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Wings Over Scotland

Rallying to the flag

Posted on January 12, 2013 by

Alert readers will recall earlier this month, when the Herald reported that the “flag riots” still going on in Belfast were to spread to Scotland. The paper noted that:

“Demonstraters supporting the Loyalist Union flag dispute in Northern Ireland are turning their attention to Scotland’s independence referendum, with a protest planned against senior SNP figures next week. The protesters are planning to picket Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s constituency office on Glasgow’s south side a week on Saturday.

One demonstrator said the protest at Ms Sturgeon’s office was a “No to independence and to protect the Union”.”

The protests in question took place today, with a number of Wings Over Scotland’s intrepid citizen journalists (whose names we’re withholding for their own safety) braving the ever-present threat of British-nationalist violence to record the events for posterity.

It’s very easy to mock, of course. So we are. But we’re sure that the “Better Together (Or Else We’ll Set Fire To You)” campaign, having ridiculed the thousands who turned up for an unofficial pro-independence rally last September, will be delighted with the attendance at this “no to independence” counterpart. Seven votes in the bag!

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53 to “Rallying to the flag”

  1. Bill C says:



  2. AMillar says:

    Laughable turnout, but to be fair it’s not like Better Together are endorsing the Northern Ireland loyalist riots, or like they called on these numpties to turn up outside Nicola Sturgeon’s office. That said, I wish they did – the more angry people draped in Union flags the better – can only turn people off……..


  3. Peter A Bell says:

    Not so much a rally, more of a slightly over-subscribed tête-à-tête.


  4. Betsy says:

    That’s hilarious! How long were they there for? 


  5. Tattie-boggle says:

    Protesters ? more like Flag Vendors maybe the Laptop shop has a sale on with big discounts on the game Football Manager. (looks cold today, Bovril time?)


  6. pmcrek says:

    @Bill C

    Neanderthals made advanced tools, lived in complex social groups and new studies indicate that they ate cooked vegetables as part of their diet.

    Why must you malign the poor Neanderthals by such an association!?


  7. FreddieThreepwood says:

    @ Peter A Bell

    Not so much a rally, more of a slightly over-subscribed tête-à-tête.



  8. James Jess Caldwell says:

    Scottish hero awards to our courageous photographers. This has brightened my weekend.


  9. Castle Rock says:

    “One demonstrator said the protest at Ms Sturgeon’s office was a “No to independence and to protect the Union.”

    So that’s a resounding yes to independence then!


  10. Arthur Hotson says:

    Ah well, at least it keeps them off the streets – so to speak.


  11. Ghengis says:

    The top link to the Herald article is broken, which is a shame as I wanted to read it before I slammed the Herald for trying to foment a Northern Ireland style street protest in Scotland. I can only surmise that the Herald editor and his closest work colleagues were the only people who turned up for this event.


  12. Grahamski says:

    Dear goodness

    What is it about folk who think that national flags are important that makes them out and out headbangers? 

    kudos to the photographers. 


  13. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “The top link to the Herald article is broken”

    Doh. Fixed, ta.


  14. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “What is it about folk who think that national flags are important that makes them out and out headbangers? “

    Excellent question.


  15. Yesitis says:

    Aww…c`mon guys, come oot o`thuh cauld an u`ll put the kettle oan. U`ll put oan muh Best o` the Last Night of the Proms DVD. It`ull be pure smeshin.
    Pass the sherry.


  16. G. Campbell says:
    Red, white and blue shopfronts, and a “Golden Phoenix: The Rangers ticket office” right next door. It’s almost like it was meant to happen.


  17. Cuphook says:

    Murphy and Grey look like a couple who have been given a tablecloth as a housewarming present.
    Were the demonstrators handing out leaflets? I’d love to see one. And do we know if the BNP were present, as they were at the George Square demonstration?
    The Unionist parties demanded that the SNP distance themselves from an ‘extremist group’ who planned to march in the September rally, even though the march had nothing to do with the SNP. Can we ask the No campaign to distance themselves from the BNP, Orange Order etc?


  18. Stuart Black says:

    I am just releived that the turn-out was so low, the last thing we need is these fucking morons (sorry Rev.) kicking off. It might be construed as being in the YES vote’s favour, but let’s hope that sectarianism plays no part in our future debate.


  19. Luigi says:

    This little stunt obviously had nothing to do with the Better Together campaign. You won’t see any union flags near Better Together!


