Reading the Daily Mail this morning and before I continue, I feel I should explain something here. One of the apps on my phone picks up many of the UK titles, and I browse most of them of a morning before people assume something about my personal beliefs based on an admission of reading the Mail!
Anyway. There was an article that piqued my interest. Gordon Brown had given a speech at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the content of which boiled down basically says that a vote for independence by Scotland would essentially spell financial doom.
There was a few lines which where really telling. First of which was that Scotland benefits from being within the Union, because “we can pool our resources.” By splitting from the Union, or even just through the secondary option of “devo-max” would lead to higher taxes and public spending cuts in Scotland.
If we listen to what is not said, then what shouts out is an admission of the truth. That After all the home nations “pool their resources” Scotland’s take from the pie is in reality, probably larger than what it puts in. I include the rider “probably” since I am not an accountant, and am well aware that raw figures can be messed around with to show whatever anyone wants them to!
He also went on to stake his pride in Scottish athletes at the Olympics. Pointing out that the Scots have achieved great things by being part of a British Olympic team.
Which is true. If we look at cycling, Great Britain owned the velodrome. And where can the roots of this success be drawn to? England. Or more specifically, Manchester, in England. Manchester city council took the plunge and went ahead with the construction of the velodrome in Manchester as part of the city’s failed bid for the 2000 Olympics. It was Manchester city council. Not the sports authorities, not the British government, and no funding came from any form of devolved authority.
On the back of Manchester’s funding, Sir Chris Hoy got to move down from Scotland to enjoy its benefits. Benefits paid for by Manchester tax payers, and from the Lottery (most tickets, of course, bought in England) and after 18 years of patient training, planning, and excellent use of Manchester (velodrome for practice, countryside for endurance training) as a facility, British cycling has now dominated at 2 Olympics. Much to the annoyance of the French. I must admit, part of me would like to keep British cycling just to keep upsetting the French!
Scotland and Wales do quite often punch above their weight athletically. Simply down to facilities that their own nations cannot support. In terms of Olympics, London can, and did, host a successful games. In terms of the UK, what other cities could do it? Realistically, the only other possibilities would be Birmingham and Manchester. Cardiff, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast are simply unable to do so. However, citizens of Wales and Scotland are able to enjoy facilities thanks to the increased financial muscle of the British sporting authorities. British sporting authorities which are basically English.
Thanks to Mr Brown, we have had yet another tacit admission that the other home nations do rather well out of the Union.