It’s customary these days to preface an unpopular or controversial statement with a disclaimer, followed by a ‘but…’.
For example, “Some of my best friends are Jewish, but…” or “I have nothing against women, but…” or “I passionately believe in diversity, but…”
I feel compelled to follow this fine tradition by saying that I like football as much as the next man. I played it to a reasonable standard in my youth and have followed it ever since, much to the disapproval of my high-flying friends.
The team I’ve always supported even before moving to London is England, and I’ll be rooting for it tomorrow. I hope it’s a good game but, as long as England wins, it won’t matter.
Is that a convincing enough disclaimer for you? Good. Because here comes my ‘but’.
Football is lovely, but do let’s put it in perspective. What we’ll witness tomorrow is a spectacle of 22 heavily tattooed men with learning difficulties (I hope we all realise that an ‘intelligent player’ isn’t the same as an ‘intelligent man’) kicking an inflated leather balloon.
What emphatically won’t unfold before us is a nation coming together to display the Blitz spirit, show multi-cultural solidarity transcending race and class, vindicate any of the fashionable pieties, strike a blow for any cause other than kicking an inflated leather balloon, give hope to the disadvantaged and terminally ill, expunge the havoc of Covid – nor do anything at all other than watching a game of football and hoping the right team wins.
Such is the sane view. Yet, as I never miss an opportunity to point out, sanity has gone the way of all flesh. We live in a parallel universe of virtual reality, and in that universe tomorrow’s game has at least the significance of the Battle of Britain, with an added dimension of wokish probity.
You can find proof of this madness or idiocy (take your pick) in any newspaper or TV account of the forthcoming event. They all say more or less the same things, so the article perpetrated by Henry Winter, chief footie writer for The Times, can be used as the blueprint.
“This final matters,” he writes, “because it is even more than a game, even more than England’s most important sporting moment in 55 years. This final also matters because it offers a chance for all ages and communities in this country to reacquaint themselves with hope.”
Hope of what exactly? Clearly of something that soars above just winning a football tournament. Earthly riches? Eternal salvation? Everlasting love? Sometimes, Henry, a cigar is just a cigar, and a game is just a bleeding game, innit?
Not to him though, and not to any of the hacks writing on this subject. Our national team isn’t just a group of good ball kickers, far from it:
“England are also a model of diversity, a timely lesson to a society that too often seems divided. It’s why they are right to take a knee. And it also mattered that Kane wore a rainbow armband against Germany, and that Jordan Henderson wears rainbow laces. The less enlightened in England’s fanbase or society may look and learn from their footballing idols’ stance.”
Since I’m one of those who fall short of Mr Winter’s stratospheric standards of enlightenment, his cretinous musings have a distinctly emetic effect on me… Sorry, they make me wanna puke, in the less enlightened idiom.
According to Mr Winter, the transcendent value of tomorrow’s footie lies in the propaganda of Marxist or otherwise seditious causes held in fulsomely reverential esteem by our faux… sorry, I mean half-arsed, liberals.
That nauseating (puke-making) genuflection acts as a pledge of allegiance to the self-admittedly Marxist, which is to say subversive, group, BLM. And the rainbow colour scheme is the flag of the Gay Pride movement, seeking to elevate sexual perversion to a civic virtue.
Pride in general isn’t always a commendable emotion, especially when it’s expressed by shoving various parts of one’s body into the various orifices of one’s fellow man. I don’t think Messrs Kane and Henderson are themselves that way inclined, so they are merely expressing solidarity with identity politics at its most revolting.
What Mr Winter et al. don’t realise, or rather don’t care about, is that they lie when claiming that identity politics can unite a society divided upon itself. Anyone with a modicum of honesty and common sense will know that this insanity has exactly the opposite effect.
A hodgepodge of faddish issues, taken either singly or collectively, can never have the effect claimed by the wokers of the world. Only a shared belief in a transcendent entity infinitely higher than our transitory concerns can do that, and that no longer exists as a social dynamic.
Severing, systematically and wantonly, the ties holding society together within a single edifice of spirituality, morality and civic solidarity is a crime. And everyone who bends the knee to black racial extremism or displays the colours of aberrant sexuality is an accomplice.
However, even if I were the champion of diversity I sometimes claim to be in jest, I certainly wouldn’t want my noble cause vulgarised by propaganda via footie. I’d seek the dignity and the high moral plateau that’s alien to ball-kickers.
For the same pundits who ascribe a higher purpose to the game also praise our players for their ‘pragmatism’.
In that spirit, when an opponent’s hand barely brushes a player’s cheek, he falls on the ground as if poleaxed by Mike Tyson in his prime. Any slight contact in the penalty area makes the player roll on the grass like tumbleweed on a windy day. Any foul, no matter how mild, and the player fakes a life-threatening injury in the hope of getting the other chap carded.
That sort of thing used to be called cheating. If that’s pragmatism, give me idealism any day. Our players would do more good by conducting themselves with dignity during the game than by spouting wokish rubbish.
Having said all that, I hope England wipes the pitch with the Italians tomorrow. Go, lads – even though the survival of our commonwealth doesn’t really hinge on tomorrow’s result. Ingerland!