Flags of our Fathers (and mothers, and sisters and brothers and neighbours):

What flag would you choose for Scotland

Option 1:- Status Quo for St Andrews?
option 1
Option 2:- Cooperative Colours
option 2
Option 3- Suffragette Saltire
option 3 (2)
Option 4- Standard Landscape
option 4
Option 5:- Fields and Rivers
option 5
Option 6:- You decide.
question
Option 7:- Lion Rampant
lion rampant
Option 8:- The Original Saltire
black saltire
Option 9:- Green Saltire of Otterburn
green saltire otterburn

Option 10:- Deer Design Dominates Scottish Landscape
Deer Dominates

Option 11:- Red Eagle Soaring Standard
Eagle Soars
Option 12:- Salmon Leaping
Salmon  Leaping

 

Option 13:- Landscape Standard

royal standard landscape

 

Option 14:- Thistle Standard

royal standard with thistles

If you have an idea, an innovative design or a creative thought- it would be great to hear from you and for you to post your flag either on this blog, email it to be (contacts link above) or post it on the facebook group I have set up: A Flag for Scotland.

Full blog post can be read here:-

Flags of our Fathers (and mothers, and sisters and brothers and neighbours):
Does Scotland need a new flag?

This is a social and historical commentary and a gaze into the future encouraging creativity, innovation, multiperspectivity and eternal cooperation. This is not a political commentary, albeit this might be an altogether more interesting vote as we approach September 2014.

Margo MacDonald’s passing and funeral clearly showed that she desperately wanted a’ unity of purpose’ for Scotland and ‘an end to the palpable air of bitter antagonism’. Today’s Scotland on Sunday backs up her view, with its ICM poll showing that almost two fifths of those surveyed believing that Scotland will be left ‘badly divided’ after the referendum vote. No one wishes for divisions- there are plenty of them in this world as it is.
One way in which nations and people unite is through common purpose and a common past. Many nations find that through the creation of an army, a police force, an education system and a flag they find that unity. However, that unity can only be superficial, especially when imagined communities are established. That is why a rethink about many of the things that make us Scottish might help us to better understanding our past, articulate our offering at the present and move forward positively and collectively.

The Scottish flag itself only represents one group of the many peoples who made up land that eventually was called Scotland. It dates from 832 AD when Angus mc Fergus, the King of Alba did battle with Athelstan’s Angles and Saxon forces. It was said that a white cross appeared; set against the blue skies above the East Lothian battlefield and this saltire inspired the Alba armies. It is unclear when St Andrew himself became patron saint of Scotland although by 1286 Seals of the Guardians of Scotland bear an ‘X’ shape and has Latin inscriptions stating St Andrews to be the leader of Scots.

As Scots prepared to raid England in 1385 a parliament decree stated, “Every man shall have a sign before and behind, namely the white St Andrew’s cross and if his coat is white he shall bear the cross on a piece of black cloth.

black saltire

Later in the 1300s, around 1390, St Andrew began to appear on coins during Robert III’s rule. It seems it took some time for a blue background to come into the flag of Scotland itself. IN the 14th century the Douglas Standard, carried into the Battle of Otterburn had a green background.

green saltire otterburn

It might have been 1460 that a white saltire against a blue background first appears in the “blue blanket” standard of the Edinburgh incorporated trades. This colour scheme seems to have carried on since then and is preeminent in discussions around the Union flag. This in itself is another interesting story about flags, decisions, creativity and created memories.

For the Union Flag as it stands were not the only design that was thought up. There were several. Things could have looked very different if another design had been picked.

union flags

Even more recently another creative mind has looked at what the flag might look like if the Scottish bits were to be removed. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25205017

The act of deciding upon a flag has pressed many countries, even the EU itself. It has gone through many flags through time and in the competition “A new symbol for Europe” 1400 plus proposed flags were whittled down to 12 by an international jury before being exhibited and a final flag chosen. Some examples can be seen below:-

1048

7_Orio-Tonini_politie

57

220px-Union-europea_segun_rem-koolhaas_svg

150px-Flag_of_the_European_Coal_and_Steel_Community_9_Star_Version_svg

1193

With that amount of consideration and creativity going into a new flag for the creation of the European Union- is it time for us to look at a new flag for Scotland? What are your thoughts?

Option 1:- Status Quo for St Andrews?
option 1

Option 2:- Cooperative Colours
option 2

I have used a number of colours and each is symbolic in this flag. Overarching throughout this design though is that Scotland is multi-cultural and its history reflects this with Scotland once being made up of Pictland in the North, Dalriada in the west, Strathclyde in the south west and Lothian in the South East. In this version I have included the green of Scotland agricultural past (although it could very well reflect Irish influences on our country; the blue reflects the rivers and sea that are so vital to us and are reflected in our Parliament building (although it could also reflect Alba and the origins of the flag Scotland currently uses), the black reflects the oil and gas natural reserves of Scotland and the red is of England whose past and people are so important in our country (others may feel the black and red represent more sinister and dark past although this multi-colour flag I hope reflects a future of multi culturalalism).

