Thursday, June 15, 2006

Jack McConnell's Chip on Shoulder

Don't you think I have done well so far not to drone on and on about the World Cup? No, I'll leave that to Alastair Campbell... Well, almost. I'm greatly looking forward to the England v Trinidad game this afternoon, but I think I shall have 9 holes of golf beforehand so calm me down. Hard life, isn't it?

In 1978 when England didn't get to the World Cup Finals I supported Scotland. In 1994 when they didn't get to the finals in the USA I was quite happy to support the Republic of Ireland. So why do some Scots have such a problem with supporting England seeing as their team hasn't made it? Even the First Minister Jack McConnell has said he'll support anyone but England. He's now facing flak because it could affect inward investment from England and tourism. The United Kingdom consists of four countries, each of whom I would support against any opposition. Isn't it a pity that some of our friends north of the border can't bring themselves to do the same?

And before the usual accusations of being anti-Scottish start flying, save yourselves the trouble. My name is spelled I A I N. My middle name is Campbell. I'm a quarter Scottish myself, my family comes from New Cumnock in Ayrshire and apparently Robbie Burns is an ancestor!


Paul Burgin said...

I agree with you to a point, and as someone who is of Scots descent on my mother's side I readily support the Tartan Army if England are not in the equasion. However I can see why many Scots refuse to return the favour for the simple reason of the Braveheart Syndrome.
In other words they have felt oppressed by us English for the past few hundred years and yet, apart from Berwick Upon Tweed and other skirmishes, we have not suffered in the same way.

Anonymous said...


To prove you are not petty are you going to support France if England go out? They are after all the nearest country to England, closer than Scotland from what I can see on the map to most of the South East. They are our EU partners we share a great many things with them.

I also believe that this is a football matter and just as Tottenham fans did not on the whole support Arsenal in the Champions league final so Scotland fans don't support England. Most Scots will support English teams in Europe but football is tribal.

And in any case why the same old chestnut why not concentrate on politics. The Conservative party in Scotland has agreed to cosy up with the Labour party to keep the SNP out of power should they SNP win most seats in the Scottish Assembly next year. Why would Tories side with Labour Iain? If Scotland and its supporters are such a pain let them go.

Iain Dale said...

anonymous, I think I would support Iran before I would support France. The two situations are not remotely comparable. France is not part of the UK and before you say, ah but it is in the EU, the EU is not a country. And as far as I am concerned never will be. If England go out I shall support Holland.

If I were a Scottish Tory I would be spitting blood at the thought of them doing a deal with Labour. It's ione easy way to guarantee electoral oblivion, I would have thought.

Unknown said...


If England get knocked out loyalty transfers to Commonwealth countries.


The underdog in each match. It's so obviously the right thing to do I am amazed you needed to ask.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha

Nothing cheers us celtic bigots more than the pathetic English whine of "we support you". Well we dinnae.

Now, go back to doing what you do best, rioting and beating each other up.

Andrew said...

Anonymous, not anything to worry about as France are going home at the end of the first round again.

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes - the 'Braveheart' syndrome.
We all need our myths, I suppose.
'Course, south of the border that myth somehow dissolves into a figure more like Rab C. Nesbitt than a woad-wearing, sword-wielding champion with an Aussie/Yank accent.

Still, if they won't support the English team, we'll boycott their principal export - which seems to be politicians these days.

Croydonian said...

I'll go along with James's thoughts, but with one caveat - I have French, German, Portugese etc friends who delight in 'supporting' anyone who plays England, purely for wind up purposes, so I feel it is only fair to repay them in the same coin.

And I don't find Caledonian chippiness annoying or upsetting, just deeply comical.

Man in a Shed said...

Slightly of topic - but I always think of the World cup joke Gazza told once:

Q: What do you call a Scotsman in the 2nd round of the World cup ?

Ans: Referee

Also it seems we'vre missed some of the entertainment on BBC Scotland:


Only An Excuse? World Cup Special

Only An Excuse? returns to screens on Wednesday 7th June with a World Cup Special. It's the 20th Anniversary of the show and what better way to celebrate than with a right good whine about Scotland failing to qualify for the World Cup Finals?

Ever present midfield general, Jonathan Watson, creates a world class squad of comic impersonations in this mazy dribble through Scotland's World Cup woes.

Wednesday 7th June BBC ONE Scotland 10.40pm

I paid my license fee - I demand the English get to see this !

neil craig said...

