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Wings Over Scotland

Tales from Crybaby Nation

Posted on November 27, 2012 by

Crybaby Nation is a land without borders. But a couple of recent news items from it do have a particularly Scottish flavour. One of them, also reported in the Daily Record, concerned an expat Scot and Motherwell supporter in the US banned from having “MWELLFC” on his car licence plate, on the barely-believable grounds that someone might interpret it as “ME WELL F**KED” and be offended. The other one, though, shames us more, because it happened on our own patch.

According to STV News, two new Grampian Fire & Rescue Service vehicles have had to be taken in and repainted after two people complained that the Saltire on their front grilles was a “political symbol”, connected to the SNP and independence movement.

We’re not even going to insult you by pointing out what pathetic, cringing, snivelling creatures those making a complaint against their own country’s flag must be, or how irrational the argument is. We’re just going to slump face-down onto our desk and sob for a couple of minutes about the gutless “corporate team” who allegedly decided to back down over it. We’ll be with you again shortly.

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    109 to “Tales from Crybaby Nation”

    1. Doug Daniel says:

      Presumably Labour and the Tories will be out in force to condemn this… unless they agree that the Saltire is a political symbol?

    2. Morag says:

      Do these two people normally go around with their eyes wide shut?  The entire country is absolutely awash with saltire flags, logos, car badges, lorry grilles and so on.  Maybe they’d like to ban the new pulpit fall in our church?

    3. pa_broon says:

      I can’t wait for the removal of the Union Flag from almost everything since the Olympic Games took place…

      Oh hold on, because that doesn’t represent any form of nationalism…

      Does it?

    4. Training Day says:

      So Grampian has two members of the Better Together campaign?  That’s two more than in my area, mind..

      Now, who’s going to be the first to complain that the Union Jack is a ‘political symbol’ connected to the LabourTory alliance?  Sauce for the goose..

    5. Ronald Henderson says:

      Can anybody give us the correct person to address our feelings to regarding this insult? If we have that person’s name might I suggest that we bombard this person by text, email, letter and whatever other means there are of letting this ‘Scot’ know exactly how angry we all are about this.
      This insult to Scotland’s flag must not be allowed to happen. It will set in place a shocking precedent if it is allowed.

    6. scottish_skier says:


       The entire country is absolutely awash with saltire flags, logos, car badges, lorry grilles and so on

      Yes, and much of this has happened very subtly over the past few decades, particularly since devolution. It’s hard to find a union jack now; an alien landing here would conclude they were in Scotland and be very puzzled as to what Britain actually was.

      I don’t think Tories really understood the effect of privatisation of all things ‘British’ in Scotland (Rail, Telecom, Steel, Leyland, Petroleum, Gas….). These were institutions/industries shared across the British isles which helped tie the home nations together; someone in Bath got on a British Rail train just like someone in Wick. They both paid their BT bill every month…

      The Tories removed ‘British’ from Scotland really quite successfully.

    7. An Duine Gruamach says:

      I hope people like Jim Murphy will bear this in mind next time they squawk about how patriotic they are, and how nationalists don’t own the saltire.  (we didn’t own it when it was Scotrail, or the FM’s Christmas card either, not that it stopped them greetin about it those times). 

    8. Swello says:

      I think the politicisation of the Saltire is a dangerous thing and smacks of the kind of mock offence that I usually relate to Old Firm fans with the Union Jack & Tricolour. 

      If it only takes two lunatics to successfully get it removed, the blame lies with the person in the fire service who caved in under minimal pressure.

    9. Ronald Henderson says:

      I’ve done a check. I don’t know the name of the wanker who is responsible for this insult but their email address is: info [at] grampianfrs [dot] org [dot] uk
      Their tel. 01224 696666
      C’mon guys. Let’s kick ’em right in the nuts.

    10. Silverytay says:

      This smacks of big brother labour at its best . Does anyone know if the people who complained are actually Scots .  There are several company,s near where I stay and work who fly the union jack which I find offensive , If i phone them up and complain will they take them down for me ?

    11. Doug Daniel says:

      Email sent saying thus:

      I would like to make an official complaint in regards to the information contained in this article from STV:
      As an Aberdeen citizen, I am insulted by the lack of Saltires on your fleet. I demand that Saltire flags be reinstated on the two engines in question, and furthermore that Saltires be painted on all other vehicles to bring them into line.
      If someone takes offence at a Scottish fire engine being emblazoned in the flag of Scotland, then I would suggest this person is an idiot and should be completely ignored. The idea that the Saltire is political is nonsense, and it is most certainly not the property of the SNP, or any other party for that matter. If this is incorrect, then someone had better tell the Scottish Football and Rugby associations, Scotrail and any other organisation that makes use of the Saltire that they are actively promoting a particular political cause, and that they must stop. Alternatively, we could just tell people who complain about such things to “awa an bile yer heid, min”.

