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Sketch: Cameron’s flag-waving for England fails to unite MPs

Nationalism raised its cheering, painted face yesterday as, lo and behold, World Cup fever finally skipped on to the House of Commons terraces.

After nimbly negotiating matters of state, the Tory toff (an Aston Villa supporter, allegedly) got on to the subject of the round ball, Wayne Rooney, Gary Lineker, Bobby Moore, 1966 and all that.

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In fact, the matter – planted, naturally – came from a new, loyal Conservative backbencher, who asked his nibs if he would fly the flag of St George over No 10 for the duration of the global championship.

After a loud cheer, DC boasted that “at no additional cost to the taxpayer” the red and white emblem would indeed be hoisted above No 10 for the World Cup.

Then, looking directly at the Scottish Nationalist MPs, the PM said he was sure all sides of the House would wish England manager Fabio Capello and his team all the very best. One or two SNP eyebrows appeared to jiggle up and down.

Then the Tory toff said: “I’m sure that everyone in this House, no matter what part of the United King-dom they come from, will be cheering – come on England!”

Could it be that DC detected a slight note of misgiving on the faces of the SNP MPs? Surely not.

The very fact that a jumped-up, plum-voiced Old Etonian Conservative premier was urging the non-English to cheer “come on England” no doubt made some opposition politicians grip their green leather seats even more tightly than normal.

Yet, it’s highly unlikely that any disgruntled soul will be so bold as to don an ABE – Anyone But England – T-shirt for the next PMQs or they might face some English colleagues sporting SNP – Scotland’s Not Playing – T-shirts in retaliation. There is nothing quite like football and politics to bring out passions, particularly when they are mixed.

It might comfort some to learn only one of the two flagpoles on the roof of Downing Street will fly the flag of St George, while the other will continue to fly the Union flag.

Whitehall departments can, if they want to, fly the English flag, although it’s not expected the Scot-land,Welsh or Northern Ireland offices will be proudly hoisting the red and white emblem above their roofs.

Asked what happens if, heaven forbid, England lose, a knowledgable source paused and smiled slowly. Then again, he was a Scot.

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