Monday, August 06, 2012

The United Kingdom is united in sporting glory

We are only half-way through the Games of the 30th Olympiad of the modern era, and already it is clear that the medal haul for ‘Team GB’ is, quite simply, incredible. Our sportsmen and women have surpassed all expectations; they have given the nation a veritable golden shower of success after success. The demotic sporting feel-good factor has finally exorcised the ghost of 1966.

His Grace has been reading the Twitter streams of sundry Scottish nationalists, boasting that if their nation were independent, they would now have eights Gold Medals, ranked right up there with France. This is not merely nationalist propaganda; it is nonsense. Scotland has won only one solo gold: the rest have been whole-UK team efforts. While there is no doubt that the Scots bring much to the nation’s sporting table, it is not beyond dispute that replacements for team events might easily be found from the other constituent countries that make up the United Kingdom. It is, however, beyond dispute that Scotland could not achieve the same on their own.

And Scotland’s greatest contribution, Andy Murray, appears more than content to wrap himself in the Union Flag. That picture will present Alex Salmond with all manner of problems: the referendum on Scottish independence may still be two years away, but the glorious flame of these Olympic Games will not have been extinguished from the national psyche within two years: if England can still talk of 1966 a generation on, the whole United Kingdom will still be talking of 2012 a century hence. Like Chariots of Fire, it will become part of our islands’ history; intrinsic to the culture of greatness; an expression of national pride.

This is the United Kingdom united at its confident best. Following hard upon the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the family of nations has rediscovered something of their combined greatness. When Queen Victoria celebrated her 60 years on the Throne in 1897, the diverse races, religions and cultures that made up the British Empire paid homage from the four corners of the earth. As Queen Elizabeth II has celebrated hers in 2012, those diverse ethnicities and religions now dwell in Britain: this Kingdom is an Empire.

When a man called Mohamed Farah, of Somali descent, can win the 10,000 metre Gold for Britain, we should be proud. When a woman called Jessica Ennis, with a Jamaican father, can rise to become the greatest heptathlete in the world, we should rejoice. Such exalted achievements are not made on behalf of England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland: they are uniquely British successes, transcending parochialism and petty nationalism.

So, when in 2014 Alex Salmond invokes the spirit of the Stone of Scone and rants on interminably about the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, wheeling out the geriatric Sir Sean Connery to exhort the Scots to vote decisively for their independence, let them reflect on that picture of Andy Murray draped in the Union Flag.

Scotland’s history is inseparable from that of England: both have been mutually infused culturally, artistically, linguistically and spiritually, and the United Kingdom has been a powerful vehicle of assimilation. Scottish independence will lead not only to economic instability, but to relative global insignificance. And in the world’s sporting league tables, while the remainder of the United Kingdom sails, cycles, runs, throws and jumps their way to another golden shower of Olympic glory, Scotland could rightly be proud of their solitary Gold, ranked right up there with Georgia, Venezuela, Lithuania and Iran.


Blogger John Knox's lovechild said...

So do not complain when Salmond uses the Commonwealth Games in Scotland in 2014, the year of the referendum, to make a different political point.

6 August 2012 at 10:13  
Blogger Span Ows said...

Apparently Yorkshire would have 7!...looking at a list of the gold medallists we can happily say this and the Scots' claim are complete bullshit!

6 August 2012 at 10:32  
Blogger John Knox's lovechild said...


Congratulations to Yorkshire.

This proves Scottish independance is a non-starter.

Breaking news..... Latvia has applied to join the Russian Federation and Mongolia wants to be "assimilated" by China.

6 August 2012 at 10:46  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

That's your plea for the Union, Cranmer? A few pleces of tin from a commercial venture passing itself off a something of human worth? Even if the Olymplcs actually were something other than a multinational business trading purely for profit (which it most cetainly is not), your case still falls for one good reason: it's only sport - it doesn't matter.

6 August 2012 at 10:52  
Blogger Preacher said...

Indeed, & how many of our ex commonwealth brothers & sisters won Medals?.
All those union flags in the corners of the flags of Aussies, Kiwis & the rest serve as a reminder of what we were & what we could be now if We had not thrown our lot in with Europe & built up an independent Commonwealth.

6 August 2012 at 10:52  
Blogger Simon said...

"...wheeling out the geriatric Sir Sean Connery to exhort the Scots to vote decisively for their independence."

Joining Mr Salmond live via videolink from his home in the Bahamas, presumably.

6 August 2012 at 11:05  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Pity it's upside down.

6 August 2012 at 11:54  
Blogger bluedog said...

Well spotted Mr Dreadnaught @ 11.54.

