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Great Scot! That flag flies in face of history; CEREMONY: Eagle-eyed observer takes city council to task over blunder in the sky.

Byline: By Alan Harris

COVENTRY City Council could be in hot water under ancient law for flying the wrong flag.

Instead of Scotland's national flag, the country's unofficial Lion Rampant was flown from the Council House in Earl Street.

Flying the alternative flag on a building without permission is an offence under the Act of the Parliament of Scotland 1672 - and was once punishable by death!

Eagle-eyed Coventrian Simon Shaw, who spotted the blunder, said: "If this is indeed an offence under an Act dating back to 1672 I wonder if someone can be hung or put in the stocks!"

The recognised flag of Scotland is blue with a white diagonal cross - or saltire - running to its edges.

The Royal Standard of the King of Scots, commonly known as the Lion Rampant, is the flag used historically by the King of Scots and is gold, with a red lion and royal tressure.

It remains the personal banner of the monarch but is used as a second unofficial national flag for Scotland, particularly at sporting events.

Despite the 1672 Act, the Lyon Court - a court of law which regulates heraldry in Scotland - has rarely prosecuted offenders for flying the standard unofficially.

The council flew the flag for the Lord Mayor-making ceremony but took it down after being informed of the offence by the Coventry Telegraph.

But Mr Shaw, of Gordon Street, Earlsdon, said many Scottish people would have noticed the blunder.

The 37-year-old, whose grandparents are Scottish and who works as a temp at Office Angels in Binley, was amused by the gaffe.

He said: "I know it's the wrong flag for Scotland. Only the Queen should fly the Royal Flag of Scotland.

"I'm not a flag spotter but I'm sure Scottish people would have noticed. It's technically illegal but it's nothing major. It's just a bit of fun really."

A city council spokesman said: "We thank your reader whose eagle-eyes are matched only by their knowledge of 17th century statute! The flags on the Council House are chosen carefully and, other than the Union Flag, are changed often to reflect events in the city or to honour visitors.

"The Lion Rampant was put up along with many others to mark the mayor-making ceremony - which we hope would be considered a suitable occasion."

CAPTION(S):

MR06/06/07FLAG1 EAGLE-EYED... Simon Shaw (left), who noticed that the city council were flying the wrong Scottish flag, the Lion Rampant, on the Council House, his friend Hamish Faulkner is holding the St Andrew's flag. Picture: Mark Radford
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 7, 2007
Words:423
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