      Unless, of course, there is indeed politicisation at the heart of GFRS, except in favour of the union rather than independence…
      Yours disappointedly
      Doug Daniel

    12. Macart says:

      This is Scotland’s national flag for feck’s sake, unionist or independista alike. What were these people thinking?

    13. Willie Zwigerland says:

      So in an independent Scotland will all emergency service vehicles be emblazoned with nationalist symbols? That would feel a little creepy to me, but YMMV.

    14. MajorBloodnok says:

      Pay attention WZ.  It’s not a nationalist symbol, it’s a Saltire.

    15. annie says:

      I have to say I had an almost uncontrollable urge to yank down a union flag flying outside our local charity shop during the olympics every time I passed it and was unreasonably annoyed if my tesco grocery delivery contained vegetables in plastic bags with union flag on so I can understand the reaction but why would anyone in Scotland object to a saltire – wonder if complainer would have turned the unit away if they arrived to put out a fire at their home – also wonder how much the repaint cost.

    16. muttley79 says:

      Well, well seems the Scottish cringe is alive and well, at least as far as these two individuals are concerned. 
      @s_s  Yes, the irony is that the Scottish Conservatives, in their crass materialist instincts of the 1980s, undermined and destroyed British institutions in Scotland.  Of the ones remaining, the NHS was forced to introduce market reforms, while the BBC has steadily declined (Tories hate the BBC anyway as it is a public service broadcaster, and they hate the public sector).

    17. pmcrek says:

      Um gonnae vote yes because I saw a flag on a firetruck…
      They dont get it do they.

    18. Luigi says:

      I am not endeared to white designer fire engines (white fire engines for goodness sake)! but how anyone could complain about the saltire on the front is beyond me – do they really think that the referendum result will hinge on a couple of fire engines racing around Aberdeen? Minds don’t get much smaller than this.

    19. Dunc says:

      Perhaps we should make a list of all the organisations using logos derived from this dangerously pro-independence SNP symbol? I’ll start:
      The Scottish Conservative And Unionist Party
      Scottish Labour
      Better Together

      I trust that further complaints will be on their way shortly, before we move on to the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (it’s even got “National” right there in the name, people!), NHS Scotland, Scottish Development International, the Bank of Scotland… Oh my God, it’s everywhere!

    20. Seasick Dave says:

      I reckon that the blue flashing lights will have to go as well 🙁

    21. scottish_skier says:


      So in an independent Scotland will all emergency service vehicles be emblazoned with nationalist symbols?

      You mean like how we used to have British everywhere? British Rail, British Telecom, British Steel, British Leyland, British Coal. And what’s more these were all government controlled, just like the state-run British Broadcasting Corporation.

      Scary to think that legitimate democratic parties with elected members (SNP, Plaid etc) were banned from presenting their manifestos on the radio by the British state within the living memory of many (until 1965). Repression of democracy with Orwellian connotations certainly….

      With respect to an independent Scotland; as it would be an independent nation there would be no need for independence/nationalist symbolism. For example, writing ‘Free Scotland’ or ‘End London Rule’ on stuff would be rather stupid. I’d have thought that obvious.

    22. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      Grampian Fire Service duly e-mailed and informed of what a stupid decision they have made.

      To whom it may concern,
      I am writing to register disappointment at the recent decision to remove the Saltire Flag from two of your fire engines in Aberdeen, citing the flag as a political symbol. The flag is the symbol of our country and not a statement of a political policy.
      The engines looked great with the flag on and may have even received a warmer welcome in the communities they were serving because of it.
      It is wholly unacceptable that you have acted in this manner, and in so doing have brought about the very issue that was not present. You have succeeded in politicising the flag of our country and have set a very dangerous precident in this manner.
      The saltire has been threatened with removal from the National Library previously and more recently at Hampden Park during the Olympics, but it was argued, correctly, that it is a symbol of the people of Scotland and not a political statement. Now we have a precident set that says its alright to demand the removal of the national flag due to “offence” being caused.
      Honestly, what other country removes its own flag so as not to cause offence to others who obviously have problems with it? The problem is with the complainer in this instance and the fire service should have stood firm.
      This has been a sorry episode for Grampian Fire Service and I hope that you rescind this decision and allow the fire crews to support their own country as they see fit.
      Yours Sincerely
      Scott Minto

    23. Luigi says:

      I wonder if either of the two complainers have taken a trip on one our beautiful, new saltire-livery (SCOTRAIL) trains recently.

    24. AndrewFraeGovan says:

      Chuck Heart of Midlothian and Ayr United out of the leagues. Damned Saltire badged separatists!

    25. Marcia says:

      The complainers should be sent the bill for the repainting of the fire engines.

    26. cynicalHighlander says:

      No doubt Scottish lamb will be off the canteen menu.

    27. Willie Zwigerland says:

      MajorBloodnok – most flags are nationalist or political symbols. I wouldn’t want a union flag or the eu stars or the stars and stripes on an fire truck either.

    28. Morag says:

      Precedent, Scott….

