Flag fury in Dunbar over Saltire switch

Flags flying on John Muir House, in Dunbar.''D Williamson
Flags flying on John Muir House, in Dunbar.''D Williamson

Plans to fly a special flag instead of the Saltire for one day in Dunbar have been shelved following a row which attracted headlines from as far afield as Russia.

Dunbar Community Council intended to fly the community council coat of arms on Sunday from the Town House, on High Street.

This move was to mark the anniversary of the granting of the town’s burgh charter by King David II on February 8, 1369.

However, that idea has been shelved on the back of “inaccurate reporting” from a Scottish newspaper and a Russian news agency.

Stephen Bunyan, chairman of the town’s community council, said: “I did not expect the Russian news agency to get in touch.

“But I suppose I did not appreciate how emotive it was going to be to the pro-independence [side].”

Currently, the building flies both the Saltire and the Union flag.

The community council originally decided last year to temporarily take down the Saltire on December 24 and replace it with the Stars and Stripes for that day, as the local press correctly reported at the time.

The change of flag commemorated the death of John Muir, the famous naturalist and early national park advocate, who was born in Dunbar and moved to the United States of America, and who died on December 24, 1914.

However, it has been reported incorrectly by other news outlets – including Russia’s Sputnik International news agency – that the Saltire was being replaced by the Union flag.

The story attracted 93 comments on the community council’s website – with all bar one coming from outside the town.

Mr Bunyan added: “It would be fair to say they were anti-Union by and large and they were pro having the Saltire.

“Some were so ill-informed; the Saltire was back up on Christmas Eve, and we were still getting emails into January and the flag had been back there for a week.”

The community council opted not to change the flags this weekend as it was waiting for a formal statement on flag policy from the local authority.