A Scot has ended Britain’s 77 years of hurt: it’s a glorious day, and Andy Murray’s was a glorious victory. Anticipating this, there were three party leaders watching. From the moment Alex Salmond settled down in Centre Court, you knew what he was up to: he’d have packed a Saltire in his lunchbox and would wave it when the cameras were on him. He was planning to photobomb.
Why? Because, to the SNP, sport is more political than politics: their world is all about what flags you wave, which sportsmen you cheer – and which you don’t. The First Minister even tried to hawk the idea of ‘Scolympians’ last year, trying to divide the British Olympic team between Scots and non-Scots. It was a ludicrous notion, as Sir Chris Hoy said later.
Political leaders often watch grand finals, but they seldom pack massive flags to wave in hope of making a point. Salmond loves to say how he is Scottish and European, but not British — but, as he was to learn, it’s not a sentiment shared by Andy Murray.
Here’s an extract from Murray’s post-match interview. He was asked about Henman Hill, outside Centre Court, where hundreds had gathered to roar their support. It was a sea of Saltires and Union flags, a wonderful spectacle Scottish and English fans joined to cheer on a fellow countryman. Murray was asked about that support:-
‘I understand how much everyone else wanted to see a British winner at Wimbledon, so I hope you guys enjoyed that. I tried my best.’
This isn’t a day for politics. But it is a day for national pride – and for those of us who are lucky enough to be Scottish and British, a reminder about the immense value of that shared identity.