Tony Blair shows he’s never really understood Scotland – Kenny MacAskill

Despite presiding over the administration that delivered the Scottish Parliament, Tony Blair has never really understood Scotland.

Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 7:00 am
Tony Blair suggested a British football league would help dampen support for independence (Picture: Jae C Hong/AP)

Strange in some ways as his legacy in Ireland was remarkable where he’s still held in high regard for the Good Friday Agreement.

But Scotland seemed to irritate him. Maybe as the saying goes “a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing”. Those early years in Edinburgh and his attendance at Fettes College giving him some understanding, but a far from rounded one.

His continuing ignorance was shown with his recent suggestion of a British football league to stem the independence tide.

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It was as tokenistic, simplistic and indeed delusional as when Trotskyists promoted the benefits of a United Ireland football team.

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The game may be important in Scotland, but it’s separate from politics. What motivates people for independence isn’t the success or failure of the club game or even the national team.

Indeed, it’s a huge irony that Scotland haven’t qualified for a tournament since Holyrood was established.

Though many like me lament that, we wouldn’t swap it for our Parliament, nor be persuaded by an integrated British league.

What motivates supporters of independence are the opportunities for a better and fairer land, with poverty tackled and the abuse of land ownership addressed.

Ireland has grown in political influence in my lifetime, whilst Scotland’s has shrunk.

It’s playing on a world stage – not in a British league – that motivates.