THE joy of sport is that it provides a valuable distraction from our everyday affairs and gives us something to unite behind.

Our everyday affairs at the moment are rather stuck in a rut. With the manifestos now launched, we know that for the next three weeks, there’s going to be little new in the campaign as the political parties fight over the same bit of land as if it were the Somme. We know they’ll be using equally fallacious figures to prove their opponents have a black hole and none of them will be addressing the awkward “conspiracy of silence” over forthcoming cutbacks.

These specious arguments will turn many people off, and will divide the others into camps, with Reform UK trying to tear supporters away from either of the main parties. It is gonna get grisly.

So, briefly, look away. Scotland last night kicked off the European Championships with a tough looking fixture against the hosts, Germany. We do not wish our brethren north of the border ill, and we hope they have emerged from the experience unscathed and were able to enjoy it.

And, briefly, we hope the country can unite for Sunday night when Gareth Southgate’s England will shake off all their inhibitions and provide us with an exhibition of free-flowing, fast-running, high-scoring football.

Ah, well, we can but dream of such joyful escapism.

We must enjoy these hours of hopeful anticipation because we know that come Monday, the rows over tax will resume. C’mon England – please give us a break!