I noticed something this weekend that finally had me thinking about this whole devolution thing in the UK. It’s been all around me, I’ve read blogs and comments from the English who are decidedly against devolution (or want it to be a complete detachment), but it never really struck me.
Just a brief geography and history lesson. Great Britain is the big island comprising England, Scotland and Wales; whereas, the UK is Great Britain, Northern Ireland and all the other islands. Now, Jersey and Guernsey have their own “government”, but it wasn’t until 10 years ago that NI, Scotland and Wales had their own separate government (devolution). This happened after my husband left the UK, so even he has been unable to fully comprehend the implications.
Well, we were at a gymnastics meet, and they were selling the usual: leos and athletic gear. One of the items was a gym bag with the English Gymnastics logo. English Gymnastics? I had not heard that term before. As far as we know, our daughter belongs to British Gymnastics.
But, it did make me wonder why there was no English Gymnastics? I had never really questioned it before. Never mind that when I tried to find a club in Wales or Scotland (when we had considered moving to either of those countries) under British Gymnastics, I couldn’t find any. At first, I thought that neither country cared for the sport. I later read in a magazine (at the gym) about Scottish Gymnastics and how some British members competed there. That made me search for clubs under the Scottish Gymnastics and Welsh Gymnastics and I found them. Still it never made me question English Gymnastics.
There is no English Gymnastics. It’s British Gymnastics. Why is that? Is England not important enough to have its own? But, British Gymnastics does not incorporate Scottish or Welsh Gymnastics. Or, perhaps it once did, but devolution has now affected sports as well. (I know there was a big row about having a national team for the Olympics and World Cup, etc., because each country wants its own team, but I believe there’s some ruling about having a single British team.) So, if Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own clubs, will British Gymnastics change its name to English Gymnastics, or does England no longer exist except as part of the entity of Great Britain?