Watching the Masters late last night, I was struck by the fact that all golfers now seem to be labelled by nationality complete with national flags etc. against their names. However the British ones have either English, Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish. Spanish have Spanish flags whether Castilian or Catalan. Germans are Germans, even if they’re Bavarian or from North-Rhine Westphalia. Americans are American and have the Stars and Stripes regardless of which state they come from from Maine to Hawaii.
So why are we alone apparently determined to adopt iconography in sport which pretends that the UK does not exist and which creates the strong impression that it is only a matter of time before its dissolution?
Next year it seems we are to have the ultimate farce. We stage the Olympics in which local particularisms are blissfully not indulged in this way. Football is an Olympic sport and Britain gave the game to the world – yet no British team will compete for a medal in our own country because the officials who promote and perpetuate the pernicious practice of having four separate ‘national’ teams will not agree to a single national team to play in British colours under the British flag. Who knows, if they did, it might even win the Gold! And then a British team might get further than the quarter finals in the World Cup. Now wouldn’t that be something?