Sporting chance for aspiring nations
Could a successfully managed Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 be a fillip to the pro-independence case in that year’s referendum?
Michael Kelly was equivocal in his assessment of how sporting success can change the political atmosphere (Perspective, 2 August).
But it is interesting to speculate on how the national and international profile of the Games might affect voters’ intentions.
Imagine the effect on the public mood of a relatively successful performance by Scotland’s football team in Brazil (if it gets there), a championship win by Andy Murray at Wimbledon (possibly for the second time), and a “friendly Games” that depict life north of the Border in a very attractive way.
In themselves these events might not change the way people think about Scotland’s future. But they might reinforce the effect of a pro-independence bandwagon that is already beginning to roll. They might also act as a counter to a negative case for maintaining the parliamentary Union if that bandwagon has been rolling for two years.
It is likely that the publicity surrounding the London Olympics has temporarily boosted support for the Union. But I agree that Glasgow can learn from the management mistakes over seating, ticket allocation and identification of national flags.
There will always be a tenuous link between the sporting and political climate. In the end, though, the independence referendum will be won or lost on more important factors.
They include the state of the economy at the time, the clarity with which both sides have outlined the consequences of an independence settlement or remaining with the status quo, and the quality of the leadership on both sides.
Polls may currently suggest backing for staying with the current arrangements. But there is a long way to go to the autumn of 2014 on both the sporting and political fronts.
The praise lavished upon Bradley Wiggins and the “golden girls” Heather Stanning and Helen Glover (your report, 2 August) is thoroughly deserved. Being best in the world at their sports is a great achievement and should be celebrated by us all.
The same can be said for the success of silver swimmer, Michael Jamieson. It, therefore, doesn’t matter whether they were born in Belgium, Cornwall, Somerset or Glasgow. They have come together to represent Britain and people from John O’Groats to Land’s End should be proud of them.
There is no room to try to make political capital from sport by suggesting terms such as “Scolympians”. It can only drive a wedge between people from the constituent parts of the UK.
One consequence of the Olympics concerns the issue of the flag.
Concerns expressed to me about the politicisation of education in Scotland under the current administration allied to a general recognition of the disgraceful conduct of the present Scottish Government means that many young Scottish schoolchildren are only aware of the Saltire and not of the Union Flag, our main flag.
As the total number of medals is added to by our British Olympians, it is gratifying to know that young Scots will grow increasingly accustomed to seeing our inclusive flag as representative of the combined efforts of all the peoples of Great Britain, despite First Minister Alex Salmond’s best efforts to the contrary.
Andrew HN Gray
Our TV sports commentators appear to have gone completely bonkers. I watched with incredulity as one screamed from the screen: “This is a historic moment for Lossiemouth!” as Heather Stanning and her rowing team-mate won a gold medal.
When Miss Stanning was subsequently interviewed, she definitely had an English accent, as did both of her parents, who were also asked for a comment. Heather was born in Yeovil, Somerset. Nothing wrong with that – I am technically English myself, having been born in Cumberland of an English father and Scots mother – but let’s keep the Olympic achievements and “kilt” connections in perspective.
All the hype, with its pressure on the poor contestants, has put me off watching the interminable TV coverage.
What happened to the maxim: “It’s the taking part that counts”?
China and the United States have a commanding lead at the top of the medals table.
To what extent can it be argued the Olympic Games reflect the hard realities of geopolitics? China leads the US with gold medals but on overall ranking they are neck-and-neck. Isn’t this a surrogate geopolitical competition between the major world players for strategic resources like oil?
That Russia is in tenth place with, at the time of writing, two gold medals supports this view. Arguably this is because Russia is no longer a major competitor compared with China and the US.
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