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A short observation with regard to Scottish participation in the Olympic Games

Posted on August 05, 2012 by

As part of their desperate attempts to politicise the Olympics, a number of Unionist pundits and comedians have this week been pointing out that some of the talented Scottish athletes who’ve won medals wouldn’t have been able to do so were they not able to join together in a team with English, Welsh and Northern Irish competitors.

This is, of course, perfectly true and fair comment (though it’s also a fact that Scotland would be likely to have around four times as many competitors at the Games as an independent nation as it does within “Team GB”, and Union Flag-waver Sir Chris Hoy would have been able to defend the individual cycling title he so brilliantly won in Beijing 2008 rather than being pushed out in favour of an English rider).

However, when set against the ability to expel Trident nuclear submarines from Scottish waters, to protect the NHS from Tory privatisation, to save Scottish soldiers from dying in illegal foreign wars, to keep university tuition available to everyone rather than just the rich, to avoid mortgaging the futures of our children and grandchildren with crippling PFI bills, to look after our elderly and sick with free personal care and prescriptions, to build new social housing rather than condemn tens of thousands to homelessness, to power our country with clean, renewable energy rather than risking another Fukushima, and most of all to never again in our lifetimes be ruled by a Tory government, to be quite honest this blog would willingly sacrifice half of a gold medal in the Lightweight Women’s Rowing (Double Sculls) every four years, and the rest.

Maybe our priorities are just off. Sorry.

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  1. 06 08 12 08:44

    Dambuster | laidbackviews

56 to “A short observation with regard to Scottish participation in the Olympic Games”

  1. peter says:

    careful, stu, this article will be deemed  a rabid rant by our unionist bretheren.

  2. Peter A Bell says:

    Lacking any positive vision for Scotland, the unionist “pundits and comedians” to whom you refer never consider that independence might just as readily mean two Scottish athletes in the winning boat instead of just one.

  3. DougtheDug says:

    I’m sure that participation in the USSR Olympic team was a major stumbling block to Estonian independence.

    Pre-1991 they must have thought, “We get to be an independent country but on the other hand we get kicked out of the USSR olympic team and have to enter the Olympics as Estonia”. It must have been a hard decision for them to make.

    They must understand our agonising.

  4. balls says:

    As an Englander it disturbs me that you Scots seem to want independence to drag your politics to the left.
    What about us lefties stuck down here in free-market Tory hell? If people support the SNP outside of their independent Scotland position, i.e. on their actual politics then that is great news that a genuinely socialist party is popular in modern Britain.
    They could be a force for change for the whole of GB if they weren’t so bloody minded about imaginary lines on a map!

  5. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “What about us lefties stuck down here in free-market Tory hell?”

  6. MartinB says:

    “What about us lefties stuck down here in free-market Tory hell?”

    I’m sure that if our votes were enough to change the face of all the UK, there’d be a fair few current Independence supporters willing to stay and lend a hand.

    But that’s not the case, so the only chance we have to have policies that fit the overall political outlook of Scotland is by removing the conservative clockweight. At least some of the island of Britain will have a measure of social justice and organised compassion.

    And we’ll let in as many political refugees from the South as want to come. 

  7. balls says:

    “And we’ll let in as many political refugees from the South as want to come.”
    for real? i would be very interested to see how that works out in practice.

  8. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Scotland has plenty of room. But as this blog has established in some detail previously, England does NOT need Scottish votes to elect a Labour government:

    As to whether said Labour government would actually inhabit the left wing, of course, is another question entirely. But it’s one Labour – or the left in general – needs to sort out for itself. Scotland has given the rest of the UK long enough to abandon Thatcherite neoliberal ideology, and we can no longer afford to let ourselves be dragged into the abyss with you.

  9. balls says:

    I read that piece when you first posted it. England doesn’t need Scottish voters but they certainly help Labour, every seat won is a contribution.
    “Scotland has given the rest of the UK long enough to abandon Thatcherite neoliberal ideology, and we can no longer afford to let ourselves be dragged into the abyss with you.”
    I hate that selfish attitude. In the USA they call it “Fuck you I’ve got mine”

  10. Tris says:

    I’m pretty certain that, although they might have won different medals, there would be very little to stop Scottish athletes and sportsmen/women completing and winning at the very highest level. Messrs Hoy and Murray are two names that come immediately to mind, but there are, of course, many others.

