QUITE a few newspapers have been running polls to find which nation the British people, without a side to cheer for, would like to win the Euro 2008 finals. Holland has emerged as a favourite - overwhelmingly so in the poll of Guardian readers - but probably here in the Balearics there is a lot of support for Spain. One novel approach to picking a side to support has been proposed by the World Development Movement, a leading non-governmental organisation. It has assessed the performance of all the Euro 2008 participants from the standpoint of their national commitment in critical areas of development - positive things like health services, control of carbon emissions, use of renewable energies, provision of aid to the third world - and also in more questionable areas such as military expenditure, social inequality and corruption. The result is a league table of what the Movement considers to be the most supportable countries.
No surprise, perhaps, that Sweden leads the field as it does in so many assessments of this kind. Less predictable is the placing of Austria and Croatia in second and third places. As it happens these two countries meet in one of this evening's two matches and, from the World Development Movement's viewpoint there's nothing to choose between them; in the other game, Germany in 6th place has a clear advantage over Poland.
Italy, Greece and Russia, in that order, fill the last three places in this table. The depressing thing for England's supporters is that if they were competing they would be second last - mainly because of a high level of military expenditure and a low rating for development aid.