Royal British Legion Scotland faces criticism over rebrand

Veterans and others say the charity's decision to rebrand as Legion Scotland was taken without consultation with supporters and was made 'to appease Scottish nationalists'

Legion Scotland
Legion Scotland

The Royal British Legion Scotland’s decision to rebrand as Legion Scotland has been met with complaints from hundreds of people, including veterans, many of whom see the name change as a move to appease Scottish nationalists.

The charity – which has retained Royal British Legion Scotland as its legal name – temporarily disabled the comments function on its Facebook page following a stream of "negative and abusive" comments on the social networking site, the charity said.

People expressed frustration that the decision was taken without consultation with supporters, during the same year as the Scottish referendum vote, with many calling it an insult to the men and women who gave their lives for Great Britain in the wars.

Users of Facebook and Twitter have been clamouring for the charity to change its name back, threatening that they will instead support alternative charities such as Poppy Scotland and the Royal British Legion.

Some appeared to believe the charity was the Scottish arm of the Royal British Legion, not realising it was a separate organisation.

Legion Scotland launched the new name in May along with new services for Scottish veterans, but only recently publicised the change.

Christopher Glen, owner of Blue Kite Communications, wrote on Facebook that the charity’s message that it was disabling comments out of "respect for those people who have given their lives for our country" was high-handed and patronising. He said the rebrand had been a "PR and marketing disaster".

"The comments did not seem abusive to me, but reflected people's real dissatisfaction with this rebranding," he wrote. "I think the whole thing smacks of disrespect and illogicality."

In a statement on its website, Legion Scotland wrote: "The new day-to-day name of Legion Scotland, which was approved by the national board of trustees who are elected by the membership of the charity, makes the charity more relevant for all veterans.

"In day-to-day conversation people referred to the organisation as ‘the Legion’ anyway, and to clearly differentiate ourselves from the Royal British Legion group of charities, which is a completely separate charity, we added ‘Scotland’ to this, hence Legion Scotland.

"The aim of using this new shorthand name, along with the introduction of a range of new and enhanced services to help the Scottish ex-services community, is to be in a better position to help all veterans."

The charity has re-enabled the comments feature on its Facebook page.

Legion Scotland did not respond to messages from Third Sector before the publication of this story.

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