    Surely one of the axioms of sport at the highest level is that it is the taking part that counts, and not the winning. However this may be a rather old fashioned view when you take sponsorship deals and celebrity appearance fees in to account. 

  11. Adrian B says:


    Surely the obvious  for Left thinking English men and women would be to vote Green. As they are already reasonably well established across the country.


  12. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I hate that selfish attitude. In the USA they call it “Fuck you I’ve got mine””

    It’s clearly not the same thing at all. We’ve tried and tried and tried to help. Election after election for half a century we’ve sent scores of non-Tory MPs to Westminster. But there comes a time when you have to stop banging your head against a brick wall. I believe this highly apt quote is most reliably attributed to the great WC Fields:

    “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point being a damn fool about it.”

    As a current resident of England, I would very much like to help elect a left-wing UK government. Voting for Labour will certainly not achieve such a goal, even if they won. Under FPTP, voting Green etc is a waste of time. Are you really saying that Scotland, which has a lifeboat available, should commit suicide purely out of solidarity? Exactly how long would you have us wait for the south of England to stop voting Tory?

  13. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Surely the obvious for Left thinking English men and women would be to vote Green. As they are already reasonably well established across the country.”

    I genuinely have no idea who to vote for at the next election. It won’t be Labour, it won’t be the Tories, and after the shocking betrayals of the current MP it won’t be Lib Dem again. Politically I’m indeed most aligned with the Greens, but there are two obvious problems: they can’t win, and I own a car so they’d put me in jail.

    (I don’t think it’s possible to overstate how much some of the Greens’ ludicrously-extremist enviromental policies alienate people who might well otherwise vote for them. It’s all very well saying “That’s what they’re for”, but to achieve anything you have to win power, and you simply don’t do that by demanding people massively and radically alter their entire lives overnight.)

    Clearly UKIP are out too, and that doesn’t leave a whole lot of boxes on the ballot paper:

    Spoiling the paper may be my only option. That’s what British democracy has come to. Labour carry most of the blame for that, which is why anyone exhorting me as a Scot to stay in the Union in order to help elect a Labour government is wasting their breath.

  14. Waqar Ali says:

    *points to what Adrian B said*.  That.
      Or come up to Scotland, since despite what, er, certain types will have you believe, we do in fact have plenty of room, and there can be nothing bad about having an influx of left-thinking types, to further cement Scotland in it’s place, at the time, as a free, independent, compassionate, left-wing and successful nation. 
      And now, if you pardon me, I’m off to listen to Alestorm’s metal rendition of Flower of Scotland.  Damn, it’s catchy xD.

  15. Domhnall Dods says:

    oh come on, this is the long awaited positive case for the union, widening gap between rich and poor,nukes,and privatised nhs but gold shiny stuff every four years. what’s not to like? (sarcasm mode off now)

  16. YesYesYes says:

    Of course, this is all true but we also know that sport, generally, is highly politicised by all nations and nationalists, and the Olympics, in particular, have become more politicised by nationalists since Nazi Germany hosted them in 1936. The British nationalists are no different in 2012.
    Don’t forget also that, in the British case, the politicisation will continue long after the end of the games and will probably culminate with their New Year’s honours system in 2013. Maybe we should organise our own honours system, if we do, I’d like to nominate Celtic’s Ki Sung-Yeung for an SBE (Stuffing the British Empire).
    It’s also worth remembering that the chances are that some, if not many, of the English athletes currently being cheered over the line are Tory voters, i.e. they’re the kind of voter who supports Trident, privatisation, the current austerity programme and other Tory flagship policies.
    The Tories are comfortably the largest party in England. In the 2010 British general election in England the Tories won some 3 million votes more than Labour (9,931,000 votes in England compared to Labour’s 7,000,000, winning a 40 per cent share of the vote compared to Labour’s 28 per cent).
    It is true that, historically, England doesn’t need Scottish votes to get a Labour government. But one of the reasons that ‘British’ political historians refer to the twentieth century as the ‘Conservative Century’ is that, in spite of the fact that the Tories haven’t won a British general election in Scotland since 1955, when England does vote in Tory governments, it tends to do it in such numbers that it regularly disenfranchises the overwhelming majority of Scottish voters. 

