Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Poll : will you be supporting "Team GB" this summer?

A couple of weeks ago, a unionist called Magnus Miller took me to task on Twitter for gently mocking Councillor Alex Gallagher's excitement at meeting no fewer than four real people who agree with him that independence is a bad idea. "Just because his opinions don't match yours does not make them wild!" Miller told me. "Arrogance of SNP is astonishing! Gave his opinion based on own experience!" Actually, a better way of putting it is that Councillor Gallagher searched for an experience that matched his opinion and came up with a remarkably unimpressive one, but let's leave that to one side. A more interesting point is how consistently Miller applies his zeal for the 'everyone has a right to his own opinion' principle. Not terribly, is the answer.

A few hours later, he made reference to the news story about Asda worrying that Olympic-themed products displaying the Union Jack would offend Scots in the run-up to the independence referendum. This was his observation -

"The sad fact is that there are a number of people in Scot and NI who would not buy a product if it had the UF on it."

'Sad'? What's sad about other people's feelings on the Union Jack differing from yours, Magnus? And if enough people find the sight of the British flag off-putting, Asda were simply being rational in taking note of that. It's consumer choice in action, which supporters of all the unionist parties (being right-of-centre as those parties are) ought to thoroughly approve of.

For my part, I don't find the Union Jack particularly offensive, as evidenced by the fact that I've bought two "Olympic edition" Dairy Milk packets over the last week. But all the same, it's hard not to look ahead to the summer with a sense of weariness. On past form, we can't expect a lot of sensitivity to Scottish and Welsh distinctiveness during the Olympic period. On the contrary, we can expect unionists to cynically exploit any British success for their own ends. A particularly risible example from four years ago in Beijing was the unionist jubilation at Chris Hoy's tears as God Save the Queen played in honour of his gold medal! And of course the British Olympic Association itself has become increasingly notorious for pursuing a nakedly political, British nationalist agenda. None of these antics make it easy, I would guess, for the type of people who visit this blog to feel much warmth towards "Team GB". Which, naturally, is simply a matter of personal preference, and should be respected by the likes of Magnus Miller.

So that's the subject of today's poll. When the London 2012 circus gets fully in swing, will you be able to support the Great Britain team? Or perhaps you'll be taking a middle course, and only supporting GB when there's Scottish involvement? You'll find the voting form in the sidebar.


  1. It's funny how these people crop up. The same guy started following me (ooh, sounds a bit creepy) on Twitter recently (maybe he decided to just start following a whole bunch of nationalists?), and every now and then I'll make a jibe at the union and up he pops to try to take me to task. It's a bit odd, really, and I'm not sure why he bothers because I always manage to deflate whatever spurious point he's making with a witty aside. There's another one who appears to be the son of Labour MP Mark Lazarowicz who followed me for a while, and similarly used to chip in to take me to task whenever I made a pithy remark. That was until the following exchange, which I was rather amused by. Someone had retweeted some daft tweet by Foulkes, so I sent a reply criticising him. Up steps boy wonder to say something along the lines of "why don't you stop following him then?" to which I replied "I'm not. I don't follow people whose views I blatantly disagree with - I find that a bit odd."

    To be fair to the boy, he got the point, said "maybe I should follow my own advice" and promptly unfollowed me!

    Back on topic - will I be supporting Team GB? Not as a general rule. I'll obviously be supporting folk like Chris Hoy, but that's it. I kind of wish I was a prime athlete so I could win gold and then perform a protest on the podium - unfurl a saltire and start belting out Flower Of Scotland loud enough for the cameras to pick it up. Would probably be the end of my British athletics career mind, but I'd be a poster boy for Scotland!

    At least we're not Northern Irish though. I'd get really annoyed with the constant references to Team GB when it is in fact Team GB & NI...

  2. I think Mr Hoy's tears at the last Olympics were due to the fact that he had reached his goal that he had worked on day and night for years and that was emotional to him.

    I certainly will be supportive of the GB & NI at the Olympics although I would have preferred to see a Scotland team. In 4 years time I might be able to.

  3. I picked item 3, although closer to the truth would be 'I'm no fussed and wont be watching' which is a bit less dickish.

  4. I thought he was crying because the tune is so painfully dull, and as for the words............

  5. I wouldn't want to belittle anyone who has put in the supreme effort that Olympic athletes must, but because the unionist parties are making such a great patriotic three ring circus, using the games to promote their union, I will not be supporting the British team.

    (I won't actually be ‘supporting’ anyone, although I'm always happy when a small country does well.)

    Doubtless we will be told that Scotland wouldn't have won anything had it not been a part of GB. So nothing new there!

    I've never knowingly bought anything with a union jack on it, and I never will...even Cadbury chocolate.

    The flag represents a state which I don't support, and want no part of.

    When people use a ploy to advertise their product, they risk that some people will be unimpressed. It doesn't matter whether that ploy is to use a "celebrity"...Gary Lineker, June Whitfield... or in this case, a flag. The principle remains the same.

    Asda was bang on. It was plain good business sense.

    An Arbroath Tory councillor made a huge fuss over it, saying it was insulting to the troops fighting for Queen and country. I think he must live in a parallel universe. I should image that troops fighting in Afghanistan will have much more important things to occupy their minds than the purchasing habits of Asda shoppers.

  6. I have some problems with the British Establishment, and with the London Olympics Organising Committee, and with the completely insensitive push for a "Team GB" in the football by Lord Coe and the idiots in charge of the FA.

    But in general, I don't hate or dislike Britain. I may not see it as a state that represents me, but that doesn't translate into my wishing that Team GB's athletes do badly at the Olympics. In many ways, I'm proud such talented individuals are representing me in a way I can never be about the talentless pretty-boys of Westminster.

    So that might make my Britishness selective, but I'm fine with that. I'm a political nationalist, but living in the USA for a while has taught me that we have more in common with our British brethren than we lack.