Croatia. 3.9m people. Independent since 1991. Played in its first major football tournament in 1996. Now the eighth highest ranked men’s footballing nation on earth. And they’ve just put the most successful international country in the history of the game out of the tournament and have qualified for the semi-finals of the World Cup for the second time in a row. There may not be a Croatian word for gallus, but there should be. And I’ll guarantee that not a single Croatian at this moment is debating what currency they should use.
Like Pierre Trudeau’s description of Canada, Scotland remains to this day in bed with an elephant, and perhaps we still aren’t yet confident to define ourselves without reference to our neighbours down south, even though the elephant is having nightmares.
But what I do know that making a better nation is more than just your pension and your water rates, your fears about currency and whether or not you’ll be able to get watch Strictly.
Because, whatever happens, it’s always better to be yourself. Ask any Croatian. Ask any person living in a normal democracy. And at the risk of sounding like the ridiculous Gianni Infantino – today I am Croatian!