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Wings Over Scotland

Another Union dividend

Posted on August 13, 2012 by

We noticed the image below doing the rounds on Twitter this morning, and were mildly surprised to trace it back to the official “Better Together” campaign account. Alert readers will already have noticed us satirically characterising it (in a tweet) as a claim that all but one of Scotland’s medal-winners at London 2012 were actually English, but in fact it’s something a little bit stranger than that.

Because what the image actually says is “Hey, Scotch people! Under successive UK governments you’ve suffered such chronic underinvestment in your sporting facilities that every talented athlete in Scotland has had to travel hundreds of miles from their home, leaving their families and friends behind, in order to get adequate training!”

We’re not sure that’s quite the red-hot selling point for the Union they think it is.

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  1. 13 08 12 13:18

    Closing Ceremony | laidbackviews

  2. 18 08 14 09:33

    40 Reasons to vote Yes! - Yes Bo'ness

31 to “Another Union dividend”

  1. Commenter says:

    “Want success? Emigrate.” #bettertogether

    Yay, Britain!

  2. redcliffe62 says:

    Amend the table to add 2 columns. 
    Facilities paid by Scots taxpayers for use in England? YES.
    Facilities paid by English taxpayers for use in Scotland? NO 
    Rather the same scenario as the Olympics where lottery money spent from all over UK on facilities near or in London never to be repaid, well maybe after 2020 but who believes that will happen really…… 

  3. Albalha says:

    Over on the Guardian, K McKenna’s latest article, I raised the point that all this fuss about ‘Scottish’ athletes and the flag waving was largely irrelevant, as few lived in Scotland, so unlikley, unless they move, to have a vote in 2014, thanks for the table, I didn’t realise it was as low as one.

  4. Cuphook says:

    It does seem odd that they’re proud of the fact that all but one of those athletes has had to leave Scotland. Their logic would imply that Scottish sports would be better if all participants moved to England.

    When it comes to the nationality of teammates I wonder how they’ll spin the Commonwealth games?   

  5. Doug Daniel says:

    Wow, so Andy Murray was trained using UK government funded facilities, eh?

    And there was me thinking he had to move to a private school in Barcelona due to the inadequate tennis training in the UK, hence why he’s the only truly world class tennis player to come out of the UK in decades…

  6. steve mckay says:

    Countries in the all time top ten for winning medals per capita include Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

    These ‘tin pot’ little countries must be really grateful to;

    a – Big ‘rich’ Westminster and the UK lottery for helping to fund their success or
    b – have effective governments that fund sport (et al) to a high level irrespective of which region you live in or school you attend…

    Take your time Better Together supporters – it’s quite a tricky one…..

  7. Doug says:

    I did post a polite but detailed critique of the table on the ‘Better Together’ Facebook page – main conclusions as above, also pointing out that it did not follow that because the Scots won as part of Team GB that they could only have won as part of Team GB and that more Scots Olympians would compete under independence.

    Helpfully they wiped the posts of myself and all other ‘contrarian’ contributors and blocked me from future comments (although not responses referring to me, amusingly)

  8. Peninsula says:

    This is utterly bizarre. It’s just another variation of the ridiculous argument that Scotland is incapable of success without England.  You know the one:Too wee, Too poor…

    These people can’t win. They must not.

  9. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I did post a polite but detailed critique of the table on the ‘Better Together’ Facebook page”

    I still can’t even FIND their Facebook page. In terms of internet searchability, “Better Together” is one of the dumbest campaign name choices ever.

  10. Doug says: and jolly exciting it is too.

  11. Andrew says:

    They appear to have dropped the bit about welcoming comments from “civil” cybernats

  12. Jimbo says:

    Doug, Stuart Campbell & Andrew; Like yours, my polite post highlighting their flawed logic was removed. It appears their idea of debate is to censor all comments that do not suit their agenda.

    Is this really the kind of Union they wish to promote and preserve? One that stifles honest debate? A union wherein those with opinions different from theirs are not to be tolerated?

  13. Appleby says:

    Bitter Together are running scared. Frightened people typically act as they do – clutching at straws, acting aggressive towards others, shouting and censoring. This is what causes the frankly potty outbursts on Twitter or BBC interviews, the media and FB censorship or logic-defying twisting of reality and the frequent double standards of Bitter Together supporters and the mainstream media. They can feel that things have reached a critical point.

