Better Together deny being behind Commonwealth Games double-flag stunt

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  By a Newsnet reporter

The anti-independence campaign group Better Together has denied being behind a stunt which has seen hundreds of pro-Union flags handed out by activists at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Controversy has raged after the double-sided flags were seen being handed out at several Games’ venues around the city.

The flags, which depict a Saltire and a Union Jack together, are a well-known symbol of Better Together and have been used by the group in official campaign imagery.

However, according to Herald journalist Robbie Dinwoodie, the anti-independence group has denied being behind the flags.

In a statement given to the Herald, a spokeman for Better Together denied involvement in the political stunt.

“This has nothing to do with us.  If activists had come to us and asked for permission to do this outside venues we would have said no.” he told the Herald.

Defending the flags, the spokesman added: “I don’t think it is a political statement to depict the two flags of Scotland.”

The defence that using the Saltire and Union flags side by side is not political is contradicted by Better Together themselves with the campaign group frequently using the flags in official images.

On the Better Together website, both flags appear side-by-side in official campaign photographs.  The images symbolise the well-known No campaign slogan ‘proud to be Scottish and proud to be British’.

The issue was brought to the fore after Games’ officials banned flags and badges containing the word Yes.  In one incident a woman was photographed being escorted from the swimming arena after refusing to hand over her Yes Saltire.

Social media has revealed growing anger at what many see as a one sided enforcement of a pre-Games agreement between the Yes and No campaign groups not to use the Games for political gain.

Glasgow 2014 Venue Regulation 6.18 states that no flags are allowed to enter a venue – or the vicinity of any Games venue – if they are normally associated with causes, affiliations or organisations.

However the agreement between Yes and No did not rule out the use of the standard Union flag, which can be waved.  According to rules published prior to the Games beginning, the double-flags break the pre-Games agreement as they are not recognised standard flags.

Yes supporters have also revealed security guards at Glasgow Green have been told not to allow them into the official Games zone if they are wearing Yes badges.  The rule is believed to have been brought in by the Labour controlled council.

It has also emerged that a pro-Union banner which said. ‘Scotland please don’t leave us. Team GB forever.’ Was allowed to be unfurled at the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome.

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