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by Kirsteen Paterson
04 July 2022
Scottish islands left out of UK Government's 'GREAT' advertising campaign

Scottish islands left out of UK Government's 'GREAT' advertising campaign

The Cabinet Office has come under fire from a Scottish MP for taking the Northern Isles off the map.

Orkney and Shetland are absent from a UK Government advertising campaign to promote Britain abroad.

The graphics, used in airports as part of Westminster's "GREAT" campaign, show the UK mainland, plus Northern Ireland and Scottish islands including Skye and the Outer Hebrides.

However, the Northern Isles are left out of the picture in graphics which say "Welcome to Great Britain & Northern Ireland", even though the Isle of Man, which is not technically a part of the UK, is left in.

The gaffe comes after a successful Lib Dem campaign, led by then-MSP Tavish Scott, to ensure the communities are given their rightful place in Scottish Government publications.

The Scottish Lib Dems have questioned if a "geography lesson [is] needed".

The party's MP Alistair Carmichael, who represents Orkney and Shetland, has written to Cabinet Office minister Steve Barclay to complain, saying: "It was a matter of surprise to me that our islands were not considered to be part of the UK for advertising purposes.

"You may be aware that the non-inclusion of the Northern Isles within maps of the UK - official or otherwise - is a point of ongoing frustration for our communities, as we strongly believe that we are as much an integral part of this country as any other area.

"Indeed my colleague, former Shetland MSP Tavish Scott, campaigned successfully to ensure that no maps produced for the Scottish Government would exclude the Northern Isles or relegate them to misleading locations on the map."

He went on to say that because "the GREAT campaign is of course intended to present our country to the world in the best possible light", it would be "reasonable" to include his constituency.

The Cabinet Office has been contacted for comment.

The GREAT campaign was first launched in 2011 to capitalise on attention on the 2012 Olympics, operates in 145 countries and, according to the government's communication service, "unites the efforts of 22 government departments and arms-length bodies, working with more than 750 British partners across the globe every year".

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