  20. douglas clark says:

    I observed a fancy motor driving though downtown Shawlands. It had a fairly imperious occupant  I got the general impression that she thought the Union Jacks that adorned her vehicle were, well, a statement.

    I do not believe they are.

    I do not think I am alone in thinking that I found her attitude imperious, insulting and just downright wrong.
    Just saying.


  21. H Scott says:

    The low turnout doesn’t mean much in the long term. Unfortunately these people seek confrontation, and ultimately violence, and won’t be satisfied until that happens. When the violence happens let’s remember that a Scottish unionist MP threatened an SNP female MP with violence and was not censured for it by any Scottish unionist politician or by Westminster. That was the first action of the unionist violence that is going to darken Scotland.


  22. douglas clark says:

    H Scott says:
    “The low turnout doesn’t mean much in the long term. Unfortunately these people seek confrontation, and ultimately violence, and won’t be satisfied until that happens.”
    I do not think that the Orange Order is in any way organised enough, nor committed enough,  to cause us grief.
    It is also notable that neither of the Northern Ireland inspired, ahem, demonstrations, led to violence. So what you say is a tad overblown, blousy and what a blond might say.
    There have been cases, such as the EDL, that have attempted to take over Buchanan Street,. That ended up in a similar humiliation, for them. If an organsiation like that, the ‘E’ in EDL is a hint, cannot get more than a few dozen people out, then they are not even worth our contempt, far less our consideration.
    These folk are an utter irrelevance to what we are trying to do.
    Do not give them any credibility whatsoever.


  23. Ronald Henderson says:

    Just what makes those idiots think that they have a right to drape their flags over Ms. Sturgeon’s office frontage?
    There should have been a policeman there telling them to take them down. Holding up their flags by themselves is perfectly legitimate, but hanging them up over other people’s property isn’t on.
    Incidentally, the Neanderthals had a larger brain capacity than your average modern human. It was mainly in the occipital area of the brain; that’s the part that deals with perception. I dare say that Wings fans can draw their own conclusions regarding those louts with their feartie flags.


  24. Davy says:

     I do believe these are youngsters out playing with their christmas toys ie (flags) the reason it is only flags they are allowed, is anything else would be to complicated for them to understand. 

    General Instructions for flag waving for unionists :- 
    1. pickup flag.
    2. wave flag.
    3. grin like an idiot.
    4. REPEAT 1 TO 3. 


  25. douglas clark says:

    We ought to be aware that some of the more “Loony Tunes” Unionists will stop at nothing. We ought to tell them to ‘fuck off’ but we don’t, because we are all far too nice for that.

    I assume H Scott would agree with me on that one?


  26. H Scott says:


    I don’t think we should tell them to ‘fuck off’. The less we respond or provoke them in that way the more blatant it will be that they are seeking trouble regardless. Besides, why lower ourselves to that level?


  27. Scotswhahea says:

    Will the HERALD run with this photo do you think? No, thought not..
    They like to Stir it too. 


  28. Bill C says:

    “Neanderthals made advanced tools, lived in complex social groups and new studies indicate that they ate cooked vegetables as part of their diet.
    Why must you malign the poor Neanderthals by such an association!?”

    Of course, humble apologies.


  29. sneddon says:

    In my time I’ve fought the NF, BNP and the EDL and I’ll tell you this they won’t stand for a toe to toe.  They’ll hide behind the police and only attack when they have numbers.  Just a bunch of football hooligans most of them.  Most people rightly laugh at them and their wee demos.  As a political force they are nothing.  All billy big baws behind a keyboard.  Best to ignore them and laugh at them but try to give them no platform either or any sort of creditabilty.  Those guys turned up and were gone within the hour.  Some demo eh? The office was closed.  I wonder if the idiots that turned up at the September rally in Edinburgh were there as well?  Any talk of violence from them is a load of pish.  They are more likely to fight each other.  Those guys were there to get ‘brownie’ points from their pals. It annoys me when folk try to give them more credence than they deserve. Most of them are there because they are bored and pissed.


  30. megabreath says:

    Sneddon says:
    “Most of them are there because they are bored and pissed.”
    Goodness me I wasnt aware it was possible to be bored AND pissed.I,ve always found being pissed an excellent antidote to boredom.Still,it takes all sorts as the saying goes which,by the look of this lot,is a touch unfortunate.