    29. Michael says:

      Only a suggestion: why not create a ‘Reinstate the Saltire on GFRS Fire Engines’? page on Facebook. If Stu did it, it would reach more people quickly and we’d be able to trust the page. Facebook is rarely useful but ya never know…..

    30. McHaggis says:

      Reminded me of this – an old adversary from the original Scotsman Forums – AM2

      Where even he, the staunchest of (irish) unionists argued that the saltire should not be politicised following the rebranding of Scotrail. It appears our two Aberdeen residents have crapped in their own nests with this attack on the national flag of Scotland – and by that I mean ALL of Scotland no matter who you vote for.

      It will be a big turn off for those undecideds who perhaps can now see what will happen to Scotland in the event of a No vote – the Saltire will be banned and it will be an offence to be a member of the SNP. You may even have your children removed from you if you vote for them.

    31. scottish_skier says:

      Yes, the irony is that the Scottish Conservatives, in their crass materialist instincts of the 1980s, undermined and destroyed British institutions in Scotland 

      Oh yes, it was not just the economic damage / the unpopularity of their ideology that scuppered them and pushed Scotland towards independence, but their attacks on society and what bound that society together. They literally ripped British out of Scotland, taking support for full independence from less than 20% to well over 50% by 1997. People sometimes seem to forget how close it was then. 

      You can’t nation build by focusing on the individual. Telling people to look after themselves and screw the rest is a way to destroy a nation for a nation is a society. Thatcher espoused that she was ‘building one [British] nation’ with her policies; her lack of intellect shone through here as she seemed completely unable to appreciate why she was in fact doing the opposite. 

    32. Embradon says:

      I object to the green and blue reflective decals on a white vehicle. Obviously some reference to the Old Firm and sectarianism.
      I demand that the machines in Aberdeen are restored to their rightful RED colour.

    33. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:


      The “rage” was on Morag, the “rage” was on…

    34. Macart says:

      I take it they’ll also be complaining about the crest of the Royal Regiment of Scotland then?

    35. Indy_Scot says:

      Just sent mine off,


      I have just been made aware of a story on STV news in which it states,

      “It is understood the complaints centred around the Saltire’s link to the SNP”.

      When I first read this I thought it was a joke, as I am sure a child of five would know that the Saltire is not linked to any political party, but is the flag of Scotland.

      If it was up to me I would be taking you to court. Not because of the flag nonsense, but because there is a fire service that peoples lives depend on, and it is being run by idiots.

      What’s your next big idea, no Saltires at a Scotland match?

      Have you any idea how stupid this makes you look.

    36. Morag says:

      You did it twice, Scott….

      I can’t help feeling there’s no real need for committed nationalists to make a fuss about this.  The fuss is going to be made by ordinary punters who will recognise that this very act has in fact politicised our flag, and that they don’t like it.

    37. dadsarmy says:

      Personally I think they should remove the letters SNP from the alphabet. So Lamont would become Joha Lamot, and we’d have Davido, Reie, Camero, Obore, Millibad.

      Oh yes, I think this could be fun.

    38. Holebender says:

      The STV news article said the Saltires were originally painted on the fire engines to bring them into line with the new national fire service livery. Does this mean ALL Grampian’s fire engines are going to get Saltires next year? What was the point of removing them if they’re going to be reinstated in a few months? Who’s paying for all this? (Probably me, as I live in Aberdeenshire!)

    39. KOF says:

      Here’s what the GFRS have to say about the Saltires.

      “The two new fire engines were delivered to Grampian in August. Due to the new single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service coming into being in April next year. The two vehicles made an appearance at the Truckfest 2012 event in Edinburgh in August.  The Service marked up the new vehicles with the “Scottish Fire and Rescue Service” name and applied the Saltire decals to the front prior to their appearance there.”

      So, happy enough to be “Scottish” at Truckfest 2012 for the tourists, but not for every day people in Scotland?


    40. Dcanmore says:

      This is my response …
      Dear Sirs

      I am writing today to complain about the ridiculous decision to remove the Saltire flag from your fire engines. Apparently two people from a population of over 525,000 in the Grampian area have complained that the Saltire is a political emblem, an offence to themselves and therefore wish the Saltire to be removed, which you have enacted upon.

      I would like to point out that these individuals are wrong to suggest that the Saltire is a political symbol. The Saltire is the national flag of the country of Scotland and has been since early medieval times. The Saltire is representative of Scotland and its people, and therefore, belongs to the people of Scotland. Many other companies such as ScotRail proudly display the Saltire on their vehicles. I demand that the Saltires be reinstated on your fire engines.

      This incident bring to question: Why didn’t someone at the Grampian Fire Service point out that these individuals were wrong? Why did the Grampian Fire Service cave-in so weakly to the demands of two individuals in a Grampian population of over half a million. This cannot be construed as popular opinion.

