Social media has been awash with the story, news broadcasts and headlines in Northern Ireland have been dominated by it. In case you missed it there has been an outcry over Linfield's away kit that might just have ramifications for people in Scotland, too.

Last week in the province, an Alliance Party MP, Stephen Farry, complained that the Irish Premiership club's new away strip bore an uncanny resemblance to a UVF flag from 1912.

As a native of County Down, this caused me to reflect – often the case with imagery.

I still remember the day when a couple of inebriated flute band members stopped to pee against our garden fence. Not because of any great anger – their attempts to relieve themselves, then catch up on the next line of Derry's Walls were faintly ludicrous, vaguely reminiscent of Virgil Starkwell's hapless efforts to play the cello while in a marching band in Take The Money and Run – instead it was my mother's reaction: having to be persuaded against opening the door to shout abuse after them. My mother hailed from Snugville Street off the Shankill Road, so marching bands were nothing new to her, but seeing the Cherry Blossom at the front of the garden coated with urine was evidently one step too far.

It is a memory recalled with humour but it masked a rather more insidious reality. You had three choices on the 12th of July each year: you could join in, you could leave town a few days before – like some of my Catholic friends did – or you could sit inside, unable to move because every exit route in the town was blocked off and, well, you would be drawing attention to yourself.

Not so funny: I also remember the phone call from a university lecturer confirming that I was still alive following the death of a teenager – with whom I shared the same name – in Clough. In a brutal attack, he'd had his private parts hacked off by two loyalist paramilitaries. He was killed simply because he was a Catholic. I often pause to reflect that my own upbringing – as a 'lapsed Protestant' (I recently discovered that my great grandparents signed the Covenant) – would, maybe, have spared me this same fate.

These are the kinds of things I think about when I reflect on life growing up in Northern Ireland. They are what I think of when I see Linfield unveiling an away kit in the same colours of a UVF flag.

The UVF ruined lives during and after the Troubles, not just in the nationalist community where it was responsible for the deaths of 396 people but also in the community it claimed to protect, whether through the wholesale distribution of drugs, punishment attacks or the door-to-door collection of subscriptions from long-retired volunteers, often men in their 60s with little income to speak of.

The most demoralising dimension to Linfield's unveiling of the kit was the response from the club. Instead of recognising the problematic nature of the colour scheme, Linfield doubled down.

Roy McGivern, the chairman, refuted any such connection between the two by tweeting: “Is this where we are as a society when an elected MP thinks that ordinary every day colours can be owned or monopolised by a paramilitary organisation?”

Of course, they cannot. For the record, I don't believe it was a deliberate decision on Linfield's part. But the argument is not that straightforward – it is nuanced because it is about perception. Would Linfield have accepted a design in the colours of The Starry Plough? Clearly, as anyone from Northern Ireland will tell you, pairing purple and orange together is begging for comparisons between the two. Indeed, the fact that it has since happened merely proves the point.

What's more, it is incredibly naive to think that people aren't going to come to that conclusion, all the more so when you are Linfield.

Yesterday Umbro, the manufacturer, said that the design was based on “a collaborative process and this kit was based purely on guidance from the club. We apologise unreservedly for any offence caused”. It was a tacit acceptance that they had got it wrong. It must be noted that this is how these arrangements tend to work, a set of templates are drawn up under guidance from the club. The original deal for this particular kit supply will have been agreed in autumn last year, the club has had plenty of time to reflect on what the implications of said kit might have been.

One letter writer to the Belfast Newsletter newspaper attempted to justify the kit by pointing out that it was in the same colours as the one worn by Manchester City for the 2018-19 season. It's the kind of false equivalence that seems to accompany all kinds of unjustifiable arguments these days.

There is a context to this story from a Scottish perspective, too. Rangers have long traded on colour schemes that appeal to the lowest common denominator. The new Castore training kit that was released yesterday was festooned with orange numbering and lettering. I may be wrong but I am not aware of orange historically being one of Rangers' primary colours, unless you want to count the kit that was commissioned in 2002, apparently in tribute to the club's Dutch players.

Marketing lines they may be, but they fooled no one at the time, not least since Rangers claimed the colour was 'tangerine'.

Indeed, the story goes that the first time Linfield launched an orange away jersey – for the 2010-11 season – it became the third best-selling kit in Scotland. In Northern Ireland, it sold out within a day, the date it appeared in shops was July 11th. There was no doubt that there was a considered marketing strategy at work.

Fast forward a decade and the decent thing would be for Linfield to remove the shirt, but don't bank on it, judging by McGivern's response. An official statement out of Windsor Park claimed it was an “inclusive” club “totally opposed to all forms of bigotry, prejudice, violence and discrimination”.

Harking back to an era that reminds us of all of those worst aspects of what the UVF stood for, even if it is accidental, runs contrary to the spirit of that message.