Saltire Controversy

I wrote this article for The Journal newspaper this week. It reports a parliamentary motion put forward by the SNP to have the Saltire flown above the Union flag at Edinburgh Castle. It should be published next Wednesday so I’ll post a link up then.

Note Historic Scotland’s rather ‘sitting on the fencey’ quote! 

I’d really like to hear everyone’s opinions on this issue. Please comment.


               SNP calls for Saltire to be flown above Union flag at Edinburgh Castle.


The Scottish Nationalist Party has put forward a parliamentary motion calling for the Union flag to be removed from Edinburgh Castle and replaced with the Saltire.

MSPs are considering the call after a petition was lodged by campaign group Saltire Scotland.

Although the Saltire currently flies at Edinburgh Castle below the Union flag, petitioners want to see it erected in its “rightful premier position.”

Christine Graham, SNP MSP for Scotland South, said: 

“I am sure the majority of Scots and tourists would like to see the Scottish flag flown from the top of the castle.

“It would boost tourism and promote Scotland’s distinct national identity.”

The SNP’s Anne McLaughlin, MSP for Glasgow, makes the Union flag’s inclusion on their preferred arrangement clear:

“The petitioner has put forward a compromise suggestion that would allow the Union flag to continue to be flown, whilst we are still part of Britain, but ensures that Scotland’s flag is flown from the highest point on the castle.

“I would support the petition.”

Holyrood Petitions Committee has suggested a compromise to fly the Saltire from a 90 foot flagpole in Crown Square and leave the Union flag in place at David’s Tower.

Mark Hirst, who lodged the petition on behalf of Saltire Scotland said: “The UK military use the Saltire for recruitment. If it’s good enough to recruit young Scots it’s good enough to be flown in the prime position above Scotland’s most iconic building.”

Neil Griffiths of the Royal British Legion Scotland disagrees. He said: It is childish to say our flag is going to be higher than your flag. Most people are proud of the Union Jack, it’s a wonderful symbol.”

Historic Scotland, which manages Edinburgh Castle, did not comment on removing the Union flag, but a spokeswoman said:

“We are proud to fly the Saltire at our properties. That’s why it already flies from our own flagpole at Edinburgh Castle and our other properties.”

The petitions committee have agreed to write to Historic Scotland and the Scottish Government, which owns the castle.

They will also seek the views of the Ministry of Defence.


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