Let's have a Scottish version of Union flag, says historian

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A SCOTTISH historian yesterday called for the country to adopt its own Union flag, different from that flown south of the Border, to reflect separate national identities across the UK.

The Union flag, which is designed in 1606, originally flew in Scotland with the cross of St Andrew on top of the cross of St George.

It was later altered so the red St George's Cross would dominate the Saltire.

Historian David Ross is now demanding that the Scottish Parliament and other buildings where the flag is flown should restore the design with the Saltire on top.

Mr Ross, who is also the convener of the Society of William Wallace, said: "I wince every time I see the Union Flag. It is a flag of imperialism.

"I like the flag of my own country and I don't see why the English flag should be superimposed on mine.

"The Union flag is a flag that has been concocted. When it was first designed though, it flew in Scotland with the St Andrew's Cross on top.

"There is a parliament up and running in Edinburgh now and if there must be a Union flag, it should be flown with the St Andrew's cross over and above the other crosses."

The Rev Dr Ian Bradley, of St Andrews University, an expert on the flag, said: "When the Union flag was conceived, there were all sorts of thoughts about the design. Did you have the St George's Cross as the dominant one, or split the flag into four and have four little diagonal crosses? There was a good deal of argument and dispute."

He added: "What is wrong with the Union flag - obviously - is that Wales is unrepresented."

The Saltire and the St George's Cross were combined after Scotland's King James VI inherited the English throne in 1603. St Patrick's Cross, representing Ireland, was added later.

The current design was first used by Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar. It was not declared by parliament to be Britain's national flag until shortly before the First World War.

Graham Bartram, the general secretary of the Flag Institute and Britain's chief flag researcher, said: "Britain is definitely the place that flies its national flag the least. On the average day, you hardly ever see a Union flag.

"If you don't see many Union flags in London, you see even fewer in Edinburgh or Cardiff. "The idea that being British is important has started to fade."

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