McConnell is generally agreed to be an idiot in Scotland. His expression of support for Trinidad & Tobago has not been quite the vote-winner he thought.

On the other hand before devolution, when we Scots rightly felt treated as provincials his position would have been unequivocally popular.

Iain I am quite surprised at your pro-Iranian (or less kindly Francophobe) feelings.

Anonymous said...

To me we should just face it; the Scots hate us and so do many other people. Fine by me. I'd support pretty much anyone over Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the English affection for the Republic of Ireland is just beyond me.

That said, I think there's a growing realisation and acceptance of Englishness amongst the English, hence the predominance of the St George's flag over the Union Flag. I think this really took off when Scottish & Welsh devolution got put onto the agenda and I think the more the other counries in the British Isles try to assert their autonomy the more Englishness will grow. So for me, the more they say they hate us and the more power they try to grab, the better. With a bit of luck it will end up with an independent England many years down the line.

And frankly I wouldn't WANT them supporting us, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Lowland Scots are a dreadful bunch, chippy and resentful to a man. The reason that McConnell hasn't been run out of office is that the majority of voters in Scotland are just like him.

We Highlanders, on the other hand, are a sporting lot, generous and broad minded. We happily support England at football and cricket. We have even planned a party at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea following the Trinidad match this evening.

Sabretache said...

Jack McConnell has a chip on his shoulder eh?

Well, that's easily explained. He's a bit unbalanced - and we all know that the definition of a well-balanced Scot is one with a chip on BOTH shoulders - og Highlanders excepted of course :-))

Anonymous said...

Og said... Highlanders, on the other hand, are a sporting lot, generous and broad minded. We happily support England at football

That'll come as a surprise to most Highlanders who won't be supporting England or don't give a recessmonkeys.

And who made you their spokesperson anyway?

Anonymous said...

At least Jack McConnell is honest about his sympathies, unlike Gordon Brown with his absurd claim that he savoured Paul Gascoigne's 1996 goal against Scotland.

Anonymous said...

Och Iain, dinna be losing your sense of humour over this.
Football is TRIBAL, and England is Scotland's "old firm" enemy. As a Scot I get angry at the constant moaning about, what has for many year's been the good natured Scottish hobby of annoying our biggest rival's, still not as popular as taking the p*ss out of our own lack of success though.
This constant "whinging" simple increases a more hardened anti English/Scottish stance.
What's your problem?
You have got a pool of player's we Scot's can only dream about! So do what the tartan army does when it's winning or losing, turn the humour button to high and just enjoy being in the world cup, or in our case not qualifying as usual!. Whatever the results, a beer, a party and a good old samba with fellow footie fan's from around the world will do wonder's for your team's popularity!

The Daily Pundit said...

Fried Mars Bar, anyone?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - your use of the term SPOKESPERSON is a bit of a giveaway. This is the sort of term approved of by McConnell and his ilk.

Anonymous said...

New Cummnock eh? Used to drive through there when I was the agent for Dumfriesshire.

Tunbridge Wells it ain't.

Anonymous said...

I am seing more and more examples of acute Anglophobia everywhere.

It seems to be directly related to applied stupidity.


Ps.: The ball is round.

pakman said...

I'm an Ulsterman. My paternal family are of Scots planter descent, my mothers' father was English and my wife is Welsh.

This British mongrel will be supporting the only British team playing this afternoon. My wife (the Welsh part of the equation), however, cannot quite break free from the "Anyone but England, boyo" mentality. Sad.

Louise said...

As a Scot who normally supports England I would have to say one of the things that's putting me off supporting England this time is the continual demanding that I do. I really find it difficult to believe that the whole English nation would support Scotland in other circumstances.

Everywhere I turn some English person is telling me that I really should support England and if I don't how awful I am. That and the incessant news coverage.

Still - I'll support England, mostly. Going to go with Trinidad and Tobago tonight, just so I can shout "C'mon Scotland!!!"

Beau Bo D'Or said...

I'm a 'sweaty sock' (jock) as we're fondly called down here and put up with years of misery of wind-ups and put-downs and vicious comments of my colleagues during Scottish/English rugby games and other sports, so much so that I invented 'defensive betting.' - I bet against Scotland so, if we lost, at least I made a few quid.

When we had a rare victory, the monetary loss was forgotten and frequently compounded after a swift pub-based celebration.

I don't mind if England win - good luck to you. I just want to see some football with a bit of flair.

