At the beginning of this year, Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, chose to unveil the question that he hopes to put to the Scottish people in the autumn of 2014.
If Mr Salmond has his way, the referendum will mark the end of Great Britain, and of course amount many other things, our very own Team GB.
However, surely after the success of our great nation at these home games, (and much more to follow in these Paralympic games no doubt) the question of running a stake through such a victorious country is not to be entertained.
We witnessed the great strength and skill of many athletes across the fortnight of sporting excellence, but some of Team GB’s most memorable moments do indeed come from Scots. Andy Murray defeated the arguably the greatest tennis player of all time, Roger Federer, on Wimbledon’s Centre court in straight sets to claim the Olympic Gold and then only forty minutes later joined with Laura Robson to valiantly win Silver in the mixed doubles. In the Men’s C2 Canoe slalom Britain claimed gold and silver, and magnificently one half of both medal winning pairs were also Scots, David Florence and Tim Baillie.
I was lucky enough to see Katherine Grainger in the Women’s Double Scull were this incredible oarswoman had bagged 3 silvers in the last 3 Olympics before finally winning the gold that had alluded her by an uncountable number of boat lengths, and I like the thousands around me at Eton Dorney chanted “G B” at the top of our voices whilst furiously waving Union flags.
However, I ask you to show me a man more heroic and worthy of the Nation’s pride than Sir Christopher Andrew Hoy. At these games, in front of a packed Velodrome Hoy became the most successful British athlete of all time, with a neck aching 6 Olympic Gold Medals to his name.
When Hoy won this monumental 6th Gold, in the Men’s Keirin, the Nations previous most successful Olympian, Sir Steve Redgrave, rushed across the stadium to embrace his successor, an outpour of emotion followed with few dry eyes among anyone who was watching. In this moment of embrace and national pride anyone in favour of and English and Scottish separation must have had some serious food for thought. There was no idea of Englishness or of Scottishness. There was one body of people that this great man had done proud, and that was the British.
Our teams and heroes successes in these games underpins the very nature of our peoples, we are battling it up the top of the medal table with the might of China and the United States, our little island of, in comparison to these giants, a few million, can take on the rest of the world.
Wether it be standing together at Waterloo, the Somme or Dunkirk, the men of England, Wales and Scotland knew that they were one people, united by ties of history, language and values.
This summer was no different and as our British athletes took to the pool, the pitches, the canoe slalom, the arenas, the rings or the track, we rallied round and gave them all the support that they deserve from their fellow countrymen.
The men and women in red, white and blue were on many occasions the fastest, highest and strongest and their sportsmanship did their country and the spirit of the great games proud. And, as they took their rightful places on the tops of the podiums and they weeped as the Union Jack was hoisted above their heads, thousands of people joined in with the national anthem that followed.
“Happy and glorious” were the games and long may the Queen reign over all of us Britons.