The Games have indeed been a stunning and well deserved success for the UK, Your Grace. All the cynicism that was so prevalent before the Opening has vanished like the morning dew and been replaced by pride in real achievement. There's no faking an Olympic gold medal.

China's haul of gold looks impressive. But at present 1.2 billion Chinese have won 30 gold medals or 1 medal to every 40 million Chinese. The British figure is 1 gold medal to every 4 million, ten times better on a per capita basis.

It is completely wrong to say the Games are only sport, as Mr Corrigan does. The impact of the Games will last at least a decade in terms of national euphoria and morale.

Your communicant is cautiously optimistic that the Games mark an important turning point, the return of British self-confidence. May this renewed self-belief have political expression in the severance of ties with the failed EU experiment. The British people may now rightly believe that if they can take on the world and win in sport, they can do the same in other fields if they please.

6 August 2012 at 12:33  
Blogger Damian said...

Bluedog states,

It is completely wrong to say the Games are only sport, as Mr Corrigan does. The impact of the Games will last at least a decade in terms of national euphoria and morale.

Where then is the euphoria from the olympics 4 years ago? Britain won 47 medals including 19 gold and no home ground advantage.

I think the money spent on these olympics would have far better spent ending the postcode lottery in the NHS and stopping our OAPs dying from hypothermia in winter.

6 August 2012 at 13:30  
Blogger non mouse said...

Yes, Dreadnaught and Mr. bluedog--I noticed that, too.

Also yes --the population of China should give them a huge advantage. Using figures from an '09 almanac, I reckon theirs is 2.89 times as large as the main Anglosperics combined!

It's early days yet, though. Many a slip...

6 August 2012 at 14:41  
Blogger IdiotZoo said...

If Olympic success is a measure of independence worthiness then Yorkshire puts up a stronger case than Scotland ;)

6 August 2012 at 14:43  
Blogger IdiotZoo said...

Ah, a point I Serbia already made. Interesting too how many Scots I've met who might support the idea of independence were it not for mr Salmond, who they thoroughly dislike and distrust.

6 August 2012 at 14:46  
Blogger Johnny said...

Look, the UK threw money at coaching and training after the winning bid.

It will all be a distant memory in November as we approach a hellish Xmas.

The nationalism is wrong, making us all pump up with pride.

Now go and enjoy your Big Mac and Coke.

6 August 2012 at 16:14  
Blogger Jon said...

It's interesting, John Knox, that you're commenting on the London Olympics. When I've seen English types show the temerity to comment on articles in "The Scotsman" and the like, they are attacked as Sassenachs or "Little Englanders" (as if Scotland and their ambition for it is so large!) It's a good job that we English don't return the favour!

And Corrigan, if you'd shown any interest in the Olympics beyond covering your keyboard with your own bile at the thought, you'd see a group of people who toil day in day out for excellence and are rewarded by adoring crowds who celebrate their achievements. Having seen the reception Oscar Pistorius got last night in his race in spite of his position, I think we know that this is a human endeavour (in spite, rather than because, of the IOC and it's policies) because ultimately, it's people celebrating people.

The corporate sponsors have to take a view as to whether it's worth their while, but they can't displace the simple pleasure in seeing people so deservedly celebrated for such hard work. You, sir, are a misery guts.

6 August 2012 at 18:22  
Blogger Che Yeoh said...

And there was me thinking that your Grace would do an article on that nice Scots Catholic boy that points to heaven when he wins a tennis game and how it's nice to see prominent people acknowledge their God in public. I think you've missed your chance to medal, Cramner, if you'll pardon the noun turned verb..

6 August 2012 at 18:37  
Blogger David B said...

Mr Murray seems rather quiet about his religion, and people do sometimes point upwards without it being anything to do with heaven.

Perhaps he is an ardent Catholic, perhaps he doesn't sleep with his girlfriend. I don't know, or much care, for that matter.

But when one googles his name along with Catholic this blog features heavily on the first page.

David B

6 August 2012 at 20:10  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

Jon, I don't doubt that the athletes "toil day in and day out" for years to get their pieces of tin; I'm simply saying that it doesn't matter - it's only sport.

6 August 2012 at 20:13  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Damian @ 13.30, umm, the Athens games took place in Greece, which is not part of the UK. The London games are taking place in London, which is within the UK.

It's the difference between home and away.

As for the OAPs, that's something for Dave and Nick.

Does you good to have a bit of a knees up though.

