DAVID SHEPHERD is a well-known, well-liked businessman from Coldstream, the first Scottish town on the east coast side of the Scottish Borders. He published this statement on Facebook to explain to the townsfolk why his popular display of Scottish national flags had been removed. VoiceoftheNorth.net reprints his explanation without comment and invites your views
I HAVE TAKEN DOWN THE [SCOTTISH] FLAGS at Henderson Park car park [in Coldstream, which is in Scotland] today as a direct instruction from Scottish Borders Council after they received a complaint [directed to the community group Presenting Coldstream].
The complaint? That the Saltires were flying on council property.
I installed these flags to add a bit of colour and identity to Coldstream (which is in Scotland) for Civic Week after us all enduring months of dealing with COVID-19. Presenting Coldstream did not ask me to put them up; the flags, wooden posts, paint, gold tops and installation were provided entirely at my own expense. I have seen many people taking photos of them, presumably to mark their arrival in Coldstream (which is in Scotland). And while I was taking them down three other tourists were taking photos.
The flags are NOT a political statement and are not there to offend in any way. If anybody feels that they were up too long, that’s fine. If anyone was offended by them, that’s fine, too. They were installed in Coldstream (which is in Scotland) and, to be honest, I’ll be putting them up again next year, if I am allowed.
I did not ask permission to put them up but, as I hope all know, when I do an installation (which I’ve done many times) it’s done to the best of my ability and with sympathy for its surroundings. When the Commonwealth Torch came through the town I had 16 flags flying at Henderson Park and they flew all summer. And as far as I’m aware, there were no complaint to the council.
I do what I do because I am a Coldstreamer born and bred, and because I have the resources to do these kinds of installations.
I want to offer them to ‘the first true Border toon’ whenever I can.
A spokesperson for the Conservative-controlled Scottish Borders Council said: “These flags were attached to council property with no prior permission.
“The council has therefore contacted the person involved and asked for them to be removed.”
In the Middle Ages, villages like Coldstream would have had the “ village stocks” and perhaps a “ village ducking stool”, both of which should now be reinvented, sited on Council land, surrounded by Scottish Flags, with the idiot Council Official / Councillors chained up for the tourists to photograph!!!
Looks good to me but imagine the furore if someone did the same with St George’s Crosses in Alnwick. Accusations of nationalism would abound.