  17. Appleby says:

    balls, why do you expect a minority or smaller part in the north UK to magically rescue what is by far the largest part and potentially at total cost to themselves and their own chance for independence and a government that better suits them? By what powers could they possibly do this anyway (remembering that they are massively outweighed in voting and parliamentary power) and why would they when – if a significant number actually felt they wanted to – the people of England could get up off their arses and campaign and vote for their own governments, MPs, referendums, etc. to suit their will? You seem to want someone to do all the work for you and you don’t even want it to be yourself or your neighbours doing it or involved with it. If people in England came out in droves to vote for Green or socialist parties then you’d likely have what you wanted already without the need of anyone else to lift you out.
    To point fingers and claim someone is “selfish” is missing the point entirely, the history and efforts that have gone on before and is a dishonest way of passing the buck when you should be looking in a mirror for who is to blame instead. People elsewhere in the UK can campaign just as others have in Scotland. If you choose not to do so or take part in what is there already then it is not the fault of your northern neighbours. If you like what you see going on in Scotland then you should be glad to see what is happening there as it also gives you another platform to launch from and another nearby working example that Scotland itself didn’t have when it set upon the path.
    I know that many of those campaigning for independence in Wales have taken heart in what they see developing in Scotland as it shows it can be done, a path to follow and an example of a working model. There’s no reason to look bitterly upon it or call others selfish for making progress in a multi-generational effort.
    You don’t want neo-liberal Tories running your government? Stop voting for them. Scotland didn’t vote for them in majority but found itself forced to still be ruled by them, regardless of their wishes. That’s the biggest difference with the situation where you are balls and with Scotland. I’d rather like the idea that people might move up here afterwards or use it as an example to enact similar changes in their own areas. Just don’t start blaming us for not hanging around or joining in while England self-destructs or drives itself into the dirt of its own free will.

  18. Adrian B says:


    Not voting green is why they cannot win. The same was true of the SNP in Scotland for so many years. How things change………. 

  19. Holebender says:

    Balls! You want Scotland to be ruled indefinitely by Tory governments we didn’t vote for but your countrymen did, and you call us selfish? Get a grip man.
    If we elect your governments for you, if we govern your country for you, can you imagine the bitterness, resentment, bile, we will be subjected to by your countrymen? You want to put us through that because you’re too lazy or incompetent to take care of your own business, and when we politely decline you come back with an insult. I, for one, have had enough of being insulted by people like you, and your attitude towards Scots, your attitude of wanting to use us for your own ends while expressing contempt for us, is one of several reasons why I support an independent Scotland.

  20. Barbarian says:


    If Scotland goes independent bugger all will change. We’ll be at the mercy of the Bank of England; we’ll be tied into Europe much closer, we’ll remain within NATO; big business will still call the shots (erm, try Transport); free eldery care for all will remain a lie. as will open government (18 NHS Trusts).

    PFI to be fair will be out of the NHS as far as possible – about the only major policy where the SNP has been on top of things.

    So what a choice: vote Yes for independence to have the ability to vote in no change. Or vote No to erm, um……….

    What’s the bloody point if you can’t win either way?

    (Sunday rant as I’m painting……..)

  21. R Louis says:

    To the ‘lefties’ (your phrase) posting above, might I suggest your notions of Scotland staying with England to help elect a socialist Government are ever so slightly misplaced.

    Consider, were a Labour Government elected, they will NOT remove tuition fees, opting instead to reduce them by 3k, they will NOT remove trident, they will NOT reverse the privatisation of the English NHS – a process which they themselves started, they will not impose new tighter regulations on the banks – they had thirteen years and did the exact opposite.  I could go on and on, but I’m sure you catch my drift.  Labour is the only real alternative in England, but they are merely a marginally milder version of the Tories.  The notion that they are nowadays ‘socialist’ is frankly laughable.

