Gerry Hassan

The Scotland-England relationship has been historically one of the defining features of Scottish life.

In recent years Scottish football fans have begun more and more to identify with whoever England is playing whether it be the World Cup, European Championships or a mere friendly.

All of this has now reached epic proportions. There has been the ‘Anyone But England’ (ABE) phenomenon which has spawned a website, campaign and numerous commercial ventures. Kilt makers Slanj have got into trouble for making ABE t-shirts and HMV for selling them.

STV have run a campaign inviting viewers to identify ‘Who will you support?’ in the World Cup, with TV advertising and billboards listing a range of countries from ‘Cameroon because it rhymes with Macaroon’ and ‘Holland because their strip matches my burd’s tan’. Gill Petrie, managing director of STV, dismissed the whole thing as a bit of ‘fun’ stating, ‘It doesn’t really matter how tenuous the link is between the country and the reason for choosing to support them; it’s all about getting involved in a great sporting event, and having a sense of humour about the fact our national team isn’t participating!’

Cameron Toll Shopping Centre, Edinburgh have run a holiday competition entitled ‘Anywhere But England Please!’ with the prize an expenses paid holiday to the nation which wins the World Cup. A spokesperson for the shopping centre claimed ‘With 32 possible destinations including Brazil, Australia, USA and Spain the advert is, of course, siding with our eventual competition winner by hoping the prize is more than just a few miles down the road’.

The thinking behind all of this is self-evident: the Scots have a problem with the English at least on the football field, and all of this is so widespread it can be used to promote a TV channel or shopping centre. Some people do take offence at this; Slanj’s t-shirts led to complaints of being ‘racist’ as did the shopping centre competition.

Many Scottish football fans have a clear sense of why all of this is happening and list a litany of supposed sins to justify the above. They include the English going on about 1966, supposed English arrogance, the assumption in the English media that England might win the World Cup, the constant confusion of ‘England’ and ‘Britain’, and even, the passionate and partisan nature of English commentators getting behind their team (as if Scottish commentators don’t do the same).

The underlying thread behind this Scottish opinion is a lack of awareness about how it comes across. Scots really don’t mind being perceived as defining themselves and how they see the world by what they think of England. Challenged about this most Scots football fans will question why should they do as they are told and support England, and that anyway there are lots of national rivalries the world over.

Some of the Scots claims border on the ridiculous. The belief that the English go on about 1966, was true forty years ago, but the only people who go on about it now are Scots football fans that cant get over it. And it is true that England actually did win the World Cup. Imagine if the Scots had won the World Cup; the Scots would never stop going on about it; instead all we have is the mesmerising Archie Genmell goal against Holland in 1978!

Moreover, we need to ask why has all this escalated in recent years? Part of this is the articulation of a form of Scottishness which isn’t just about the ‘official story’ of devolution and the Parliament, but takes pleasure in celebrating small-mindedness, xenophobia and prejudice. These trends have been hijacked and given added legitimacy by a host of commercial enterprises – including Slanj, STV, Cameron Toll shopping centre – that are looking for ways to ingratiate themselves with the local populace.

As a passionate supporter of the Scottish Parliament isn’t it just possible that its creation may have aided all of this? The slow unravelling of Britain and the decline of the British story which once held all of us together is also part of what is going on. Some of this is progressive with the rise of distinct and progressive Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish politics different from Westminster, and the emergence of England; but some of it as in ‘Anyone But England’ is petty and embarrassing.

Whatever the explanation something not very pleasant is afoot in the public air and conversation of Scotland, and it is time we stopped making excuses and confronted some unpleasant myths about ourselves. How we Scots see ourselves and our place in the world should not be about being anti-English or defining ourselves as not being English, but part of the Scots nation seems further away from this than it ever has been.

This article was reproduced with the kind permission of Gerry Hassan.

Read Gerry Hassan by visiting his blog: http://www.gerryhassan.com

Comments  

 
# Online Editor 2010-06-27 08:53
Please ensure comments are devoid of insult or abuse. By all means disagree/agree with other peoples points of view with a passion but be careful not to make offending others the point of your post.
 
 
# Vakov2000 2010-06-27 12:10
What I find disturbing has been the concerted media campaign to get us to support England. Only yesterday the "Scottish" Sun editorial said as the only british team in the tournament everyone in britain must support England. Other newspapers such as the Scotsman have been running with stories of branches of Scots supporting England being set up. I don't agree with the ABE however I definately don't agree that we are to support England it's not our country. I have noticed more Scots wearing England tops this world cup again this is bizarre it points to cultural confusion and further dilution of the Scottish identity. On the same subject I never understood why the SNP agreed to a british team being fielded at the 2012 Olympics can anyone enlighten me to the reason for this stance?
 
 
# Holebender 2010-06-27 12:47
If Gerry Hassan is unaware of any English mention of 1966 in the last 40 years he really hasn't heard or read a single football commentator or pundid on the subject of any single international football match.
 
 
# brusque 2010-06-27 12:57
I just find it hard to believe (if not downright impossible!) that, if the positions were reversed, we would have swathes of England supporters flouncing around in Scotland shirts!!!!

This whole argument (as it relates to football) is just a media creation.

