Drowning in symbols – the insecurity of nationalism

Someone pointed out to me the other day that the concession card known to most Scottish senior citizens as their bus pass has changed names. He whipped his wallet out to prove the point to me. The old one was branded:

One Scotland – accessing public services

That’s cheesy enough, but at least it gives an idea of what the credit card-sized piece of plastic is about. The new one just says:


Both, inevitably, have a blue-and-white saltire background (amusingly, my informant told me he noticed his new card had been posted to him from … Hull).

The casual exchange over a pint got me thinking about a name I’m occasionally called online –  ‘BritNat.’ It’s the least of my worries (although the equivalent ‘ScotNat’ winds up many Scottish nationalists and I avoid it).

But it did make me wonder about the insecurity of people and organisations who feel the need to proclaim what they believe to be their nationality for even the simplest things.

A quick trawl of friends and the web suggested a number of examples. Here they are, paired with how a hypothetical ‘BritNat’ or even ‘EngNat’ might brand their equivalent.

The travel concession card

The saltirecard itself would become the unionjackcard

The Saltire awards for young people who volunteer

The Saltire awards would become The Union Jack awards


This is the branding for the charity that runs the Saltire awards.

YoungScot would become YoungBrit

Top level web domain names

This is the bit of a web address at the end, for example .com or .gov.uk. The Scottish government promoted a new one – .scot. They brand their own website with it and a number of third sector organisations and projects they fund are following suit, for example the first minister’s reading challenge (discussed here). It’s got to the stage where I’m wondering if it’s a condition of government project funding.

The top level web domain name .scot would become .brit

Trains and train livery

Trains on services supported by the Scottish government are named and painted accordingly.

ScotRail trains with a saltire livery would become BritRail trains with a union jack livery (or perhaps EngRail painted with the St George’s cross)

Cycling proficiency for children

Recently renamed Bikeability Scotland.

Bikeability Scotland would become Bikeability Britain

The Royal British Legion

A while ago the Royal British Legion Scotland decided to rebrand themselves Legion Scotland. Their sister charity could do the same.

Legion Scotland would become Legion Britain

That should be enough to give people the idea, though I’m sure readers could come up with many more examples.

If you cast your eye down the list of my British equivalents in red, wouldn’t they jar? Wouldn’t you think it a bit obsessive, a bit … well, nationalistic?

Note that none of my Scottish examples are simple commercial decisions by companies but all relate to organisations that are at least partly funded by the SNP Scottish government.

As my saltirecard wielding friend said, all this use of the national name and flag represents a ‘deeply insecure cringe.’

And they call me a BritNat.

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One Response to Drowning in symbols – the insecurity of nationalism

  1. It is all part of the SNP’s policy of maximising differences between Scotland and the rest of the UK. wrapping everything in Scotland in a Saltire and then appropriating the Saltire as the SNP’s flag.

    Liked by 1 person

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