This has been a bad week for those afflicted by The Cringe, that deep feeling of discomfort and vague embarrassment about the country you were born in. It’s been even worse for those who are confused about which country that is.
I was not surprised in the least that the same voices which were raised in ignorant chorus against Celtic fans for not paying ample respect to the Queen when she died turned the guns this time on the Tartan Army for their refusal to pay homage to God Save The King.
As if English fans are known for their own respect for the anthems of others.
As if the song itself was not a racist, anti-Scottish dirge which belongs in the bin.
In the aftermath of all the sound and fury Michael Stewart raised one salient point; you cannot have it both ways.
That cannot be the anthem of England and Britain both, unless your operating theory is that the union is a form of coercive marriage in which England is the dominant and controlling partner.
McCoist, as well as scorning the fans of the country in which he was born and lived the better part of his life, freely admits that he sang God Save The King loudly and lustily on the night; his partners in the commentary box must have thought him a very confused individual.
This was not a match between Britain and The Rest Of The World.
This was Scotland versus England, at Hampden, so all he actually did, as a Scot, was reject our song and sing theirs instead and to me that’s perfectly clear, and it would have been perfectly clear to those he was working with.
He’s clearly having an identity crisis. But then a lot of people are.
A lot of these people have spent too long in London, with their 24-hour exposure to the EPL and all the hoo-ha that surrounds it. Of course, clowns like McCoist carry the added burden of being more than susceptible to all that King and country bollocks in the first place because of their proximity to Ibrox even before that … but that offers only a partial excuse.
Too many people in our media view their own nation with embarrassment and shame. They can rant all they want, as McCoist did, about “SNP voters” and scorn The Flower Of Scotland and what some of them describe as “all that Braveheart stuff” but to do that and keep a straight face you have to be willing to acknowledge all the contradictions at the heart of your own world view, and in the case of people like Jim White and McCoist that’s even more cringey.
This whole God Save The King stuff is absolutely pathetic, and those of us who view all that forelock tugging and bowing and scraping as something so alien as to be virtually incomprehensible really won’t be lectured by the sorts of people who go in for it all.
Because really, hereditary monarchy?
Thinking of yourself as a subject, as lower on the social scale than some inbred bigot who by an accident of birth happens to have a certain name and lineage? Do they even know the history of this island?
Do they even know that that the lineage in question, the House of Windsor, has only been in existence since 1917 and that its roots are in Germany? Imagine that. Every England fan who sings about Ten German Bombers after standing in humble silence at that anthem should consider the strange contradiction at work there.
It’s a bit like McCoist’s other cultural reality, all this uber-staunch stuff, which flows directly from a military victory for a Protestant prince funded by the Vatican in no small part to protect its standing within the European nobility of that age … there are so many things they don’t know about the things they think they believe in.
These people sought to shame The Tartan Army this week, but all they did was shame themselves and show themselves up to be hopelessly backward and historically illiterate in much the same way they did when they attacked Celtic fans earlier in the year. They sought to put our club at the centre of scandal; in fact, people all across the world gained an insight into our “national mourning” that they never would have had but for our enemies shining a light on it.
These people are the true unsophisticated yokels, subservient fools believing in fairytales of castles and crowns and the mystical power of titles and symbols. It’s as childish as it is moronic, and what gets me most about the contempt they have for this country and many millions of its citizens is that our sense of self is obviously far greater and more fully realised than theirs.
Those of us voted for independence in 2014 did so out of a desire to live and breath in a country that did not fall under the dominion of the flag and the crown and we would have won had those who cling desperately to those things not resorted to blackmail, intimidation and lies in order to win the day, and they certainly didn’t do that out of any belief that they knew better than we did about what was in our interests; they did it for their own, because without the flag and the crown and all the rest of that garbage these people just don’t know who they are.
And nothing is more revealing of that than McCoist’s own admission – and apparently without the least embarrassment – that he, a former Scotland international, proudly stood at Hampden with his hand over his heart and sung the English national anthem as if he were a nationalist of a different shade and stripe, one sneering at those of us who are a little more self-aware.
That’s messed up, that is. That’s plain weird.
And weirder still that they don’t understand why we’re laughing, or even that we’re laughing at them.