Coffee House

There’s no contradiction between cheering on Scotland and voting for the union

23 July 2014

4:02 PM

23 July 2014

4:02 PM

In choosing this September for the Scottish referendum on independence, the SNP was presumably hoping Scots voters would be basking in the glory of a successful Commonwealth Games. There is every reason to hope that the
games, which opened in Glasgow this week, will emulate the London Olympics for organisational skill and, moreover, will help to sell an often-maligned city to the world.

But why does it follow that Scotland needs to be independent of the UK to organise and enjoy such an event? If these games had been marred by pettifogging bureaucracy or financial constraints imposed by Whitehall,
or if someone in London had trampled on Glasgow’s bid and put forward London or Birmingham instead, there would be every reason for Scots to feel aggrieved.

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Clearly none of those things happened. These games, and every Commonwealth Games before them, demonstrate that it is possible for Scots to cheer on athletes wearing Scottish vests while remaining part of the UK. The same happens in every World Cup and Six Nations Championship.

The issue facing Scots in September is not whether they want to be able to cheer on their own national sports teams, but whether they want to continue to enjoy the benefits of being a single economic and social system, where money, goods, people and ideas can flow uninterrupted backwards and forwards across the border.

We trust that Scottish voters will see through Alex Salmond’s narrow interpretation of patriotism and realise that there is no contradiction between cheering on Scotland and voting for the union.


GoveThis is a leading article from tomorrow’s magazine. Click here to read for free with a trial of The Spectator app for iPad and iPhone. You can also subscribe with a free trial on the Kindle Fire.

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  • HookesLaw

    Dunno – I’ve just walked in to be greeted by an overrunning and blatantly political 3 cheers for Billy Connelly – nationalistic opening ceremony.
    Why should the Saltire fly over the ‘official oath’ as opposed to the Commonwealth symbol.

    • Jambo25

      You do realise that Connolly is very anti-nationalist?

      • HookesLaw

        He is not anti politics.

        • Jambo25

          Then why bring the nationalistic bit into it?

          • HookesLaw

            Thats how it looks to me. My remarks were spread over two sentances.

            • Jambo25

              Well, I’m sure you can give me examples of that nationalism.

              • HookesLaw

                Did Cameron make a speech at the Olympics?
                Of course the commonwealth games my be different. You tell me.

                • Jambo25

                  A memoriam for dead people. Christ, you are disgusting. Incidentally, Cameron and co. have been flogging the Olympics as a prop in the indyref debate ever since. So transparently that even Unionists put their head in their hands at one point.

    • alexicon

      I’ve just walked into the BBC constantly showing the London Olympics and flashes of the union flag in most of its montages.
      No politicising of the games eh.

  • global city

    As we celebrate the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow all those brown faces from far away countries reminded me…. all those Europhiles who baulk at the idea of more developed Commonwealth structures are racist and should be exposed as being so.

    Their freaky little eurovolkish obsessions and continental inspired political dogmatism is a truly appalling state of affairs. Why are they so set against improving the capacity of the Commonwealth as a platform for truly international links. Why do they demand that we farm most foreign aid through EU priorities than directly through the Commonwealth? Why are they set on imposing continental norms of law making and politics on us rather than use the Commonwealth to spread the much better approaches that we used to have…and much of the Commonwealth retains and uses to prosper? Why do they demand we stay inside a customs union that is smaller in most economic measures than the Commonwealth? It must have some cause behind their obsession?

    Europhiles are at heart deeply, appallingly racist.

    • HookesLaw

      Thought it all went a bit quiet when people appealed on behalf of UNICEF.

      And whilst I am appalled at the Malaysian air crash – I do not see why Salmond had to call for a minutes (reduced I think to 30 secs) silence when most of the victims were Dutch.
      And in the next breath he juxtaposes and cheerleads and chants ‘Welcome to Sotland’.

      Is there any reason why this rubbish (I am opposed to ‘opening ceremonies’) has to drag on to 11.30 at night? What a joke.

