THE Women’s World Cup will finish this weekend and with Scotland having exited early, I have no allegiance to either of the USA or Netherlands so let’s hope the better team on the day takes the trophy, preferably without need for recourse to VAR.

Next week will also see the final stages of the ICC Cricket World Cup and I will say this at the outset – I will be supporting England to win, because Scotland were robbed of the chance to participate and my favourite team the West Indies are out, leaving only the English for me to support.

I’ll explain the reasons shortly but first of all, however, I just want to pay a personal tribute to one of my favourite Englishmen, John McCririck, the racing pundit who was for so long the punter’s pal on Channel 4 and ITV.

John was one of those people who played a role all of his life, that of the eccentric Englishman with his mutton chop whiskers and tweed capes. Yes, he was sexist and a Tory to his boots, but he was also at one point an excellent journalist who practically invented the role of television betting correspondent that no one has ever succeeded in doing just as well as him.

The Racing Post’s online obituary got it exactly right: “He was not a man of the people, yet few racing broadcasters have been so blessed with the common touch. He knew his audience, he knew what they wanted and he knew how to give it to them.

“John McCririck achieved much in his life but to most people he was the large, loud, eccentric man who talked about racing on the telly. He was probably very pleased about that.“

In person he could be kind and generous. I once had a row with him at Aintree when his foul-smelling cigars sparked off my sneezing fit. He berated me for the noise until I pointed out what had caused it. He disappeared and a few minute later arrived back in the press area carrying antihistamine pills from the First Aid tent and a glass of good champagne, mumbling “sorry about that”. We parted company on friendly terms and I’ll miss him.

I have no problems with the sort of English person that John McCririck was. Indeed I have very few issues with England at all. And apart from when they play the Windies, I have always supported the England cricket team and I really genuinely do hope they beat India on Tuesday and then go on to win the final which will be against either Australia or New Zealand.

I will be particularly supportive of England if it is Australia they face in the Final because I consider that the Aussies have not been punished anywhere near enough for the horrendous cheating they were caught doing in the great ball-tampering scandal.

I also want England to win because I really think it’s time that the people of England decided what they want for the future and winning the World Cup might just inspire the English to think of themselves shrinking off the subsidy junkies around them and especially those whinging Jocks. ‘If we can win the World Cup we can do anything’ might be their thinking – don’t laugh, that’s what many English people believed in 1966..

As is obvious, I have passionately believed in the cause of Scottish independence since I was old enough to think for myself.

In all those long years I have also always believed strongly in independence for another country – England. Frankly. it’s overdue.

It’s a matter of some distress to me lately we have seen the worst side of the English character come to the fore. This most tolerant of nations has become xenophobic and insular, and you cannot blame that entirely on the mainstream English media.

England’s politicians have become a class of dunces who should be forced to sit at the back of public buses wearing conical hats displaying a big D.

The whole tenor of debate over Brexit has been a disgrace, and the BBC and other broadcasters have sacrificed any moral responsibility in chase for sensationalism and clickbait.

That side of England, its politicians and media is slowly but surely persuading many more Scots to the truth – we are the ones preserving what once were British values of common sense and tolerance while England goes to Hell in a handcart. Put it this way, when ‘Tommy Robinson’ can be hailed a hero by anyone, never mind a sizeable section of the population, then we know England is in deep moral trouble.

But what has that to do with cricket, I hear you say. Simple – it’s the true national sport of England and if they win the World Cup we’ll never hear the end of it, so that Scots will plead to get away and the English will happily wave us goodbye as they sip their warm beer and Pimms.