Scotland is not England, it is not IN England, and it is NOT a Northern branch of England. Like many others, I have a great deal of pride in being Scottish, in Scotland as a Country in it's own right; I can think of no sensible reason to put aside my "Scottishness" and support the England Team, indeed a lot of their own homegrown English Fans are finding it hard to support their Team!!!
 
 
# mato21 2010-06-27 13:39
As one who has no interest in football I find the observations re 1966 bizarre to say the least.Every programme related or not to football makes references to it, in fact you could be excused for not knowing they were not doing too well this time round such is the reporting.On the wider issue of our parliament it is a pity it has not instilled more pride in our people as a nation.Our goverment in putting the needs of the people first have made choices to address those needs,but try and explain that to English people who think we have these benefits at their expense, not their fault by any means this is what is fed to them by those who know better but choose to foster this misinformation nothing like divide and rule,as in war the truth is the first thing to be lost.I have tried explaining our position many times to people of various nations and they find it incomprehensibl e that a country with so many assets hand them over to another country and have to accept back only what that country allows.Many have said in their country a revolt would not be inconceivable if the same situation existed in their country The people of Scotland could do with finding a bit of self respect and a backbone to go with it.
 
 
# Clare 2010-06-27 13:58
I disagree with the entire article. To call it a piece dealing with the "Scottish Psyche" is quite astonishing. To base any piece on such a huge subject merely on the approach of some Scots towards the English football team is actually pretty offensive. I can assure Mr Hassan that there is a great deal more to the Scottish psyche.

Some of us out here in Scotland don't bear grudges against the English but we are aware that our country is treated like a "scrounger" by many English people, and even by some Westminster governments. Scotland's role in and significant contribution to the Union is rarely, if ever, recognised and I find that quite unacceptable.

To reduce it all to football is to miss the point completely.
 
 
# eye_write 2010-06-27 18:26
I agree with you on that. In fact it is the commentators etc. for the English game who are routinely insulting about England's international opposition, disparaging remarks galore there usually, and that's obnoxious. (Not Scotland's humour, thanks very much.) Maybe they don't know they are doing it, I don't know, but perhaps it's time we put their "psyche", not ours (it's always ours to examine for fault...)under the spotlight? What do you think, Gerry?
 
 
# eye_write 2010-06-27 14:24
The problem is this, "Englishness" and "Britishness" are indistinguishab le, interchanged at random in the media here and overseas. I've asked a lot for the differences between the two, in terms of identity, but only received one attempt at an answer. My respondent said:

Englishness is less serious, more twee and for jokiness at times of a football match, for example, or for sport in general, sport being a game and not real life if you like (I paraphrase - my memory's not word perfect!). He saw only Britain as having the skill, prowess and wherewithal to "protect" us in a big bad nasty world out there. Hmmm, anyway...

Therefore it's easy for those who see themselves as British, and English when there is no British team to get behind, to support us others, like Scotland, when there is no Britain or England to support. And for them to assume that we Scots should automatically feel the same way in reverse, and get behind England, if there is no Scottish team present, and support Britain when there is e.g. Andy Murray at tennis, as obviously the preference would be British first over Scottish or English etc. (I refer back to the guy's answer to me previously.)

I don't, I support Murray because I assume he plays for his country, Scotland, like any other sportsman or woman plays for theirs. And because he is also rather cool (reminds me of my son) and is undoubtedly exceptionally ace (!) at tennis. Yes, I am behind him. (Might as well get interested in sport, then perhaps your kids will take it up ;-)

cont.
 
 
# eye_write 2010-06-27 14:25
But I have no such affiliation to England, nor Britain (for me it represents all that is reprehensible in a lack of democracy). I have no affiliation with Britishness as an identity, it does not mirror traits I feel are mine, for Scottish, or even if that's not relevant, personal to my family, or my community generally.

I don't feel Englishness relates to me either, but I don't support anyone but England because I dislike England or English folk! No way. Quite the contrary, which a brief skim of my friendships, since primary, can prove. And my holidays. And my family - I'd forgotten about them as it's not as issue for me! I laugh when Aberdeen gets beat in the Premier league, and they are the team my dad and my brother support - my own brother! So it's nothing to do with blind racism to England. (Readers will know I miscall that a lot!)

No it's a predictable, I would say, reaction to the Englishness rammed down our throat in all channels of the media it seems. On top of that, we could ignore, is the blatant arrogant belief in that they are expected to win!, that English commentators and pundits, and fans, sigh, display when these cup competitions are going on. Like Aberdeen, they believe they are "it", marvelous, deserving of glory, the best, up there and great, it is assumed before it is proved.

If other sports stars had this attitude, for example olympians, saying obviously they will beat x,y and z competitors because they are easy competition and really they need only focus on the latter stages, before they were through!, you'd think, up yours, be funny then if you lose!

There is a difference between expecting to win and assuming you should, because you are you. It's really that that get the English team its anti-support. (Fine if they'd won the highest accolades yesterday, but they haven't - in a while.)

Perhaps more so from Scots though for the following reasons: We would rather underplay our teams chances, we include a huge dose of a sense of humour. This seems to contrast, not with English folk I know especially, but with the presentation of the English narrative on the TV and by Jove in the media! It's this force, not so much any names or faces over the border, unless they are an ape, in which case insult would come whatever their nationality!, that is the object of the Scots ire.

