The arguments over Scottish independence have long pitted emotion, which wants freedom, against economics, which suggests keeping the status quo. Scottish sports stars change this calculation, by giving a subtler repudiation of nationalism. Mr Murray is a Scottish sports star who lives in England and has taken particular delight in winning a revered British tournament that is hosted by the All England Club.
That is an appropriate metaphor for the ambiguous blend of dual nationalities that is British identity. Scotland’s 12 Olympic medal-winners provide others. Despite Mr Salmond’s hapless effort to rebrand them as “Scolympians”, they were as committed to the British team as any of its other members. So, it was apparent, in rousing Scottish support for Greg Rutherford, Jessica Ennis and other English athletes, were most Scots. Almost all the Scolympians, moreover, turned out to be based in England, for its superior access to sports facilities and expertise. One of them, Sir Chris Hoy, Britain’s greatest Olympian, suggested they would find it harder to succeed in an independent Scotland.