Every other week during the football season my neighbourhood is overrun by feral-looking chaps.
This isn’t to say that all Chelsea FC osupporters are feral — it only seems that way.
When their team wins they drink copious amounts of beer joyously. When their team loses they drink copious amounts of beer morosely. In either case they urinate in the street and throw up at my doorstep (nothing personal, I hope).
And they sing. The musical content of their songs can’t compete with Schubert’s lieder, but I dare say those crude chants are more instructive anthropologically.
It goes without saying that obscenities figure prominently — the genre demands them, just as Schubert’s lieder demand the words Tränen in meinen Augen (‘tears in my eyes’).
I mean, those fans aren’t going to sing about Tränen in their Augen, are they? So they sing “We win home and away, we win every f***ing way” and “Chelsea here, Chelsea there, Chelsea every f***ing where”, with the rousing chorus easily penetrating my double glazing.
My wife invariably voices strong objections to obscenity, but for me to do so would be hypocritical — unless I were prepared to repeat the phrase “Do as I say, not as I do.”
Yes, I do reserve my swearing for the delectation of my interlocutors, not for everyone within 200 yards, but one ought to make allowances for mass enthusiasm.
That’s not all they sing though. Some of the chants make strong statements on race issues, the most popular of them being “There ain’t no black in the Union Jack”.
That’s true: there ain’t. There are, however, quite a few people, both black and white, who find that sort of thing more offensive than the oft-repeated expletive.
In yet another example of life imitating art, the fans sometimes act on their songs’ messages. As they did, for example, in Paris, when they threw a black man off a Metro train to the vocal accompaniiment of “We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it.”
Who am I to argue with what other people like? However, and this is a life-long observation, real racists hardly ever describe themselves as such.
Neither do fascists, this side of Mussolini’s Italy. Neither do paedophiles. Neither do murderers. These terms don’t smell good, and the practitioners of such vices are good at finding acceptable euphemisms.
So, even assuming that those Chelsea fans genuinely hate other races, why do they scream their racism off the rooftops? I suggest this is a resction, or rather overreaction, to the ethos of political correctness that has been shoved down their throats for half a century at least.
All races are equal at the only level that matters, and we ought to be reminded of this postulate constantly, and especially during this week.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek… for ye are all one in Christ Jesus,” wrote St Paul, and mankind has so far failed to come up with an alternative bond tying people together.
That failure, however, hasn’t stopped mankind from effectively abandoning the sole available bond and separating sharply along national and racial lines. This development is rather recent.
For example, we take the concept of nation state for granted, forgetting that it’s barely 200 years old.
Also, at roughly the same time that concept appeared, the great champions of liberty in America, including the sainted Thomas Jefferson, regarded and treated blacks as not fully human.
Of course neither the French nor the American Enlighteners saw Paul, or for that matter Christ, as an authority on the conduct of everyday life. What they saw in their min’d eyes wasn’t God Man, but man as God, a sort of deincarnation.
Their views on nations and races more or less held sway, with varying degrees of virulence, for the next two centuries. Then suddenly they became unfashionable.
Specifically in Britain all races were declared equal, but not at the only level that matters. They were pronounced equal in being equally entitled to unlimited access to the country and its social benefits. The glorious idea of equality was replaced with the repugnant one of egalitarianism.
Suddenly even uttering the word ‘immigration’ in any context other than a burning desire for more of it became impossible in polite, which is to say politically correct, society.
Successive Labour governments insisted on opening British borders — and social rolls — to millions of people who not only looked unlike the indigenous population but also behaved differently.
There was nothing they could do about their appearance, but there was much they could have done about their behaviour, bringing it in line with the traditional culture of their adopted country.
However, they weren’t encouraged to do so. On the contrary, the new arrivals were imbued with a sense of entitlement springing from the colonial past of their home lands.
It would be presuming too much on human goodness to expect that the Brits would accept this development with universal equanimity. Truth to tell, the English aren’t known for their welcoming spirit when it comes to strangers, even chromatically similar ones.
A friend of mine, for example, retired to a Cambridgeshire village, having spent his working life elsewhere. Though the village is five miles down the road from the one in which he was born and grew up, it took his new neighbours 15 years before they began to respond to his greetings.
A massive propaganda job was needed to prevent popular uprisings against the influx of Labour voters on social benefits, and the arrival of many hard-working people with Tory leanings didn’t change the overall perception.
The propaganda guns couldn’t be levelled at just race: they had to bombard every aspect of traditional customs and beliefs. The ensuing barrage goes by the name of political correctness.
In its name any millennia-old belief, regardless of its intrinsic quality, was castigated first as socially unacceptable, then as immoral and then, exceedingly, illegal.
People have been conditioned to accept that it’s not just death and taxes (however exorbitant) that are unavoidable, but also criminal prosecution for deeds and even words that go against the propaganda diktats.
By and large the effort succeeded, but, if history has taught us anything, the Brits may succumb to propaganda for a while, but sooner or later they’ll rebel.
The nation, after all, taught others the true meaning of political liberty, and this lesson sprang from the depth of the British natoional character (yes, there is such a thing).
The rebellion may take various forms, depending on who is rebelling. You’ll notice that in this election campaign it has become possible (if, one suspects, ultimately futile) to discuss immigration as a serious issue at dinner parties in the better areas of London — something unthinkable even 10 years ago.
Most Chelsea fans, however, don’t live in Chelsea or adjacent areas. They come from rougher neighbourhoods, where verbal and pghysical violence is common currency.
The older ones still remember the times when those neighbourhoods weren’t all that rough, when one could leave one’s door unlocked without fear of being robbed. The younger ones just react from their gonads.
Rightly or wrongly they ascribe the change to the dilution of the social and ethnic coohesion brought about my institutionalised political correctness. And they react in the only way that comes naturally.
So far this takes the shape of obscene chants and the odd act of hooliganism. Full-scale riots may follow, and we hope they don’t while fearing they might.
This isn’t to excuse the yahoo hooligans, especially those among them who are visceral haters. But I’d venture a guess that those thugs are in the minority. Most act that way because they don’t know what else they can do.