I think if we had our own voice, in that we had our own media (and I'd like our own fully recognised sovereign parliament), we'd be less intent, if there are those who get a bit carried away, in being noticed in this A.B.E. thing. It is, and should be, a bit of fun. My brother is my friend for sure. (But we don't live together!)

It is just so that we aren't "the same as England", not least because we enjoy far less representation, on the TV, than England - that's the stupid British system. We're not so different, of course, who is, but the political situation makes it impossible for us to live in harmony, if we care at all.

(This Britishness in the psyche is really an insult to other nations in Britain the landmass, as it supersedes them psychologically , and politically of course. Britain is credible. Scottish, English is ridiculous. My answering guy admitted Englishness wasn't good enough to be his nationality and still have him be taken seriously.

cont.

A lot of people fear disappearing into the international mire of insignificance if they shed British from their conscience. Scotland has to find a unique selling point or points to counter this, become cool on the world stage.

Thing is we are! Very. But our own British media doesn't sanction sharing this impression, it would undermine the "superness" of British, which is the core of their thinking, consciously or not. It is just assumed Britain stands for something, beyond reproach, respectable, stoic, reliable, steadfast, and great. It's not sense of course.

I'd like to see it deconstructed and scrutinised, not with an undercover documentary, but just with some programming of our own. Stuff we make or chose to buy in and broadcast, same as the Brits do. That's all it would take to realign this Brit biased focus. It would happen automatically, wouldn't require deliberate corrective action. Scottish controlled media would take on its own existence. It would be itself. Whereas the British media shows Scots what we are. But I digress!)

I think an accepted, celebrated even, national banter, as we have between England and Scotland, would be a healthy situation, like neighbours (sons or brothers) sure of themselves. Trying to clone them as one, like aforementioned family examples, won't,and doesn't, and will never, work, and causes accelerated disharmony in the form of mean rivalry and discord. Mothers should not have a favourite! Says me, I am one :-)

finished!
 
 
# Joker 2010-06-27 16:21
There was a post a while ago stating that the comment limit is 5000 characters, you don't need to split them up like that.
 
 
# eye_write 2010-06-27 18:27
Nope, I did. I tried it in full, didn't work - or I wouldn't have. Maybe I should take the plunge to speakers corner :-P
 
 
# eye_write 2010-06-27 14:37
I'm sorry Gerry, you are wrong. I feel your attempt to discredit a laugh, with the A.B.E. is the Scottish cringe and to manufacture a story. Maybe you should have a beer and watch the game? Thinking too much is fine, if you take a break to realign ;-)

It isn't petty or xenophobic, mate, it's hilarious! As similar gags or wind ups are and will be as so long as we are humans for evermore. I repeat it's hilariou - a good thing to make the world cup (it's only the football cup!) more fun. Like betting on the national.

I have English pals, and family, on Facebook who are laughing along, joining in, cheering on England, and not taking it so seriously as you - what does that say about Scottish journalists?! ("small minded" you said...) Were you considering that us Scots should broaden our worlds?!

It's hilarious :-)
 
 
# rgweir 2010-06-27 16:24
i have just watched the game on bbc 1.
the comentators could not utter one
sentence in praise of germany,,in fact they made a few negative remarks on
the german side.
the comentator even came out with this,,,,i cant honestly say that germany were the better side because england could have been beaten by anybody today,,,
that is one of the many reasons that made me cheer on every german goal.
 
 
# eye_write 2010-06-27 18:36
I heard "What will the Germans do when they start playing at Premiership pace?" (I know?!) and "If you were to have any of this German team in the England side how many would you swap out? (Answer) One, maybe two"...I can't remember them all, but it really is away with the fairies stuff. I good dose of reality will do them no harm. I actually mean that compassionately !
 
 
# MrHenBroon 2010-06-27 16:30
I read this on Gerrys blog and left a comment. It really is time that this kind of populist cringing journalism was shown up for what it is. Designed to make Gerry popular amongst the tittering cringing class which Scotland is polluted with. Be big enough to do the research and apologise Gerry. The English were lucky against Germany, lucky that they had not been beaten by 7 more goals. They are overhyped prima donnas and got their just deserts now we can enjoy the World Cup without having to listen to the 66 trumpets. Viva Mexico.
 
 
# eye_write 2010-06-27 18:47
Well put actually!
 
 
# enneffess 2010-06-27 16:32
I thought the disallowed goal was ironic! (if unfair).

But Fabio said "they played well". Should have gone to a well known high street opticians mate.......
 
 
# Clare 2010-06-27 17:08
It was NFS. And showing that 1966 "goal" underlined it. Maybe Germany finally got justice eh?

But this is exciting for football. This new young German side is entertaining, talented and fit. When their predecessors were beginning to age and England commentators were saying they were finished I bet they didn't expect the new Germany to emerge so quickly as a force to be reckoned with. And being so young I think they are going to entertain more in years to come.

Fabio's assessment was a bit sad. First time I've seen studio people being virtually silenced too. They too were shocked at this performance. I would excuse Rooney personally for he should have been left at home. He's unfit and he's injured. James too should be excused because he avoided a complete massacre today with his performance.
 
 
# Hugo 2010-06-27 17:04
I saw the tail end of the game and felt embarrassed for England at the final result. No way did I feel any sense of glee.
 