    Given that context, the REAL way forward for ‘lefties’ in England, is to push for Scottish independence.  Why??  I hear you ask.  2 reasons;

    1.  Scottish votes are not nor have been (except very long ago) necessary to elect a Labour Government in England , so in that context Scotland’s votes in reality contribute little.

    2.  By becoming independent, Scotland can become a model socialist country with modern progressive politics, that will serve as a MODEL to those demanding socialist policies in England .  Time and again you will be able to point North to Scotland and for example say, ‘if they can afford free tuition fees, why can’t we in England’, or ‘if Scotland can afford a better NHS not dancing to a capitalist jig, why can’t we in England’.

    You see, forget about Scotland staying with England in solidarity for socialism, the best way forward, in all eventualities is for Scotland with independence to become a progressive, modern left of centre beacon across these Island and throughout Europe.

    If you truly wish to secure a socialist future for England, then you need to help Scotland secure independence.  It really is that simple. 

  22. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Not voting green is why they cannot win. The same was true of the SNP in Scotland for so many years. How things change”

    Things changed in Scotland because Scotland got a Parliament that wasn’t elected by FPTP. The Greens don’t currently stand enough candidates to win a majority even if every single one of them got elected, and under FPTP the vast majority have no chance of ever being elected. I don’t have 200 years to hang around waiting for them to creep up to six or seven MPs.

  23. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “What’s the bloody point if you can’t win either way?”

    You can, of course. Without having to pander to the vast Tory hordes of SE England, the political parties of an independent Scotland would be free to offer genuine left-wing alternatives, because the centre would be located far further to the left than it is in the UK. And under PR, smaller parties have a far greater chance of representation and influence. But hey, if you can’t have everything you want on day 1 of independence, might as well just throw a sulk and stick with the Union, right?

  24. Appleby says:

    Barbarian seems to think the baby belongs down the drain along with the bathwater. It’s people like that that hold back reform everywhere for the better.

    Give someone the best potential for change and reforming things to suit their and others’ needs in his lifetime and for generations and this results in a huffy tantrum on the subject? Worst logic ever by Barbarian. I can only hope that the paint fumes and being in a hurry addled his wits.

  25. Adrian B says:

    “I don’t have 200 years to hang around waiting for them to creep up to six or seven MPs.”

    There is I suspect – reading many peoples comments in the English press, as well as listening to many of the English up and down the country – far more than a disenfranchised minority unhappy with the policies of Neo-liberalism.

    Many have voted for Tory values at the last election, they also wanted to get rid of Brown of course. What they got has been very different. If labour are the only credible party that can oust the Tory/Lib pact. What will change?

    If wanting to vote Green in large enough numbers, more candidates will surely come through. You cannot change English politics overnight, but a sea change when it comes will give more voters further options.

    I do not know how a Scottish Parliament might look if we still had FPTP. But I do know if we kept voting labour then we would not be having a Referendum on anything. Education, Scottish NHS etc would be following the neo-liberal policies of labour, The Tories AND the Liberals.

    Having an Independent Scotland, may speed along a more left wing English Government over time. As you have stated Stewart voting labour will not work.


  26. Appleby says:

    Even if someone isn’t elected that year, the mere fact of a few hundred or thousand extra votes each time in local or national elections will encourage others to stand and others to vote for them as it looks incrementally more “realistic” that they will win (when of course anyone could win at anytime so long as people chose to vote accordingly in the first instance). A near miss can quickly become a landslide in such a manner or momentum elsewhere can build up. If the people felt strongly enough I think it could happen in as few as three national elections, maybe less if there was mass protest and sweeping council election changes in the meantime. With an independant Scotland to serve as a beacon perhaps that too would aid the transition.

  27. Holebender says:

    On a side note, why does the BBC have to interview Tim Henman immediately after Andy Murray’s gold medal performance? Henman was never more than mediocre but the BBC treats him like he’s the great champion. Will the All England Club ever accept Andy Murray? I doubt it.

