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By Tim Montgomerie
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Earlier this week an opinion poll suggested that Alex Salmond's dream of an independent Scotland was becoming more and more unlikely. Support for separation had dropped to 30% despite the Scottish First Minister's efforts to take the sting out of independence by, for example, arguing that leaving the UK wouldn't mean losing the monarchy, the pound or NATO membership.

Iain Martin has argued that the London 2012 effect won't help the SNP cause. "The generous, optimistic, outward-looking spirit of the British effort at London 2012," he blogged, "will boost Unionist morale and add to the sense that the game is drifting away from Salmond."


And now comes Andy Murray singing God Save The Queen and draping himself in the Union flag;

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Scottish Tories are certainly enjoying Andy Murray's victory and the way in which the tennis star celebrated his gold medal. Struan Stevenson MEP tweeted: "Andy Murray, great Scot and Olympic Champion, holding a gold medal and proudly draped in the Union Jack – eat your heart out Alex Salmond!"

Murdo Fraser MSP told ConservativeHome that the Olympics effect would make the cause of separation even harder:

"The SNP have built their Scottish separation case of grievances against 'London'. They were at it in the run-up to the Olympics claiming Scotland was losing out on lottery funding to London. Now they are desparately trying to jump on the bandwagon and celebrate Team GB success but no-one is fooled. Scots are enjoying Olympic success, enjoying seeing Scottish athletes as part of a TeamGB. The SNP would destroy British identity but British identity is once again something to be proud of and that makes Salmond's job all the harder."

The wily Mr Salmond and Angus Robertson will regroup, however, and think about how they can use the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, scheduled for the summer of 2014, to assert Scottish identity in the same way that London 2012 has reasserted British identity. England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland compete against each other in Commonwealth tournaments.

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