Maureen’s Matters - We all love the same country

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As the much anticipated referendum on Scottish Independence draws ever closer, it is important to remember that we all live in and love the same country, regardless of our politics.

A recent confusion between Aberdeenshire Council officials and our local libraries give demonstration to this.

Newtonhill Library had its local history and culture display spoilt by an e-mail from a council official that contained misinformation. The display was originally constructed to bring attention to the ‘Year of Homecoming’ in 2009. It had since been kept up to illustrate a love for our native culture.

The e-mail, that was posted to all Aberdeenshire libraries early in April, informed librarians to “ensure that nothing in our libraries has a politically sensitive nature”. The given example of a politically sensitive object was the Saltire.

In order to comply Newtonhill library staff promptly removed the Scottish flags from the display and replaced them with a bottle of Iru Bru, tartan bonnet and teddy bear dressed in tartan!

This created upset with many locals and frequent users of the library, sparking numerous complaints to me which I followed up with the Council.

Although Aberdeenshire Council have admitted that the information was false and that Saltires are not politically sensitive, this information seems not to have been passed onto the Libraries themselves. Newtonhill is still missing its flags, though thankfully the Iru Bru and tartan kitsch have been removed.

The message that we take from this mix-up is clear. We are proud of our country and this should be seen as the political stance. Whether you vote Yes or No on September 18, we are all united by the want to do what is best for our country. We only disagree on the best way of achieving this.

During a time where the global spotlight shines on Scotland it is vital that we show the world that we are a strong nation who loves our culture and heritage. There is nothing “politically sensitive” about that!