Boyle shows a way forward for debate
My response to the Olympic opening event was much more positive than that expressed by David Roche (Letters, 30 July) and I hope the ceremony will have more of an impact on the outcome of the referendum than Lesley Riddoch foresees (Perspective, same day). Among the appropriate words used to describe the event were “bizarre, eccentric, surreal and quintessentially British”. Quite the opposite of some of the more sour words utilised by the critics.
Danny Boyle’s portrayal of Britain was an inspired narrative no politician could ever devise, as some of them struggle to communicate the fact that the whole of the UK is greater than the sum of its nations. Never mind, they might now appreciate that, with the necessary degree of pizzazz and imagination, the full significance of the British phenomenon, in all its depth, range and occasional bizarre eccentricity, can indeed be communicated: from Thomas Hardy’s Wessex to Norman MacCaig’s Assynt, from Blake’s green and pleasant land to George Mackay Brown’s Orkney, with background music from Ralph Vaughan Williams and Hamish MacCunn.
We must try to take the constitutional debate out of the cold, calculating hands of the economists and accountants and call upon the poets and artists such as Danny Boyle. But not all the English are as appreciative of, and understanding of the nature of, the Union as he is, in which case it is up to the Scots to assert its value by voting for its continuation.
David Roche castigates the Olympic opening ceremony as a tribute to British nationalism; well, it was a tribute towards British patriotism perhaps.
However, are not the modern Olympics not all about sporting nationalism anyway?
Does this not explain why the SNP is so keen to have separate Scottish representation?
Bo’ness, West Lothian
Much has been written on the claim by Unionists that the Olympic Games opening ceremony will damage the case for Scottish independence.
While it was indeed a fabulous event, it is rather juvenile to assume that it will have such an impact.
If we are to work on this logic it must be remembered that the independence referendum is more than two years away, at which point the London Olympics will be a distant memory. But it will only be a matter of months after the opening cere- mony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, in which Scotland will of course be competing.
In addition, it is indeed a strange claim for the Unionists to make in that they are constantly telling those in favour of Scottish independence not to make such a decision based on emotions.
And yet this is exactly what they are doing here.
The case for Scottish independence will be judged by what people see as the most beneficial future for Scotland, and not on the hype and emotion created by opening ceremonies, however fantastic they may be.
In her article detailing Freya Murray’s well-deserved call-up to the marathon, Claire Gardner (31 July) states the Liz McColgan was Scotland’s last Olympic marathon representative in 1996.
This ignores the fact that she was partnered by Karen McLeod, who also represented Scotland in the 1990 Commonwealth Games 10,000m in New Zealand, which Liz won, as well as in world cross-country events when Scotland had its own team in Poland in 1987.
William S Gentleman
Coach, official and athlete
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