Friday 12 September 2014

As long as we beat the Germans...

When I first read this piece yesterday, I checked the date.  It was a spoof, surely?  But no, it's genuine.  Someone really did think that it was a good idea to send John Prescott to Scotland to campaign for a 'no' vote, and he really did go.  The main argument that he deployed, insofar as there was one, seemed to be that the Tories would be antagonistic to an independent Scotland, and would resort to bullying the smaller neighbour.  

But the absolute classic – bearing in mind that he was supposed to be persuading Scotland to vote for the 'no' camp's 'vision' of the future – was to suggest that Scotland should no longer have its own football team, and that pooling English and Scottish resources would enable 'we' to beat the Germans.  (I can only assume that Wales and Northern Ireland are assumed to be part of 'England' in this context, but who can know for certain?) 

Even the most ardent Scottish unionist would struggle to explain why beating the Germans at football should be one of their priorities.  If he gets an invite to go to Scotland and campaign some more, it will probably be signed personally by Alex Salmond.


Anonymous said...

No self-respecting Englishman ever describes himself as English, he's always British. And in this context, I suspect, the 'we' means the British.

I don't think I've ever met a 'Welshman' who deliberately describes himself as a Welshman unless, of course, he is seeking to make a point of difference and cause offence.

Be different by all means, but don't expect to receive the benefits that accrue when we all try to rub along by just being the same.

Maybe it's time a few other 'nationalists' learnt this lesson too.

John Dixon said...

"I don't think I've ever met a 'Welshman' who deliberately describes himself as a Welshman unless, of course, he is seeking to make a point of difference and cause offence. "

Then you should probably get out a bit more.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps I'm lucky or perhaps I just avoid the dubious areas where such folk probably hang out.

Who knows? But remember, there are no prizes for offensiveness. We could, if we so chose, all be as offensive to as many as we so wished. But to what end?

This is the hard lesson Alex Salmond is about to learn. We are all so much better of together. Unless of course we are politically minded and desperately searching for a niche.

Anonymous said...

The Prescott episode and George Galloway on the Big Big Debate last night illustrate just how dysfunctional the No campaign is.

They may still win, and I'm not suggesting that there aren't very powerful forces orchestrating very effective high-level interventions (particularly out of Whitehall), but there is chaos on the ground at an organisational level.

Phil Davies

Neilyn said...

Isn't it amazing how the democratic national discourse taking place in Scotland on that country's future has given some people a 'touch of the Imperials'?

Anon at 10:11; Try singing God Save The Queen twice in quick succession, three times a day until the symptoms subside.

Unknown said...

I am sure I have read more stupid comments than the one from Anonymous(one can understand why he would want to hide his identity) but I really can't remember when. Perhaps he is displaying his credentials to be considered for one of the Monty Python "Spot the loony" awards.

If that is the case he has immediately gone to top of the queue!

glynbeddau said...

The only time I describe myself as British is on form that offers me o choice of "Welsh" and I am sure I am not alone.

Anonymous said...

Glyn, that's just your present state of mind at work. Wait until you've had a bit of success in life and things will change.

Peter Freeman said...

Even at the distance from Wales that is my current residence, I am still endlessly entertained by the arguments of the "Yes" camp. The statement by Prescott that if Scotland and England were to unite their soccer teams to beat Germany has to be one of the best thigh slappers yet. I apologize but I just couldn't take your word for it. So ridiculous that I had to check it.
The latest one that I notice is the statement by a handful of Rugby players that the Scots should vote no because Alex Salmond is childless.
When did debates become so facile? The whole argument for and against has slipped down a slippery slope into the best comedy show of the decade so far.

John Dixon said...


I rather suspect that you might have intended to say "No" camp?

John Dixon said...


One of the problems with allowing comments to be made anonymously is that I can never be certain which comments are coming from the same source. I'm assuming that Anon 10:11, 12:24, and 10:00 are one and the same on the basis that there seems to be a thread running through them.

I don't want to get into a Monty Python style argument about what does or does not constitute debate, but there really is more to it than making and repeating unevidenced assertions, or making personal attacks on others.

You started off by saying effectively that the only reasons anyone identifies him or herself as being Welsh are to make a point or to be offensive. Whilst you can know whether you find Welsh identity offensive or not (and if you do, which seems to be the case, that actually tells us more about you than about anyone else), you cannot ever know with certainty what someone else's motivation is, nor be certain that everyone who does 'x' shares a common motivation. That is opinion, not fact; and whilst everyone is entitled to hold and express any opinion they wish, they are not entitled to their own facts, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said. Even if it is a fact that an expression of Welsh identity offends you, it does not follow that offending you was the intention.

As I've said before, I welcome genuine debate, and am happy to welcome comments from anyone, even anonymously, but please try and stick to the point and provide some evidence or support for your views rather than simply asserting that things are as you say they are. And please don't get personal about other commenters in your remarks.

Peter Freeman said...

Oh Yes *Blushes*
In my comment; for "Yes" please read "No"