What crimes and illusions lie behind the flutter and creases of a flag? Far too many for this limited space to document. But here's a short reflection on the enduring villainy of one and the deeply problematic embracing of another.
It would be great if schools and other places of 'learning' could shed serious educational light on the dark deeds of the British Empire, and how it still wraps its active criminality in the Union flag.
As historian Mark Curtis calculates, the British state has been responsible for or complicit in the deaths of around 10 million people across the globe since World War II.
Lamentably, this little island is still singing Rule Britannia and waving that ugliest of emblems while continuing to invade, bomb and use every other nefarious means to 'civilize' foreign others.
Look no further than the UK-backed Saudi bombing of Yemen to see how Britain flies the flag for its brutal arms trade and in support of heinous regimes.
I wonder whether the RAF 'fairs' now sneaking their way into schools and other public places might tell children that their bombs and assistance are blowing thousands of other kids to bits in that now devastated country.
But beyond the sins and blood of the British Union cloth there's no comfort to be found in the blue and starred insignia of the European Union.
And, in the wake of Brexit, it's been strange and jarring to see so many Indy-supporting people in Scotland using it as a kind of adopted love emblem.
This is a flag which has flown atop Fortress Europe, dumping goods, imposing tariffs and locking the continent of Africa into generations of economic servitude. It's the flag of 'securitisation' that's been planted on Europe's beaches to block, cage and abandon desperate refugees. It's the flag of 'economic stability' which the EU's central bankers used to decimate and punish Greece for daring to think it could deviate from its rigid neoliberal rules. It's the flag under which member state Spain has been allowed free EU reign to brutalise and imprison protesting Catalonians. It's the 'freedom' flag that continually protects, promotes and militarily assists the murderous, apartheid state of Israel. It's the flag of an 'egalitarian' EU that turns a blind eye to Macron's relentless battering of anti-neoliberal street protesters, as well as France's banning of any public protest in support of Palestinians. It's the flag of a parliament which aligned itself with Trump to support an illegal coup and effort to impose a Washington-approved pretend leader on Venezuela. It's the flag still being flown by member state Hungary, dismissing token EU warnings to its rampant fascist leaders. It's the flag flapping in enthusiastic partnership with that of Nato and its militaristic hawks, in joint support of neo-fascist forces in Ukraine, and as a supposed 'bulwark' to the 'Russian menace'.
In short, this is a flag which, after even a few decades, is deeply stained by economic oppression, political brutality and military aggression. A flag of empire in the making.
What progressive person, in Scotland or elsewhere, would want to be wrapped in that kind of emblem?
The SNP's Euro project
This latest EU flag-bearing spectacle in Scotland reflects the seriously questionable political priorities of the SNP leadership.
At the outset of the 2016 EU referendum, it appeared that the SNP's eager part in resisting Brexit was neat tactical positioning: look, they could say, we've played our dutiful, responsible part in showing we care about the negative impact for the wider UK in leaving Europe. Now that we've demonstrated our respectable credentials and fitness for moderate politics, we can now move seamlessly on to our own fully-safe version of independent governance.
And recall all the brownie points Sturgeon collected in the process from voters outside Scotland: 'if only we could have Nicola down here'.
Yet, it became increasingly obvious that Sturgeon's obsession with resisting Brexit wasn't just about having a star part in that long-running Westminster production and living in the political glow.
It said much more about the SNP's own signature politics as a party now deeply-wedded to EU-sided neoliberal continuity.
And, of course, Sturgeon was always on safe electoral territory here, in reflecting a very authentic Remain majority in Scotland.
But rather than use that majority, the material change of Brexit, and the repeated political/electoral mandates it offered for securing Scottish independence - the SNP's supposed reason for being - Sturgeon and her tight hierarchy have continued to play the European card in order to sideline, marginalise and actually relegate Indy as a foremost cause.
And wrapping itself in the EU flag and 'leave a light on for Scotland' emotionalism has all helped keep that political deception from real public scrutiny.
One can readily understand why many in Scotland, including progressive Yessers, have defaulted to a 'We're Still European' line in intuitive rejection of Little Englander Unionism.
But this is still a false dichotomy. Over 17 million Leave voters - many in Scotland itself - can't all simply be boxed as flag-first narrow British nationalists.
Beyond much visceral liberal hatred of working class Brexiteers, Corbyn, at least, still understands the more complex grievances, motives and mood of the Leave electorate.
How easily we disparage the whole Farage, Mogg, Widdecombe ensemble with its puerile paeans to 're-found and restored Britannia'. Yet, what higher enlightenment in its ridiculous replacement 'I love Europe' motif?
While seemingly more egalitarian, the EU flag-embracing 'Ode to Joy' response in Scotland is itself a kind of self-consoling delusion, a comfort blanket, a faux 'setting us apart' form of identity politics.
Passing disclosure: this writer has little regard for the very idea of flags or any other state/nationalist insignia. So much of it is elite-composed identity, jingoistic exhibitionism and an artificial compartmentalizing of humanity.
However, a flag can still act as a valued expression of progressive identity, defiance and resistance. Which is why a Scottish Saltire at an Indy march or gathering still has more resonance than any EU regalia.
The flying of a Palestinian flag is a more particular act of open solidarity, helping to express common opposition to the relentless murder and subjugation of a people. It's a visual statement to an occupied and besieged population that, whatever Israel and its complicit allies do to shield their suffering, people around the world won't abandon them.
