I've been meaning to post these for quite some time, and I'd probably better do it now, just in case events on Sunday evening mean we never want to think about Euro 2020 ever again (not that we'll be given a choice in the matter, of course).
Friday, July 9, 2021
One of the stories my dad used to dine out on was that he went to the World Cup final at Wembley in 1966 (I believe he wanted England to win, so "like father, like son" doesn't always hold true), and he couldn't sit down for the entire match because he'd just been inoculated against smallpox. He showed me his programme once or twice when I was growing up - we've probably still got it somewhere, but God knows where.
So when I heard that Scotland would be co-hosting a major tournament for the first time, I decided Euro 2020 was going to be my nearest equivalent. It wasn't looking very promising for a long time, though - I had almost given up hope on the tickets I bought about twenty-seven years ago, but somehow I came through the automatic lottery that decided which of the original ticket-holders would still be able to go. Naturally, then, I wanted to prove for posterity that I was actually there, so I took a truly excessive number of selfies. I must say I didn't fully appreciate until I looked back on them how downright sinister I would look in poor lighting, wearing a mask, but who knows, this could be a whole new art-form. (The first one is a screenshot from a video I just happened to be taking as the second Czech goal flew in.)
There's a serious point here, though. At the very start of the pandemic, I had a ticket for the Scotland v France rugby match at Murrayfield. I assumed the game would be cancelled, because the Irish authorities had already done the sensible thing and cancelled the Ireland v Italy match, but oh no. That was when Jason Leitch and Catherine Calderwood were hellbent on herd immunity and actively wanted the population to be infected in an orderly manner. Mass events like rugby matches and Stereophonics concerts were rather useful for them in that respect. The SRU sent out emails with fatuous quotes from Calderwood about how there was going to be a "public health drive" at the game - simply meaning that people would be asked to wash their hands. Eventually I decided I didn't want to be part of such a reckless experiment, so I stayed at home and accepted there would be no refund - and watched on the TV, to my astonishment, a game in front of a virtually full house. Can you imagine how many people must have been infected that day, with no masks, no social distancing, and the virus raging uncontrolled? That's perhaps why we should be a bit cynical about any pious comments made by political leaders about the likes of Margaret Ferrier. The impact of what she did was trivial compared to the untold deaths caused by the unforgiveable irresponsibility of decisions made in February and March 2020 by our leaders, and by advisers like Leitch.
Apologies that these photos aren't all in the correct order, by the way. See if you can work out which game is which: as David Frost used to say, "the clues are there..."
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Posted by James Kelly at 6:32 PM