 
# Vakov2000 2010-06-27 22:28
I was the same there were no feelings of glee or extreme euphoria. I didn't scream and leap into the air. I am not laughing everytime I watch the news.
 
 
# Clare 2010-06-27 22:47
Shocking performance Hugo. But wow that German team. They are going to give years of entertainment. Wasn't so far back we were watching an ageing German side starting to rebuild and have they not just rebuilt!

Had a text tonight from my brother that made me giggle. "England had hoped to be welcomed home as heroes so in order to avoid disappointment they are going to land their plane at Glasgow!" ; )
 
 
# Clare 2010-06-27 17:11
Oh and watch for media-baiting of Murray from this point on.
 
 
# mato21 2010-06-27 17:47
It's started already Clare heard again this morning "he could be British as long as he was winning" with the caveat that" he could go back to being a grumpy Scot when he lost"This is the second time I've heard this type of remark
 
 
# Robabody 2010-06-27 19:07
44 years ago when our next door neighbours won the world cup I was just a laddie. I had never heard my father swear before and his face was striken, which frightened me no end. He said, rising over the black and white TV like a monster from the deep "The Bstds have won - they'll never let us forget it" and they haven't. The following year Baxter, Law etc', were the first team to beat them. It cheered my dad up no end! Well done Germany 2010, very well played. Pity the premier league will be kicking off soon - more mince from overpaid over-hyped "professionals"

Still, there must be an opening now for the tartan army to train up our neighbours on how to be s**e and enjoy yourself.
 
 
# enneffess 2010-06-27 19:44
What got me was when the second half started, the commentators were saying how immature and nervous the german keeper was. Then the next two goals went in.

John Motson has a daily video blog. Every day, every single day its been about England. Wonder what he will come up with tomorrow......


But it must be terrible for the players, having to go on holiday earlier than expected.......
 
 
# Vakov2000 2010-06-27 21:06
Speaking of Murray he seems typical of a Scot heading south and going all brit. Last year he was happy to be photographed on the front page of the Sun draped in the Union flag. In fact he's did the same for Saturdays edition just passed. He seems to have had no problem abandoning Scotland and going all british. He does nothing to promote Scotland or mention he's Scottish he's happy being a brit now. Next he will be a part of the All England club and bowing to the queen ;) I've no time for people who drop Scottishness to become the poster brit boy.
 
 
# eye_write 2010-06-27 22:15
I know, it's interesting. Been thinking about it - I'm a fan on Murray's Facebook page - and I'm drawn to the fact that he's moved down to be beside Wimbledon, has a flat there. Sees it as home, and his home turf.

Scotland, as far as I know, doesn't have a prestigious tennis centre? (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

And tennis is one of those "quintessentiall y" British/English (as the two are interchangeable ) facets in their culture, well, going to Wimbledon is. It's a Brit thing because it's sort of...an "upper class twit" thing - you know what I mean!

So, I'm wondering if any of that has anything to do with it. Of course Andy's own family's views will have had some influence, and again (though I'm guessing) there's probably more of a type of a family that's going to get involved in tennis - not the same sort that is inclined to get involved in boxing. And there is a kind of status, in mind, that is more inclined to be loyally British, rather than Scottish. Maybe his parents were that type. (They're not poor but it's important that they don't seem poor...)

I'm not sure, but in terms of tennis, is it that Scotland has a minor image (unknown?), and Britain has the ultimate image (the home of tennis?),and as sports persons want to be the best, and if their family was always Brit-sympathetic, then is that why Andy Murray wants to/is happily seen as British, if he does? And he immediately gets ten times more fans.

Don't know, but I'd like him to be Scottish, just naturally, not overtly, as that's unnecessary, but just happy to be Scottish. By all means thank the British and English fans, but be normally Scottish.

But then in the current political climate, that would be asking him to take a stance. It shouldn't be of course. But it is, certainly in the world of GB tennis. And sports players have enough to think about with matches and training. To cause a controversy would be the last thing his game needs.

And so it just merely then, that Murray is going with the flow (he will have managers) and not rocking the boat. It's causing him no harm, in fact the opposite. I suspect there's quite an element of that.

He's just 23, a lad. He's doing very well. Maybe when he's free career-wise to chose, and if he's ever inclined to chose, he will. I get the impression he's switched on, and habitually says what he intends to say. You have to be impressed. And even if he was a Brit-lover!, that wouldn't change.
 
 
# Vakov2000 2010-06-27 22:24
I know you're a fan and I would like to be a fan but can't be because of the brit thing. To be honest it sounds like you're making excuses for him because you are a fan. He doesn't seem to take any pride in Scotland if you didn't know any better you would think he was English/british but that's down to him he promotes britain to the exclusion of Scotland. Another sell out is Hoy he was asked if he would like the opportunity to be in a Scottish Olympic Team and he said no he'd rather be in a british team. I can't support these sell out turncoat scots I'd rather support another nation one that has pride in itself.
 
 
# Clare 2010-06-27 22:44
Vakov. I hope this post won't be seen as an attack on you but I simply must say a few things. I believe your sort of approach is very wrong indeed. It unsettled me and made me very uncomfortable.

