One thing that’s very noticeable today is that some people almost seem ashamed to mention the fact that Andy Murray is indeed Scottish, which is rather sad.
No, he didn’t win the men’s final at Wimbledon BECAUSE he’s Scottish, and nobody would be so stupid as to suggest that. Nor did he win it DESPITE being Scottish. He won it because he has a natural ability which was nurtured and built upon over many years of hard work, which has nothing to do with where he comes from.
However, he is still Scottish… AND British. The funny thing is is that if Scotland does vote for independence next year, he’ll still be both – as will all citizens in Scotland. The UK does not hold copyright on the term ‘British’ – it relates to the island which Scotland, England and Wales all share – Great Britain. It’s a geographical name, not a geopolitical one.
Mentioning the fact that Murray hails from Scotland is nothing to be ashamed of. It doesn’t imply that you harbour Nationalistic thoughts (note, large ‘N’), nor does it mean that you support independence. It just is what it is.
Likewise, saying he’s from the UK is the same – we are still a part of the union at the moment, after all.
Sport is sport. It’s not real life and it’s not serious. Cheering for someone or waving a flag at a sporting event, showing support for someone who happens to be from the same place you’re from, means nothing more than that: you’re celebrating a geographical coincidence and some sense of camaraderie. It’s not a visual demonstration that you believe that you and your countrymen/women are better than others – that WOULD be Nationalism, with a large ‘N’. That can and does happen, of course, but it’s not the default position, and it shouldn’t be the default assumption. If sport didn’t have cheering spectators, there’d be no sport on tv at all.
Which brings me neatly to my next topic…
There’s a lot of utter crap talked about the independence movement, Yes Scotland. Usually it’s ‘cheeky’ wee remarks from Lords or unionist party activists, hinting that the drive for independence is, or contains, thinly veiled Nationalism (large ‘N’ again). If you’re a unionist, or otherwise not personally engaged in the independence debate, you may well scoff at that, and I wouldn’t blame you – it’s ridiculous. But let me assure you, it happens EVERY SINGLE DAY, and from some of the UK’s so-called top politicians. There is no escaping that fact that a minutely small number of people support independence for the wrong reasons, but they in no way at all have any sway with Yes Scotland, and they will still be as minuscule and unimportant after independence. Unfortunately, Nationalism does exist to a greater or lesser extent in all countries of the world – pretending it doesn’t exist gets us nowhere.
No matter what else you think of him though, if you look at Alex Salmond and genuinely think ‘Nazi’, then you really need to catch up with Scottish politics. Likewise Nicola Sturgeon (Deputy FM)… Blair Jenkins (Yes Scotland)… Alan Grogan (leader of Labour for Indy)… Patrick Harvie (leader of the Scottish Greens)… etc, etc. They all support independence. Not because they believe that Scots are better than anyone else, but because they know that the people IN Scotland are better at RUNNING Scotland. That’s called civic nationalism, and it’s dramatically different from the large ‘N’ namesake. An unfortunate accident of the English language is all that it is.
For the Nationalists, look no further than some (not all, of course) of the ‘Better Together’ supporters: Tories, UKIP, the Orange Order, the BNP, the EDL, the SDL, the National Front – THOSE are the ones that think place of birth and/or ethnicity has any impact on the ‘worth’ of a human being.
So if you want to support Nationalism in the independence referendum, go ahead, vote No.
If, like me, you agree that democracy is better run by the people who live in the place being governed, NOT because of ethnicity or country of origin, but because they live, work, eat, start families and play there, vote Yes.
It’s nothing to do with waving a flag at a sporting event. Those things that happen at them are called ‘games’ for a reason.
EDIT (edited again): As if to illustrate my point above regarding the incorrect labelling of indy supporters as Nationalists, Jill Douglas, BBC Sports journalist, likened Sallmond to John Terry, who is most well known for being football’s most infamous racist. After a barrage of replies, she has deleted her profile. No apology. ‘Lord’ Jack McConnell offered his sympathies and told her to ignore the trolls. Yes Jack, people calling her up on that are definitely ‘trolls’!
I incorrectly attributed the word ‘racist’ to Jill Douglas earlier – she did not directly use the word, so my apologies for that.
Her failure to defend her tweet properly however, removing the tweet and then deleting her account, speak for themselves in my opinion. Make up your own mind why she felt the need to use Terry.