From a rag down in Kwazulu Natal:-
No flowers of Scotland
Imagine if KwaZulu-Natal got its own home rule. Then imagine if in the next World Cup – or any other sports event – the people of Eastern Cape, who are predominantly Xhosa, rooted for any team but KZN because the people there are predominantly Zulu. That in a nutshell is the story of England and Scotland, which is now bubbling more angrily than ever with the recent World Cup. To give a brief background: Scotland has its own parliament, which is subsidised to the tune of R70.5-billion a year by English taxpayers. However, to complicate matters Scottish MPs can vote on English issues, but the reverse is not true for English MPs who have no say in Scottish affairs. Most controversial English bills – from banning foxhunting to immigration fiascos – have got through courtesy of key votes from Scotland. Scottish MPs can vote for completely free health care in their homeland, then vote against it for England. The same with schools; Scottish pupils receive far larger subsidies than their English counterparts. To rub more salt, all top cabinet ministers are Scots: Gordon Brown, John Reid, Alistair Darling and Des Browne. Tony Blair was born in Scotland but does have English ancestry. The Liberal Democrats leader Menzies Campbell is Scottish; so was his predecessor Charlie Kennedy, who was fired for swigging back too much Highland happy-juice during office hours. Yet despite all this, Scotland has a chip on its shoulder bigger than Ben Nevis. The Scottish ‘auld hatreds’ are endless, going back to Braveheart, Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Highland Clearances and ... well, being regularly beaten by the Sassenachs at every sport except Elephant Polo. (No kidding, the Scots won the championships in Nepal). To spark this kindling, the Scottish Prime Minister Jack McConnell took it upon himself to announce he was supporting any World Cup team but England. The Scots cheered him to the rafters; Trinidad flags were sold out in Glasgow when the islanders took on Beckham and co. Then Scottish tennis player Andrew Murray, who relies on extensive English support, showed surprising lack of circumspection by declaring he was supporting Paraguay against England. When he next appeared in Wimbledon he was greeted with a chorus of ‘Go, Andy, go ... to Paraguay’. All harmless banter, you may say. But it soon turned nasty up north. A seven year-old child was punched by an adult for wearing an England football jersey in Edinburgh; ditto a disabled Englishman in Aberdeen. People ordering pints with English accents in pubs were abused. Cars flying English flags were given finger-salutes at traffic lights. I must say I never knew such resentment existed, and am sad it does as the Spences originally hailed from Scotland, a sub-clan of the McDuffs. However, in this case I take the side of the English. In the past they handled Scottish antipathy with amazingly good grace, even though Celtic boorishness bordered on outright malice. But something has now snapped. Perhaps it is because every unpopular law passed in England’s nanny state is done so with a Scottish accent. Perhaps it is because they see welfare benefits being bestowed on the Scots that can only be dreamed of south of Hadrian’s Wall. Perhaps because they’re sick of the North Sea Oil question continually being thrown in their faces, ie it is Scottish oil. (In fact, much of the oil fields are in international waters; British multi-nationals developed them; and North Sea oil deposits are worth R50-billion annually – R20-billion less than taxes for Scotland raised in England.) Perhaps, they’re tired of the Scottish-dominated Labour Party doing all it can to discredit English identity. Whatever. The English are now fuming and the fowls are stampeding home to roost. This World Cup saw a plethora of St George flags like never before, and for the first time ever, a poll has shown a quarter of English voters want their separate parliament – compared to just eight per cent a year ago. This is more significant than it looks, for most ethnic English voters support the Conservatives. Labour relies overwhelmingly on the Celtic and immigrant vote. Thus if there is an English-only parliament, it will almost certainly mean a change of government. So who said football was just a game?
No, no permission and stuff....