Argyll and Bute flag policy back in spotlight

Argyll and Bute Council is to vote on a motion to increase the flying of the Saltire at a meeting on June 25, 2015.
Argyll and Bute Council is to vote on a motion to increase the flying of the Saltire at a meeting on June 25, 2015.

Members of Argyll and Bute Council will be asked to vote on the flying of the Saltire from the authority’s flag poles when they meet in Lochgilphead on Thursday.

A motion put forward by two councillors from mid Argyll seeks to amend the authority’s current policy to allow the flag of Scotland to be flown on all days other than those specified for the Union flag or that of the council itself.

The present policy - which dates from 2004 - specifies six dates on which the Union flag should be flown from council buildings - the Queen’s birthday (April 21), Coronation Day (June 2), the Duke of Edinburgh’s birthday (June 10), the Queen’s official birthday (June 12), Remembrance Day (the second Sunday in November), and the Prince of Wales’ birthday (November 14).

The council’s own flag is also flown from the authority’s headquarters in Lochgilphead on the day of a full council meeting; at present the Saltire may only be flown from the council’s flagpoles on November 30 to mark St Andrew’s Day.

Other flags may be flown on occasional dates after consultation between the council’s chief executive, leader and Provost - with recent examples including the Commonwealth flag during the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and a white flag from November 25 to December 10 last year to show support for the White Ribbon Campaign’s efforts to end violence against women.

The motion to change the policy has been moved by SNP councillor Sandy Taylor and seconded by Argyll First’s Dougie Philand - the latter a member of the authority’s ruling administration.

Another member of the administration, Bute councillor Robert Macintyre, who is also part of the Argyll First group, has told The Buteman he plans to vote in support of the motion - which points out that “at least 19” other councils across Scotland have no qualms about flying the Saltire more frequently.

The authority’s Bute and Cowal area committee made a recommendation to the full council last year that the flag flying policy be reviewed - but the council instead opted instead, by 18 votes to four, to take no action on the subject.