The contrivance of 'I'm European'
How does that kind of solidarity-raising act compare with the imagined belonging to a powerful European monolith?
Aside from the convenience of middle class residence, careers and study in Europe, what makes people supposedly feel European - or more European even than British or Scottish?
Is much of this 'I'm European' insistence really anything more than an assumed 'tourist identity', a conceit of the 'EasyJet generation', with its ready passports to 'the continent', a 'holiday nationalism' bound up in vacation experiences - the romance of Paris, the allure of Amsterdam, the charms of Venice, the ex-pat bars of Spain?
Many in Scotland will, of course, invoke deeper ideals of a continuing Scottish-French 'Auld Alliance'.
But this seems more like recourse to ancient stories of crown alliances, chess-board wars and Jacobin romance than being of any real relevance to modern political identity or/and sense of radical feeling.
Scottish Enlightenment figures may have owed much to the great icons of French and European thought, gifting us some valued political-cultural legacies - as in Scotland's strong and enduring rejection of Thatcher's 'there is no such thing as society'.
Yet, do present day notions of 'EU Europeanism' - supposedly ‘founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights' (Lisbon Treaty 2007, Article 2) - really offer any comparable intellectual, political or humanitarian inspiration?
If so, why are human needs and social well-being, the climate emergency and wider global justice, the truly higher principles that should occupy an EU community, so routinely relegated to concerns and discussions over competing supranational powers, trading bloc interests and territorial militarism?
So much of the current 'I'm European' cry is not only a populist-emotional prop, but passive and conditioned adherence to elite-serving narratives.
Moreover, it luxuriates, albeit subconsciously, in an imagined European identity that hides its own kind of racist exceptionalism; an 'inclusive Europeanism' that effectively excludes any more common identity with a wider, much poorer, non-white world beyond Europe's privileged shores.
Perversely, the SNP has been a leading force in projecting that imagined 'inclusiveness' via its 'Scotland in Europe' project; in essence, a politically-packaged copy of 'social democratic Europeanism' and 'free movement' ideals, all duly adhering to the 'imperatives' of 'common-sense' neoliberalism.
That narrative has, in turn, been adopted and enabled by a 'new liberal-left civil establishment' in Scotland.
It's been instructive to observe its formation over the recent devolution years as the SNP became politically entrenched, giving rise to the possibilities of independence.
From business figures to lawyers, church leaders to media editors, the civil landscape has been shifting and adapting to the new political terrain.
And with this has come a whole new field of civil agencies, social enterprises, NGOs, social media platforms and a 'critical' commentariat, what Gramsci would have understood as a proto 'intellectual class', the surrounding, coalescing and supporting cultural elements of an emerging hegemonic order.
Increasingly, discussion, output and activism on independence has been guided, encouraged and framed around that 'defining' SNP 'ambition' of 'Scotland among other independent states of Europe'.
The heightened emotionalism behind this could be seen as Brexit approached, for example in the lamenting 'don't forget us' and 'we'll be back' speeches in the EU parliament by departing SNP MEP Alyn Smith, and in the parliament's own goodbye renderings of Auld Lang Syne.
Again, it was a lament largely endorsed by an SNP-sided commentariat and chorused by much of the Indy liberal-left.
Yet, such has been the hubris around Brexit that the SNP's intensified branding of itself as a proto-European entity has only diminished its supposed primary goal of independence.
Which has left much of the Indy street standing redundantly in the street holding EU flags rather than engaged in ready, productive campaigning for any date-stamped referendum.
Beyond all expectations from 2016 of seeming referendum certainty, that's a serious fall for the Indy movement, clinging on to any hope now of a poll even beyond 2021 and the SNP's pitch for yet another Holyrood 'mandate'.
That's all despite opinion polls now showing a clear and healthy majority of voters in Scotland supporting a Holyrood-legislated consultative referendum without any UK Section 30 permission.
This has now prompted some other senior elements of the SNP into supportive recognition of that more legal-sided option, all adding to the pressure on Sturgeon.
Beyond her calls for 'patient deliverance', it's becoming increasingly clear to many Indy supporters that there is no serious party leadership plan, and that "the path to independence and Sturgeon's career path are not the same path."
As the signs of disenchantment towards Sturgeon and her circle grow, a brooding Indy street is realising that it must now assume its own autonomous direction.
The essence of that task should be to re-set its campaign focus on the Indy process proper, on how it secures an actual break with the British state, rather than this futile 'keep holding' line and facile engagement of the SNP's Euro narrative.
Drilling down, it's not difficult to see the distracting purpose and flag-bearing superficiality underlying that agenda.
Instead, there has to be a clear re-stating of the urgent and beneficial case for dissolving the British Union, rather than holding on to forlorn and uncertain hopes of progress via a re-entered European Union.
Real progressive independence for Scotland isn't about rejecting others in these isles. It's about enhancing social bonds and solidarity while working actively to break up the British state, its coveted Union and all the archaic insignia locking us - and others - into that repressive structure.
By the same logic, progressive independence for Scotland can be about maintaining fair connection and solidarity with peoples in Europe and beyond, while resisting the need to be tied into an all-constraining EU superstructure.
Any contemplation and decision over that latter issue will, of course, have to await another democratic day.
But whatever people in Scotland ultimately decide vis-à-vis their post-independence 'place in Europe', they should be deeply circumspect about resorting to any kind of flag-waving European nationalism, either as a current comfort blanket or as an imagined future emblem of any truly inclusive, fraternal and progressive community.