Team spirit

Michael Kelly is free to support whomsoever he chooses at the forthcoming World Cup (Comment, 8 June). His odd description of Iceland, Ireland and Norway as members of an "impotent arc of absurdity" in both economic and sporting terms is another matter.

Mr Kelly's warnings that an independent Scotland would inevitably be a sporting and economic failure is an interesting premise, but also a double-edged sword.

If there is a correlation between sporting prowess and the independence of small states, I might point out that Ireland's recent sporting record easily outstrips that of Scotland. Since the 1990 World Cup, Ireland have progressed beyond the group stages in every tournament for which they have qualified, a feat which Scotland has never achieved.

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I had the pleasure of witnessing Ireland defeat Scotland at Murrayfield en route to a grand slam and one of its many recent triple crowns.

I fear Mr Kelly's argument may in fact be a powerful argument in Scottish political discourse … for the SNP. I might also point out that Ireland outstripped Scotland as an economic entity despite the fact that Scotland possesses the vast oil resources of the North Sea. Oh, hold on, it doesn't – that would be "Britain's". Rather like Andy Murray, when he's doing well.

Finally, Mr Kelly says "the Union Flag shows the full part we play in team GB". How right he is, ie firmly in the background, under the Cross of St George.




Michael Kelly conflates his support for England in the World Cup with his support for unionism and uses this to attack "separatism", ie Scottish nationalism, and by extension the elected government of Scotland.

As someone of Southern Irish extraction and a former director of Celtic Football Club, perhaps he would like to call the people of Eire, the Irish Republic and their government "separatists" and urge them to abandon their independent state, rejoin the UK and support the English team?


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