"England's representin' Britain and they've got to do or die
For Scotland cannae dae it cos we didnae qualify!"
England plays its first 2018 World Cup game on 18 June.
Of course, A Force For Good will be supporting England!
Why do we, as Scots, support England at football games, or the World Cup, or rugby or any other sporting endeavour?
That's not something that needs an intellectual explanation!
We support our closest neighbours, our family members, our friends, our fellow Britons!
We support England, because England is part of the same country as Scotland – called Britain!
We support our fellow Britons on the world stage. It's no more complex than that! Kind of obvious, really!
In that regard, not supporting England seems incomprehensible – so rarely do the British get a chance to shine worldwide.
"We're representin' Britain and we've got to do or die
For England cannae dae it cos they didnae qualify!"
That's one of the Great things about being British
Scotland and England are different countries, but uniquely we're blessed by the fact that we are also part of the same country.
A British identity provides each of us with a shared inheritance which is ours, by natural right, as a Briton.
That means, whatever is English is part of a Scot's inheritance. Whatever is Scottish is the inheritance of an Englishman.
This sense of identity can only be enriching for us all.
This shared inheritance is available within the identity of Britishness, but it is not available to those who identify only with one area of our island archipelago.
We see that with the separatists who come onto our Facebook page. They try to argue that English things are not somehow relevant in Scotland because they happened "in England".
Again, to us, this seems incomprehensible! To us, these things simply happened in another part of our country, called Britain.
A British identity widens one's horizons and it enables us to transcend any differences; while enabling an English, Irish (all sorts), Scottish or Welsh identity to exist within this wider British identity.
Thus a British Scot can delight and rejoice in the success of the English football team – or share its sadness – because it represents an extension of his or her own national identity in the world.
An identity which allows one to automatically bond with the other 60 (plus) million people who are living in the same islands as oneself is a valuable identity!
Indeed, being British is Great.
Some say: "There is no such thing as 'Britishness'"
Yawn! Only to the extent that there is no definitive definition of Britishness.
However, the exact same thing could be said about "Englishness", "Scottishness", "Irishness" (especially!) or "Welshness" – all of these identities contain similarities, differences, diversities, inconsistencies, ambiguities, even contradictions.
Yet Britishness unites them all.
To proclaim, "There is no such thing as Britishness" is simply to make a statement of politics rather than a statement of fact.
The political aim is to attempt to de-legitimise and de-construct the idea of a political order based upon the British identity. If you can pretend the identity does not exist then you can more easily try to de-construct the political order.
"Come on England!"
Scottish politicians – even the separatist ones – really need to be at the forefront of creating alliances in the public mind with England – if only for the sake of tourism in Scotland.
To do otherwise is to put an official seal of approval on the mainstreaming of anti-English sentiment, thereby encouraging it, and its commercialisation, in the public space – creating a somewhat unpleasant atmosphere for some English people in Scotland, as well as Scots who support England.
A simple way to do that is through emphasising our shared Britishness.
English People who don't support England!
However, it should be said, there are also English people in England who have a problem supporting their national team!
George Orwell noted this years ago:
England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse racing to suet puddings. It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during 'God save the King' than of stealing from a poor box.
George Orwell, from his essay "England Your England",
first published in his booklet The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius, (London: Secker and Warburg, 1941).
Robert Crampton asked why richer, liberal sorts often don't appear to support England:
One well-heeled woman, trying and failing to square what to her was the contradiction of our being middle-class metropolitan types and yet simultaneously happy to wrap ourselves in the flag, asked my wife if our car was "an ironic statement". Someone else confided to me that a part of him was always willing England's opposition to score, and surely I felt the same? Er, no, actually," I said, "I always want England to win 10-0." He looked perplexed and giggled nervously, choosing to assume I was joking. It's peculiar, isn't it, that in England, unlike any other country I know of, the gain of a little education, a little upward mobility, so often seems to entail the loss of the simple human desire to take pride in place? Peculiar, and sad.
(Robert Crampton, "Dad, how come rich people don't fly flags and show they're patriotic?" The Times, 21-6-06, p.21.)
Of course, patriotism is about more than just waving a flag – although waving a flag is a very good start!
Patriotism is about supporting our country – both of them – by using our commercial power wisely; by buying local and national. It's about having civic pride, caring for the environment, remembering national days and commemorations, taking an interest in our history, and valuing meaningful national traditions, icons and institutions. Taking pride in place!
Also see a collection of articles by Scots who support England at our Legacy Site:
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