Whether we like it or not Scotland is currently part of Great Britain, and I think its possible to be Scottish and British. Those who think that way are free to do so and it makes them no less Scottish than you believe you are. And if you tell me that makes me disloyal to Scotland then you are wrong. That sort of nonsense is what gets "nationalism" a very, very bad name.

There are Scots serving in Afghanistan right now who are part of Britain's armed forces. Many will come home in body bags as others have before them. Are you daring to refer to them as "sell outs" too because they're in the British Army? There were other proud Scots who fought in a World War against the poisonous type of nationalism that meant those whose label didn't fit were gassed. My father was one. And he was no sell out either.

You're having a go at Hoy too? He is proud to be Scottish and so is Murray and you have no right to rubbish them in the way you have. They are both a credit to us and I am proud of them. They are superb sportsmen and deserve our admiration and respect.

Your type of nationalism is seriously scarey and I would NOT want to be part of any future Scotland that went along with your way of thinking. Because your way of thinking is very dangerous and deeply disturbing. It will also terrify a lot of people and especially those who haven't quite made their minds up yet about Scotland's future.
 
 
# Vakov2000 2010-06-28 12:45
No offence taken I have different views. I don't believe you can be Scottish and british. I think they are 2 opposites of a spectrum. britain is all about subverting the whole idea of a separate notion of Scotland and Scottishness. While promoting britishness to the exclusion of all else. Also the whole british identity is naturally determined by the majority 50 or so million who are English. unionism/britishness has always been a colonial political form which is why Scottish history and identity has effectively been erased from british history/culture. If you proclaim yourself british you are basically accepting this and an English identity. Which you are perfectly entitled to do I just don't understand why you want to take on a foreign identity over your own. As for this idea perpetuated constantly that if someone speaks out to strongly in favour of Scotland people are going to switch sides immediately or run screaming with their fingers stuck in there ears is frankly just about subverting discussion. Unionists and brits have said far worse about Scotland but we don't get all huffy we discuss. It seems to be a new theme running through forums don't sound to nationalistic or we will stop listening to you and run to vote Labour on mass and everyone will turn against the nationalist it's a bit silly to be honest. If someone is so fickle and changeable and don't want to listen to a broad spectrum of ideas and decide which parts they like or dislike there's not a lot you can do. I can't be petty and bitter as it's more an observation not something I particularily care about. Like I say though if Murray prefers his british identity good luck to him but I wont support somone who is embarrassed to call themselves Scottish.
 
 
# Vakov2000 2010-06-28 12:50
I served in Afghanistan last year as a Scottish soldier in the British Army. As well as Irish, Fijian, Canadians and Australians who were all proud of there country but served in the British Army. So don't you dare attempt to use that to misdirect my argument I frankly find that extremely insulting! Who are you to say you know all about that.
 
 
# Vakov2000 2010-06-28 12:52
Actually as I've read on and great offence is taken especially when you start insulting my role in the army and my identity. It's you who is dishonouring people bringing that into the argument.
 
 
# eye_write 2010-06-28 09:41
Vakov, that makes you seem a bit petty and bitter and some of the other things they accuse nationalists of. I'm guessing you aren't, so I thought I would take the time to point it out.

Surely you can see he is a good player, and even if I didn't think so, he is ranked no. 4 in the world. We do not know what he thinks, and anyway maybe his opinion will change over time - do you have the same outlook on everything in life as you did when you were 23?

Either way, I think slagging him off or being upset about his actions re Britain and Scotland is an overreaction. I can understand it though.

I've heard Hoy speak, and on the GB thing he said he would have loved to have trained in Scotland but there was no comparable velodrome to the one in Manchester here, so he is thankful for that opportunity. And it was one GB gave. Now, of course we can query why there isn't, why can't there be, and would there have been a velodrome in Scotland if... etc. etc. - I don't accept there isn't one because we are Scotland! Too small, too poor etc. That's nonsense.

Is there enough investment into Scottish sport? If not, why not? Scotland is a mere region. Independence would help in my view.

Look at the curling team for example, displaying saltire wrist bands. That's a sport not overshadowed by GB facilities etc. and I think they do not have your "selling out" problem. They play as Scotland of course normally.

So therefore to an extent Murray and Hoy are a symptom of the system. Sure it would be great if they stood up and said "We are Scottish, we want to represent Scotland", but even sports stars are people, and if people were generally like that (I am) we'd have got independence years ago.

Thing is you can't make people be that way. And you can't criticise them for being what they are/ are not. Especially if you want to curry favour with voters.

This is the planet we inhabit and these are the people on it. We have to get on with it.
 
 
# Clare 2010-06-27 22:33
I think that's an appalling statement about Murray. He's a tennis player, a very good tennis player and he is in a very difficult position here. He did NOT drop being Scottish and to accuse him of that is bang out of order. I am proud of him and many Scottish, English and British people are behind him and want him to do well. And having to declare ourselves completely Scottish and non-British, insult the monarchy and deny another person's talents simply because they don't fit our idea of what is "Scottish" is frankly narrow-minded and immature.
 
 
# eye_write 2010-06-28 09:23
Well, I didn't accuse him of that. I was merely musing on his opinions, precisely because we cannot know what they are. So, don't know where your rant was coming from there.

My view is that we ought to view "British" in the same way as "Scandinavian" or "Iberian" in that it refers to an area, a landmass, and captures the sharing of some of our stories that has gone before, and has no political meaning, other than that we might be a bit similar (as the Scandi countries are, but they don't all share one sovereignty).