      • Jambo25

        If you hate it that much, why bother watching it? I’m sure there must be something else on the idiot box. After all, there must be hundreds of channels of misanthropy you can watch.

        • HookesLaw

          Ask my wife. She has the switcher. Sorry pardon if I have an opinion. I tried not to watch the Olympics.
          What a surprise – the whole thing has ended with a firework display – still not as big a display as Salmond showing off his big head.

          • alexicon

            Shock horror, stop the press the FM of Scotland attends the opening ceremony of the commonwealth games held in Glasgow, Scotland.

            • HookesLaw

              I don’t like Alex Salmond (but there it is) and, horrible though it was, I don’t see why he should have made himself the centre for a minutes silence for an aircrash which killed hundreds of Dutch and took off from Holland.

              • alexicon

                He probably doesn’t like you, I can see his point in your bitterness.
                He didn’t make himself the centre of attention he made the victims of flight MH17 the centre, it’s called respect.
                I’m sure if it was bumbling Cameron or mickey mouse Miliband, you would have said it was statesman like.

                • HookesLaw

                  No I would have said it was out of place. Were any commonwealth athletes killed? Were any victims of any terrorism commemorated in the 2012 olympic opening ceremony? I do not recall if they were.
                  I can live with Salmond not liking me. Salmond is not head of state of Scotland. Why did he have to say anything. But I have to be fair Salmond makes me puke. You have to make allowances.

                • alexicon

                  No, there was innocent human lives lost.
                  Your contempt makes many people puke, but that doesn’t stop you.

                • ChuckieStane

                  The Malaysian team entered the stadium with flag at half mast and wearing black armbands.
                  Salmond’s address was before that of Prince Imran of Malaysia. As host nation it was fitting that Salmond made the gesture rather than placing Prince Imran in an awkward position.
                  Citizens of Malaysia, Canada, Australia and the UK all died in the shooting down of the plane. The show of respect was entirely appropriate

          • Jambo25

            Well I’m sure that you can stop biting the carpet now.

      • global city

        Yeah. I turned off after about 15 minutes until the teams entered the stadium….which is always good.

        I hear also that the heads of EU states meeting had to stand in silence for a minute too, rather than the usual ‘moment’s quiet thought’.

      • alexicon

        Yes it’s terrible that civilised countries honour people who’ve lost their lives so tragically.

        • HookesLaw

          And then 2 seconds later say three cheers lets carry on. A sad pathetic tasteless juxtaposition.

          • alexicon

            I’m sure if he hadn’t you would have got him for that.

            • HookesLaw

              No
              Do bear in mind I hate opening ceremonies … closely followed by closing cremonies.
              And Alex Salmond? What was he doing there. The Lord Mayor (all right, Provost?) of Glasgow I could understand.

              • alexicon

                As I said in my earlier comment: shock horror.
                Although you hate opening and closing ceremonies you seemed to watch them no problem. If your wife has the switcher why don’t you go into the garden shed and moan about something else, or is it a life’s vocation for you?

  • Jambo25

    Could someone please point out to Cameron that if he wants these games to be a politics free zone he shouldn’t have been out campaigning in Shetland today.

    • HookesLaw

      What should he do? Must all life stop whilst we supplicate ourselves to the great Saint Salmond?
      In what way is being in the Shetlands anything to do with the Commonwealth Games

      • Jambo25

        If you want the Games period to see a halt to indyref campaigning then stop campaigning. Its a bit like ; if you want to stop arms being sold to Russia then stop selling arms to Russia. Dave doesn’t quite get it.

        • HookesLaw

          The games should not be used for political campaigning dummy. Shetlands last time I looked was part of the united kingdom and several hundred miles from the games.
          The ‘arms’ sales you make a big deal, of are for civilian use. Are you really saying that the Russian military are laying themselves dependent on people like the UK?

          • alexicon

            The Russian separatist in Ukraine are civilians are they not?

