World Cup Politics

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Neil Small
Glasgow

Next year sees a great competition come to Scotland in the shape of the Scottish Parliament elections.  In some ways, after this year’s World Cup, a depressive sense of déjà vu will descend upon the nation.

Instead of thirty-two teams however, there are four.

Neil Small
Glasgow

Next year sees a great competition come to Scotland in the shape of the Scottish Parliament elections.  In some ways, after this year’s World Cup, a depressive sense of déjà vu will descend upon the nation.

Instead of thirty-two teams however, there are four.

So think of it as the final and third place play off.  In the final are the two giants of Scottish politics – Labour and the SNP.  Please take a minute to clear up the mess from your spluttered beverage.  Perhaps I could have used a better descriptive.

The third place decider of course is between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems. Both teams have given cause for concern about their mental fitness to play, mainly due to both having delusions of grandeur up in Scotland.

However this is still an important match which will probably produce the worst match fix since Germany-Austria all those years ago. Neither of course can be seen to be against the other, although it is expected that the Conservatives will win on penalties due to the irregular movement of the new ball.

But the final is what everyone looks forward to.

Held on the 5th May 2011, it is not subject to the weather, thank goodness, since in Scotland we are likely to have snow, rain and blazing sunshine within the space of ninety minutes.  The media will of course be present, with live coverage provided by the state broadcaster and hosted by Scotland’s answer to John Motson; he who shall remain nameless.

All things in moderation of course, provided that the moderators like what you post, and you do not have links to subversive publications.

The parallels with the World Cup are uncanny: one side continually goes on about an event so long ago everyone else is heartily sick of being reminded; and the other tries everything to get the captain of their opponents red carded through fair means or foul – mainly foul.

The supporters are a strange bunch as well.

Some stick with their team regardless of scandal; others think their manager is the Lord High Emperor of the Universe who will smite thee down.  A few unkind souls have said that the supporters of one team would find their brains exploding should they ever try to switch allegiances.

Everyone wants to see the match: but as with international football teams, most casual supporters are familiar with only three or four players of  their own team, and even fewer of their opponents.

The SNP are unfortunate that they can only play five-a side in England, but up here they can put in the First XI.  Labour on the other hand has the apprentices playing for them. But as we have seen with the recent England – Germany match, youth can sometimes overcome experience; so a word of caution there.
The SNP has had some team changes, mainly tactical with some switching of positions. However, the key players are in their normal slots. Labour too has had no significant changes, not that there is much of significance anyway.

The tactics will be interesting, with the SNP pushing forward with the confidence of what has been a relatively injury free season. One or two late issues however have come to light, in the shape of a secret transfer fee and a senior player insisting that he will not live in the team caravan. Perhaps he is trying to emulate Beckham.

This could cost them a couple of goals. Labour has the problem of being two goals down before they even get onto the pitch, so things are looking pretty even. The supporters are of course key to the whole match. If sufficient support is drummed up then it is more likely that the desired result will be achieved. But staying silent as the political vuvuzelas of their opponents drown out their message could be costly.

It’s all to play for.

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