Saturday, June 10, 2006

The footie Third Camp

After the Priest's verbal drum-roll announcing my participation here, why does that old Fred Astaire number "I'm Building Up To An Awful Let-Down" keep playing in my head?

Anyway, as I understand this here blog is supposed to be vaguely topical, I've decided to write something about the sporting tournament that seems to be taking place at the moment. Now, I know little and care less about sport and generally subscribe to Orwell's view that it's "bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of the rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence".

My long-standing indifference to sport in general and soccer in particular intensified into outright hostility as a direct result of New Labour's nauseating and cynical attempts to identify themselves with the so-called "beautiful game" - you know, middle-class Blairite MPs suddenly announcing a life-long interest in footie and fanatical allegience to their local team, Alistair Campbell invoking Wayne Roonie's metatarsal in order to deflect criticism of the recent cabinet re-shuffle, Blair himself claiming to have watched a Newcastle player (one Jackie Milburn, I believe) who, it turns out, last played when Blair was aged four...all this sort of bollocks (now emulated by Cameron and his shower), has ensured that my loathing of football and the laddish, populist posturing that accompanies it has remained at setting 'eleven' since the mid-1990's.

But now, something strange and disturbing is starting to happen. No, I've not developed any interest in the World Cup or any enthusiasm for Sven's boys, or the slightest concern about who actually wins. I have, however, noticed an anti-football backlash developing, and it's one I have no wish to be associated with. It is well illustrated by a preposterous letter from the veteran third-worldist Felicity Arbuthnot in today's 'Guardian':
"Much of the Muslim population feel pretty marginalised and hurt since the invasion of Iraq. When British troops went to Basra, they flew the St. George cross - the Crusaders' flag. Thus it seems pretty crass for Tessa Jowell and a colleague to sport it on ministerial cars".

Faced with a comment like that, it's difficult to know where to start in analysing its utter stupidity and the implied insult it contains to Muslims and football supporters alike (and, by the way, there are plenty of people who fall into both catagories). There are many reasons to have opposed the invasion of Iraq, but the fact that some squaddies displayed St. George flags strikes me as pretty low down the list - and I'm not aware of any Muslims raising that particular matter as a major concern.

As it happens I work in a predominantly Muslim / Pakistani area, and I can assure you that there are plenty of St. George flags round there, in and on people's cars, homes and businesses.

The real thinking behind this kind of objection to people visibly supporting England is more wittily (well, I hope it's meant to be witty) summed up by "Bobbellinhell", a contributor to the Grauniad's 'Comment is Free':
"I love the world cup. As a fanatical racist I welcome the opportunity to get drunk and yell xenophobic abuse without fear of censure. I wish it could happen every day".

The suggestion that all (or even most) England supporters are drunken racists is slanderous nonsense - and also an implied but very obvious slur on the working class. So I'm taking a third camp position on the World Cup: sod the football industry and the posturing politicians and the non-stop TV coverage that makes pubs uninhabitable for serious drinkers like myself. And sod the middle-class, worker-hating 'anti's' with thie ridiculous and insulting accusations of 'racism' as well.

Oh, and wake me up when it's all over, will you?


Blogger voltaires_priest said...

You got it working eventually then Jim!

Yes, I tend to agree - I think it has a lot to do with middle class liberals not really liking working class people, and thus trying to justify that dislike by mis-characterising things, like making out that footie fans are racists etc.

7:23 AM  
Anonymous Boogski said...

Felicity Arbuthnot's remark in the Guardian certainly doesn't suprise this Yank. Here's another of her recent "brilliant" speculations:

Zarqawi's barely scratched face looks very pale for a Mediterranean skinned Arab, even in death. Is it unthinkable that he might have been dead and arrived in Hibhib after three frozen years, at an “opportune” moment? Surely, it is?

Yes Felicity, it is unthinkable, you loony fucking asshat.

1:01 PM  
Anonymous Thierry Ennui said...

Surprisingly, there's been no mention here of the SWP's nauseating "anyone but England" position, based entirely on the Guardianista position that any individual, you know, [i]common[/i] enough to get passionate about something as primitive as football is clearly some sort of knucke-dragging neanderthal. And a racist to boot.

Then again, presumably it's only the "scum off the estates" who display such vulgarity.

7:12 AM  
Blogger voltaires_priest said...

There is now...

8:49 AM  

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