Scots, Welsh, Irish...European?
There's been an awful lot of hooh-hah about nationalism in these islands of ours recently, prompted by the World Cup. It's been an established fact for as long as I can remember that Scotland will support anyone who plays England, even in cricket for God's sake. I suspect the same is true for the Welsh, and probably for the Irish, though probably not Ulstermen. It's never particularly bothered me, though it can get a bit vitriolic.
I obviously concur with DK's views on the sort of scum who beat up children for wearing an England kit, and I was mildly surprised by the Newsnight feature that showed a car with England flags having its windscreen and windows kicked in after 20 minutes parked in daylight on a Glasgow street, but to be honest, the strength of feeling leaves me vaguely baffled.
I got home from Henley on Saturday (but my dear chap where else...) depressed about the football, albeit somewhat tired and emotional as well, but when I saw that a Scot had beaten the third seed at Wimbledon I was genuinely delighted. I read today in the Guardian that it is or should be debatable whether Englishmen should support Murray or not. It's nonsense. He's a fantastic player from the home islands. No question.
In rugby (which is the best way to look at this because of the Six Nations) one is forced to put a hierarchy on support for the nations. Obviously I'd support anyone over France, and England over anyone, but in home nation tussles I have little partisan spirit at all. When the same nations play foreign teams, my natural support lies with the home nation.
Interestingly, but hardly surprisingly, if there is no home interest, my support will always go to the 'anglosphere' nation (except New Zealand maybe, but it's not like they need it). I feel a greater affinity to Australia than Austria, to South Africa than Spain. I suspect most Brits feel the same. Which rather makes a mockery of our shared European culture and heritage n'est-ce pas?
UPDATE: Curse of the Reptile! That leaves rather a poser as to who to support now. Supporting Federer seems wrong somehow (cf New Zealand) even though he is the most talented. Any suggestions?