Scots MEP Disapointed by Mandelson's Kilt U-Turn

07 December 2008
Alyn Smith SNP MEP for Scotland has expressed his disappointment at the Cabinet Secretary for Business, Peter Mandelson's decision to do a u-turn in his support for the Scottish Kilt. Earlier this year, Mr Smith wrote to the then European Commissioner for Trade seeking clarification on the progress of European measures that would help protect Kilts.

The so called 'origin marking scheme' seeks to enhance transparency and help consumers make informed decisions, and also reduce the incidence of fraudulent or misleading indications that would undermine the reputation of Kilt Makers. In his capacity as European Trade Commissioner, Mr Mandelson described the proposal as:

"in favour of European consumers, including small and medium sized enterprises, and would serve, among others, the interest of traditional Scottish textile producers."

Unfortunately however, since becoming the Cabinet Secretary for business, Mr Mandelson has adopted the formal UK Government position that rejects the European Commission proposal in its current form.

Mr Smith said:

"This appears to be a tale of two Mandelsons, and I can only guess that his ermine robe has turned his head.

"Commissioner Mandelson was most helpful in advising me and the Scots textile industry to use the 'origin marking scheme' to define and protect the Scottish kilt, he said it is "good not only for consumers but businesses as well" so for Lord Mandelson to now simply repeat the simply uninterested London line is a bit odd.

"Defining what a Scottish Kilt is and then protecting that designation has never been more important for the Scottish textile industry.

"We are seeing more and more retailers importing foreign knock-offs and passing them off as quality items made in Scotland by skilled craftspeople. They are not, and by selling them the retailers are in fact undermining the very garment they claim to be promoting and Scotland gets none of the jobs, none of the production and none of the revenue to boot.

"I will continue to press the UK government into using the EU avenues, which remain open to us despite Lord Mandelson's change of heart. As more and more Scots rediscover our heritage it is more important than ever that it is not undermined by foreign knock-offs."