I will not go as far as Gordon Brown and say (as a pathetic attempt to gain popularity) that one of my favourite football moments was an English goal against Scotland !

However, if England win I will be amused to see how quickly the English Press turn on their heroes as soon as they draw with a supposedly lowly ranked team.

Underscoring some media's short-term patriotism, I bet that whoever becomes an unlikely hero ( I mean not the accepted leading players) of an England victory will be the target of every red-top journalist eager to get some dirt on him, his girlfriend or family.

Maybe one of them will get a visit from a fake sheikh.

Anonymous said...

Iain, If you want to prove your Scottishness: I believe that most Scots would say Rabbie not Robbie!

Anonymous said...

There are times when being Scottish is embaresing. Like when you walk past a drunk man in Soho shouting "yer a' cunts, I fuckin hate e lot o ya" or when mongs like anonymous start mouthing off like the wanker he is. We've created a, 'prentendy wee parliament' to quote Billy Connolly and we never got over the fact that 300 years ago we decided to become part of the UK. Get over it.
Sorry, rant over. I away back to my red cola, shortbread and heroin.

Anonymous said...

I can't let an opportunity as good as this pass.

I will be supporting England, possibly for the first time in a major tournament (I've tried before, but the BBC commentators are unbarable and the thought of hearing about '06 for forty more years is more than I dare fear). What's so special this time?

Well, as a Belfast man, I'll be happy to see England win so Northern Ireland can say we're the only team to have beaten the world cup champions on their triumphant campaign. ;)


Mr Eugenides said...

I agree with hountang. At least McConnell is honest. Brown's pandering is toe-curling stuff.

As a pro-Union Tory I have been wrestling with my own feelings with this, and the simple bare truth is that I cheer when a goal is scored against England and have posted today to say that I will be supporting T&T.

Why? I think because (a) we like the underdog, but also (b) because we get England's 1966 success rammed down our throat every four - actually, every two - years when there's a tournament on.

Iain, it's all very well to say that you supported Scotland in World Cups past, and I appreciate that. But I notice you didn't show much sympathy for Arsenal's demise in the Champions' League Final - and did you support Man U in Barcelona in 1999?

We like to see the high and mighty fail. Just as many English would support anyone playing against the Aussie cricket team, or would find themselves cheering for Italy, say, if they were 25-25 with the All-Blacks in a Rugby World Cup quarter-final with five minutes to go, so many Scots who aren't "anti-English" will nonethless relish the look on Ian Wright's face, or the front page of the Mirror, when England do eventually get knocked out.


Anonymous said...

I don't think some people realise that France is not part of Britain. If it was, we would probably support them, especially if they taxed their citizens higher than ours and paid for free services and cancer drugs that are denied to French people, because the costs of keeping us meant there was no more money left in the pot.
Or perhaps if France allowed English MPs to sit in their parliament and took money from their taxes as well?
Then I would be very grateful and support them without question.

Act of Union

Article 3 says That the United Kingdom of Great Britain be represented by one and the same Parliament, to be stiled the Parliament of Great Britain.

Article 4 of the Act of Union states That all the subjects of the United Kingdom of Great Britain shall from and after the Union………have the same Rights Privileges and Advantages

Hmmm........can anyone recommend a good solicitor for an English person, who never got to vote on the matter?

Anonymous said...

I hear the loon the Scots have as their First (not premier-league) Minister now berates the BBC for giving too much coverage to the England football team.

I never knew they received BBC up in Scotland......I thought they all watched Norwegian TV. I find it atrocious just how much coverage Scotsmen in London get on BBC with names like Reid, Darling, Brown, Murphy, Browne, Blair, etc

If only they would take these interlopers back we could arrange to cut off BBC broadcasts together with Barnett Formula Aqua Vita and the Scots could live in sweetness and light paying their own way and watching their own TV with their very own cast of extras with names like eid, Darling, Brown, Murphy, Browne, Blair, etc

Anonymous said...

Salmond takes Brown to task on ‘Union Coin’
Commenting on Gordon Brown’s announcement that a special £2 coin is to be minted to celebrate the 1707 Union the leader of the SNP, Alex Salmond MP, dubbed the suggested coin the ‘Brownie’ and described it as “full of brass, not very popular and soon to be devalued”.

Mr Salmond raised the matter at Business Questions today (Thursday) where he also pointed out that it would take 6,000 million £2 coins to pay Scotland back for the £12 billion in oil revenues the Chancellor will receive from Scotland.

