There is a simple reason why proponents of independence regularly urge the Scottish element of unionist parties to breakaway from their UK domain. It is not necessarily because they believe it will make them stronger but rather because it will make Scotland appear more independent.

A nation that has a separate legal system, a separate education system, separate political parties and a separate Parliament always has a decent chance of being a separate country. This factor may not be at the forefront of unionist parties’ thinking as they sift through the wreckage of their respective 2011 campaigns but to what extent they wish to be seen as ‘Scottish’ political parties will be a top discussion point for each of them.

Labour specifically has always had a difficult time being Scottish within a UK group, swinging between criticising the SNP for trying to ‘own’ the Saltire and waving that same flag as much as it can, on occasion, seemingly trying to ‘win’ it back.

For me, Lord Foulkes has typified the unease and awkward narrative that Labour has plagued itself with. The former Lothians MSP’s complaints that Scotrail trains would have a Saltire livery and his criticism that the SNP were making things better and ‘doing it on purpose’ never really stacked up.

So, should Labour, as many seem to be suggesting, wrap itself in a Saltire at future elections?

A persuasive argument for such a move was the rather bizarre cameo appearances from Balls, Miliband and Izzard during the election campaign. Their contribution was always unclear, trying to enunciate a knife crime policy that they had no link to and then sermonising on UK economics that just felt irrelevant given the context, before hopping on a train in the afternoon and out of the fray. Ed Miliband held Scotland up as a springboard to success at Westminster but then spent May 6th in Kent to celebrate a half-decent performance down there in the garden of England. The Labour leader may have been better served heading North and showing real leadership by commiserating with his colleagues.

For me, Labour’s solution is not to split off its Scottish element away from London HQ, as the Nats would wish it. The solution is simply to improve communication between London and Edinburgh. A party blueprint for policy at Westminster and how a Holyrood agenda can dovetail into that blueprint, or vice versa, should in theory be a powerful campaign weapon, particularly against an SNP that only ever has one side of the cross-border approach to a problem at its disposal.

For renewable power, joined up thinking and cohesive pledges on the Grid (UK policy) and Scotland’s renewable revolution (largely Holyrood’s area) should have been a no-brainer for any of the Westminster-led parties, the Olympics come to the UK next year but no-one sold the Scottish benefits that I could see and even seemingly distinct policy areas such as health and education could have come with the refrain that increased spending in London under Labour means more spending, with shared intellectual economies of scale, under Labour in Edinburgh.

It’s more subtle than ‘now that the Tories are back’ but it is also surely more persuasive and effective. It is basically an explanation of how any union divided can compliment strictly devolved policies but it was curiously absent over the past month or two and it is curiously absent now.

Scotland and Britain used to get its knickers in a twist over Andy Murray and what colours were on his sweatbands and what flag he would hoist if he won a competition. That distraction soon made way for a nationwide acceptance that the guy was an ace tennis player and it really didn’t matter who he belonged to. Labour should learn from that and start realising that it doesn’t matter what colours it is draped in, it is what is under the bonnet that counts.