  31. sneddon says:

    megabreath – it’s a testament to their intelligence and imagination (and possibly their social circle) that they can be bored at the same time as pissed :)


  32. Ronnie M says:

    “To protect the union” 
    There’s a similar facebook group “protect the union say no to Scottish Independence” which kind of tells you where their thoughts really lie.   If they had really any interest in what is best for Scotland then that thought would surely be “protect Scotland keep it part of the union” 
     Their idiocy in attacking nationalism is that they are much the same,  only their nation is the UK.   I wish I could work out how some people’s minds actually work.


  33. Morag says:

    Aww…c`mon guys, come oot o`thuh cauld an u`ll put the kettle oan. U`ll put oan muh Best o` the Last Night of the Proms DVD. It`ull be pure smeshin.
    Which year?  I sang in ten of them.  (I’m the stroppy one on the far end of the soprano section who isn’t singing Land of Hope and Glory (hoping the choirmaster isn’t taking note), and the camera probably didn’t get close enough to show the tiny SNP pin in the collar of my evening dress.)


  34. EdinScot says:

    Aww  thats  sad, you could fit them in a british phone box!  The hootsmon will be gutted &  so will  magnus.  Can they walk tall in the uk as Wendy (the brain the size o a  planet)  would say! In fact where is oor Wendy the saviour o the poor & vulnerable…


  35. Scotsfox says:

    Is that a Welsh flag I see in amongst the Butcher’s Aprons? They really are confused.


  36. Richard McHarg says:

    Wee thick fuds!

    They are doing our work for us!

    Thanks lads! 


  37. Bill C says:

    @sneddon – I agree the kids in Govan today are just playing at being loylaists, however do not understimate their stablemates.  You claim that “In my time I’ve fought the NF, BNP and the EDL and I’ll tell you this they won’t stand for a toe to toe.”
    I applaud your opposition to fascists, however the groups you describe are not in the same league as the OO, UVF, UDA. UFF etc.  The NF etc. are really just latter day skinheads and football casuals out for a rumble. Hardcore loyalism is a totally different enemy, they are indoctrinated from an early age into a world of three centuries ago, it is a world that most Scots find anathema, it is world that does not recognise democracy. Some on here have accused me of being a scaremonger for raising the evil capabilities of extreme loyalism and that is there right; however like you, I have been round the political block a few times, I have worked, debated and been attacked by loyalists defending ‘their union’. As I have said before, we should not fear them, but never underestimate them.


  38. Erchie says:

    Someone said to me that this all seemed to heat up when the SFA didn’t let Rangers hopes of speeding up the leagues go ahead.

    It does seem to be more a Sevco versus the world sort of thing 


  39. Lothian Sky says:

    So far that’s three highly influential protests from this squadron of imbeciles.
    The Scottish Parliament… CLOSED
    The Irish Consulate… CLOSED
    and Nicola Sturgeon’s office… CLOSED
    Keep up the good work!!


  40. Dcanmore says:

    I wonder if potential customers were put off going into the Laptop Store?


  41. blunttrauma says:

    Maybe it was a Unionist flashmob.


  42. Macart says:

    What, no speeches, music, party atmo? Clearly no sense of fun these lads. :)


  43. Indy_Scot says:

    With all the riots on the news recently by people waving and using the union flag as a weapon, along the ongoing dispute over the Malvinas, for me the union flag has now become a symbol of violence and colonialism.

    Not something I and probably many others would wish to be associated with Scotland.


  44. sneddon says:

    Bill C – I appreciate your point,  my time spent dealing with the fascists was mostly in the context of when I lived in London for 20 years.  Dealing with the groups you mentioned in NI is a whole different kettle of fish.  Mind you at 45 I’m getting too old to run after (or from) them, best to wear trainers next time :)


  45. JLT says:

    To be honest, this is a nothing story. So seven guys pinned up a Union Jack at Nicola’s office …who cares. As I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again, this lot are going to do nothing; there will be no riots in Scotland and nobody will get gunned down.
    This is about the actual level we are going to see from this mob.
    I can’t see anyone from the other side intimidating any Nationalists as they are liable to get a smack in the mouth for their troubles. Plus, to go and protest against any Scottish Nationalists would actually trouble the Scottish Unionists, for I sense that it would make them seriously question their own loyalty to Scotland.
    This is Scotland, and this lot know it. If they take violence to the streets, and someone is killed (a politician, a policeman, a passerby), then the ‘Better Together’ campaign will know that it will be ‘game over’. The fury from all over Scotland at what will be perceived as ‘British’ violence will lie at their doorstep, not the nationalists.
    I’ve said before – if I was the Law in this land, I would make it very clear – VERY CLEAR – that anybody caught up in what might be termed as intimidating and violent behaviour, and actually bordering on terrorism, will face a long stretch in prison in a very quick trial.
    I just don’t see what we are seeing in Belfast, replaying itself out on the streets of Scotland.    