            • HookesLaw

              And we sold them what? Ingredients for toothpaste?
              Ukraine is not Russia anyway.

          • Jambo25

            There was meant to be a political truce. Cameron broke that. Which Russian civilians use specialised sniper’s rifles, body armour or missile parts? Answer on a postcard please. Has he given the £160, 000 back yet to the oligarch?

  • Flintshire Ian

    I couldn’t care less if they voted yes or voted no. But it’s anybody but Scotland as far as sporting support is concerned. Just a bit of fun. Like the reciprocal.

  • Seumas McCoo

    This is the kind of rubbish which is making a lot of people in Scotland annoyed with the Unionist establishment. The SNP chose September 2014 for the Referendum because they had a manifesto commitment to hold the Referendum in the second half of the life of the Parliament, and they needed time to organise. The games are a glorious irrelevance. the people who want an independent Scotland have moved far on from getting tied up with sport. This may be the focus of Public School boys. this is the 3rd Commonwealth games which have been staged in Scotland so the politics don’t matter a damn except to people like the leader writer of the Spectator

    • monty61

      Come on, the Gnats are still banking on the Games for a final boost, after the damp squib of the Bannockburn festivities. The choice of 2014 was as shameless a ploy as excluding Scots-born people living elsewhere in the UK. Thankfully the Scottish people are a bit smarter than to fall for Salmond and his jiggery-pokery.

      This post smacks of sour grapes from a side that’s already lost.

      • Seumas McCoo

        First of all it was the previous Labour/Lib Dem coalition which decided to apply to hold the games in Scotland. The SNP only inherited the games. Secondly the franchise being used is exactly the same franchise as was used in 1979 and 1987. How important was the Bannocburn celebrations to the Yes campaign, and were they a damp squib? in truth the way that the Yes campaign is going the symbols which the British Nationalists see as being so important are actually quite irrelivant.

      • ChuckieStane

        The Bannockburn Festivities were organised by the NTS

        Patron – HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay KG KT GCB OM

        Chairman – Sir Kenneth Calman (of the commission) KCB MD FRCS DL FRSE
        President of the boad of trustees – Jamie, 16th Earl Of Lindsay
        Don’t kid yourself that the event was some sort of Independence Rally.

  • alexicon

    To me there is a contradiction.

  • GenJackRipper

    Indeed. I’m all for patriotism and national sovereignty, but this “scottish independence” seems so watered out that they might aswell remain within the UK.

    I’d rather have The Queen than Juencker as my head of state…

    • alexicon

      I would rather have Juenker, than the queen.
      We all have different opinions.

      • Jambo25

        Nice man Juencker. Bit of a booze hound as well. Certainly the man for me. Not that Russian bribe taking gun, running to Putin piece of filth, Cameron.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          But then you never resort to ad hominem attacks do you?

          • Jambo25

            And you never have anything intelligent to say or write. Where was I wrong? Cameron and BoJo did accept a £160,000 bribe from a Russian minister’s wife . Have they given the money back? Cameron is still selling guns to the Russians.

            • Inverted Meniscus

              Didn’t question any of that laddie but your reference to him as “filth” was both disgusting and typical of a hypocrite and coward like yourself. I can only imagine the reaction if I referred to Salmond in such terms.

              • Jambo25

                Really. So you don’t mind him being a sleazy, hypocritical piece of filth (I’ll use that word again.) then?

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Well it still leaves him staring down at that scumbag Salmond in the gutter.

                • Jambo25

                  That’ll be the Salmond who hasn’t taken a £160,000 bribe from an oligarch and Putin minister or ran a government selling guns to Vladimir Putin. That’ll also be the Salmond who opposed the lunacy of a Syrian adventure right from the start.

                • HookesLaw

                  No one has been bribed. Is Labour bribed by trade union donations? Are co-op sponsored labour MPs bribed by the co-op?
                  Shocking that the SNP should receive money from donors. Amazing that Soutar should be nominated for a knighthood after shovelling a million to the SNP.

