Because I live in the east of Scotland, I have had little personal experience of the sectarianism that grips the west of my country. However it is a very serious issue which divides the west's population with the public displays of hatred at football matches between Rangers and Celtic.
Now we have another example of the hatred (I don't use that word lightly) between the Protestants and Catholics. McVitie's of Glasgow, who have been making cakes for royal occasions since 1893, were asked by the royal couple to make an unbaked cake from dark chocolate and crushed Rich Tea biscuits as an alternative to the traditional wedding cake they'll also have at their wedding breakfast.
Staff in the factory decided to decorate their canteen for the big day on Friday and someone put up the union flag.
Bosses asked for the flag to be removed because of 'direct connotations with football and sectarianism' after some employees complained it was 'offensive' and a threat to their 'dignity at work'. One worker said:
"A group of staff were putting up bunting and a Union Jack in the canteen at lunchtime when one woman shouted that it was offensive.
"She said she would be bringing in an Irish tricolour if the Union Jack stayed up.
"Several staff then went to complain to management. They were saying it was an affront to their dignity at work.
There are two issues here. The McVitie's management should have told the protestors to put their complaint in writing and it would be dealt with in the usual manner. By that time the wedding celebrations would have been over. Giving in to bigots will increase the tensions not defuse them.
If McVitie's have Irish republican sympathisers on their staff they should deal with them and it would now appear they have done so. The following is a copy of an email response from McVitie's.
Thank you for your e-mail regarding the Union flag in the Scotland site.
Despite recent press allegations United Biscuits can categorically confirm that it has not banned the union flag from any of its sites. At Tollcross, in line with all other factories in the UK, celebratory decorations are on display which include the union flag.
The initial Tollcross canteen decorations did include some union flags which resulted in complaints from some employees. Given the recent well publicised football sectarian tensions in Glasgow, with the union flag linked with one particular team, the management of our Glasgow factory chose a more neutral theme for their canteen decorations featuring purple bunting and pictures of the happy couple. Their aim was to ensure that all employees could wholeheartedly join in the wedding celebrations without any football associations. However this change resulted in complaints from a different group of employees and so union flags will remain as part of the decorations.
McVitie's is a proud British brand and has just launched a promotion featuring the union flag on a number of its products to highlight the fact that it sources its wheat from the UK.
Consumer Services Co-ordinator
What concerns me is the troubles which continue to blight Northern Ireland may transfer to Scotland. We are not Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland and the decent, peace-loving people of Scotland are now being affected by this increasing sectarianism which nobody can control.
When the SNP are returned to Holyrood next Friday I would like to see them take a very firm stance on this issue. My football supporting friends suggested that the union flag and the tricolour should be banned from matches although I've no idea if that would make a difference. Maybe it would be a start.
So, tomorrow the McVitie's canteen at Tollcross will have the same bunting as thousands of other canteens throughout the UK. The wedding will go without a hitch because they've had more than enough rehearsals. A good time will be had by all.
I'm celebrating with friends in Dundee where we intend to raid Sainsburys then congregate to watch a couple of old films while we devour our not-so-low-fat feast. I do hope one of them is 'Gone With The Wind'.