Brexit Britain's flag-waving politics is a symbol of its decline – Kenny MacAskill MP

“Let them eat cake” was attributed to Marie Antoinette, in the face of the hungry mob of “sans culottes”. Wrongly it seems, though such callous indifference led to her demise on Madame La Guillotine.

Boris Johnson's fondness for the Union Jack is a sign that Brexit Britain is melting down, according to Kenny MacAskill (Picture: Dominic Lipinski/WPA pool/Getty Images)
Boris Johnson's fondness for the Union Jack is a sign that Brexit Britain is melting down, according to Kenny MacAskill (Picture: Dominic Lipinski/WPA pool/Getty Images)

Now in the face of Brexit chaos with businesses struggling and urgency growing, the UK government respond with their equivalent cavalier attitude of “let them eat flags”. Union Jacks to adorn driving licenses and ceremonial red, white and blue bunting is to be unveiled the length and breadth of the United Kingdom.

Ironically some areas most angered at the present moment are Loyalist parts of Northern Ireland, where it already hangs and even the kerb stones can be painted red, white and blue. So it’ll be superfluous but with business there in turmoil and shortages in stores, it’ll neither pacify discontent nor offer tangible assistance.

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English Tories also don’t realise that the imagery in Scotland isn’t the same as down south. There it may play to Empire nostalgia or even just Good Old Blighty wartime spirit.

It was evident in Brexit and the nostalgia appealed to many. Here it’s equated with Loyalism as much as unionism and some of that can be quite ugly. There are some in the Scottish Tories’ ranks who seek to pander to that mob. But most don’t and yet they may all come to rue what’s after all being done in their name.

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The great irony is that it has been unionists in Scotland who’ve constantly accused the nationalist community of flag waving. Now their lords and masters are indulging in it themselves.

It was right to say that you can’t “eat a flag” and the case for independence needs built on more than Saltires billowing in the wind.

But neither will you be fed by a blue passport, even one laughably reduced in the EU, or provided for by a Union Jack-emblazoned drivers licences or bunting aplenty.

At a time when it’s situation critical for many businesses large and small, this isn’t a distraction but an insult. It’s more like another sign or symbol that post-Brexit Britain is melting down.

Kenny MacAskill is the SNP MP for East Lothian

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