Olympics Reopens Debate on Scottish Independence

By Simon Miller, Epoch Times
August 17, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Chris Hoy - Men's Keirin Final at Olympic Velodrome. 2012
Chris Hoy in action during Men's Keirin Final at Olympic Velodrome. Hoy won gold. (Mike Powell /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

As the warmth of the Olympics flames subside, London 2012 is being hailed as an outstanding success for Britain.

In terms of its ceremonies, hosting arrangements, accommodation of athletes, media coverage, huge haul of British medals, volunteer involvement, and support from the general public, there’s a general stamp of success.

Yet the games have caused friction burns between the Yes and No campaigns for Scottish independence.

While Labour and Conservative politicians claim that the Olympics demonstrate the benefits of retaining the Union, the Scottish National Party (SNP) claims a new survey shows a swing of support in favour of their independence cause.

At a Downing Street Press con- ference to announce £125 million a year for sport in the run up to the next Olympics in Rio, David Cameron appeared to use the opportunity to bolster the pro-Union case.

The sight of Scottish tennis gold medalist Andy Murray dawbing a Union Jack around himself and singing ‘God Save the Queen’ seems to have bolstered his case.

As have comments by cyclist Sir Chris Hoy who has now won a record sixth gold Olympics medal. He described himself as a proud Scotsman and Brit.

The Prime Minister talked about how the whole of the UK had united behind athletes from all parts of the UK, and that the games had brought the four nations closer together.

“It’s a Britain where English, Scottish, Welsh, [and] Northern Irish compete in one team and drape themselves in one flag,” he said.

The SNP argues that a new Panelbase survey of 800 Scots commissioned by the Sunday Times shows that 12 per cent of respondents said that the success of Scottish athletes had made them more supportive of the independence campaign.

However, most of those polled voted SNP last year, 80 per cent of whom said that their views on independence had not changed.

The poll also showed that 29 per cent believe Scottish athletes should compete for Great Britain after independence while 58 per cent say Scotland should represent itself.

Speaking at the Edinburgh International book festival on Monday, August 13th, ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who was born in Kirkcaldy in Fife, weighed into the debate by making the case for the benefits of pooling resources.

“One thing I take from the Olympics (a point that Sir Chris Hoy has already made for me) [is that] when we pool and share resources for the common good, the ben- efit is far greater than would have occurred if we’d just added up the sum of the parts,” he said.

“From the Olympics it is pretty clear – we managed to do it in cycling with pooled resources. If you had just divided the money and put a tenth to Scotland and a tenth to Yorkshire, you could not have achieved the same results we did.”

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