Last week (actually the week before) England spectacularly lost the bid for the 2018 Football World Cup, despite the best efforts of a professional team backed up by the might of Prince William, David Cameron and David Beckham. For football fans it was disappointing of course, though I always thought it was a trifle greedy going for that just 6 years after we'll have hosted the Olympics. It seemed to me that the rationale of spreading the goodies around the world, as the FIFA committee decided, was fair enough. But what about Sepp Blatter's comment that we were bad losers? That hurt! Because it's true. For the rest of the week phone-ins and the media were full of the corruption and iniquity of FIFA. It just wasn't fair. After all our bid was "technically the best". We're "the home of football"... etc. To be honest, I could not get my head round the logic of why we should have so wanted to receive the award from "the moral sewer that is FIFA", as one paper subsequently described it, and been so miffed afterwards. Would we really have been proud to have picked it up from the sewer?
The habit of rubbishing others when you lose was repeated by Margo Macdonald when she lost the vote on her End of Life Bill in the Scottish Parliament. In the debate, she condemned Care Not Killing’s campaign as ‘cheap and unworthy’, its literature as ‘tacky’ and said that she wanted to get her ‘retaliation’ in first’. It certainly lobbied effectively. But her comments rather insulted the intelligence and integrity of her fellow MSPs.
For an example of losing graciously we needed to wait until Sunday when the redoubtable "Widdy", the Honourable Ann Widdecombe, was finally knocked out of "Strictly Come Dancing". No histrionics, no theatrical tears, no whinging about the judges' prejudice or the audience's adulation, simply a stoical acceptance of the inevitable, a handsome acknowledgement of her resourceful partner, Anton du Beke, and a farewell wave of the hand.
And then England won! In the cricket... in Adelaide. It was a comprehensive victory, by an innings and 71 runs. The celebration was unbounded; over the top, in my opinion. After all we've not yet won the Ashes - well on the way, I concede, (three matches more to go) and I suppose we need some things to cheer.