      By agreeing with these two individuals to having the Saltires removed then Grampain Fire Service must agree that the Saltire is indeed a political symbol that will cause offence to the population of the Grampian region. If this isn’t the case then I demand that the Grampian Fire Service either admits that it acted too hastily and reinstates the Saltires on their fire engines, or, I demand that the Grampian Fire Service release a statement agreeing with the two individuals that the Saltire, the national flag of Scotland, is an offensive political emblem. I await your response.

      Yours sincerely

    41. scottish_skier says:

      @Willie Zwigerland says:

      most flags are nationalist or political symbols. I wouldn’t want a union flag or the eu stars or the stars and stripes on an fire truck either.

      I imagine you’re a whole barrel of fun at Murrayfield. 

      Fife Seat gave me a number plate with a saltire, EU stars and SCO on it as standard. Helps (the police, other motorists) identify the origins of my car when travelling abroad. Same might apply if the Scottish Fire Service traveled across the border to help the English service in the event of a major incident as is common among neighbouring nations. In such highly paced situations, co-ordination of different forces is greatly helped if they can be rapidly/easily distinguished from each other. A prominent national flag is the obvious way of doing this. That’s what flags are for.

    42. dadsarmy says:

      Reading that press release, this is a non-story, a total non-story.

      “The Service’s Corporate Team took a decision in August to remove the Saltire decals from the two appliances before they went into operational use as they were not in keeping with the rest of the fleet. However, during the preparations this was simply overlooked.”

      and earlier:

      “No complaints about the Saltire decals were received in the Service either from members of staff or from members of the public.
      The decals were removed to maintain the appearance of the two appliances in keeping with the rest of the fleet.”

      The Saltires were the equivalent of “show plates” on cars, for the Edinburgh Event.

    43. Morag says:

      If that’s the case, where did STV get that stupid story from?

    44. Davy says:

      I have no problem wth the two numptys who wanted to remove Scotlands flag from the fire engines, they are entitiled to their opinion.

      But I do object in the most strongest terms to the Grampian Fire Service for ACTUALLY doing it, have they no pride in having their countrys flag on their vehicles, are they that scared of a couple of nobodys they can’t say NO we are not going to do that.

      What they should do is whack the Saltire onto all their vehicles to make up for the shame they have brought upon themselfs and the Grampian region.    


    45. Matt says:

      I don’t think we should really get involved with this. If we make a big stir about the Saltire being removed, we are being just as petty and “crybaby” as the people we are criticising. And we only prove their point – clearly it IS a political symbol if we get all worked up about it. Just quietly pointing out to people that this is the level the unionists are willing to sink to, without sinking to it ourselves, would be the mature and dignified response here.

    46. george says:

      Their manager is head of Fire Services at ‘Common Purpose’ (26yrs) according to this link below . I wonder how much Grampian Fire brigade have spent on CP  brainwashing courses for their staff ? ( £4k for each course …on us).
      Clayton – Aberdeen, United Kingdom

    47. Morag says:

      Well, the fire service are saying one thing, and the rumours going round internally via the firemen are saying something else.

      Might be fun to let this one run and see who turns out to be right.  I note that one of the complaints was said to be “internal”.

    48. Westie7 says:

      Aren’t the FBU one of the Unions who have openly come out in support of independence?
      How many of our local fire stations fly a Saltire, I can think of quite a few I have passed in my travels over the last few months. 

    49. KOF says:

      “Grampian Fire and Rescue Service’s fleet manager Raymond Cheyne said: “We wanted to celebrate the new Scottish service coming into place so chose to use the Saltire.”
      He said the badges could be changed when a standard livery for the new service is decided.”
      So, has a new livery for the service has been decided then?  

    50. scottish_skier says:

      In other news, Angus Reid poll has found only 27% of Scots would ‘feel sad’ at Scotland leaving the union. 

      I guess olympic jubilee fever must have worn off.

      17% would be dissatisfied but not sad, with the rest (56% majority) either happy, satisfied or not bothered.

      Looking through the rest of the poll ATM which was UK-wide so isn’t wonderfully useful (Scottish sub-sample only 177 so can’t take too much from it).

    51. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      From the press release:

      “The fire engines went into operational service at Central Fire Station in Aberdeen on 2 November and 7 November. A press enquiry on Thursday 22 November highlighted that the decals were still in place and action was taken to remove them.”

      Why was there a press enquiry?
      What was the nature of that enquiry and why did it focus on the Saltires?
      Why did it warrant immediate removal of the saltires given that they had caused no issue for up to 20 days?

      The news articles noted 1 outside complaint. Perhaps it was this press enquiry.

    52. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I don’t think we should really get involved with this. If we make a big stir about the Saltire being removed, we are being just as petty and “crybaby” as the people we are criticising.”

      Yeah. I couldn’t care less if Aberdeen’s fire engines have a Saltire on them or not. It’s not what the piece is about. I’m a bit bothered about two tenders being taken out of service to be repainted on the grounds of some idiot whingeing about them, though.

    53. dadsarmy says:

      Yes, there may be more than meets the eye – as Westie7 says the Fire Union have been reported as being pro-independence.

