Kernow: Tesco Review Position On St George Flag Issue

Tesco Stores Ltd. has responded to a letter sent by the Branch Secretary of the Kernow branch of the Celtic League following a campaign the branch is pursuing surrounding the mass sale of English flags in shops around Cornwall.

Mike Chappell wrote to Tesco Stores pointing out that people in Cornwall find the display of English flags to be offensive and called on them to curb sales in their stores in Cornwall, as they are in the other Celtic countries. In their
response, Tesco’s said that the use of the St. George flag in stores in Scotland “would most likely cause similar upset in Scotland” and after looking into the history of Cornwall, they could appreciate that it may cause upset in Cornwall
too.

In addition, the Customer Service Manager replied by saying that “it seems as though the Cornish sentiment towards the English flag was not known about, as we certainly wouldn’t want to offend or alienate any group of people in this way.” Moreover, the letter states that over the last week a “huge” number of emails had been received by the company on this subject and that they “have been asked to seek further advice on the matter from other parts of the business.”

The full text of the letter from Tesco’s can be found below.

“Dear Mr Chappell

Thank you for your email, which I read with great interest. We at the Tesco Customer Service Centre are based in Dundee, Scotland, and this is a matter which was not known to us here.

I have been looking into some Cornish history since receiving your email, which so far I have found to be very interesting, and I can appreciate your reason for contacting us. Specifically, the use of the St. George flag in Cornish Tesco stores. I can imagine that, if it is seen as a banner of historical oppression, then the use of this flag would not be popular among the Cornish people, just as the use of the St. George flag would most likely cause similar upset in Scotland.

The use of the St. George flag was as a result of a sustained campaign for us to do so, from groups in various parts of England, who desired to know that the food they were purchasing came from England. Similar flag-based labelling is in
place in our Scottish and Welsh stores, and it seems as though the Cornish sentiment towards the English flag was not known about, as we certainly wouldn’t want to offend or alienate any group of people in this way.

As we have received a huge number of emails on this subject within the past week, I have been asked to seek further advice on the matter from other parts of the business. I will get back in touch with you with any further information
that my colleagues and I are given on the subject.

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me at
customer.service@… quoting…

Kind Regards

Alan McIlvride
Customer Service Manager
Tesco Customer Service
22 May 2010″

This article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League. For follow-up comment or clarification contact:

Tel: 0044 (0)1209315884
M: 0044(0)7787318666

rhisiart.talebot@gmail.com
gensec@celticleague.net

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League

22/05/10

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