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.