      But on the other hand, these two applicances were non-standard, especially from the front. I gues it could be argued that if you saw one of them coming towards you, you’d think it was off to a show, rather than off to a shout. Health & Safety!

    54. muttley79 says:

      I demand that the machines in Aberdeen are restored to their rightful RED colour.

      Good to know there is another Edinburgh Aberdeen F.C. supporter on this site.  Rev Stu’s a dandy as well.  Where you at the game on Saturday?

    55. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      I’d hazard that the BIG BLUE FLASHING LIGHTS AND WAILING SIRENS would be a clue, though 😉

    56. dadsarmy says:

      Yes, but we all know what H&SE can be like. They would maybe have a point.

      It made me think though. Whenever you see an Independence article in the likes of the Guardian, it quite often shows the two flags, the Saltire and the Union Jack. As though it’s one against the other.

      But if  yu could take any question of Independence out of peoples’ minds, and ask the simple question: “Which flag is Scotland’s flag”, I’d guess that a big majority would point to the Saltire.

      Which means that the Unionist Press has been doing a great campaigning job FOR the cause of Independence …

      .., it’s this “subliminal message” sort of thing.

    57. Morag says:

      I know this is O/T, but RevStu, pretty please tell me where I can find that diagram showing the 9.6%/9.3% tax and spending split, and the effect of borrowing on the figures.  It’s a map, isn’t it, with arrows and stuff?

    58. Willie Zwigerland says:

      Scottishskier, I’m sorry you’re unable to make a distinction between displaying a flag at a rugby match vs on an emergency response vehicle.

      I’d agree that flags can be useful when used on vehicles that operate across national boundaries. Although it’s hard to imagine when this would be relevant for a fire truck based in Aberdeenshire!

      Quite amusing to see after all the righteous indignation the only cry babies are the angry letter writers on this thread!

    59. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      I don’t know where the one with the map and arrows is. I asked several times for someone to source and explain the claims on it to me, to no avail. But there’s this:

      Otherwise you might find what you’re after on Peter Bell’s handy Pinterest page:

    60. MajorBloodnok says:


      Not that I can really be bothered discussing this further, but you said that the Saltire was a Nationalist symbol, which is different to it being a National symbol, i.e. a symbol representing Scotland and the Scottish people, which was clearly my point.

    61. Morag says:

      RevStu, that’s handy, thanks.  I thought you had it in an article, but if you didn’t, that would explain why I couldn’t find it.

      I have a couple of unionist trolls (on Scottish one English) elsewhere going on about how much better off England will be without these unhealthy Scots draining the NHS.  When I poionted out that Scotland pays for its own, separate NHS, I was told that the entire block grant was money that “WE PAY YOU”.

      When I posted the version of the 9.6%/9.3% diagram I found, the Scottish troll promptly said, nice snapshot, can you post the figures going back 50 years.  So I posted a link to John Jappy’s articles that go back to the 1960s, with some choice quotes, and I’m still waiting for the response….

    62. dadsarmy says:

      The beauty of the recent IFS report is that it confirms that we pay at least as much as we get back, so if I could be bothered any more with the Subsidy Junkie nonsense, these days I’d probably just post the URL to the IFS report and tell them to take it up with them:

      “Over recent years, tax revenues from the North Sea, if allocated on a geographic basis, would have slightly more than paid for the additional public spending per head that currently occurs in Scotland relative to the UK as a whole.”

    63. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:


      Try this one too… 

      The Scotland Office has published information today on Scotland’s budgetary position within the UK over the past 30 years.

      The press release from Mr Moore is headlined: ‘Scottish Government must explain £41 billion oil deficit’. The claim is that over the past 30 years total spending in Scotland (including our share of ‘UK services’ like defence and foreign relations) has been £41 billion higher than total revenues, including oil and gas revenues.

      An impressive piece of politics you might think? Proof that Scotland is ‘too poor, too small etc’ to be independent. But no, this is the Scotland Office, and it is an attack that has quickly fallen flat on its face.

      If you look at the equivalent UK figures, the total UK deficit is £715.5 billion – and Scotland’s population share of this is some £60 billion.

      So, under current arrangements as part of the UK, over the past 30 years, Scotland has accumulated a share of the UK deficit equal to £60 billion.

      As an independent country, we would have accumulated, according to the Scotland Office’s own figures, a deficit of £41 billion. That is £19 billion less debt than we currently have as part of the UK.

    64. Matt says:

      “Yeah. I couldn’t care less if Aberdeen’s fire engines have a Saltire on them or not. It’s not what the piece is about. I’m a bit bothered about two tenders being taken out of service to be repainted on the grounds of some idiot whingeing about them, though.”

      Yeah that’s fair enough. My comment is more directed at some commenters on here who are getting quite animated. Even though it is pretty daft to recall the fire-trucks, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to get drawn into a fight about it, because you just know that the media won’t be kind enough to remember who it was that started it.

