July 18, 2008


Scotland's hunger for independence proves annoying in England (Sarah Lyall, July 17, 2008, NY Times)

Stuck in a chronic sports slump, Britons are eternally searching for a home-grown tennis star with a fighting chance of winning Wimbledon. Their latest is 21-year-old Andy Murray, who this summer demonstrated traditional British come-from-behind pluck in advancing to the quarter finals. He finally lost to the eventual champion, Rafael Nadal.

But there was a small problem. Murray is Scottish, and fiercely so. Asked once who he planned to support in the World Cup soccer tournament, he replied: "Anyone but England."

And many English people found his recent behavior at Wimbledon - he emitted warlike whoops, bared his teeth and flexed his biceps in a provocative manner - more suited to a remake of "Braveheart" than to the gentle green courts of west London.

"Part of the reason some of us have found it difficult to like him is that he is so obviously Scottish," the columnist Stephen Glover said bluntly in The Daily Mail. Or, as Tony Parsons wrote in The Daily Mirror: "If the English can survive the attentions of the Luftwaffe, the IRA and Al Qaeda, then I quite fancy our chances against Andy Murray."

Their vehemence was surprising. The English usually tend to regard the Scots as their slightly prickly but relatively harmless and quashable northern cousins. But lately, there has been a newfound resentment in England that has mirrored a growing confidence and sense of nationalistic entitlement - a general flexing of the biceps - in Scotland. With relations at their uneasiest point in decades, there is even talk that unless the balance of power can somehow be renegotiated, the union is in danger of unraveling.

"This is about a shift in British attitudes," said Joyce McMillan, a columnist for The Scotsman newspaper. "We've always been seen as slightly exotic or decorative. But if we start on as if we were some kind of self-determining nation, it provokes a kind of atmosphere of hurt and anger, like 'Oh, what was wrong with the way we were ruling you? Why aren't you grateful?"'


Posted by Orrin Judd at July 18, 2008 6:57 AM

The idea they've been able to stand up to any of the last two; are 'facts not in evidence'

Posted by: narciso at July 18, 2008 9:18 AM

Isn't he on the faculty of the Dept. of Philosophy at the University of Woolloomoolloo?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 18, 2008 10:22 AM

God grant that Marshall Wade
May by Thy mighty aid
Victory bring
May he sedition hush
And like a torrent rush
Rebellious Scots to crush
God save the King!

Posted by: Bryan at July 18, 2008 10:30 AM

As long as he didn't moon the chair umpire...

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at July 18, 2008 11:44 AM
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