Obviously people are free to chose, that's why I have been wondering what makes them do so, or else I would have been discussing how to force them, with guns or whips! :-)
 
 
# Clare 2010-06-28 10:21
Hi Eye write, my comment wasn't directed at your earlier post.

Andrew Murray is a great tennis player. All these bitter allegations being made against him, and Chris Hoy too, shock me. I have never heard either of them denying that they are Scottish. And the guns and whips stuff? There are nationalists around who would go for that, believe me. And that isn't the type of Scotland I ever want to live in. That type of nationalist will alienate tens of thousands of Scots and kill the debate stone dead.
 
 
# eye_write 2010-06-28 11:39
Aha! Apologies. I was trying my best to navigate this tiered comments structure - must have mis-steered!

What a breath of fresh air. Glad you have your own opinion.

I have tried explaining just what you say to some overt rabid nat pushers on the Blether with Brian blog, and my opening gambit was exactly that this will put the argument back decades. And, guess what, I was met with with trembling red beards (whom I knew did have brains!), as unsubtly they set about trying to paint me as an idiot, you know, in retribution, for daring to query their righteousness - it really did not make them look good, this lynching, but I was the idiot.

Well...

I had been the great new darling at the start, as I am pro-independence, but then as I started to analyse our image, well, I was a unionist! (insult intended) I then realised that all you had to do to be the darling was to champion pro-independence mantras, and the amour shifted to the latest blower on the block.

The speed with which this lifelong independence advocate was really rubbished, and the outpouring of vitriol and spite that surfaced was an unwelcome surprise to me, and an indication that what the undecideds and unionists had been claiming and criticising nats for wasn't made up, or misguided, as I had naturally assumed.

Well, I woke up. Glad I did. (And glad Blether with Brian as an entity has died - it was much nonsense ultimately).

Now we're not all like that obviously. But Geez, talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
 
 
# mudfries 2010-06-27 21:40
Its one of the scots and the english football fans favourite past times to rib each other about the football, its as simple as that, I have many english friends and I'm sure many of you do as well, its always light hearted and a bit of fun with the people I know but there are the odd bampots out there who take it too far on both sides, I feel sorry for the fans who have saved up for the last couple of years to get to south africa only to be let down by overpaid overhyped players, its the media that P's a lot of people off up here, its way over the top. ach! its only a game!!!!!
 
 
# Mac 2010-06-28 08:48
"They think it's all over - it is now."

Gerry Hassan should read up on his Scottish history.

High levels of nationalism, competiveness and animosity on and off the sporting field between Scotland and England stretch right back to the 1920s.

I know this because my grandfather and father could relate stories regarding Scotland v England games at Hampden.

Even the Hampden Roar (which is no longer heard) was an indicator of Scottish working class nationalism.

Now working class nationalism was/is an important factor in Scotland's recent history. It was my grandfather's generation, a product of the Great War and the 20s depression, who were the original 90 minute nationalists. It had a profound effect on later generations. Without it there would be no Scottish parliament.

Anyone-But-England, yes, my grandfather would have been proud to wear such a T-shirt - after all he was one of the first to say it.
 
 
# The Tree of Liberty 2010-06-28 09:55
Age wise, I'm getting on a bit now, but if Scotland is not in any competion, I will support any team I like. That's my choice. Don't try and insinuate that is somehow wrong not support England. That land is as foreign to me as Brazil, U.S.A or Germany.
 
 
# Somerled 2010-06-28 14:37
Clare:
Thank you for replying to vakof2000. You said his comments made you feel uncomfortable. They made me feel sick and dismayed.
He has frightened me from making any further comment of this topic. Anything I might have said would certainly not pass the on-line editor.
 
 
# eye_write 2010-06-28 15:02
To Vakov2000. Bloody hell! I think the editorial policy is that you can comment here if you so wish, Somerled. It's comments like those to which you refer that leads so many pro-union opinion holders to be sure that nats deserve contempt and disdain. Personally, I find it easier to stomach misguided union supporters, they're usually not bad people, just malinformed and a bit biased, than nats who attack anyone who is so not worthy as to not jump up and down shouting "freedorm" with them. Really, I wish they would grow up.
 
 
# Vakov2000 2010-06-28 15:33
You're effectively saying people can say anything they want as long as it's acceptable to some. However what we all find acceptable differs from person to person. For instance Clare chose to use soldiers in Afghanistan something I have some experience of to attack me. This I find sickening and distasteful. Somerlad effectively told me in the form of a primary 5 pupil I wasn't entitled to my opinion as are you. I expressed an opinion but rather than discuss the opinion I am subjected to childish behaviour. What was so unacceptable about what I had to say because that point hasn't been articulated. Rather I'm being told I'm making everyone frightened and wanting to cry.
 
 
# eye_write 2010-06-28 22:25
Surely if you wish undecided people to support independence it is relevant to say things that are acceptable to THEM.

Their view of nationalists is potentially quite coloured because of the reputation the media has given us, therefore we cannot ignore that or take it out of the equation. We must recognise it and react accordingly.

Denial is only a strategy that will work with those already convinced.

