Wednesday, July 27, 2011

When Britain first, at heaven's command, arose from out the azure main

Jo Swinson on Newsnight Scotland tonight, offering a list of "British" things we'd be bound to miss dreadfully under independence -

"We wouldn't have Team GB at the Olympics"

Can we have that in writing, please? I can see how that might mean we won't have Craig Reedie's vote come the independence referendum, but between you and me I think he was probably a lost cause anyway.

Swinson also offered a distinctly peculiar international comparison in an effort to demonstrate that a sense of Britishness can't possibly survive independence. She pointed out that Slovenians don't talk about being Yugoslavian anymore. Well, that's for a very good reason, Jo - Yugoslavia was an artificial construct that had no meaning outside the existence of the political state. By contrast, we all live on an island called Great Britain, and it was called that for centuries before there was an island-wide political state with its capital in London. But while there may not be a specifically Yugoslavian identity anymore, what certainly still exists is a transnational Balkan identity, and one that encompasses more than just the former Yugoslav republics. Interestingly, Slovenia is the only one of those republics for which the Balkan identity doesn't seem to have much of a pull, but I'm sure the fact that Swinson handpicked it for her example has got nothing to do with that. I'm sure it's also just pure coincidence that she preferred to talk about Slovenia's attitude to its Yugoslavian heritage, rather than, for example, trying to convince us that Danes don't feel remotely Scandinavian anymore because their country is independent from Norway and Sweden.


  1. Can you just imagine not having a GB team at the Olympics? I mean seriously, what kind of a disaster would that be?

    Nobody told me that THAT'S what separation would mean.

    No, if we aren't going to have a GB team at the Olympics you can count me out for this independence malarkey.

    Ms Swinson has won a convert with her deeply persuasive argument.

    Iain Gray for me from now on...

  2. This is an easy one for me. Athletics is just boring.

    In any case, if I derived any pleasure from watching a bunch of narcissistic junkies running and jumping around it would be easier, cheaper and much better value for money to go to T in the Park or Glastonbury.

    As for the unprincipled opportunist Lib Dem and ‘Team GB’, they belong together, don’t you think?

  3. Meant to add that they belong together because they're both a dying species.

  4. The irony is, of course, that no Team GB would mean more (possibly several times more) Scottish athletes at the Olympics, because a Scottish team would have more openings. So perhaps Swinson is trying to appeal to the athletics-hating crowd.