  28. Tearlach says:

    Oh well – Murray’s victory does put paid to the Alf Young theory that Scottish Athletes can only flourish in team GB.

    I do look forward to the metropolitan press’s attitude when Murray defends his Olympic title in 2016, as part of the Scottish National team.  

  29. YesYesYes says:

    According to NewsnetScotland – in its story, ‘The debasing of the Olympics by Scottish Unionists and why they do it’ – there isn’t one male athlete from Scotland in ‘Team GB’ in track and field. This can’t be right surely? Newsnet must have its facts wrong. We can’t be about to watch one whole week of the premier track and field events at the Olympic games and not have at least one male athlete from Scotland in ‘ Team GB’?

  30. Juteman says:

    I wonder if Andy Murray was ‘set up’ after the match? He looked quite shell-shocked at the time someone threw the Union Jack at him to wear.

    And yes, there are no Scots males in the track and field events.

  31. YesYesYes says:

    You, and Newsnet, seem positive about this. This is astonishing.
    In another thread, I made the observation that Brian Wilson was making a prediction that if Scotland became independent we’d see the number of Scottish “Olympians” reduced by half. I jokingly added that this would give an independent Scotland a lower representation at the Olympics than some of the poorest countries from sub-Saharan Africa. In track and field, it seems, it’s even worse than that, at least for our male athletes, we don’t have any representation at all. And this has happened while Scotland is still part of the UK.
    Next question, what’s half of nothing?  

  32. Juteman says:

    I remember reading about it a few weeks ago, and was pretty astonished myself.

  33. balls says:

    I realise the conversation has moved on now but I want to clarify I was merely expressing my frustration that the Scots will get a government more representative of their population but where I live (the North East of England) is stuck with the status quo despite voters there also showing a distaste for the Tories and a strong preference for the left.
    It would make more sense to me to divide the UK up along political lines rather than (in modern times largely arbitrary) national borders.

  34. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    The North-East might have wanted to think about that when it overwhelmingly rejected a regional assembly. It might have been crap as it stood, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

  35. Willie Zwigerland says:

    It’s not really astonishing – there hasn’t been a top class Scottish male athlete since Tom McKean. At the last Commonwealth Games there were only about 10 or so Scotsmen competing in athletics.

  36. Appleby says:

    Yes, the turning down of the regional assemblies was a big blow to such ambitions. If you’re not willing to take the first step on the journey then you aren’t going to get very far. Surprising really, but perhaps it shows all the more the difference in attitudes and opinions across the border?

  37. YesYesYes says:

    It is astonishing, for several reasons.
    First, I haven’t gone through every single country competing at the Olympics of a similar size to Scotland, but, of the ones I have looked at, we are the only country with a population of more than 3 million that doesn’t have one single male representative in track and field. That’s astonishing.
    Second, England itself only had about 50 male representatives competing in athletics at the last Commonwealth Games. Have a think about this comparison in the context of our discussion here, particularly with reference to the nationality of the male track and field athletes in ‘Team GB’ (see also below).
    It’s also astonishing because we’re being led to believe, by people like Craig Reedie and Brian Wilson, that Scotland’s membership of the UK enhances Scottish representation at the Olympics when, clearly, this is not the case. The opposite is the case, it reduces our representation.
    Fourth, it’s astonishing when you compare Scotland’s representation at the Olympics to countries like Croatia, Denmark and New Zealand, all of which have similar population sizes to Scotland but which also have between two and three times as many athletes competing at the Olympics than Scotland does.

  38. Don McC says:

    “I hate that selfish attitude. In the USA they call it “Fuck you I’ve got mine””

    Actually in the USA, Scotland would be accused of being an enabler.

  39. Stuart M says:

    And then there’s the magnified argument: why not enter an EU team at the Olympics – it would be able to compete with the USA and China in a way that the UK, Germany, France, Italy etc. can’t.
    In the warped world of the Unionist mindset, the UK is the perfect size for any mission, and Westminster the perfect form of governance – despite all the evidence to the contrary (shocking infrastructure, 4th most unequal state in the developed world, no manufacturing, vast private debt, poor democratic participation etc. etc). Oh but wait we can win a rowing medal so all that’s OK then.

