Letters: Why Scottish singer wants to '˜Put a Smile on England's Face'

Chris BradleyChris Bradley
Chris Bradley
Scottish musician Chris Bradley has had a lot of grief after writing a World Cup anthem for England. Here he defends the song and calls for people to relax and go with it.
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Edinburgh songwriter pens World Cup song for England

The ongoing travesty in Westminster notwithstanding, I feel our hatred of the auld enemy has become an antiquated embarrassment. And I say that as a Yes-voting supporter of Scottish Independence.

I wrote an England World Cup song called ‘Put a Smile on England’s Face’. It’s a fun and catchy piece of theatrical pop-rock, and the intent was merely to show something like calm, collected and measured support for England. Predictably though, following my interview on BBC Reporting Scotland, a gaggle of Twitter zombies appeared out of nowhere, at high noon, bravely dealing out misery from behind their keyboards. How simple and basic is the language of hate. And how brave people can be in anonymity, and without accountability.

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Thankfully they don’t speak for the majority of Scots, many of whom have expressed support for the sentiment in my writing of the song. However, it seems there are still pockets of Scottish life locked dutifully in sync with anti-English narratives that span back 400 years. We go from gnawing frustration when England wins right through to manic elation when they lose. In either case, the net result for Scotland is something like a fall from grace.

Dealing in the present, its hard to understand why some people go on hating the English when there for all to see is a deeply cultural, social, familial and economic alliance between our countries that has developed over centuries, in spite of historical bloodshed and oppression. It’s this we should be proud of.

No-one refutes we’ve been wronged by Westminster and notably so at present, but Westminster is Westminster. You only have to go on Mhairi Black’s Facebook page to read dozens of supporting comments from English people, aghast at the Conservative government’s contempt for Scotland surrounding the EU withdrawal bill and it’s impact on the Scottish devolution agreement. But we can’t take what goes on in Westminster and paint the whole of England with it. We have to be more sophisticated than that.

A typical Scottish football bigot fears England winning the world cup on the grounds that they’d have to put up with months or years of exuberant celebrations and so-called English arrogance. To that I’d say- just let them enjoy themselves! None of them were alive at the Battle of Culloden, clan tartans are legal again, as are the bagpipes and the teaching of Gaelic.

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As a Scot, I didn’t think my England World Cup Song would see the light of day and getting it out there wasn’t high on my to-do list. I didn’t envisage it becoming such a talking point but I’ve got my fifteen minutes and here would be my message: let’s give this thing a rest.

‘Put a Smile on England’s Face’ was humbly (and humourously) written with the intention of lending support to our friends south of the border. Best of luck to England, from Scotland!

(A YouGov poll published last week found that only a third of Scots actively want the England team to lose.)

- Musician Chris Bradley