Friday, June 28, 2013

Advantage Scotland

It's slightly mind-boggling that YouGov appear to have devoted more effort to tracking public opinion about Andy Murray's national identity than to tracking independence voting intentions (as far as I can see there hasn't been a published YouGov poll on independence VI since 2012!), but for what it's worth the figures on Murray are rather refreshing.  This is the perception of the British public as a whole, remember -

Thinking about Andy Murray, do you think of him as a Scottish sportsman or British sportsman?

Scottish 53%
British 35%

Those are fairly astounding figures a year on from the "Oh my God, he's touching OUR flag! Oh my God, he's singing OUR anthem!" moment at the Olympics. I'm not entirely sure about YouGov's spin, though -

"the polling appears to mostly contradict what many have claimed about British attitudes towards the tennis star – namely, that to non-Scottish Britons he is "Scottish when he loses and British when he wins"."

The way I would put it is that a determined - verging on embarrassing - effort by the establishment to gently extinguish Murray's Scottish identity in the public consciousness (most disgracefully by conflating his supposed 'maturing' process with a movement towards Britishness) has failed. It obviously deserved to fail, but it's still slightly surprising that it has. Probably the reason is that the hate campaign against Murray from a few years ago has come back to haunt the London media - it's a bit difficult to paint Murray as an anti-English brat and then embrace him as a True Brit icon, even with a cobbled-together 'maturing' narrative to explain away the dramatic transformation.

"Interestingly, though more people from England and Wales think of Murray as British now than in 2011, the proportion of Scots who think of Murray as Scottish has declined from 85% in 2011 to just 70% today."

That sentence doesn't make any sense. Do YouGov really believe that the other 30% of Scots don't think of Murray as Scottish? In a forced-choice question, you go with your perception of Murray's primary identity, but I'm sure virtually everyone would regard Murray as both Scottish and British, for the simple reason that he is. That will remain the case if Murray becomes a registered Scottish player post-independence. As I've pointed out many times, the word 'Britain' is not synonymous with 'whatever political state London happens to be capital city of at any given moment'.

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