Writing

The 1970 British Commonwealth Games: Scottish reactions to apartheid and sporting boycotts

FIONA SKILLEN, Glasgow Caledonian University

MATTHEW L. McDOWELL, University of Edinburgh

ABSTRACT

The 1970 British Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh is widely thought to have been a barnstorming success, and an excellent advertisement for Scotland. Recent research by the authors, however, shows that the event was nevertheless a deeply politicized one: reflective of Scotland’s status as a “stateless nation”, of Westminster politics during the era more generally, and of the politics surrounding apartheid South Africa’s sporting contacts with the outside world. The Games managed to avert a mass boycott organized by the South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee (SANROC), in retaliation for the Marylebone Cricket Club’s recent invitation of the South African national cricket team. This article will explore Scotland’s place as a non-state actor within the 1970 crisis. Attention will be given to the domestic political response, both from Scottish MPs, members of local Scottish councils (particularly within Edinburgh itself), and from Scottish National Party (SNP) activists, angered that Scotland should pay for the crimes perceived to be made by an English sporting body. However, our piece goes beyond these discourses, to examine the broader sporting relationship that Scots had with South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), governed by white supremacist regimes during the period. Policy documents, housed in the National Records of Scotland, express UK Cabinet-level concerns about the actions of individual sporting clubs’ tours of the countries. This article will also look at how cabinet ministers, most notably Labour’s Minister for Sport Denis Howell, intervened to shape Scotland’s devolved sporting councils’ policies on contacts with South Africa and Rhodesia. Continue reading “The 1970 British Commonwealth Games: Scottish reactions to apartheid and sporting boycotts”

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One Yankee’s opinion, from the outside looking in.

Matthew L. McDowell

University of Edinburgh

(This is the text of a pre-publication print of: Matthew L. McDowell, ‘One Yankee’s opinion: from the outside looking in’, International Journal of the History of Sport, pre-published online 2017, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09523367.2017.1383391. There may be small textual differences between this version and the published version. Any reference made to this paper should refer to the published version.) Continue reading “One Yankee’s opinion, from the outside looking in.”

Review of The Sovereign Colony: Olympic Sport, National Identity, and International Politics in Puerto Rico, by Antonio Sotomayor

(This is the text of a pre-publication print of: Matthew L. McDowell, Review: The Sovereign Colony: Olympic Sport, National Identity, and International Politics in Puerto Rico, Sport in History (pre-published online, 2017). There may be small textual differences between this version and the published version. Any reference made to this paper should refer to the published version.) Continue reading “Review of The Sovereign Colony: Olympic Sport, National Identity, and International Politics in Puerto Rico, by Antonio Sotomayor”

Scottish football and colonial Zimbabwe: sport, the Scottish diaspora, and ‘white Africa’

 

MATTHEW L. McDOWELL

University of Edinburgh

Abstract

In 1969 and 1970 respectively, Clyde and Kilmarnock Football Clubs embarked on highly controversial tours of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), then in conflict with the UK over its failure to enact a timetable for majority, non-white rule, and its 1965 unilateral declaration of independence to protect such a system. Despite defying the wishes of the UK Government, these tours were covered very little in Scottish newspapers, and there was little sustained public outcry. This article examines the uneven Scottish and Westminster reactions to the tours (in particular, Kilmarnock’s) in the context of broader policies and movements against Rhodesian and South African sport. It also examines Rhodesian press accounts of the trips, which stressed communion with elements of the Scottish diaspora within Rhodesian civic society. It also addresses the tours’ place within the broader context of work, race and migration during the period 1965-80, where the Rhodesian Front government and its white settler supporters were under continual siege from a multi-pronged nationalist resistance. Critically, this article asks whether or not Scotland and indeed Scottish sport can be extricated from the horrors of decolonisation, in a region where both had deep historic roots. Continue reading “Scottish football and colonial Zimbabwe: sport, the Scottish diaspora, and ‘white Africa’”

Social media and the “public” academic: room for improvement?

I want to say that my relationship with social media exists at arm’s length, but in reality it probably doesn’t. It’s been just under five years ago since a colleague got me to reluctantly join Twitter, ostensibly to promote the British Society of Sports History’s 2012 conference at Glasgow University, where I worked at the time.  I find myself now on the verge of joining Facebook – just about ten years (if not more) after most of you have joined it – also as a means of enlarging my network for research contacts. After many years of being on Academia.edu, I finally migrated my research content and commentary over to WordPress earlier this year. So, it seems as good a time as any to take stock of what social media has provided me, what it hasn’t, and why a low social-media period at the beginning of this year felt like a good thing. Continue reading “Social media and the “public” academic: room for improvement?”

Scottish records, academic history, and higher education

MATTHEW L. McDOWELL

The following paper was a talk given at Pass It On! Celebrating Scotland’s Sporting Heritage: Friday, 24 February 2017 at the University of Stirling Library. Continue reading “Scottish records, academic history, and higher education”

Review of Sport & Ireland: A History, by Paul Rouse

 

This is the text of the pre-publication print of: Matthew L. McDowell, Review, Sport & Ireland: A History, by Paul Rouse, Irish Studies Review (pre-published 2017). There may be small textual differences between this version and the published version. Any reference made to this paper should refer to the published version. Continue reading “Review of Sport & Ireland: A History, by Paul Rouse”