Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Column, May 30, 2006

IT’S that time again – we’re not in the World Cup and I approach the vexed question of whom it is that we should support.
You may not have noticed this yourselves, given our usual non-attendance at this competition, but surely you will have seen the rash of flags of St George fluttering from car windows these days.
Strange business this, because they are usually to be seen hanging from the windows of hot hatchbacks, driven by baseball-capped youths who tear around so fast that the flag is reduced to tatters within days, or else removed completely in their slipstream as they rip through any applicable speed limit.
I suppose we should be grateful that the flag has at least been reclaimed from the likes of the BNP and is now flown by any old idiot as opposed to being flown exclusively by racist idiots.
We could of course take Scot Gordon Brown’s advice and support England. Excuse me a moment……sorry, just had to go off for 10 minutes hysterical laughter there. Yes, and there’s no ulterior motive for that bit of wisdom from the Chancellor is there? He’s not got his eye on his chances of moving in next door has he?
Yes, well, support England. Where do I start? Firstly it would be breaking the habits of a lifetime. Secondly I believe that a Welsh trachea is genetically incapable of pronouncing the Anglo-Saxon ‘In-ger-land’ chant required if a true fan. Just like any word starting ngh foxes them (mind you, can’t blame them for that, it foxes most of the world and good proportion of us too. You’ve got to love Welsh haven’t you? So bloomin’ complicated it baffles the Welsh as well)
But I digress. Now you have to be diplomatic about this, as some English will get their bottom lip out when you suggest that you cannot in your heart of hearts cheer them on until their inevitable exit in the quarter finals after a lucky break in the group stages.
They will solemnly explain how they would support Wales if the situation were reversed. Really? And just when has this support for Wales in the absence of England ever, ever manifested itself?
What major sporting tournament have we been at that they haven’t where dragon flags have been seen fluttering from car doors as they cheer on plucky little Wales?
Right, I’m casting my mind back and I’m at a loss to recall a display of sporting devotion to our cause coming from over the border.
So that’s England disposed of for our allegiances. No, not now, not ever.
But if not them, then who?
There’s always France, but that would be supporting a team purely to wind up our neighbours, and the idea is to get behind someone we can identify with.
What about Argentina? There’s the Patagonia link isn’t there? Well, it’s a possible, but I can’t get past an illogical revulsion at supporting a country that bombed the Welsh Guards. I know I should be more grown-up about it, but hey, I’m a newspaper columnist, not Kofi Annan.
There’s Iran, and the USA, unlikely bedfellows I admit, but we could support them on the grounds that no-one in the West will be supporting Iran and no-one in the world will be supporting the USA. Even the Yanks themselves won’t be supporting their team because most of them think soccer, which is what they persist in calling it, is a game for girls. Before women footballers write in to complain, I know it’s a game for girls and women as well as boys and men, but in the USA they think it’s only for girls, because their men play manly sports like, erm, baseball, which is basically rounders – and that is a girls’ game.
There’s the Aussies, but they just think they are God’s gift to sport, any sport. Too cocky by half.
We can’t support Germany on the Boardman Rule – our chippy, bombed etc.
So who, who who?
Well, a quick look at the FIFA map reveals a familiar name – Ghana. And I’m supporting them for no other reason than 30 years ago I learnt about the country in second year geography and remembered that Ghana’s Volta Dam is the world’s largest artificial lake – thus proving that senile dementia is still a little way off.
The CIA website says that it’s a democracy that held free and fair elections (ha, like they would know anything about that) so I’m not supporting some tinpot dictatorship either.
There is the small matter of them getting past Italy, the Czech Republic and the USA in the group stages, so come the second round I might be casting round for someone else to support.
But then, if all goes well, so will the hordes flying the flag of St George too.

I DID say last week that venturing into matters theological was probably a mistake and after I criticised the Church’s opposition to the Da Vinci Code I received an 858-word reply apparently proving all sorts of conspiracies involving the Vatican.
That’s more than I actually wrote on the subject in the first place.
I will not even begin to bore you know with the intricacies of this missive, but you'll find it in the messages attached to last week's column. Enjoy.

AS hosepipe bans reduced Home Counties’ lawns to an arid wasteland and the spectre of the standpipe looms, our neighbours cast a greedy eye at our rain-soaked mountains and hatch plans.
Once again the bright idea of moving water along canals from areas where there is plenty to areas where there is none rears its head.
This might make sense to those ignorant of the resonance of using Wales as a water provider for England.
I’ve written in the past about our need to put Tryweryn behind us, but even I baulk at the suggestion that rain that falls on Wales is England’s for the taking.
It’s our resource and if they want it there should be some payback.
And isn’t it odd that the inhabitants of the South East of England, an area where the majority of the nation’s wealth resides, are so keen to share resources when it is they who are short.
I wonder how keen they would be to share other resources on a similar basis – say jobs for a start. As a rule of thumb we could say one job created in Wales for every lawn watered down South.


Banksy said...

Too bloomin' obvious, I wanted someone really obscure.

Banksy said...

It's all relative Ifan.