Saturday, 8 October 2011

Swing Low or Allez les Bleus?

So Scotland, despite a good performance (particularly in the first half) against England last week, are out of the Rugby World Cup. This weekend, the tournament moves to its knock-out stages with Wales v. Ireland and England against France today. Indeed, by the time this is published, either Wales or Ireland will be through to the semi-finals and awaiting the winner of the England/France clash.

As a Scotland fan, who do I support now? Well, quite naturally, I feel an affinity with the other Celtic countries - the Welsh with whom we share a political and (to a point) an historical heritage and the Irish with whom we share a cultural heritage. I'm hard-pressed to choose between them although I have a feeling the Irish will win (or will have won...).

But what about England and France? Naturally I will support our partners in the Auld Alliance, our Gallic cousins, la France. Oui? 

Non! Je ne soutiendrai pas la France, je soutiendrai l'Angleterre.

Whilst many Scots will be supporting France - or at least not supporting England - I'll be on England's side. Not just because I live here but because it's the grown up thing to do. As our partners in the United Kingdom, it is also the right thing to do.

Nationalism (at least with a small "n") can be good but in this context it too often becomes parochialism. Scotland's identity should be about what it is, not what it isn't. Supporting "anyone but England" is childish, immature and does nothing to improve relations with our Southern neighbours.

It's true that the English do sometimes have a confidence bordering on arrogance and a tendency to belittle the other members of the Union. As with so many other things in life, responding in kind achieves little. Sometimes one party has to be the "bigger person" and take a more mature approach.

Supporting England doesn't come easily though - even, on occasion, to some English people. It can be hard to muster up real emotion and enthusiasm when watching players who are so often the opposition. But support them I shall, along with Wales and Ireland, as long as they are in the competition.

Dewch ar Gymru

Tar ar √Čirinn

Come on England


You can find previous writings on this subject here.

Update: This is the post as drafted... obviously I now feel foolish to have called the match for Ireland.


Helen G said...

That'll learn ya!

oneexwidow said...

That it will! Still was a good game, Wales better for longer and well deserved the win.