                  There was no lunacy in anything to do with attempting to stop Assad from killing his own people.

                • alexicon

                  Can you give reference to Souter shovelling £1 million please.

                • HookesLaw

                  There is plenty of evidence. Indeed I hope it is a matter of public record.
                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Souter
                  500,000 in 2007
                  500,000 in 2011
                  Strangely a SNP commitment to re-regulate the bus network got dropped.

                  Well – no so strange was it?

                  I may add that the likes of Souter make me worry for sectarianism in an independent Scotland. I hope Scotland stays in the union and if not I hope I am wrong.

                • alexicon

                  Thanks for the references I will take them at face value.
                  Regarding your worries on sectarianism with Soutar, I can’t remember seeing anything about that, but I’m sure you’re happy knowing that the biggest sectarian bigots in Western Europe, the orange order, is happily walking under the banner of the no campaign along with Britannica, the holocaust deniers.
                  You don’t seem to be too worried about them.
                  I’m also sure you’ve also heard of Ian Taylor a shady businessman with links to Serbian warlords who donated money to the no camp.

                • HookesLaw

                  Thats my point.
                  Soutar is part of some evangelical sect. I quote him as one example.
                  Who says when I say I worry about sectarianism I am selecting any one side?
                  I’m not.
                  I’d like to think I was wrong

                • alexicon

                  Sect = sectarianism? Strange, but you failed to criticise the biggest bigots in the UK, orange order, Britannica, EDL, BNP etc. who are all acting on behalf of the no camp.
                  I think you are very wrong.

                • monty61

                  I’m no fan of Scottish secession but I’m genuinely unafraid of a resurgence of sectarianism should the worst happen and breakup be voted for .. compared to how it was when I grew up, sectarianism is far less of a problem and will continue to dwindle it seems to me.

                  What’s going on in NI – where there’s a resurgence of Loyalist violence and troublemaking – puzzles many in Scotland, when at one time the position on both sides was well understood. But it has less and less bearing on anything in Scotland these days anyway.

                  Seems to me the problem in NI is principally a failure of Unionism to bring its constituency with it – Paisley didn’t finish the job and the pygmies behind him don’t have the clout to pull it off.

                  Shame as by contrast Sinn Fein have done rather well in the political game and their people are reaping benefits in jobs and investment even as the no surrender brigade continue to throw rocks and get all worked up about a few flags. Conforming to stereotype, sadly.

                • Jambo25

                  I’m not a big fan of Labour so you’ll forgive me for not caring too much. What I will say is that the SNP has never organised fund raising events to which it has invited Russian oligarchs. Parties get money from donors but some parties observe limits. Cameron and BoJo don’t.

            • alexicon

              Who in turn give arms to the Syrians.
              Cameron’s Government sanction chemical sales of chemical products to Syria so they can make chemical weapons.

              • Jambo25

                It could have been quite fun with UK aircraft bombing targets to destroy weaponry we’d originally sold them. I don’t think Dave (or any Unionists for that matter) really get irony.

              • HookesLaw

                So selling stuff to make toothpaste is terrible is it?
                Go get a life you saddo.

                • alexicon

                  Ha! Toothpaste is that how they’re getting round it.
                  What’s really terrible is that the chemicals are being used to kill innocent women and children.
                  I see your life.

                • HookesLaw

                  So what is being exported? What chemicals are being used where? What chemical attacks are being made on civilians? I’ll give you a clue – none.

                • alexicon

                  Just google: ‘Britain exports chemicals to Syria’ and you’ll see a whole host of stories on that.

                  Here’s a wee taster.

                  http://www.politics.co.uk/news/2014/07/23/uk-government-approved-supply-of-lethal-chemicals-to-syria

      • Ron Todd

        I would rather have the person that got the most votes in an election.

        • alexicon

          How many votes did the queen get?
          But I do take your point over all.

    • rammyorstramash

      Juncker for me.

    • HookesLaw

      Why would or how Junkner be head of state? Of course neither have any political power.

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