    65. scottish_skier says:

      I’d agree that flags can be useful when used on vehicles that operate across national boundaries. Although it’s hard to imagine when this would be relevant for a fire truck based in Aberdeenshire!

      I agree it’s not likely to be frequent, but it’s actually perfectly simply to imagine.

      For example, all 8 Scottish Police forces sent personnel and vehicles to England to help during the riots there.

      If there was a major fire – say at a large petrochemical plant or huge wildfires after a particularly dry summer – calling for assistance from the SFS is perfectly possible.

      Certainly I see absolutely no harm in having a flag on a fire truck and can see why it could be useful although not strictly needed most of the time. I’m personally not sure why you seem to fear flags so much. Do your also have a problem with logos, crests etc? They are all the same thing; just a means of clearly displaying origins/affinity for a specific purpose. If flags were dangerous, nasty things, kids, old ladies etc wouldn’t wave them with smiling faces all the time.

    66. dadsarmy says:

      Yes, that’s good. I always try to answer with an “independent” or even better, a Unionist source of data or information. I love for instance to give a BBC link 🙂

      I like the inherent dishonesty of the Scotland Office and Better Together quoting the figures you posted while, as you say, failing to reveal the deficit position. It’s just so easy to disprove even to the non-financially minded – and not only that, it goes to prove their inherent dishonesty. I hope the SG / SNP / YES campaign are storing all these up, to use in the last year or 6 months of the campaign.

      I think they’re right not to make a fuss about it yet though. Independent and trustworthy third-parties will be doing that over the next year or two. Like the IFS …

    67. dadsarmy says:

      I agree there’s no harm in having a flag, but it would have to be standardised. If I read this right, it might be standardised next year sometime, so I guess meantime, they’ve standardised back by just painting over two applicances – after press comments.

    68. dadsarmy says:

      Of course another take on the saltire story is that it having been painted over on the two appliances, without the fuss and complaints it would have been dropped on the whole unified fleet next spring. Now at least that’s very unlikely to happen. So, success!

    69. Jim Campbell says:

      Excuse me!

      so. . . .  All the union flgs and symbols should be scrapped too,
                   or is all of Grampian been taken over by the no campaign.
      (are they not confusing the word. “national”  with that other word;   nationalist”.  

    70. scottish_skier says:

      I suggest people with an acute fear of saltires and/or lion rampants move abroad early in 2014. Scotland is going to look like Hampden / Murrayfield on a crucial qualifier day 10 x over as we approach the autumn of that year.

    71. Willie Zwigerland says:

      Scottish_skier – as I live in London I’ve had quite enough of flag-waving already this year thanks!

    72. Ronald Henderson says:

      Your argument is the same as I’ve been hearing for over half a century now regarding the use of Scottish symbols. If they are removed and replaced with a ‘British’ symbol and we complain, we are told that we are being petty and nationalistic. We were accused of this when Lizzie was crowned EIIR and we pointed out that Scotland had never had an Elizabeth the First. But it made no difference to the establishment and the Willie Zs of Scotland. They went ahead and used EIIR anyway.
      Perhaps we ought to complain about the use of EIIR on our coinage. Isn’t it an insult to our ancient Scottish monarchy to allow this to continue?
      The British know exactly the importance of National symbols. Take a look at the Union Flag. England’s national flag is slapped right on top of the Saltire. No matter that the St. Andrews Cross is a much older symbol than the St. George Cross or that Scotland and England are supposed to be in an equal union. What matters to the Establishment is that Scotland is below England on the British flag and they intend to keep it that way.

    73. george says:

      The single Fire Service for Scotland was brought in to conform with the 1999 Euro Parliament Act ( Scotland is now one region of the EU and all emergency services will now have to combine into one administrative structure) so I suppose it should be an EU crest with the Scottish emblem in the background. Similar to what will happen when the police forces are combined to conform with EU regulations. And similar to what is seen on number plates for private vehicles that are registered in the EU.

    74. scottish_skier says:

      Love the fact my pint of semi-skimmed from Tesco even has a wee saltire on it. 

      Aye, they’re everywhere and grow in number each day. Must be some sort of conspiracy…. The SNP have infiltrated all the major supermarkets etc.

      Or, Tesco et al. have discovered saltires sell better than union flags. I suspect it’s just this.

    75. jake says:

      If the Saltire on the front is a political symbol, can anyone explain to me the meaning and significance of the yellow stripe down length of the vehicles?

    76. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Yeah that’s fair enough. My comment is more directed at some commenters on here who are getting quite animated. Even though it is pretty daft to recall the fire-trucks, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to get drawn into a fight about it, because you just know that the media won’t be kind enough to remember who it was that started it.”

      Oh for sure. I was agreeing with you.

