Several people have asked me to write something about the politics and potential implications of the Commonwealth Games which open tonight in Glasgow. As is sometimes the case, I am happy to oblige.
There aren’t any.
To think otherwise is to insult the great Scottish public. I am often prepared to do this, not least because it often needs to be done but in this instance, and not for the first time, the people are liable to be more sensible than the pundits.
Back in the day, it was sometimes claimed that the campaign for (modest) home rule in 1979 was scuppered by Scotland’s woeful (yet epic!) misadventure in the 1978 World Cup. I’ve always thought that theory insulted the electorate. It required one to believe that because Ally MacLeod was an ass, Scotland lacked the courage or conviction to do anything ‘right’.
Similarly, the fate of the nation this September does not lie in the steady hands of Scotland’s lawn bowlers.
Glasgow will do splendidly. Scottish athletes will win more medals than we are accustomed to claiming at these jamborees. Everyone will have a good time. It will be jolly.
Then we will all go home and life will return to normal. To suppose otherwise is to insist that voters are incapable of appreciating that a quadrennial sporting entertainment has little bearing on a political decision that is, if you like, 300 years in the making. We may be many things but there is no requirement for us to be nincompoops.
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