  14. Tearlach says:

    What the whole Better Together argument manages to ignore is the setup of sport in the Uk means that athletes from outwith England have to base themselves there, as that’s where the training facilities are, and crucially that’s where the sporting governing bodies make you move if you want to be part of their Olympic training squads.
    Take cycling, of which I have a little knowledge through family and friends being part of the youth and junior training programmes. The whole process is like an upside down pyramid, taking in lots of kids at the bottom, and progressively filtering them out as they rise through the system. Scottish Cycling, funded by Holyrood, does about 80% of the job, all the on the ground stuff, then developing talent teams for the good kids, taking them all over Scotland, Ireland and on to Europe to train and race.
    Then, the best kids get taken into the Olympic Talent team process, run by British Cycling, and all based in the South. Manchester for the track and MTB, the SE for the road types. Scotland does not have the option of running its own Olympic talent teams, as the resources and focus is all through British Cycling.
    The interesting bit then happens at the Commy Games, when British Cycling, with all its resources, staff and facilities then morphs into English Cycling, supporting Team England. So Scottish Cycling, set up as a feeder system for Team GB, is then trying to compete on an equal basis with British/English Cycling.
    Interesting article in last weeks Inverness Courier, about one of the Highlands best young cyclists, a chap called Kenta Gallagher. He is Mountain Biker, part of the Olympic Talent team, brought up in Inverness since a baby, English Father (who sadly died very young) and Japanese mother. Great example of a New Scot/New Highlander. Brought through the system by Scottish Cycling, supported and nurtured by them from the age of 10 until 19 – he is now 21. But as Kenta was born in England, he is getting a lot of pressure from British Cycling – yes British Cycling, to ride for England in the 2014 Commy Games in Glasgow.

  15. Albalha says:

    Tearlach, the nationality issue I find most odd, Heather Stanning was born in England but is a Scottish athlete, Daniel Purvis, the gymnast, born and brought up in Liverpool, chooses to represent Scotland as his mum is from Dundee, then there’s the German raised cyclist on the GeeBee team, dad is English, it’s like the strange football and rugby rules, surely it could be simpler, no?

  16. Iain says:

    Why do they count Chris Hoy and Andy Murray twice? I know Scottish politicians have two houses but do sports stars also have them?

    Typical statistic double speak which makes everything invalid.

    The Union Dividend at work. 

  17. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Because there’s a column for “did they have a non-Scottish team-mate”, and in both Hoy and Murray’s case they got an individual medal AND a team medal.

  18. James T says:

    I did hear during the Olympics that the Scots actually bucked the trend too, as in more than half of the Scots that won a medal, went to the normal state comprehensives in Scotland; Whereas in England, most of the medal winners went to private schools. What do we make of that?
    I also liked the one comment I heard during the Olympics that was for the useless horse sport – dressage – and someone called it the toffs version of ‘Britains got Talent’. Seriously…how is that a sport. A prancing horse with somebody dressed up for fox hunting on the back of it !!!

  19. Doug says:

    So much nonsense spouted by the ‘Better Together’ lot.  The constants are the use of “Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc” assertions and statements of opinions as fact.  Add in partial truths, outright lies and clumbsy censorship of any dissent.

    Hardly an inspiring mix and makes me wonder if they do have a +ve case for the Union (or any case at all!)

  20. Doug says:

    I don’t usually get annoyed, but they have riled me slightly with what should have been a relatively civil/uncontroversial discussion.

  21. douglas clark says:

    James T,
    If we must have dressage, because otherwise Claire Balding would cry, should the medal not go to the horse?

