I have the utmost respect for individuals who volunteer their time and contribute to organisations designed to serve the public good.

At the same time, such individuals have to operate within set parameters and principals and must not use any position attained for personal or political purposes.

For example, community councillors have a “primary purpose” to “ascertain and express the views of the community”, as stipulated in the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973. Further, community councillors must abide by a Code of Conduct based upon The Ethical Standards in Public Life (Scotland) Act 2000.

In the case of Dunbar Community Council’s decision to provide precedence to the Union flag in favour of the Saltire as reported in your paper (July 31), I am most concerned that such parameters and principals have not been adhered to by certain members of the group. At the very least, they have perhaps unwittingly left themselves open to such accusation.

Firstly, there would appear to be a complete absence of “ascertaining and expressing” the views of the community, as is required by law. Secondly, the issue of flag flying has been hugely contentious within Dunbar further to the community council’s inexplicable decision to remove our Saltire on John Muir commemoration day last year.

The issue is clearly inextricably linked to the ongoing debate over Scottish independence and overtly political in nature. Hence, a decision to provide the Union flag precedence over the Saltire is clearly a political decision and, arguably, one made contrary to the aforementioned principals.

In your letters page earlier this year, eminent historian and author Roy Pugh, a resident of Dunbar, called upon the community council to seek the views of town residents over flag flying, perhaps with a vote over the contentious matter. Such a process would seem in line with the statutory “purpose” of the community council and the role of the councillors. It is a shame that they did not listen to him.

Let’s also not forget that Dunbar community councillors are not currently elected figures and hence lack accountability to town residents in relation to their decisions. Further, that Dunbar is without doubt a nationalist town, as clearly indicated by voting count returns at May’s election count in Haddington.

In all these circumstances, I would call upon Dunbar Community Council to place an immediate hiatus upon their decision and without delay go about a fair, democratic and representative process to “ascertain” the views of local residents on the issue of flag flying. Only once this has been undertaken should they go about “expressing” the views of the community that they claim to serve.

George Wilson Dunbar