    77. Luigi says:

      I would like to thank the two anonymous citizens who complained about the saltires on the Grampian Fire & Rescue Service vehicles, for raising public awareness that a few people would wish to ban saltires from public view in Scotland. After all, had there been no complaint, then the two saltires in question would have been driven around the streets of Aberdeen, probably at high speed and obscured by blue flashing lights and wailing sirens. Few people would have noticed them. Now, however, it has become a big issue in NE Scotland and beyond. What a gift.

    78. Amanayeman says:

      long time reader, first time writer.  This may be seen as being O/T but can any one explain why, after 60 years without, the post vans in west Renfrewshire have suddenly been adorned with E11R? Surely not an attempt to impart a British symbolism to we benighted North British–is it.

    79. Craig P says:

      When I first read this story I thought ‘how pathetic’ but having seen the picture of the fire engine on this post, I am having second thoughts about the paint job. A wee Saltire would be fine, but fire engines should be generally red all over, not white. Get them repainted!

    80. Oldnat says:

      Craig P

      The reason for having white fire appliances was that – “We have the evidence to show that white, lime-green and yellow are the most visible and safe colours on the roads, and we’re really just falling into line with the other emergency services.”

      Safety over tradition seems fair enough. 

    81. dadsarmy says:

      Probably many of us are on other forums, rebutting “Unionist Scaremongering”. But not all of us know everything about everything, though we have to try sometimes.

      Seems to me an idea that we have a resource we can use, maybe a FAQ. So that we can get our facts right, or opinions based on fact. This could include links – if I had a pound, whether Scottish, English or British, for every time I’ve posted the link to the Treaty of Union, even on the Guardian threads, I could retire to Monte Carlo (and blow the lot at the csino).

      This came to mind because of the South Korean shipbuiiding – which isn’t warships, it’s fuel tankers so the fleet can refuel at sea. I’ve seen the SDF being discussed, saying we wouldn’t be able to afford all the auxiliary craft including tankers. Well, why should the SDF navy vessels need to refuel at sea, in their DEFENCE role? They can just refuel at Faslane, Rosyth, Petherhead, Ullapool, even Stornoway. The only time they’d need refuelling at sea would be on a joint NATO mission or exercise – and there are NATO partners with tankers. Scotland would not be mounting a NATO mission – on its own – so doesn’t need to be self-contained for “foreign adventures”.

      That sort of answer could be in a FAQ, for linking to, or cut and paste. No?

    82. Holebender says:

      Grampian’s fire engines have been white since before the turn of the century! see

    83. Boorach says:


      Seems WRenfrewshire has been annexed to englandshire as only part of uk where E11R would be applicable…. seems a strongly wordecomplaint is called for!

      Given the precedent set by Graian FRS you only need one ocomplaint to guarantee corrective action being taken within days!! 

    84. scottish_skier says:

      I think they should do a giant saltire on one side, a huge lion rampant on the other and the seat covers in tartan. A wee set of novelty bagpipes or a haggis cuddly toy could be hung up on some string behind the windscreen.

      There’s be no questioning of motives then.

    85. Arbroath1320 says:

      Nice to see BBC are up to speed on this story….NOT!
      Unionism at it best or should that worst? 😀

      Perhaps we should start up a campaign to complain about the union flag flying over Edinburgh Castle.
      While we’re at it perhaps we should other campaigns to have the following happen:
      A) remove ALL RED and BLUE lights from all emergency vehicles due to the overtly political connotations
      B) remove the BLUE and YELLOW square markings from ALL police cars due to their overtly political and royalist connotations.
      C) remove ALL yellow jackets from council workers and everyone else due to their overtly political connotations

    86. Rod Macfarlane says:

      I wrote  wee piece about this bit of nonsense earlier today, if anyone fancies a read at it.

    87. scottish_skier says:

      This is more like it:

      Stick that in yer pipe and smoke it.

      Actually seen it on the A68 a few times. 

    88. Appleby says:

      “We’re not even going to insult you by pointing out what pathetic, cringing, snivelling creatures those making a complaint against their own country’s flag must be, or how irrational the argument is. We’re just going to slump face-down onto our desk and sob for a couple of minutes about the gutless “corporate team” who allegedly decided to back down over it. We’ll be with you again shortly.”
      My feelings too on such examples. It’s dreadful to think such people are around us. The cringe so engrained they can’t even stand to glance at the saltire and see it as an evil heretical symbol. Odd though, if they associate the saltire with the SNP only then why are the Better Together and such all clutching it so enthusiastically when it suits them?

    89. Westie7 says:

      Somebody mentioned a “press enquiry” earlier, would that have something to do with Dickie Baker newsletter (P&J and Evening Express) getting TOLD to investigate and raise this as a political issue?

      What about the saltire on the Scottish Ambulance Service Badge.

      I was surprised to see this when they were rolled out but thought it was just connected to the publicity of the new single service

      mmm I wonder 

    90. Craig P says:

      Oldnat, holebender – didn’t realise that! I have heard before that yellow is the most visible colour on the roads. 

