THE SNP have branded plans by the UK Government to use COP26 to boost the Union, including ideas such as putting flags on Glasgow landmarks, as “ridiculous”.

Boris Johnson is pinning his hopes on promoting “Brand Union” and “lovebombing” the devolved nations to counter increasing divisions after Brexit, according to reports last week.

Experts have cast doubt on the strategy of trying to appeal to the voters over the head of the devolved governments and warned it may even annoy his “core support” in ­England.

The COP26 summit, being held in Glasgow in November, is being seen as the ideal opportunity to promote “Brand Britain” on the world stage, according to an article last week in The Spectator Magazine.

It outlined how the crucial global gathering to tackle climate change is being viewed in Whitehall as ­having potential for being an event for ­Britain on a par with the 2012 ­London Olympic Games.

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There has been talk of a torch ­procession, cuddly mascots, a cameo from David Attenborough, and even drafting in Coldplay’s Chris Martin, it is claimed.

“To bolster patriotic pride, ­Union flags could be projected on to ­Glasgow’s landmarks”, is another idea said to be being brainstormed by aides.

However civil servants are also said to have warned a Boris-centric show in Glasgow will not exactly help ­efforts to boost the Union.

The suggestion was met with a scathing response from Mairi ­McAllan, the SNP’s candidate for Clydesdale, who said an SNP Government would be focusing on seeking to secure a “Glasgow agreement” at COP26 to get all countries to commit to tackling climate crisis.

She added: “It’s telling that rather than focusing on those vital objectives, Boris Johnson is instead obsessing about flags and ridiculous ideas about how he can politicise the event. 

“If the Tories think an overload of flags on buildings is the way to promote the strength of the UK, then it shows how thin the case for the U­nion actually is.”

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack (below) has also recently spoken of Johnson’s ­solution to growing pressures on the Union, dubbed “Project Love”.

The National: Alister Jack

At the centre of the so-called “charm offensive” will be a plan to bypass devolved government and ­replace EU investment with ­funding managed from London.

In an interview with Politico ­magazine last week Jack stated: ­“Before, Europe dealt directly with the Highlands and Islands, for ­instance. Now, we want the UK ­Government to be able to deal ­directly with local authorities and work with them to deliver on projects that matter most to people.”

It’s a tactic which has prompted anger over the impact on the Scottish Parliament, with Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie saying: “Overriding and bypassing the decisions of democratically elected devolved governments demonstrates contempt, not ‘love’.”

Daniel Wincott, Blackwell professor of law and society at Cardiff University, said it appears that the UK Government “struggles to make sense” of Scotland – along with Wales and perhaps “regional” England.

He said: “People talk about the Johnson administration operating in a campaign mode, rather than a ­governing one.

“For the purposes of ­campaigning, activating their political support works well. As an approach to governing, it can be counterproductive. 

“The aim of Project Love seems to be to appeal directly to voters over the heads of devolved governments. But an abrasive relationship with ­devolved governments doesn’t seem like a sustainable approach to ­territorial governance.”

Wincott said it appeared as if the UK Government thinks territorial governance is a “boxing match they can win decisively with a knockout blow”.

He added: “That’s a long way from Project Love. To quote the singer ­Billy Bragg: ‘Love is not a game you play to win’.”

Wincott highlighted a new report being launched by think tank UK in a Changing Europe at an online event tomorrow, which will look at the views of “Comfortable Leavers” – relatively affluent people who voted for Brexit.

He questioned whether Boris’ strategy would appeal to many people in Scotland and said it could also be divisive in Wales.

READ MORE: Tories want to 'project Union flag onto Glasgow landmarks' during COP26 summit

He added: “And England is a real risk for Johnson if he starts to lovebomb Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“Our research suggests people in England are already worried about too much money being spent on the devolved nations. And too much attention being devoted to them as well.

“So he may annoy his own core support in England.”

DR Christopher Pich, political branding specialist at Nottingham Trent University, said the strategy of “Brand Union” was designed to achieve several objectives.

He said this includes asserting the identity of the UK outside the EU and acting as a “rallying cry” to traditional Conservatives, as well as to see off the “growing appetites” for independence in Scotland and Wales and unify relations with Northern Ireland.

But he added: “However, it’s the voting public that will judge the success of ‘Project Love’ at the upcoming elections in May.

“The thirst for independence in Scotland seems to be on a knife-edge and perhaps the strategy is not resonating as Boris would have hoped.”