  22. James T says:

    Yep, Douglas,
    I noticed that myself. For the first week as she had nothing to do, they chucked her into the Olympic Pool area, and then she got her backside booted a couple of times; especially after the Adlington girl won a 2nd bronze. Claire made an off the cuff comment that did not go down well with the rest of the UK. The Beeb were probably glad to lose her to the horses in the end, as no one, but no one was going to watch the seriously mind numbing ‘sport’ of ‘dressage’ !!!
    Apparently, the horses do get an award, they get a rosette slapped on the side of their ‘napper’ (or rather their neck) Why? I have absolutely no idea….and the mind boggles as to what the horse thinks of it all !! In fact, the horse is probably the sanest one there !!! Why somebody has to dress up in fox hunting clothes, then have a horse ‘dance’ around a square arena beats me. But the upper class think it’s an olympic sport, while strangely, the racquet sport, Squash isn’t !!! Why?…no idea !!! Also perplexing is BMXing. Full grown adults on a childs bike going over some gravel mounds – an olympic sport…riiiiight….

  23. Anthony McGregor says:

    My reply to their Facebook page before they delete it 🙂
    Thinks some of you need to rediscover what the word National means, i see it used to cover the National Team, and the National Anthem… UK/GB is not a nation, however much you try to insist it is. It is a collection of countries making up a State, not a new country.

    Of or relating to a nation; common to or characteristic of a whole nation
    – this policy may have been in the national interest
    – a national newspaper  

  24. douglas clark says:

    James T,
    BMXing must be the cheapest of all sports at entry level. You just nick your wee brothers bike!

  25. Seasick Dave says:

    The Unionists do seem rather proud that all of our medal winning athletes have to go to England to train.

    Personally, I’m embarrassed that an oil rich country has to send its athletes away to get training as we have no facilities worthy of the task.

    Hopefully, with Independence we will build the sports infrastructure we deserve and our young athletes won’t have to travel hundreds of miles to access quality facilities.

    I suppose we should be grateful that we got to see the Olympic flame.

  26. Kenny Campbell says:

    Clearly all this is Dressage a sport for toffs and tories  is coming from folk who have never been on a horse….As the father of a national level 15 year old 3 day eventer I can re-assure you that the training required for Dressage is long and arduous both for horse and rider. The point of it being that you can control and communicate with the horse through nothing more than light leg pressure and shifting of weight. Less of a sport than it is an art. Its not my cup of tea but its extremely difficult.

  27. Paul says:

    In order to get the full picture, we need the full set of data.  What the table above is missing is the list of Scottish athletes who didn’t get a medal and where they are based, plus all the rest of the GB athletes and the proportion of them who got medals and where they are based.  Then some more meaningful conclusions could be reached.

  28. Rod Macfarlane says:

    I wrote an article about the Olympic closing ceremony and also alluded to the medal distribution argument within it yesterday. Here it is for those that are interested.

  29. Melanie McKellar says:

    What I think is strange is that the campaign group known as ‘better together’ seem to be hellbent on publishing/publicising all the things that drive the Union apart. Did you know that -exclusive to their website -you could download a handy reminder for your Calander for every time a Scottish Athlete (not TEAM GB) was about to perform! I downloaded it and I watched most of our Scottish in action! Very strange but very true! (hehe)
    I agree with what has been said, all this table shows is another under investment but you also have to ask/ show where every Team GB athlete lives and trains…Mo Farah trains in the US, wasn’t born in UK but somehow became a Team GB athlete…Laura Robson was born in Australia to Australian parents…….one of the first medal winners was claimed to be ‘as good as a british win ‘ because she trained in the UK do athletes compete ultimately for their country or for themselves? And let’s not forget all the sports funding is at the moment from pulled resources the United Kingdom cannot afford to set up multiple facilities everywhere in the UK, perhaps we should be asking why we haven’t at least had a share of them built in Scotland, perhaps we just move on!
    Bring on 2014!

  30. John Lyons says:

    10/13 medals won by Scots required a team mate from somewhere else in the UK.

    Funnily enough, that also means 10 athletes from Team GB needed a Scot to help them win.

    It makes s much sense as Ian Davidson saying the lawyers he pai say Scotland has no legal right to hol a referendum and those who are paid by the SNP and say different are doing so because they’ve been paid too.

    Unionist logic. I suppose at least it’s consistent.

  31. John says:

    Surprised no one has pointed out that not only do the athletes have to leave Scotland for the facilities but it also seems the single, solitary athlete that does stay in Scotland can’t get coaches as ‘UK funded coaches travel to athletes home’. It doesn’t explicitly say the ‘UK funded coaches’ travel from England to Peebles but odds on they do. 

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