So, to call Andy Murray a sell out and ashamed to be Scottish sounds OTT and irrational, because nats are assumed to be xenophobic and tunnel visioned, because we are made out to be xenophobic, aggressive, nasty, hostile, insular, parochial and tunnel visioned etc. Actually, I think it is a wee bit short-sighted. It's acceptable I think to disapprove of Andy's (alleged) non-allegiance, but it's not acceptable to be contemptuous.

Normally it wouldn't all that matter, but we have to be more careful to appear not immature, and be grown up, because there is an opposing movement against us trying to discredit us. There is no room for understandable human foibles. It's just giving them ammunition.

That's the best way as I can see it. Then we have a chance to prove them wrong.
 
 
# Clare 2010-06-28 23:28
Eye Write, what is this Andy's alleged non-allegiance?????? It is a pile of dung! There is nothing to disapprove of. The guy is trying to be a success at tennis and that is what he is focused on. He has done nothing wrong and all these imaginery allegations are simply that, a figment of someone's imagination. We shouldn't even waste space discussing them.
 
 
# eye_write 2010-06-29 08:38
No, we should. I thought you defended to the death anyone's right to say stuff. I do too I suppose, but also defend anyone else's right to criticise them for saying it!

For clarification, I never once did say that Andy has a non-allegiance. I refer to Vakov's belief that is the case. I said we cannot possibly know. I reckon, like you, he is solely concentrating on tennis, and so going with the flow. It's possible you didn't mean to accuse me there, but please don't risk looking like you are fighting with your own shadow!
 
 
# Clare 2010-06-29 09:27
Eye-Write.........exactly. He cannot "know". Which means he has no right to make statements that Murray is "embarrassed to be Scottish." and present them as fact. That's what I'm getting at.

You said, "It's acceptable I think to disapprove of Andy's (alleged) non-allegiance."

In my view when you declare someone's non-allegiance to Scotland you really should have evidence of it. Know why? Because that is a huge statement to make about anyone. There is no such evidence against Murray, or Hoy for that matter. Neither of them has ever declared any such non allegiance to Scotland. Oh but yes, they have both been seen with Union Flags on occasion and therefore that means they are not "promoting Scotland, it means they hate Scotland, it means they are embarrassed to be Scottish, it means they are "against" Scotland. What a judgement on two people who have never uttered such beliefs against Scotland.

Again we're back to making factual statements about an individual when we aren't talking facts.

I responded to your post. If you found it accusatory or if you think I'm "fighting with my own shadow" so be it.

Your attempt to clarify has only made matters worse because you're turning it all on me now and I did not introduce extremism into this debate. I will say again however that extreme views will kill the independence argument stone dead. Trashing Scottish athletes of whom we should be proud for their achievements in their respective fields is also completely unnecessary.
 
 
# eye_write 2010-06-29 17:47
You kinda did get extreme, a bit 8-)
But, no matter.

I disagree that they need facts to hold what is an opinion about Andy Murray or Chris Hoy. That's up to them, you can't police opinions ;-)
But we are more than entitled to disagree! Is it a censorship you are after??
 
 
# Vakov2000 2010-06-29 17:50
Fair enough will we agree to disagree! lol :)
 
 
# Clare 2010-06-29 22:25
Eye-Write, I do not mind you replying to my posts but please don't misquote me when you do so. I did not ask for censorship anywhere in my posts.

I did not get extreme either. I actually reacted to extreme views, like accusing Scottish sportsmen of being ashamed to be Scottish and worse.

I also mentioned facts which is what you should have closeby when you trash people as Murray and Hoy were trashed. Not once has either of them ever said anything anti-Scottish to my knowledge yet that is what they were accused of. But thank goodness the vast majority of Scots are proud of them both and so we should be.

I do not intend to comment further on this subject. I think my posts make clear the points I was trying to make.
 
 
# Vakov2000 2010-06-30 10:19
You keep on saying you're not going to comment any further then proceed to drone on about it again. We get the idea you're "sickened" "shocked" "horrified" etc yawn.......
 
 
# Clare 2010-06-28 23:25
You want to see sickening Vakov? Read your posts about Murray and Hoy. You will find distasteful there also. You judged two superb athletes and trashed them because, in your opinion, they don't "promote" Scotland. Oh please! You did not "discuss". You judged and trashed and you went to extremes and that is dangerous. It will also not bring people who are undecided to embrace independence because extremists like you will scare the hell out of them.

You don't frighten me incidentally. And you can mock me all you like but ultimately it is people like you who will cost the nationalist argument dear with your judgements and your aggressive approach. No one said they wanted to cry either, that's something you've thrown in as a way to ridicule except the only person it backfires on is you.

You're damn right I mentioned Afghanistan because I wanted you to see how ridiculous your argument was. There are Scots out there dying right now in the British Army. Are they traitors too? Murray is for being British, so is Hoy. So are Scots Regiments in Afghanistan traitors? Were people like my late father who fought against Hitler traitors? I asked you a question Vakov so answer it. Either that or be careful the next time you throw your judgements around. I said what I said because extremists get ALL nationalists a bad name and I wished to distance myself from your views. That is my right.

Finally, Andrew Murray has NEVER declared himself embarrassed to declare himself Scottish and you have lied about that. That is despicable.
 
