Lego figures gone from London's campaign against Scottish independence

Danish toy maker demands its characters notbe used by British government on websites

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 June, 2014, 5:45am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 June, 2014, 7:34am

The British government has removed images of Lego figures enjoying the possible gains for Scots from rejecting a vote for independence, after the Danish toy maker complained about the use of its characters in the online campaign.

The government produced a list of 12 things Scots could buy with the extra £1,400 (HK$18,240) a year it said they would have if they voted to stay part of the United Kingdom in a September 18 referendum, using figures made from Lego to illustrate the options.

The choices, posted on social media site Buzzfeed and an official government website, ranged from taking a holiday outside Scotland, with a Lego woman sunning herself on a beach, to watching soccer club Aberdeen play all season with a few pies thrown in.

Other suggestions included travelling between Edinburgh and Glasgow 127 times by bus and scoffing 280 hot dogs at the Edinburgh Festival.

But not all Scots were amused by the campaign, venting their anger on Twitter, and Scotland's ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) decried it as typical of the attitudes of London-based lawmakers.

"This is the kind of patronising attitude to Scotland we have come to expect ... presumably the establishment elite think we spend all our time eating fish and chips and pies," SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie said.

A spokeswoman for Lego said the company had asked the government to remove the images.

"We wouldn't give permission for our stock images to be used ... We maintain our position as being a politically neutral company," she said yesterday.

The UK Treasury could not be reached for comment but the Lego characters were gone from the government site and had been removed from Buzzfeed and replaced with generic images.

Opinion polls show voters remain reluctant for Scotland to end its 307-year union with the United Kingdom, although support for independence has risen.

A poll published in the Financial Times yesterday found 47 per cent of about 500 respondents questioned in Scotland between May 28 and June 6 wanted to stay in the UK, while 40 per cent wanted independence.