      Get them painted yellow and a lion rampant on the front 🙂 

      Can I make one other point, which is around the reaction to this story. Going to Grampian Fire website, it is clear that nobody complained about the Saltires, they removed them to fit in with the rest of their fleet. And yet now they will have received dozens of angry emails on the subject demanding the restoration of the Saltires. That only makes one side look like they have knee jerk reactions.

    91. Scott says:

      Craig P,
      So I take it you are saying that the Firefighter that raised the issue has made it all up and are effectively calling him a liar.

    92. Morag says:

      Craig, I would make one point here.  Don’t believe what Grampian Fire Brigade says, unquestioningly.  There is quite good reason to believe there’s fire at the back of this smoke, and obviously as the party with egg on their face, they’re going to try for the bland denial.

      Exactly how permanent the saltires were intended to be I don’t know, but the rumours that there were indeed “complaints”, and that these may have been initiated or solicited by the Labour Party who have adopted a policy of having as few saltires on view as they can arrange, should not be dismissed before they’ve been checked out.

    93. Arbroath1320 says:

      Just remember Craig, the new Labour Aberdeen council have form on this sort of thing despite only being in power since May this year.
      The previous SNP led administration held a referendum in Aberdeen about the future of the city gardens and got a result which meant that the favoured design would go ahead only for the incoming Labour crowd to stop it. Well that’s certainly listening to the public of Aberdeen. Oh and don’t ask Aberdeen F.C. what they think about the Labour council after they overturned planning for AFC’s new stadium.

    94. Craig P says:

      Morag, Scott,

      You may well be right, but I have seen enough occasions recently where conclusions get jumped to wrongly on the Internet not to be cautious. The most obvious recent one is the Lordemac alpin rumours, but I can also think of when word was newsnetscotland was suffering a DoS attack whetithe server was down for maintenance, there have been other occasions as well. 

      I have not read about an individual firefighter. 

    95. Morag says:

      I’m not advocating not being cautious.  In fact I’m advocating not jumping to conclusions in either direction.  This is far better-founded than the nonsense that emerges pretty much every time an independence-supporting web resource has server problems.  It may be nothing, but we don’t know that yet.

      Read the original STV article.  It’s quite detailed, and some of the additional detail that has emerged since (even if it’s only rumour) tends to support it.  The BBC aren’t picking up on it though, so it may well just die.

    96. David Smith says:

      Well, story or non-story; let’s absolutely drape our country in the saltire on Friday. A perfect exceuse if ever there was. I’ll even be sticking one up on my car here in Carlisle!

    97. Morag says:

      Friday….. OH!!

      Er, yes.  Good point.

    98. BillyBigBaws says:

      Morag, this image might prove useful to you in your argument on the other site, it’s from the Telegraph in (I think) the Sixties. Shows that we’ve been paying more than we’ve had spent on us since long before the discovery of oil – by some margin. Unfortunately I don’t know where the scan originated from, I got it off a forum, so I can’t absolutely swear to it’s veracity.

      It does seem a bit too helpful to have come from the Telegraph, but maybe they were more honest back then.

    99. Morag says:

      Ooooh, shiny!

    100. Scott says:

      “I have not read about an individual firefighter.”
      Hmmm. Considering that it was an “individual firefighter” that raised the story it might be an idea to check the basic facts before judging others. Just a thought.

    101. Ronald Henderson says:

      Regarding this thing about the Saltire being taken down, you will all remember about Angus Council snd how when they displaced the SNP by forming an unholy alliance of unionist parties they took down the Saltires from the council flagpoles?
      Why should I trust anyone that removes a Saltire?

    102. Holebender says:

      Good find BBB.
      It is worth remembering (by those who think Scotland was not a nett contributor before the oil) that a huge proportion of the UK’s heavy industry was located in Scotland in the days when Britain used to export manufactured goods. At one time it was reckoned that half of all the railway locomotives in the British Empire were made in Springburn, at a time when the Empire covered a quarter of the globe. And how much of the world’s shipping was made on the Clyde back in the day?

    103. BillyBigBaws says:

      Good point Holebender, and for a century and a half the foundry at Carron was the largest ironworks in Europe. That’s bound to have brought in some money. More recently, Ravenscraig had the longest and most advanced steel rolling facility in Europe – but as we all know that was closed despite it’s ongoing profitability. Thanks very much, British Steel.

      Better stop there before I collapse into yelling “Wha’s like us?”.

    104. Ron says:

      O/T but relevant…………

      Is there a campaign to remove all saltires going on?

    105. Willie Zwigerland says:

      It’s interesting to re-read this thread in the aftermath of all the nonsense with flags going on in NI this week!

    106. Dodgardiner says:

      WZ – it is interesting to re-read this thread regarding flags in relation to the NI situation, in particular the striking differences in how Scottish Nationalists have responded in comparison to British Nationalists. This is the point where the swivel eyed Britnats point out we can’t really want independence that much because we’re not prepared to take to the streets and destroy our own towns and cities. The impossible no-win position of law abiding supporters of normalising Scotland.

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