Jack lowers their value. You would have thought that was an easy enough concept to grasp but it’s obviously a stretch too far for the weak minds of the Tories and the rest of what passes for an opposition in Scotland.

Margaret Smith