I spent some time at the World Badminton Championships in Glasgow last week, which was another pleasing reminder that the Commonwealth Games was not quite the one-off event that it appeared at the time. There have been several big sporting events in Glasgow since 2014, some of which probably wouldn't have been possible without the Commonwealth Games, because we wouldn't have had a suitable venue otherwise.
There was one little moment that had me raising my eyebrows, though. When the time came for the English announcer to introduce one of the English players, he deepened and loudened his voice, slowed his delivery, and put on a knowing tone as he said: "and NOW...his opponent...representing ENGLAND..." The subtext was pretty unavoidable: "yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's the moment we've all been waiting for, someone from OUR home team".
I do try to be charitable, and it occurred to me that maybe you could explain this by the announcer thinking "well, England's a neighbouring country and there's a lot of English fans in, so let's make them feel at home". But in actual fact, there were more Danish supporters in the arena than English supporters. (I know that sounds unlikely, but it's true - badminton is a huge sport in Denmark and a large contingent had made the journey over.) There was no special treatment for the Danish players.
Later on, I was asked to fill in a UK Sport questionnaire, which was strikingly similar to the one I filled in at the European Curling Championships last November. It specifically asked whether I was proud that "the UK" was hosting the event. In fairness it also asked if I was proud that Scotland was hosting the event, but the UK question was asked first. I wasn't asked at any point whether I was proud that Europe was hosting the event.
As you may have seen on Twitter, I was then bemused to discover that the BBC website described the Adcocks' bronze medal as "Great Britain's first medal since 2011". Great Britain does not compete at the World Badminton Championships and therefore does not win medals. The Adcocks won a bronze medal for England, and yet for Saturday's order of play the BBC listed them as "Adcock and Adcock (GB)".
Whether consciously or unconsciously, the narrative shared across the BBC, UK Sport and the announcer in the arena itself seemed to be that the separate representation of Scotland, England and Wales was just an odd technicality and that we're all one big happy family really. That was also very much the underlying premise of the BBC's coverage of the Commonwealth Games, just weeks before the first independence referendum.
On a similar note, it's no great surprise to see Sky News describe the Queensferry Crossing, which was actively frustrated by the UK government, as a "British triumph".