Commenting Mr Salmond said:

"There is no end to Gordon Brown's capacity for self-promotion and his determination to prove his British credentials. I am surprised he doesn't want a coin celebrating his favourite football moment - Paul Gascoigne's goal against Scotland in Euro 96.

"It will also take 6,000 million £2 coins to pay Scotland back for the £12 billion in oil revenues that are keeping the Chancellor and the UK finances afloat this year.

"The coin will be received with the same lack of enthusiasm as the original £1 coin. That was known in Scotland as the Thatcher - brassy and not worth very much.

"This new coin will be the Brownie - full of brass, not very popular and soon to be devalued.

"It will become a collector's item in the future, known for its rarity value as the Union passes in to history.

"Even Gordon Brown in his wildest musings couldn't expect an outbreak of street parties to celebrate the Union in Scotland.

"We would be better served thinking about a coin to mark Scotland's independence - that would be a cause of real celebration for our nation."

David said...

"We Highlanders, on the other hand, are a sporting lot, generous and broad minded. We happily support England at football and cricket. We have even planned a party at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea following the Trinidad match this evening."

Well said og. So you're going to the Highland Heritage Appeal "Big Blaw" are you? Give my love to the Governor !

(A Trustee of the Appeal who can't be there because he is too busy sorting the Regimnetal Gathering in Inverness in two weeks time!)

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading your commentaries.

wonkotsane said...

I'm glad the Scots hate us, I don't want them to support England. It totally justifies my feelings of ...

... Anyone but Scotland.

Anonymous said...

Highlander my ass. If you knew anything about the Highlands you'd know that the common term for England fans in Inverness is the acronym FEBs.

The biggest chunk of Scottish England supporters (outside of the English in Scotland who just join in the banter) actually come from the Lowlands and support England for sectarian reasons. Much to the embarrasment of the Rangers fans I know.

Anonymous said...

Iain, do you have a "chip on your shoulder" about the French?

Is it not a bit of a double standard to have a go at McConnell when your own remarks are even more antipathetic towards another peoples and bear no comparison to McConnell's?

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous, dear oh dear, if that's the best you can come up with. You're obviously too thick to appreciate that Scotland is part of the UK and therefore deserves my automatic support. Last time I looked, France wasn't.

David said...

I suppose the best example of our attitude to the French would be the famous Times headline: FOG IN CHANNEL - CONTINENT CUT OFF......

Anonymous said...

How come Scottish terrorists don't make a blip on McDowning Street's radar? The idiot who tried to bomb the queen at the Scottish Parliament opening got let off and the newly formed Scottish Freedom Force doesn't get a mention in papers printed south of the border. Probably because Broon thinks it's just friendly banter.
Wimbledon soon - Anyone but Murray, the foul mouthed Scot.

Anonymous said...

Niticed Peter Crouch had to pull Sanchos dreadlocks last night to get in his header. What a player, what a team. Here is a wee joke for you all, a joke okay old boys.

A driver is stuck in a traffic jam on the motorway. Nothing is moving.
Suddenly a man knocks on the window. The driver rolls down his window
and asks, "What's going on?"

"Terrorists have kidnapped 3 England football fans. They're asking for
a £10 million ransom. Otherwise they're going to douse them with petrol
and set them on fire. We're going from car to car, taking up a collection."

"How much is everyone giving, on average?" the driver asks.

"About a gallon"

Vol-in-Law said...

"And frankly I wouldn't WANT them supporting us, anyway."

Well I'm from Northern Ireland & I'm supporting England, so tough. My American wife supports England even over USA!

Andrew said...

I see the usual petty English racists, wonkotsane, tyke and sabretache, have a few other small minded pillocks, from north and south of the border, to keep them company on this thread.

Your dissatisfaction with current constitutional arrangements in the UK is the fault of Tony Blair and the Labour Party - it is NOT the fault of the Scots or Welsh or English or any other national grouping!

Grow up and address the real issues instead of stirring up balkan style nationalism.

I'll still support England over assorted foreign teams (I even shouted Yes! when they scored against T&T), but I think I'll still manage a wry smile to myself when the inevitable "a nation mourns" happens, doubtless due to some biased foreign referee, again :-)

Andrew said...

Oh, and tyke, Andy Murray's an immature prick, but that's not because he's Scottish. It's because he's small minded - a bit like yourself ;-)

Still, I hope he grows up and finally does what Tim Wimpman has failed to do all these years.