Whatever the bat-and-ball game was called in Tudor times, before the forced union of Scotland with England in 1707, it became golf in Scotland and cricket in England. Despite the contrived collegiality of ‘TeamGB’ at the Olympic Games which our new Prime Minister Theresa May made no great thing about when they returned — which David Cameron certainly would’ve — she made a point of spending yesterday at Lords watching the English cricket team play Pakistan in a one-day match.
In contrast to the jingoism of several of our recent past prime ministers and their copious use of “Great Britain” and the “United Kingdom” in their speeches, perhaps Theresa May will allow Scotland to secede as a separate nation without too much further fuss and bother. If so, she’ll be resonating with a steadily increasing number of those who see themselves as English rather than Great Britainish.
With imagination, she might also solve the perennial problem of Northern Ireland, that almost ungovernable bunch of six counties which, almost 100 years ago, Lloyd George mistakenly kept apart from the rest of Ireland when it became independent. She could call the bluff of the Protestant politicians there and give back the six counties to where they belong — the rest of the island of Ireland. Furthermore, it would solve another huge potential problem. When England leaves the EU, then there need be no danger of massive EU immigration via Ireland, an EU member, and a borderless Northern Ireland and a ferry ride to Liverpool.