Believe it or not, I do genuinely have a passing interest in cricket, so I decided to have a little peek at the final Ashes test on Sky. As I write this, England have collapsed to 14-3, and doubtless it will be 17-7 by the time I finish. Now obviously this is a national sporting tragedy, but does it have wider ramifications? The headline on this post was intended as a joke, but if our friends in the London media truly believe that absolutely everything that happened during the London Olympics was a "disaster for Alex Salmond" (another one?!), that Andy Murray winning Wimbledon was a "good day for the union" (surely every day is a good day for the union?), and that Murray's SPOTY triumph was somehow "good for the No campaign" (yes, Mike "can't be arsed" Smithson really did say that), then I'm afraid the logic is inescapable. According to media mythology, the recent success of the England cricket team is supposed to be one of the sporting factors that have bound the UK together, in spite of the minor detail that Scotland hasn't actually been represented by that team since 1992 (before then the cricket authorities were arrogant enough to use the name 'England' for a team representing the whole of Great Britain). So, unavoidably, as the England team are now toiling badly and heading for a 5-0 drubbing by the Aussies, it must be considered something of a calamity for Blair McDougall and the No camp.
If that claim strikes you as being a tad silly, then it probably says something rather profound about the unionist media's past attempts to exploit our athletes' sporting successes. But stand by for more of the same if Eve Muirhead and co strike gold in Sochi on February 21st. After all, there isn't a Scot alive who wouldn't much prefer that an all-Scottish team's Olympic triumph be placed in the "Great Britain" column, is there? It's rather like the cricket philosophy of old, but inverted.