 
# Clare 2010-06-28 23:16
Somerled, I may not always agree with you but I will defend to the death your right to say it. Vakov clearly does not share that point of view.

For me his trashing of athletes in a rant about nationalism would be laughable if it was not so menacing also. And I will say again it is people like that who will send others rushing away from saying yes to Scotland controlling its own future: for people like that will will terrorise the "maybe's" into going with the safety of the status quo. And these people will not realise it until our chance of independence has been destroyed by their extremism. Apart from that, I was merely defending the right of Murray and Hoy to perform in their respective sports and make Scotland and/or Britain proud without having to declare themselves for or against independence or insult the Queen.
 
 
# mato21 2010-06-28 19:20
On a lighter note folks as a youngster I saw the film Geordie and not knowing anything about the making of films soaked every last word up like a sponge I thought it was true I thought the actors were Scots,however,i t was the first time I realised I lived in a country that was not recognised and even at that age I became a nationalist wasn't sure what it was but became one anyway,and vowed if ever I got onto the world stage I too like Geordie would wear my kilt never would my country be denied recognition if I could help it.Isn't life simple when you're young?Although no one in the family is called Geordie when I wanted them to know I was there I would shout,much to their embarrassment,"come away my wee Geordie" and still do to this day.They all know why and think I'm mad but who cares.So if you're ever in a crowd and hear someone shout "come away my wee Geordie" you'll know who it is.
 
 
# Somerled 2010-06-29 08:11
I said on another item,the one about Newsnet update,that I found Newsnetscotland interesting as it gave me the opportunity to find out more about S.N.P supporters and what they were really like.Vakov's contributions fall into the catagory of being "interesting". I am very fortunate that I have never come accross this type of attidude before and I am pretty sure there are not many of his like about. Let's hope so anyway,for the sake of our country.
 
 
# Clare 2010-06-29 08:26
Well this particular debate is over for me. Thoroughly sickened here.
 
 
# eye_write 2010-06-29 08:39
Yep, it the current economic climate, it does Scotland no good.
 
 
# enneffess 2010-06-29 21:20
People can support who they want. A very good friend of mine is Scottish, but she supports the English football team. And why not? She isn't one who is taken in by the hype, and is a very patriotic Scot. I like watching cricket (heathen I hear you cry!) and like England win, but see them lose at rugby.

People can decide what they want to be. If you wish to be considered as a Scot only, why not? Likewise, those who consider themselves both Scottish and British should be able to do so without being ripped apart. There is at least one Englishman who is an SNP politician for goodness sakes!
 
 
# Vakov2000 2010-06-30 11:09
Doh obviously everyone's entitled to an opinion including me. Are you suggesting to do away with a discussion site by proposing everyones entitled to their point of view. so there's no point in anyone discussing anything!
 
 
# Vakov2000 2010-06-30 11:36
People can support who they want. My point of view is if you support England you're not a patriotic Scot! I don't know of any other nationalities who support other countries rather than where they're from doesn't make any sense. However in the media there has been a concerted effort to encourage Scots to support England for political purposes and some are being taken in by the hype! It's not anti-English because I'm not English by the same token I don't support Wales or Germany neither of them are my country.

When you say "those who consider themselves both Scottish and British should be able to do so without being ripped apart." So you are saying we have no right to discuss this. I find that strange considering it's an argument at the heart of current politics. So I will discuss it and believe that it's important to!

You then state "There is at least one Englishman who is an SNP politician for goodness sakes!". You sound like you have more of a problem with this than anyone else or why bring it up? Why shouldn't there be English people in the SNP everyone who lives in Scotland is entitled to be part of the political system and let's face it independence equals actually having a say in the running of our own country/country you live it would bring democracy to Scotland.
 
 
# eye_write 2010-07-01 23:11
Gosh, I'm going to agree with you in part ;-)

People can support who they want. I'd add, that in countries where the issue of their sovereignty is not an issue, which team you support is not an issue. I would assert that it is because we do not have the political will (yet ;-) to exercise our sovereignty politically, in Scotland, that a Scot not supporting a Scottish player or team, regardless of their political opinions, is seen as a non-patriot by you.

Whatever your feelings they are your own of course, but I say that the "not a patriotic Scot" accusation isn't helpful, and can be rather detrimental to the attempt to get that political will for sovereignty, into the majority.
 
 
# Vakov2000 2010-07-02 14:52
I’m going to agree with you in part too ““People can support who they want.” Though I would like to think people would have some rationale for supporting a team not just randomly selecting any team. Also when you state “I'd add, that in countries where the issue of their sovereignty is not an issue, which team you support is not an issue.” I partially understand and agree to an extent with your point however my main argument lies in the fact that Scotland is being harangued into supporting England. For instance can you provide me with examples of countries who actively and traditionally support other countries to support this statement? Possibly even provide examples of countries whose media aggressively presses neighbouring countries citizens to offer their support. For example you don’t see France and the French media pushing Germans into supporting their team or any other country for that matter. I would also ask you if a Croatian declared his unwavering support for the Serbian football team would you declare that Croatian an example of a patriotic Croat? The reason I pick that example is because of the historical parallels of conqueror and conquered.
 
 
# Vakov2000 2010-07-02 16:57
It's not been a very good sports summer for England! Beaten in the world cup and Andrew Murray humped at Wimbledon!! :)
 

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