Leader: Olympic flame a damp squib for Scots

THE moment in 2005 when the United Kingdom won the right to stage the 2012 Olympic games was one few people will forget.

From the far north of Scotland to the southernmost tip of Cornwall, the country was united in celebration. Prime minister Tony Blair, who was heavily involved in the campaign, called the win "a momentous day" for Britain.

More than half a decade later and with the Games in London only a matter of months away, that sense of unity across the UK has dissipated and nowhere more so than in Scotland, which was yesterday given a half-hearted preview of the progress of the Olympic torch north of the Border on its way to London - with the bizarre choice of rugby player Chris Paterson, whose sport will not feature.

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Organisers are keen to emphasise that the Games are for the whole of Britain, but a fleeting glimpse of the torch on its seven-day trek around Scotland apart, it is difficult to see how Scots will benefit other than by being on the same island. The sop is a few women's football matches at Hampden and training bases for two minor African nations. Big deal.

But at least Scots are not being singled out when it comes to fleecing customers, with everyone charged an extra 6 for the privilege of having pre-paid tickets posted out. Maybe Ryanair is advising.

So when Lord Coe says he wants all Britain involved next year, take that to mean he wants everyone to cough up to head to London. Good news for London, but it remains to be seen how the rest of us will benefit.