I’ll be watching ‘the’ football match this afternoon and wondering whether the result might affect the EU referendum. And if it does – how?
If Wales beats England today, and I certainly wouldn’t rule it out, how will that affect English voters in the EU referendum? And Welsh ones, and Scots and those in Northern Ireland? There is speculation that big successes or failures can influence how people feel and how they vote (see here) in general elections but an EU referendum is a different kettle of fish.
There is some evidence that being in the EU is good news for your footballing prospects: of the 54 teams which attempted to qualify, only 6 out of 22 non-EU nations qualified whereas 18 out of 32 EU nations did. [For nerds only: it is 32 not 28 because, obviously, England, Wales, Scotland, NI and Gibraltar are all EU members and were in the qualifiers. And Faeroe Islands, San Marino, Andorra, Liechtenstein are not EU members].
And at the time of writing, EU countries are scoring just over one goal per game whereas non-EU countries are scoring a little over half a goal a game. Forget the economics, we’d be better in for our football’s sake (and of course, by ‘we’ I mean England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland (even though Scotland is a bit irrelevant here).
If England are out of Euro 2016 by bedtime on Monday, how will that affect the UK electorate on Thursday? Will Gove admit that we can’t stand alone, recant and opt for huddling together with our betters in the EU? Or will Farage slag off those unfair and dastardly Europeans with their red-tape and bureaucracy of yellow cards and off-side rules and use it persuade us all to turn our backs on ‘them’. Will a rampant Welsh nation have sobered up to remember to vote on Thursday if they go through? How will NI take their exit (almost certainly in good spirit I’d guess!)? How will the Scots react to any or all of this happening without them, again?
When the EU superstate takes over and there is eventually one EU team picked from the footballers of teams from Astana to Reykjavik and from Helsinki to Gibraltar how many years will pass before a UK player makes the team? And will that team always lose to South America?
Just for interest:
Betfair favourites for Euro 2016:
France 3.8/1 (poor value IMHO)
England 9/1 (very poor value IMHO)
Betfair odds on EU referendum: