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Lego won't be the face of Scottish 'No' vote

Toy company reacts to British government’s political use of its figurines


Lego wants to be "politically neutral" (Photo: flickr.com/rob-young / CC BY 2.0)

June 11, 2014
15:07

by Philip Tees


Ahead of the referendum on Scottish independence in September, the 'No' campaign has been criticised and the British government forced to change an online campaign following complaints by Lego that its figurines were misused. 

The British Treasury had posted an article in which it proposed that independence would cost each Scot £1,400 (13,000 kroner) per year. The article went on to suggest how Scots could put this money to ‘better use’. For example, they were told they could instead “share a meal of fish and chips with your family every day for around 10 weeks” or “scoff 280 hotdogs at the Edinburgh Festival".

Emma Owen, a PR and promotions manager for Lego, told Politiken newspaper that Lego is “politically neutral” and did not give permission for any of its images to be used. “It’s a political message we didn’t want to be associated with, and that’s that,” she said.

Patronising?
A Treasury source told the Guardian that the article should be taken in a light-hearted way and that it was “good to communicate with people in different ways”.

But it has received fierce criticism from the 'Yes' movement. The Scottish National Party (SNP) financial affairs spokesman Stewart Hosie told the BBC that the list was based on "bogus figures".

Vonny Moyes, the comedy editor of Scottish arts magazine The Skinny, explained to the Guardian, with a hint of sarcasm,  how Scots could perceive the campaign as patronising.

"Not only have the UK government dangled a wee battered carrot in front of us,” she said.

“Given the shocking numeracy rates of your average chippy-munching Scot, they've kindly explained what £1,400 means in real terms. Who needs self-determination when you can drown in hotdogs?”



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