Well thank all the gods we don’t have to listen to or watch the supposedly British media banging on about an England victory for the next 55 years. Isn’t it really unpleasant being taken out of Europe against your will? Maybe now they understand a wee bit what Scotland felt like. At one point in the match England was 1-0 up. I didn’t see the goal but immediately thought that was no great shame, because if England had won the BBC would be showing the replay of the goal every weekend for thirty years to come. The Italian victory means that we now have the definitive answer to the question : what’s the difference between a collie dog and football? Lassie came home. In the event football didn’t come home, it came to Rome instead and for that small mercy we in Scotland should be truly grateful. If England had won, not only would we never have heard the end of it, we’d also have been subjected to constant loyalty tests and accusations of anti-English racism for the crime of failing to display sufficient enthusiasm for England’s victory.
Certainly some people in Glasgow were delighted and relieved that Italy won, family there reported that as soon as the game had finished they could hear fireworks. It’s been a great year for Italy. They’ve won both the European Cup, the European championships for straight people, and the Eurovision Song Contest, the European championships for gay people.
It would be nice to say that the England fans, the team, and the English media showed grace, good manners and sportsmanship in defeat, but instead we got more of that sorry display of petulant entitlement that has characterised England’s progress throughout the competition, culminating with the players sullenly removing their runner up medals seconds after being awarded them. Grace in defeat is clearly not one of those English values we kept hearing about. As far as a sporting and graceful attitude to losing out goes, England did as well as the UK did at Eurovision, scoring null points. Scotland might have a poor team but at least Scotland fans know how to accept defeat with good grace. A cynic might retort that that’s because we’ve had plenty of experience at losing, but then so has England.
The behaviour of some of the fans was boorish, entitled and aggressive, with no respect for anyone else. The scenes of violence were nauseating but sadly all too familiar. But that’s what happens when you have a media which constantly puffs and preens about England’s chances and reinforces the belief that the England team has a god given right to victory. One right wing Brexit supporting group published a graphic online showing Winston Churchill, Princess Diana, Captain Tom Moore and Madelaine McCann and urged the team to “do it for them”. It was truly nauseating in its tastelessness.
One large group of fans attempted to force its way into the stadium. Fights broke out in Trafalgar Square where fans had gathered before the match. There were few masks worn and any pretence of social distancing was abandoned. These are the people whose “common sense” and “sensible judgement ” Boris Johnson is relying on to keep covid infection rates down as he abandons all lockdown and social distancing restrictions.
Italy’s national anthem and the players taking the knee in solidarity with anti racist campaigners were loudly booed, despite the efforts of the BBC to muffle the volume. The booing and boorishness didn’t fit the media narrative that the England team represented inclusion and progressive values. Following the result England’s black players, especially those who had missed a penalty, were subjected to torrents of racial abuse on social media.
Prince William was at the match looking extremely sad, rehearsing the expressions he’ll wear when Scotland becomes a republic. That’s the prince who only very recently was so very eager to tell us how much he loved Scotland and how much Scotland meant to him and his family, although not so much to bother ever putting their faces in at a Scotland match. Boris Johnson, who awarded himself the title of minister for the Union was happy to appear wearing an England shirt and pose with England flags as he shamelessly sought to portray himself as an English nationalist and co opt the team to his own purposes. The difference between the Minister for the Union’s demonstrations of support for England and the support he displayed for Scotland and Wales was stark. It was the difference between a fully produced West End song and dance production and badly whistling a couple of bars of a misremembered song in the shower.
England’s pundits, who until now were puffed up with hype and buoyed by English exceptionalism were last night like slowly deflating spacehoppers full of farts, hissing poison at a manager and a team that a mere few hours previously were hailed as heroes who walked on water. England doesn’t need Scots to slate its football team when it’s got embittered Brexit supporting attention seeking drinkers at the fount of English exceptionalism who do the job so well by themselves, and no one ever accuses them of anti English racism. They just get accused of other flavours of racism.
The real losers however were not England’s players, it was the media and institutions of the UK which lost themselves in an orgiastic display of English nationalism and exceptionalism and abandoned any pretence that they also theoretically represent the other nations of the UK. The last few weeks laid bare the true nature of the UK and its media and institutions of government. They are vehicles for English nationalism where any recognition of the other nations of the UK is merely as a pretty bauble to decorate Englishness. The UK is not a state which can ever truly represent Scotland. As parts of the UK Scotland and Wales exist solely in order to disguise the true nature of the British state and British nationalism as English nationalism writ large, and to feed the myth of exceptionalism that tells proponents of British nationalism that their nationalism is better than other nationalisms because it’s not really nationalism at all.
That self serving fairy story has been exposed by Brexit and by the hysteria of the British media over the course of England’s progress in the Euros. If England had won we’d not only never have heard the end of it, we’d also have been accused of anti-English racism for failing to enthuse. It would be nice to think that last night’s defeat would burst the bubble of the English/British media and institutions and make them reflect on how they managed to alienate and antagonise the non-English parts of the UK to such an extent. But we all know that’s not going to happen.
NEW MODERATION POLICY
In the wake of recent events I am determined that this site will not become a home for bigots and conspiracy theorists. They will not be welcome here. Moderation is the most stressful part of running a blog, but this site is going to continue to make the positive case for independence. With this in mind as of today a new moderation policy is in force.
Anyone who attempts to use this site to post hatred, bigotry, or conspiracy theories will be banned. If you attempt to insult and abuse anyone you will be banned. This site has a zero-toleration policy for homophobia, transphobia, racism, and misogyny. Failure to respect this will result in a ban.
If you intend to spend the next four years undermining the SNP, the Scottish Government and the pro-independence parties that the great majority of independence supporters voted for, you can do so somewhere else, because you’re not going to do it here. The reminder that has regularly appeared on this site is not a serving suggestion. It will be rigorously enforced. If you don’t like this rule – there is a small x at the top right of your screen. Click it, close this page and go elsewhere.
This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.
Scotland will have another independence referendum at some point in the next couple of years. Until then, this blog will continue to publish articles which – I hope – are amusing, entertaining, and which help to educate Scotland on the need for independence. However in order to do so I need to eat and pay my bills. Due to my reduced productivity and the limitations imposed on me by my health, this year I am asking for half the amount I’ve requested in previous fundraisers. I hope to raise £5000 which will go towards supporting myself for the next year.
You can support the fundraiser by donating on my gofundme page: Click here : https://www.gofundme.com/f/weeginger-annual-crowdfunder
You can help to support this blog with a PayPal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also use this email address to contact me if you would prefer to donate by some other method. Or alternatively click the donate button below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.