Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I wouldn't have thought this was possible, but I've just lost even more respect for Craig Reedie

There's been a perception for quite some time that, in broad brush terms, and perhaps because of the personality traits that drive people to go down a certain path in life, creative types such as artists, writers and musicians are voting Yes, and elite sportspeople are more inclined to vote No.  The most useful thing about John Beattie's documentary on the relationship between sport and politics is that it challenged that perception, and reminded us that there are a great many sportspeople out there who have already firmly nailed their colours to the Yes mast, including household names such as Alex Arthur.

For the most part, it was an admirably even-handed programme, which was perhaps surprising given the extent to which it entered into "a personal view by John Beattie" territory.  But there was just one particular bit that left me absolutely fuming, and that was when the factual basis of Craig "Apolitical" Reedie's drivel about Scotland having no chance of entering a team to the Rio Olympics went unchallenged.  Indeed, it was worse than unchallenged, because Beattie went on to ask judo star Connie Ramsay if she would still support independence even if it meant passing up the chance to compete at the Olympics (answer : yes, she would).

The reality is that, even in the highly unlikely event that it did not prove logistically possible to enter a Scottish team for 2016, the top Scottish athletes would not miss out.  They would be able to take part via one of two methods, both of which have clear precedents in recent Olympic history -

1) Team GB, possibly under a different name, would continue on a transitional basis for one more Games.  The precedent for this is the 'Unified Team', which represented twelve of the fifteen ex-Soviet republics at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.  Yes, the BOA could theoretically veto Scottish involvement, but does anyone seriously think that such a glory-seeking organisation would turn down the chance to boost their team's medal haul?

2) The best Scottish athletes would compete outside any formal team as 'Independent Olympic Athletes'.  There are several precedents for this, most recently London 2012, when athletes from the new state of South Sudan and the freshly-dissolved territory of the Netherlands Antilles competed as independents.

But this is all ridiculously hypothetical, because whatever fairy-tale Reedie tries to weave, the overwhelming likelihood is that a Scottish team would go to Rio.  Unlike the collapse of the Soviet Union in the second half of 1991, independence will not be a bolt from the blue that nobody sees coming until just a few months before the Games - there will be lots of time to put arrangements in place.  It's worth remembering that international recognition of the independence of the three Baltic states was deemed utterly unthinkable until the Soviet coup of August 1991, and yet less than a year later all three countries were represented in Barcelona - they didn't even need to take part in the Unified Team on a transitional basis.

So much for Reedie's transparently agenda-driven 'predictions'.  But just when you thought the man couldn't sink any lower, he made what I can only describe as an utterly shameful comment.

John Beattie : So in a word, do you think Scotland, should there be a Yes vote, would have a team in 2016?

Craig Reedie : No, I think they would miss on the basis of adhering to the Olympic rules, and because simply I think they'd be timed out.

John Beattie : As a Scot, though, would you not fight very hard to get them in?

Craig Reedie : No, I wouldn't, because I was proud to be President, or Chairman, of the British Olympic Association, and I think the elite athletes from Scotland have been served very well by membership of Team GB.

Hang on, hang on.  That is a perfectly legitimate argument to deploy before the referendum in an attempt to persuade people to vote No.  But surely after the referendum, once there's nothing anyone can do to change the outcome, we all revert to being on the same side - we're all part of Team Scotland, and we'll all do whatever we can to make sure the nation's interests are protected and advanced.

Apparently not.  Apparently Reedie will take revenge on his own country if it makes the 'wrong' choice.  Let me make clear that I have absolutely no time for people who use the word 'traitor' about opponents of independence, but it's very, very hard to see Reedie's petty and vindictive stance as being anything other than a betrayal of this country's elite athletes, and indeed of the sport-loving population at large.


  1. I think there's scope for opening a 'Union World' theme park in an iScotland. A bit like New Lanark, but for the union. It would be adorned with union could go see how kids used to watch the London olympics on the TV...there'd be mock ups of all the houses Darling flipped...foodbanks on every corner...Orange walks every afternoon at 2.00 pm...Craig Reedie would still be president of the British Olympic Association...


    On the subject of polls...

    Surely by this point we should be being bombarded by polls showing No building up a huge lead? I mean we are told BT are going to walk this and they've plenty Tory cash, so surely they can be commissioning a poll every few days?

    The silence is deafening.

  2. Reedie wins gold for Scottish Cringe event.

  3. There's no such thing as the Scottish Cringe; it's people from Scotland who natID first and foremost as British that suffer from a cringe. Ergo, better described as 'British cringe'.

    People who natID as Scottish first don't cringe at all about being Scottish. Nor do they need to fake their natID and insist they are 'proud/real Scots'. They are just Scottish like the French are French and the Danes Danish.

  4. The man is a perfect example of a quisling.

    I have no time for people who say we shouldn't use certain words to describe scum like him. He is a quisling. Betray your country for power and a shiny uniform. Evil man.

    Is it any wonder that Scotland underperforms in World sport compared to real countries. Not an accident now we have absolute proof that it is deliberate.

    Vote no to be ruled by quislings and traitors forever.

  5. Sunshine on CrieffJuly 23, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    Talking of polls, shouldn't Panelbase have released one by now for July?

  6. Why not simply call him Captain Ahab?

    "From hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee."

  7. I can honestly say that was one of the worst examples of the cringe I have ever seen.

    My usually calm wife was shocked to the core that a so called 'Proud' Scot would not fight for Scotland.

    The program I really enjoyed and while I disagreed on some aspects e.g Scots can only get good facilities in England, which to me is more a negative function of the union than a positive one.

    It was balanced and both Footballer and judo girl came across very very well.

    Sadly Sir Craig Reedie came across as an uncle Tom type with his position. My wife being kinder than me said its probably more a factor of age...

  8. Scottish Skier, what's your current thinking on your "conspiracy theory" that Cameron was busy setting up a Yes vote behind the scenes?

  9. I think that Running Man's wife is right. He's of an age to have been evacuated to the country as a child.

    I know Craig Reedie; he's a friend of my dad's. He's not evil.