  46. Bill C says:

    @sneddon – At 58 it’s not trainers I need, it’s a scooter! Hopefully hardcore loyalism will not seriously impact on Scottish democracy.


  47. JLT says:

    Another way to look at the difference between Scotland and Belfast is this…

    Every family in Scotland WILL be torn down the middle. In my family, my parents are Unionist, while me and my sisters are Nationalists. At Christmas, the referendum came up, and as usual, we talked, we argued, and we bickered over the politics, but then we sat and had coffee, biscuits and the christmas meal, and then we discussed summer holidays etc. 

    That is why Scotland will not be like Northern Ireland. We are all too closely knit for violence to break out. The lines of division are in every household, unlike in Belfast which is district against district. Hence, there will be no violence in Scotland.

    If it looked like there was to be a Unionist march, then I would warn the organisers that if there is major trouble, then they will NEVER get a march again. End of Story.


  48. Dal Riata says:

    I would think it is now highly probable that there will be a ‘counter’ march and rally, or somesuch, by Union Jack-waving Unionists/Loyalists(?) and their various sub-divisions in Edinburgh on the same day as the next Yes march and rally in September. How that will be done, or, probably more importantly, where, is to be seen. I also expect there to be the possibility of ‘situations’ such as that with the hoodie Union flag troublemakers at the last rally.

    I’m not trying to fearmonger. Remember these are the end of days for the Union, the Unionists, their flag and their delusions of power, and those who are trying to end this hegemony are seen as ‘the enemy’. They don’t do open, mature and friendly negotiations (for now) – it takes a huge leap of mindset to go from ‘No surrender!’ to ‘Okay. let’s talk!’ Still, the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’ were seen to be intractable, yet opposing parties sat down and talked, and the Good Friday Agreement was struck!

    There comes a time in most ‘disagreements’ when the best solution for both, or more, parties is to sit down, compromise and agree, have a deal, and stick to it. When there is a will, there is a way. The Unionists (UK government) will sit down with the Scottish government and agreements will be made (If they are not already happening now) re the outcome of a Yes vote in the 2014 referendum. It is the only way forward.

    We are now going through an end of times, an immensely important change in what ‘society’ means on these islands off the west coat of Mainland Europe. I foresee an initial outburst of anger from the ‘Unionists’, followed by an implosion of internal strife and soul-searching as they no longer have any surety of where they are or, even, who they are anymore as ‘society’ and life as they knew it moves forward to better times without them.


  49. muttley79 says:

    @Dal Riata

    I don’t think we should be talking about violence, or the potential for it, at a specific event, in this case the independence march this year.  After all, people will be encouraged to turn up and support the campaign.  There will be enough police on duty anyway to deal with anything, there was plenty there last year.  They will be aware of the tensions rising before the vote.  I reckon we should be more concerned about how to get the message across to enough voters that a Yes vote has the potential to transform Scotland.   


  50. Ronald Henderson says:

    One of my neighbours is a dopey union flag waving unionist. His wife told me that she goes through his pockets to take out any fifty pence pieces in case he cuts himself on the sharp edges.


  51. Dal Riata says:

    @muttley 79

    I’m not saying there will be violence at the Yes rally this year, only that extremist elements on the Unionist side might find the opportunity one to good to miss to instigate agent-provocateur ‘incidents’, hopefully minor, if even to cause disruption and no more. Anything to bring negativity to the pro-independence cause is seen as a good thing by the extremist elements, after all.

    I still stand by my assertion that a counter pro-Union rally will be called for in Edinburgh that day. 

    I completely agree with the main gist of your post. 


  52. Holebender says:

    I’d love for them to call a “counter” rally. Then we could have a like-for-like comparison of the support for either side based on turnout.


  53. Appleby says:

    It’s not much of a rally if you can fit them all in one car.


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