WHEN did we become such a shower of lily-livered, hysterical, pant-wetting over reactionaries?
As a nation, the UK used to be famed for its stiff upper lip, our ability to laugh off or tough out even the most distressing of events.
All this probably harks back to the war days, when men were men and women, well, became kind of men too.
It took a lot to upset us, and even more to let any signs of that upset become visible to anybody else.
To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever seen my dad cry, while the only time I ever saw my grandad shed a tear was when ‘Flower of Scotland’ was played before a sports match.
And even then, there’s something still pretty manly and respectable about getting teary-eyed to your national anthem.
Fast forward a few years and all that’s changed.
I dread to say it, but I reckon we’re becoming ‘more European’ and the hard-nosed, coal dust-faced, 70 shilling-drinking, pork scratching and pickled egg-chomping man has been replaced by a more modern breed of emotionally incontinent, coffee and cream cake consuming, sensitive light-weight.
One particular event has led me to come to this conclusion.
The dust has settled on it somewhat now, but it won’t take much to remind yourself of the fall-out following ‘handshake gate’ a few weeks ago.
Briefly, for those who may not know, it revolved around two footballers, one (Luis Suarez) who was found guilty of racially abusing another (Patrice Evra) when their two clubs, Liverpool and Manchester United, met earlier this season.
The return fixture was played a couple of weeks ago, and the brewhaha it created beforehand was phenomenal.
But that was nothing compared to the absolute monster of reaction that followed after Suarez, who does appear a bit of a tube to be fair, refused to shake hands with his opponent.
He refused to shake his hand!
The nation was whipped into an utter frenzy as news of this most callous of acts was replayed over and over again in slow motion on the rolling 24-hour news channels.
Whose hand was put out first? Did Suarez deliberately dip his to refuse the shake, or did Evra pull away?
Meanwhile, radio talk shows stoked the flames higher as grown men, grown bloomin’ men!, called in one after the other to announce they’ll ‘never go back’ to a football game while Suarez was playing in the country, so outraged were they with the non-handshake.
By this point, the nation appeared to be rocking gently in a corner and muttering to itself as the wave of upset continued.
Social network sites were full to bursting – one ‘Tweet’ in particular saying that it would catch on, and before long, kids in the park would be refusing to shake the hands of their opponents.
Former MP George Galloway went further, calling for Suarez to be deported.
That’s right, chucked out of Old Blighty for refusing to shake a man’s hand.
Because let’s face it, there’s nothing less British than that.
Scott Inglis writes in the East Fife Mail