Donald MacInnes: My conscience is too large and unwieldy for me to take bribes

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The Independent Online

The response to last week's In The Red has been extensive, with much of it in bold italic type on letter-headed notepaper from the law offices of Farnsworth, Gilhooley and Sprott. Apparently, I didn't distance myself enough from gossip about football's "governing" body Fifa being, well, a little on the bribey side and allegedly happy to stage the next World Cup in the car park of the Chingford Harvester as long as someone pays for the privilege. None of that is true. Anyway, having been on "more than six" press freebies myself, I can't point fingers.

The English public, of course, have no need to worry about their players taking a bribe to miss a penalty on the orders of some Macau-based betting syndicate. This is because the England players are true to the ethos of the three lions on their shirts. They also earn hundreds of thousands of pounds a week, so what are you going to bribe them with – a Wowcher weekend for two on the International Space Station? A nuclear submarine? Made of gold?

Of course, that shouldn't suggest that rich people cannot be bought. You just have to know what to get the man who has everything. You might try Argos.

As I confessed last week, I am incorruptible, not because of my self-contained, need-no one upbringing on the streets of Glasgow, where sneering is smiling and knife crime gets lottery funding, but because my conscience is too large and unwieldy.

Even if Scotland were in the World Cup (stop sniggering at the back), I could never kick the ball into my own net, even for a wheelbarrow full of tenners; even if we were 8-0 down to Albania and it would make no difference anyway. I couldn't have that on my emotional plate.

I'm guilty enough just having abandoned my homeland to live, as the Amish people said in that Harrison Ford movie: "Out among dem English."

As far as I can work out, it's the 16 years snuggling into the bosom of Mother London which have softened me up sufficiently that I find myself doing something unprecedented in my life: betting on England. Well, to be precise, betting on Wayne Rooney to score a hat-trick in tonight's game against Italy.

The chances of this happening, of course, are small. Diminutive. Wee. As a result of this, the William Hill website calculated there was a 1-in-125 chance that the scone-faced Scouser would find the net three times in Manaus tonight. But if he pulls it off, I will be just over four and a half grand richer. Hoo-ah!

And, as in carbon offsetting, where I plant a tree because I genuinely can't be bothered to recycle, I of course intend to donate my winnings to the "Yes" campaign for Scottish independence; to assuage my self-loathing at having bet on Wayne Rooney.

Although, given that I am not allowed to vote in the referendum, would my donation be classed as a bribe? Maybe I'll just send flowers.

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