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The Flag


/ The Flag /

The Union Jack flag waves to us from the side of the A595 as we approach the Solway Firth in Cumbria. We pull up, wondering if we’ve stumbled upon our first sign of pro-union sentiment.

There is a collection of partly dismantled vehicles, a table of trinkets, and a sign that says ‘Caravan Repairs’. 

“That flag has caused us nothing but grief,” says the middle-aged woman who greets us.

“Because you’re anti-union?”

“Oh no, because it was upside down… but I’ve put it the right way up now.”

“ I didn’t know there was a right way up,” Jo says. “I thought it was symmetrical.” 

“Nor did I until a guy who nearly came off his motorbike beside the flag told me. Apparently on the flagpole side the thick white band should be above the red band.”

-“So, it’s nothing to do with you wanting Scotland to remain part of the UK?” 

-“I just put it up to catch motorists’ eyes so they’d notice the sign for my antiques sale.” 

 “And what’s your opinion on Scottish Independence?” 

She tells us she “isn’t that bothered”, but her son’s the political one in the family and she goes to get him. 

“It’s up to them”, the young mechanic tells us. “It won’t make a difference to us.”

-“But don’t you do business with Scots?” I ask.

-“Aye, we do.”

He admits he hasn’t given it much thought.  But explains that half the people they employ at the warehouse are Scottish and they buy and sell all their parts for the caravans in Scotland.

 “I suppose if they have a different currency that might make things a bit more difficult,” he says. “Cos in Scotland they’re less fussy about keeping receipts and are happier to take cash.”

 “I don’t think it’ll happen anyway.”


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