003204RC_1Ah hink Scots should dicht thirsels o the hail ‘Anyone But England’ attitude an get richt ahint wir near neebors fir the Euros. Here’s how:

The tournie is muckle mair nor a few gemmes o fitba atween nations. It’s a vital source o cultural unity. It caa’s thegither fowk fae the faurthest neuks an crannies o Europe fir ae month-lang cooncil o ordinar fowk. Icelanders are fleein ower tae follay thir team. We hae Macedonians an Welsh, Poles an Spanish, aa stravaigin ower the continent. Thoosans o lads an lassies, auld yins an bairnies will be bletherin awa thegither in the campsites, breengin doon the rues an avenues, an sharin the crack ower frothy French pints.

An fir me, that’s whit the EU is aa aboot. Nane o these fowk will hae ony signeificant barrier atween thirsels an France. A wee Romanian faimly can bung thirsels intae thir Dacia Logan stappit fu wi flegs an jeely pieces, an drive aa the wey tae Paris. Nae Checkpoint Charlie tae navigate. Nae barbed wire tae loup ower at midnicht. Nae hinging oan fir dear life tae the unnerside o a rummelin train.

An whin this muckle clanjamfry o fowk get thegither in France, thi’ll hae nocht oan the cairds except a keek aboot the auld toons an a bevvy wi ithir fitba fans. Then occurs whit Ah’ll cry here “Drunken Diplomacy”, that is tae sey, the sort o friendly clash at gings thegither wi strangers an booze. That’s how Ah’m aa fir England an Wales daein weel. The better they dae, the mair positive thur time amang thur European brithirs an sisters will be, the mair chance we hae o a Remain vote. Hink oan it this wye: a guid puckle o the fowk wha are gingin fae Wales fir exemple micht nivir hae spak tae a Romanian afore. They micht weel hae creditit the pish the likes o UKIP come awa wi. They are mair thin likely tae be votin tae leave the EU on the 23rd o June. But gin ae Welshman fins hissel in a boozer haverin the pus aff some Belgian aboot Gareth Bale’s sleekit skills, or sharin a bench an a smile wi oor bonnie wee Romanian faimly fae earlier oan some sun-smooched Lyonais forenicht, he micht weel hae his heid turnt tae a mair progressive airt. Wha ance wouldae votit agin Johnny Foreigner micht vote stey, as a mindin o Jon fae Verona, the chiel he shared a tassie wi in Marseilles.

So come aa ye at hame in Europe; gie England an Wales a guid cheer in the pool stages. Gin they baith play weel, aa thur fans an supporturs will be oot on the randan, engagin in high-level Drunken Diplomacy intae the wee sma hours. Sic nichts in pubs thrang wi foreigners micht gar them vote remain.

But whit aboot us? Wi aa this Drunken Diplomacy takin place ower the watter, ance mair we Scots are stuck at hame, keekin through the sweetie-shoppie windae fae the ootside. It’s a scunner, nae question. But we maunnae just sit oan wir dowps afore the tele, baffies oan, yeukin wir nethers an tannin the T. We can aa engage insteid in Digital Drunken Diplomacy.

Whit’s Digital Drunken Diplomacy? It’s the wey fir Scots tae engage in the poleitical stramash an international socialisin o the Euros. Here’s how yis can pley: afore ilka gemme, bring up the twa teams’ poleitical profiles oan the wab, an wale the ane thit hus the maist gleg weys o dealin wi social problems thit afflict wirsels here in Scotland, or else hae problems fir whilk we hae solutions. Then, whin yir haein a swally wi yir pals an watchin the gemme, ye can come awa wi sic lines as “here, these Fins are pure mince. Ken whit isnae mince but? Thur progressive education system…” by siclike means we can bring ideas tae Scotland through the medium o fitba.

I’ll gie ye ae team as an exemple: Switzerland.

The furst guid idea Ah’ll bring up in the pub is thur direct democracy. The Swiss are spiered at fir aa serious deceisions in national referendums. The ithir nicht fir example Genevans hud tae wale whether tae implement a new re-shoogled form o benefits, whether tae sell oan a cooncil property tae developers, an whether a new brig should be biggit ower the loch. The fowk dinnae hate the cooncil, fir the cooncil just dae whit thir telt. Ony Aiberdonians luggin in tae ma chat surely wilnae credit the thocht.

Anithir fine hing tae bring up is how they cope wi leids. Switzerland haes German, French, an Italian areas. Aa the leids hae equal fittin in wark an business o government. Whit’s mair, mutual respect is inbiggit tae the education system, wi each learnin the leid o the ithir. Scotland would dae weel tae learn fae this system o mutual linguistic enrichment.

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But this shouldnae be one-way traffic. Scots arnae some dry sponge cryin oot fir a drookin aff a neebor blessit wi the saft watters o superior knowledge. We hae wir strengths an aa.

The Swiss fir example need wir help oan ae notable front. They arnae ayewis ower couthie wi foreigners. A few year syne they hud an anti-immigration election poster wi the subscreivin ‘Keep Switzerland pure.’ The pairty ahint the poster won. An this week ane o the richest clachans on wir wattery globe, Oberwil-Lieli, peyed twa hunner thoosan poond in fines insteid o haein ten refugees flit there. In a clachan whaur ower three hunner millionaires bide, they reckoned thit refugees ‘widnae fit in’. A solution loups stracht tae the mind o maist Scots: let them flit in then gie thaim the cash, ya fuds.

Whitever team yir supportin, fire them a tweet anent ane o thur progressive policies whine’er they score. So if the Swiss are yir team, gie them a haun wi thur race problem. Tweet @SwissEmbassyUK wi yir hertfelt congratulations ilka time thir Albanian-born Kosovan-parented Swiss-naturalised striker Shaqiri hits the net. Or when Johan Djourou, thur muckle black defender born in the Ivory Coast maks a vital stap tae save a goal. Gin it’s the Fin’s fir example, fire a note tae @FinGovernment sayin “gleg pley fae yur fullback. Must be doon tae yir excellent PE classes.”

Whae’er it is gettin yir backin, let them ken Scotland’s still here, keekin ower thur shouder, an wishin them aa the best oan the field an aff it.

Alistair Heather @HistoricAlly is a student o Historie, French an Gaelic atween Geneva an Aiberdeen Universities.



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