  40. Adrian B says:

    @Yes Yes Yes
    “we’re being led to believe, by people like Craig Reedie and Brian Wilson, that Scotland’s membership of the UK enhances Scottish representation at the Olympics when, clearly, this is not the case.”

    Sir Craig Reedie CBE & Brian Wilson – From his Wikipedia page –  “The standing of Scotland within the United Kingdom and the relative status of the dual identity is a live issue on both sides of the border and as the Scottish former head of the British Olympic Association has clearly navigated these difficult waters with considerable aplomb himself, his opinions on such matters have considerable influence.” 

    As a member of the IOC, this is a man that should be able to at least say that Scotland could do well with it’s own team and with further investment in relevant Scottish sport. He decides instead to decry the sportsmen in Scotland for they will not answer back. Indeed what he does say is rather odd for a man involved in the benefits that sport give mankind.


  41. YesYesYes says:

    @Adrian B,
    I agree that it’s very odd and the closer you look at it the odder it gets.
    Ironically, I’m not a fan of athletics or the Olympics (wherever they’re held), and I was only moved to contribute to this debate when I read Brian Wilson’s article in The Scotsman. Wilson said a lot of odd things in that article but it also revealed quite a lot about the mindset of unionism.
    They do seem to be unaware that they are often guilty of promoting fallacy of composition arguments, and this issue of Scotland’s under-representation at the Olympics is a good illustration. For example, Scotland is clearly disadvantaged by being part of the UK, not only because it limits our representation but, cumulatively, it limits our ability to improve on this representation in the future. In effect, our athletes are ‘crowded out’ by athletes from other parts of the UK.
    But from the unionist perspective, this is good for Scotland because, by being part of something bigger – the UK –  we are told that we experience more success, albeit vicarious success, than we could if we were independent. The problem here isn’t just the fallacy of composition, for this argument, in turn, blends into the static approach that unionists take to Scotland’s prospects as an independent nation-state. That is, they assume that if Scotland becomes independent it will continue to perform as poorly as it did when it was part of the UK.
    It’s bad enough that we are part of that small group of stateless nations in the world that have no country to support in the Olympics. But that we are also invited to bask in the relentless triumphalism of British nationalism, sing a national anthem that has a verse in it that invites its countrymen and women to crush rebellious Scots, and cheer many English Tory voters across the winning line, is too much to bear.
    As if all that wasn’t bad enough, that we should further be asked to tolerate, indeed support, a situation whereby, of all the thousands of track and field athletes from numerous countries competing in London this week, our country is one of the few that doesn’t have one single male representative in the most prestigious sporting events in world sport, is surely indefensible. Unless, that is, your name is Craig Reedie or Brian Wilson.

  42. Tearlach says:

    Oh well, at least Andy Murray is now Scottish again.

  43. Donald says:

    @balls you stated that “It would make more sense to me to divide the UK up along political lines rather than (in modern times largely arbitrary) national borders.” If these borders are arbitrary then how do we know where Scots Law applies and where English law applies. (In actual fact the Anglo-Scots border was largely fixed in the 1200’s, Berwick is a unique case classed originally as “within England but not a part of it” before being annexed by Queen Victoria in the 1800’s)

    Secondly exactly how do you divide the UK up into political lines considering the sheer imbalance of power at Westminster as the No of English MP’s = 533, No of Scottish MP’s = 59.

  44. Holebender says:

    Do we get to redraw the border every time a parliamentary constituency changes hands?

  45. Morag says:

    If we drop all the team events (damn the men’s doubles, we could have counted that!), Scotland at the moment has a gold and a silver.  That puts us level with Switzerland and Croatia.  And who’s to say we’d get no medals at all if we routinely entered team events with Scottish-only teams?
    Nobody’s stopping anyone cheering England, anyway, if they want more people to cheer past the line.  Don’t the Norwegians cheer for the Swedes?  (Maybe we don’t need an answer to that….)

