Tuesday, 30 May 2006

Love Me Or I'll Boo You

With regard to Tom’s post about Mike Parry, the thing that struck me about the hysteria surround who Scots are supporting in the World Cup was “why has this not been so much of an issue before?”

Scots have always wished the England football team less than success so why is it an issue now?

I think it has to do with the war and the pervading sense that "Englishness" is under attack and also the fact that the English are having to face up to the idea that they are not generally liked as a people worldwide.

This, of course, is because "Englishness" tends to manifest itself as intolerance, a dismissive attitude towards other cultures and baseless self congratulation ("Rooney could be fit for the Semi-Finals..."). Why? Because the only people talking about “Englishness” and blustering about why they are not universally adored are bumptious personalities like John McCririck, Mike Parry and Jeremy Clarkson; walking admonishment for anyone in the anti England camp.

For me, the interesting point is that before these people didn’t care what people thought and now, everyone has to like them. There is a definite suggestion that Scots not backing England are being un-patriotic – no surprise really in a time of war. It’s plain to see those confused by attacks on a national character constantly in flux anyway retreating to the verbal trenches. We’re talking about people with a fixed and very outdated sense of what their nation and people represent.

So why should Scots back the English? The only true answer is because we get a lot out of British culture. In terms of football, I don’t know too many fans who restrict their preferences to the Scottish game. Most have an English team and most enjoy the glamour of the Premiership even as we realise its all a WWF style stage managed farce brought to us by a station owned by one of the worlds most evil men. It’s the same with music, fashion, food, TV etc.

Britons tend to get a lot culturally out of being British on a range of levels, but thanks to a loud minority of English twats who run and present the media, England (and white England to be more specific) appears to be dismissive of everyone else’s contribution.

Couple the attitude that no-one else counts with the delusional, creaking “green-and-pleasant-land -we-used-to-run-the-world” schtick most of the English media seem to have and its no wonder the rest of us don’t want them to win anything. It’s like wishing a materialist neighbour gets a new car and then comes round to tell you about it.

As for Andy Murray, he’s a wee rich kid playing an elitist middle to upper class sport whose publicist dreamed up a way to make him look like he was “down” with the Scottish people.

I could no more care who wins Wimbledon than I could Crufts or the Show Jumping.


Anonymous said...

Fair comment but how many Scots enjoy the English Premiership because of all their Scottish & foreign stars/managers.

We are British when were winning and Scottish when we are not.

True Scottish footie fans would never support England, crikey we cant get Celtic or Rangers fans to support each another in Europe. How many Celtic fans will be supporting Sweden this summer? Answer all of them.

Fraser said...

Well I always have a problem when someone thinks they can use the word "true" to describe their own opinion. Plenty of "true" Scotland fans will support England if they feel like - it's entirely a personal choice.

No-one of course on Pish is saying we should support England, I was just trying to offer what I see as one of the few cogent arguments in favour of that stance.

A lot of people in Scotland seem to have a problem with being British and I think thats entirely fair in the context of the English media treating the rest of us as if we don't contribute and live off their crumbs.

But a lot of Scots have a problem with being British because of sectarianism, which is unfortunate.

A lot of people in this country decide who they are and what they represent without any real research or knowledge, which results in the similar fantasy world to the one the English media seem to live in.

All I'm saying is the UK as an entity works on a variety of levels and we all get something out of that.

That's not to say that you should support a part of the UK whose media pundits talk down to the rest of us like we're muck off their shoe.

Anonymous said...

Our footie supporters (Tartan Army) are loved and welcomed the world over and win awards for their behaviour the same can not be said of the English albeit a minority. Their global reputation is not one to be proud of, this is what we disassociate ourselves from. We gladly party with the Welsh and the Irish.

If it was like the Olympics I would support a Great Britain Team although I was so proud to be Scottish at the recent Commonwealth Games.

I suspect most English people dont even care who we support and it would not have come as a surprise that the Tartan Army would adopt a country within their group to follow. Its harmless fun and people should get a sense of perspective.

What next is the European Union which we are also part of and we get as you say something out of going to complain we are Anti-European if we support i.e. T&T.

No matter what you do or say in life it offends somebody. Who cares what the pundits say turn the telly off and dont read their articles. Lets stop the halt to the Nanny State we are heading too and grow a backbone.

When you next head to the continent try the i'm British thing and then see how much more your received telling them actually i'm Scottish.

Fraser said...

Again, I'm not really trying to sell "Britishness", I'm just trying to counter a fatious argument for the concept put forward by people like Mike Parry with a sensible one. I no more trumpet my Britishness than the the next Scot but I do find examining why we feel like that interesting. I think the idea that we all get something out of being British holds water whether you consider it to be Brit pop or the NHS.

I agree however that this issue has been taken far too seriously by the press and that not supporting England is largley a matter of winding England fans up in a humourous rather than malicious fashion.

Check through some of my posts on footie and you'll find I am no lover of England. I certainly won't be supporting them. But I find the reasons why not interesting and found the hysteria in the English press about Jack McConnell and Andy Murray interesting as well as it was more intensly polarised than it has been in previous years.

In essence, you seem to think I am more interested in the issue than I am the semantics. I just found the intensity of the press backlash against Scots interesting, as a sign of crisis in English identity. If I was making any statement on the issue at all, I was asking the question "Why don't we feel British?" I wasn't stating "We SHOULD feel British".

In that regard I broadly agree with most of your remarks, although you seem to have missed the point of what I had written.