UNION Flags on shortbread tins have resulted in some people choking on their biscuits and a few fulminating over Saltires on other products.

Frankly, it’s all much ado about nothing. Hotheads from both sides have jumped to the keyboard when the real issue is selling a product to create jobs and boost the Scottish economy.

I’m minded of that tale of an ambassador newly appointed by the fledgling Soviet Union and discovering that an event he required to attend necessitated the wearing of full evening dress. Concerned, even mortified, he approached Lenin explaining his difficulty as a true son of the proletariat, only to be given short shrift and told to go stark naked if needed, as it was the attendance and outcome that mattered, not the clothes he wore.

Video: Shortbread firm at centre of Union Flag branding row warns boycotts kill Scottish jobs

That seems to me to be apposite for Jim Walker’s Union Flag shortbread tin. The sight of it would hardly make my heart sing with patriotic pride let alone encourage me to buy it but it’s not normally what adorns such packages. More often there’s a tartan ribbon or some other distinctive Scottish motif and that applies whether it’s his firm or another manufacturer that’s made them. There’s good reason for that but equally there can be occasional opportunities to sell it or promote it in another way to a quite different market.

Now I’ve met Mr Walker and he’s a very able man who has built up a remarkable business, hugely beneficial not just to the town of Aberlour but Scotland. What his politics are I don’t know but I do know he’s not a rabid Union Jack-wearing zealot. As he explained, the purpose of that product line was for a particular market and I can imagine that in Harrods or Heathrow there may be both quite a few traipsing through, from the UK and abroad, who are taken by it. Good luck to them. I hope they enjoy it as much as Walkers and Scotland benefit from it.

I also know that Tunnocks sells a significant share of our Scottish culinary heritage in the Middle East, who share our passion for sugary products. Again, if more teacakes can be sold with a Union Flag motif than a Saltire emblazoned on the package then I’m frankly relaxed, so long as the sales are made.

Watch: How Walkers Union Flag branding row led to Commons warning over eating too much

Some will view this as rightful condemnation of nationalist zealotry which it is, but the rejection of a distinctive Scottish brand is equally idiotic and economically harmful. Those who were fulminating over Saltires on raspberries or whatever were as daft as they were deluded. There’s a cachet for products, especially in food and drink, where being Scottish adds value and increases potential sales. To condemn that is not just blinkered Unionist ignorance but downright harmful to jobs and the economy.

It’s not just Scotland that rightly cherishes its perception around the world. Finland recognises that it cannot compete with the breadbasket of Russia or Ukraine but equally has a niche market where it’s viewed as pristine and wholesome. Its products, whether soft fruits or vodka, are therefore sold as uniquely Finnish in the knowledge that the purchaser is conjuring up a picture of purity and quality.

Not just countries but companies do their market research and then brand accordingly. Audi became synonymous with “Vorsprung durch Technik” which even entered into common parlance in the UK. It didn’t come about by accident but by design. Consumer research had at first indicated that the public didn’t know that Audi was in fact a German company with some thinking it was Belgian or whatever, yet Germany was ubiquitously associated with making quality cars. A campaign was therefore created to drive home the message that the car was German-made and it’s been remarkably successful and stuck ever since.

Scotland, likewise, conjures up an image, especially in food and drink, of quality and purity. It’s something that needs to be rightfully played on as the area is a key part of our economy with countless jobs dependent on it, and not just at Tunnocks or Walkers. Promoting that is not narrow Scottish nationalism but basic common sense. It’s why the Scotch Whisky Association spends a fortune protecting the brand around the globe from those that would seek to give even a faint impression that they’re from these parts.

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So folk should rightly calm down. I’ve occasionally come across an old biscuit tin in family effects emblazoned with some coronation or other such event from a local producer. Surprised I may be as we weren’t a royalist family,but angered I am not. They were no doubt enjoyed and added to sales. But I remain curious to know which flag zealots on both sides would have on a bottle of Buckfast.