  46. Adrian B says:

    @Yes Yes Yes,

    I too am not a big sporting fan, certainly not someone who would sit and watch the Olympics and watch our proud sportsmen and women be called English as has happened on a number of occasions – it just rubs me up the wrong way.  The only part of the Olympics that I have watched was the opening ceremony. There was a spoof of ‘Chariots of fire’ done by Rowan Atkinson, done no doubt all in the name of entertainment.

    Chariots of Fire as I am sure you are aware is a true story about two runners. Eric Liddell a Scot who was born in China with very strong Christian beliefs and a Jew named Harrold Abrahams who suffers anti semitism at university.

    I feel it is quite sad that the memories of these two legends of their day seem to have all but been forgotten in this countries history, while almost everyone in the whole of the UK can identify the film and the music. The importance these two mens story has become has been lost to a short bit of iconic film and musical score.

    Indeed it is odd that given its importance as a story not only for Scotland, but also team GB too that this shared part of history did not feature more heavily as an Olympic story between our two nations. An opportunity lost.

    Sad as you say that we have no men competing in the track and field events, given the great stature of men such as Eric Liddell.  

  47. balls says:

    “Do we get to redraw the border every time a parliamentary constituency changes hands?”
    devil’s advocate here, but is that really so stupid?

  48. Adrian B says:


    “devil’s advocate here, but is that really so stupid?” 

    Do you really want an answer to that question? Think that you may already have answered that one your self. 

  49. jake says:

    “Do we get to redraw the border every time a parliamentary constituency changes hands?”

    Isn’t that what happens just now? Doesn’t the boundary commission redraw the lines on the map to maintain the status quo when the demographics indicate change?

  50. Doug Daniel says:

    Sorry, but that’s the first time I’ve set eyes on that Alan Cochrane piece, and this caught my eye:

    “Politicians love to bask in the reflected glory of their successful sportsmen and even, in the case of Adolf Hitler in 1936, seek to prove the superiority of their country through its athletic prowess.”

    Is this man for real? 1936 is the only case of a country trying to prove its superiority over other countries through athletic prowess? Seriously? WHERE THE FUCK WERE YOU DURING THE COLD WAR OLYMPICS, YOU IGNORANT DOLT? WHAT DO YOU THINK CHINA WERE TRYING TO DO IN 2008? WHY DO YOU THINK BRITAIN IS SO OBSESSED WITH ITS MEDAL COUNT THIS YEAR?

    It’s practically the sole reason for the Olympics EXISTING these days, other than to make money for corporate sponsors. 

  51. Doug Daniel says:

    @balls: “devil’s advocate here, but is that really so stupid?”

    Yes, it is. It really is. You see, you may say the border between Scotland and England is an “imaginary line on a map” as you did in your first comment (are you Duncan Hothersall in disguise…?), but it’s one of the oldest borders in the history of the world.

    The idea that the Scottish-English border is “imaginary” is simply ridiculous. How, pray tell, do we decide whether someone has broken Scots law or English law, if such a line does not already exist? There simply couldn’t be separate Scottish institutions without the existence of a line telling us where Scotland ends and England begins.

  52. Peter A Bell says:

    If your purpose is to explore the full extent of Alan Cochrane’s ignorance I fear you’re going to need a bigger internet.

  53. Peter A Bell says:

    Why would anybody pretend to be Duncan Hothersall?

  54. Holebender says:

    Why would anybody pretend to be Duncan Hothersall?

    Masochism? Low self esteem?

  55. Doug Daniel says:

    I was actually (jokingly) implying that it was Duncan pretending to be someone else, rather than the other way around. But it was meant more in a football ground chant way, rather than an actual accusation (“Are you <insert thing here> in disguise? Aaaaare you <insert thing here> iiiin dis-guise? Are you <insert thing here>, are you <insert thing here>, are you <insert thing here> in disguise?” etc etc)

  56. Macart says:

    Goin’ back to back to the article for just a moment. No, I think your priorities are just fine Rev.

    Nothing wrong with being proud of sporting achievement, but it doesn’t pay the bills or look after sick and elderly. It doesn’t redress democratic deficit or challenge injustice and as appreciative as I am of the athlete’s sacrifice, hard work and endeavour, I think I’ll opt for voting YES in 2014 anyway.

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