Scottish independence: It’s sad to see Andy Murray falling into the ‘No equals negativity’ trap

Then again, his support of independence should come as no surprise

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The Independent Online

After largely keeping his own counsel on the issue of Scottish independence, Andy Murray has made a late intervention in the campaign by tweeting for the nationalists. “Huge day for Scotland today! no campaign negativity last few days totally swayed my view on it. excited to see the outcome. lets do this!”

As someone claimed equally by Britain and by Scotland (and who has said that he is proud to be both Scottish and British), Murray is in a singular position. The Scots have always liked to bang on about the fact that for those south of the border, when he wins he’s British and when he loses he’s Scottish, though I’ve yet to find any actual evidence of that apparent process, even if he did make a cameo on Outnumbered in which he said he was British “If I’m winning.”

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised at his declaration in support of independence – this is, after all, the man who said he’d be supporting anyone but England in the 2006 World Cup, though I suspect he was being tongue-in-cheek, and in fact only made the remark during an interview in which he was being teased by Tim Henman and Des Kelly. He was more even-handed after his Wimbledon victory last year, when he confessed his unease at the stunt pulled off by Alex Salmond, smuggling a huge saltire on to Centre Court and unfurling it at the moment of Murray’s victory over Novak Djokovic.

In March this year he appeared determined to stay out of the great debate (a debate so great that my daughter’s south London primary school is holding a mock referendum). “I wouldn’t personally choose to make my feelings on something like that public,” he said then, “because not a whole lot of good comes from it. I don’t know a whole lot about politics, and I have made that mistake in the past and it’s caused me a headache for seven or eight years of my life and a lot of abuse. So I wouldn’t consider getting involved in something like that ever again.”

Until now. A disgruntled unionist replied to his tweet with, “Disappointed in you andy, you may have just swayed the undecided”, but that’s probably wildly overestimating the influence of a sometimes prickly figure who’s not lived in Scotland since he was 15 (mind you, he’s only one of many high-profile Scots exiles weighing in).

What’s disappointing is that he’s fallen into the “no = negativity” trap, believing that advising caution and wishing to maintain the status quo, pointing out the risks of going it alone, somehow drags down the people of Scotland. A more nuanced analysis might have been welcome - but then he is dispensing his wisdom in a maximum of 140 characters.