Option 3- Suffragette Saltire
option 3 (2)

I drew my inspiration for this design from the Suffragette movement who were particularly strong and active in Scotland. Their colours were all symbolic with purple representing dignity, white purity and green hope. To my knowledge they never used it in this way (mainly in striped flags, rosettes and posters). However as Scotland continues to try to further democracy via independence, devolution and creating more power closer to the people , perhaps this would be a valid design for the country going forward both reflecting the past and giving hope for the future.

Option 4- Standard Landscape

option 4

Many flags around the world have many different symbols on them- stars, sunshine images, crescents etc. However much of Scotland past (and potentially its future, depends of its landscape and geography. Should the flag be as simple as one reflecting that landscape? This version shows the sea and some major rivers. This again builds upon the significance of water to Scotland as reflected in the Scottish Parliament. However, this could be mountain regions, major towns represented by stars in key positions on the flag. Whatever?

Option 5:- Fields and Rivers

option 5

Again this flag draws it inspiration from an inseparable connection of the people to water and the land. The design is simple using on the green background representing the land and the blue representing the sea and move over the rivers that pass through Scotland.

Option 6:- You decide.

If you have an idea, an innovative design or a creative thought- it would be great to hear from you and for you to post your flag either on this blog, email it to be (contacts link above) or post it on the facebook group I have set up: A Flag for Scotland.

Option 7:- Lion Rampant
lion rampant

An age old design. As ‘Oh Flower of Scotland’ replaced ‘Scot What Hae’ and ‘Scotland the Brave’ over time as the national anthem, will the Lion Rampant replace the saltire as the popular flag of Scotland. The flag was carried by Bruce’s army at Bannockburn however will it continue to remain popular with its strong Royal Links? Only time will tell, but your vote counts! *

Option 8:- The Original Saltire
black saltire

As noted in my essay, this was the original flag of Scotland. Could it return to popular favour again?

Option 9:- Green Saltire of Otterburn
green saltire otterburn
Sometimes history has a funny habit of repeating itself. Like the original black saltire, could we see a return to one of the original green standards of Scotland?

Option 10:- Deer Design Dominates Scottish Landscape
Deer Dominates
Do you like the Lion Rampant but perhaps without the Royal links? After all, how many lion’s do we see in Scotland. Now a deer, that is more like it! Could this dominate the poll just as it dominates the landscape?
Option 11:- Red Eagle Soaring Standard
Eagle Soars
American Presidential flags have eagles and the American psyche see the eagle in many different states. There is nothing more graceful that watching a red eagle soaring above the Scottish landscape. Could this replace the Lion Rampant to become the Eagle Soaring?

Option 12:- Salmon Leaping
Salmon  Leaping
The question we are all asking- will the Salmon be leaping as our poll draws to a close in September 2014.

Option 13:- Landscape Standard

royal standard landscapeThis flag was inspired by some of the previous designs I have already posted, drawing together the particular influences of landscape and animals.

Option 14:- Thistle Standard

royal standard with thistlesThis flag was inspired in a similar was as the above one however it pulls in some thoughts shared by users of the facebook group “A Flag for Scotland”.

 


Voting will be open to midnight on Wednesday 17th September 2014

As a final note:- The RSNO conducted an opinion poll in 2006 to see what people believed was their favourite Scottish national anthem. Over 10,000 votes were cast and “Flower of Scotland” came out top with 41%. “Scotland the Brave” came a close second with 29% and “Highland Cathedral” scored 16%. Burn’s song “A Man’s A Man for A’ That” scored 7% and “Scots Wha Hae” 6%.  Will Scots continue with a conservative outlook or a more radical zeal for change?

 

This story appeared in Scotsman publications soon after the above blog piece was published online:-

edinburgh evening news

 

The piece also featured in History Scotland magazine’s expert comment section.

expert blog

https://www.celebrate-scotland.co.uk/News-and-Features/1489/Is_it_time_to_ditch_the_Saltire_History_Scotland_expert_blog/

 

References:
Information of the history of the flag of Scotland has come from many books and memory of teaching many classes Scottish history. However I would highly recommend visiting the Scottish Flag Trust Heritage Centre in East Lothian.
Pictures of the designs of the Union flag came from the website of the National Library of Scotland.
Pictures of the EU flag designs came from http://www.designdenhaag.eu/nl/symbols
All other flags have been sourced via copyright free web searches.

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About neilsgleeeclub

Educator, writer, speaker and leader. Views are my own and not those of the organisations I work for or represent.
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3 Responses to Flags of our Fathers (and mothers, and sisters and brothers and neighbours):

  1. Shari Tarbet says:

    I like the idea of the composite flag but with one purple thistle on a white or green field in the upper right quadrant, the deer in rampant pose, three brown salmon (curved with tails up) on the same blue shade for the field as the current flag opposite the thistle, and the lion rampant in the quadrant opposite the rampant deer.

  2. Robert Cameron says:

    I do like the Saltire and the story behind its adoption. I also like the Lion Rampant. Nova Scotia has combined the two and I find this combination striking.

  3. Keyser Soze says:

    Hi, Do you have any other info on the Black Saltire

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