6 August 2012 at 22:06  
Blogger John Knox's lovechild said...


Well, I think it is silly to attack someone's opinion on the grounds of that person's nationality.

You imagine perhaps that such a thing never happens in England?

7 August 2012 at 10:19  
Blogger Wellards Academy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7 August 2012 at 12:08  
Blogger John Chater said...

"given the nation a veritable golden shower..."

Steady on Your Grace, that one barely got through the Firewall.


7 August 2012 12:08

7 August 2012 at 12:10  
Blogger Jon said...

John Knox, I certainly can't remember the last time that someone was precluded from public debate in England for being Scottish. Hell, the BBC would be denuded if that were the case! Can you think of an instance? We haven't even solved the West Lothian Question - so your lot can still vote on matters that are no concern of theirs.

In Scotland, anyone who takes a position against nationalism had sure as hell better be wearing a tartan skirt when he's doing it and be called Hamish or Angus, or he'll be called a little Englander by the "arc of prosperity" brigade!

7 August 2012 at 15:41  
Blogger Jon said...

John Chater - LOL. I didn't like to say!

7 August 2012 at 15:42  
Blogger Jon said...

Corrigan, when you get right down to it, very little matters. I like to think that moments of humanity, like those shown by winning and defeated athletes alike, shine a light into the depths of the human condition and demonstrate what we can be like at our best.

Of course, the desire to win at all costs also shows what we're like at our worst. Maybe that's why it's so compelling?

7 August 2012 at 15:44  
Blogger Tommy said...

One would have to assume of these alleged 8 how many holders are scotch nationalists themselves. They seem quite happy wrapping themselves int he union flag, one female footballer In know has a staunch nationalist grandfather but she manages to wear a British shirt. They seem to pick and choose like the welsh, they want independence but want to keep their football teams in our league. The scotch claim its their oil but much of it sits in shetland waters and much of it sits in English waters given to scotland int he 60's to appease nationalists. Scotland was bankrupt and got rich having access to Englands overseas markets when the dreaded act of union took place, England already had an empire and amighty navy, scotlands empire in panama failed and its navy had 4 ships. They prospered on our industry and empire and now claim 'its oor oil', they want out of a union of GB to remain in aunion of europe???? They want to keep the pound and the queen. Its a worry !

7 August 2012 at 21:33  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

Tommy, read some history, for God's sake, and stop embarrassing yourself. Scotland's economy collapsed AFTER the Union, and stayed in abject recession for nearly a century before it even began to recover.

7 August 2012 at 22:18  
Blogger Tommy said...

No need to blaspheme, I learned my history from your own son of scotland, neil oliver whom himself declared the above on his bbc series 'coast'. maybe you should write to him and correct him. Let me know how you get on, he has a few gce's I believe.

8 August 2012 at 14:23  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

"So, when in 2014 Alex Salmond invokes the spirit of the Stone of Scone and rants on interminably about the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn..."

Just over a year from now is the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden Field, at which the outnumbered English, under Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, took on a massive invading Scottish army, personally led by King James IV, in the biggest battle ever fought between England and Scotland - and stood against them, proud James' army, and sent 'em homeward, to think again.

Just thought I'd mention it, for the benefit of those a little tired of hearing about Bannockburn.

8 August 2012 at 16:20  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8 August 2012 at 16:32  
Blogger Altan said...

I'd like to point out that the so called Stone of Scone was in Ireland until it was loaned to Scotland. You know what it's like to have friends who never return the nice book you loaned them?

8 August 2012 at 19:40  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Are you sure about that, Altan 8?

I thought it had been proved that the Stone is of a type of sand stone not found in Ireland, and that it had most likely been quarried in the Scone area...

8 August 2012 at 19:50  
Blogger Che Yeoh said...

Well, the story I was told (by an Irishman), is that we asked the Irish for a loan of their stone to crown one of our kings (I think it was David I). The Irish were afraid that if they lent it, that they wouldn't get it back, so they made another and sent it over. Sure enough, we held onto it. Then the English came looking for it and the monks of the abbey it was in, apparently hid this one and substituted a sewer stone (hence the iron rings set into the stone). This was taken down to England and used to crown English kings on. Then Ian Hamilton and pals stole this stone, but during their escape the stone broke in two. It's said that Hamilton got a stone mason to make another one, which was given back to Westminster when he was arrested. So if I'm counting right, the present stone is a fake of a fake of a fake of the real stone of Tara and nobody knows where the hell that's gone. Which just goes to show that if you want to crown a king, don't use a ruddy sandstone to do it on - they all look the same..

10 August 2012 at 00:50  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older