Nicola Sturgeon has said she thought a new campaign which aims to encourage school children to sing a patriotic song about Britain was a “spoof”.
The campaign, which has received backing from the UK Government, was founded by a retired police inspector and seeks to “promote, rejoice and celebrate the successes of our people under the common and collective identity of being British”.
It would see school children participate in ‘One Britain One Nation (OBON) Day’ on Friday from 10am.
The song includes lyrics such as: “We are Britain and we have one dream. To unite all people in one great team. Strong Britain. Great Nation. Strong Britain. Great Nation.”
The Department for Education (DfE) said it is encouraging schools across the UK to celebrate OBON Day on Friday, so “children can learn about our shared values of kindness, pride and respect”.
But, No 10 said the DfE had not asked anyone to sing songs or to promote any specific materials for One Britain One Nation day
The campaign has faced criticism online including from Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, with Sturgeon calling the campaign “ludicrous”.
“I have to say when I saw it on social media yesterday I assumed it was a spoof, I didn’t think it was real,” said the First Minister.
“I’m trying to imagine the outrage there would be if the Scottish Government was insisting or even encouraging Scottish school kids to sing some song about how great Scotland is.
“People would be – and rightly so – up in arms about it. It’s ludicrous and it perhaps says everything about the disinterest the UK Government has in Scotland that they’re asking this to happen on the day Scottish schools go off on their holiday.
“Every aspect of it is ludicrous and I think it says sadly so much that we know about the misguided priorities, the hypocrisy and just the ridiculous nature of a lot of what this UK Government is doing.
“Meanwhile, EU citizens that have been here for most of the lives and are working so hard to help make the country what it is are having to jump through hoops to stay here.”
Speaking to ITV Border, Scottish secretary Alister Jack said: “Well, it’s a matter for school children and their teachers.
“I’ve heard the song, I mean, it’s about British values of tolerance, of pride, of fairness.
“But as I say, it’s entirely a matter for teachers in schools as to how they want to do it.
“I wouldn’t be telling them what they should or shouldn’t do.”