Too many headers, Gary

Gary is a celebrity. Get him out of here.

Gary Lineker is an intelligent man…

This is to illustrate that the ellipsis is the greatest weapon in the quiver of those who want to deceive without lying.

Thus “John can make any shop girl…” is a technically accurate but nonetheless deceptive way of quoting the statement “John can make any shop girl laugh”.

In that spirit, the full version of my opening sentence is: Gary Lineker is an intelligent man for a footballer. If you infer that an intelligent footballer isn’t exactly the same as an intelligent man tout court, this melancholy inference is usually true.

Famous footballers wholly devote their formative years to ball-kicking. If they don’t, they never become famous footballers.

For a lad to have his world circumscribed by such a trivial activity, he has to have a lowish IQ to begin with. Cleverer boys are irresistibly drawn to exploring intellectual horizons beyond “on me ‘ead, son.”

Starting from a low, or at best average, point, footballers then proceed to head thousands of balls. Each time their brain is jarred and a trauma results, however mild. Then one trauma is piled upon another until the cumulative effect begins to tell.

That’s why so many footballers (Danny Blanchflower, Nat Lofthouse, Ferenc Puskás, John Charles, Gerd Müller, Martin Peters et al) suffer things like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia in their old – or not so old – age. One’s brain can take only so much abuse.

I’m not suggesting that Mr Lineker is showing early signs of dementia. But, judging by his views outside his immediate expertise, he certainly shows symptoms of advanced mental deficiency.

This preamble is essential to outlining the context in which Mr Lineker’s pronouncements on Brexit can be understood. For this striker cum football commentator has announced that he’s going to join the campaign for a second referendum.

Now I often say that lefties aren’t just misguided but dumb. This uncompromising view isn’t based on the final destination of their thought, but on how they get there.

People may have points of view with which I disagree. That doesn’t make them intellectually deficient – provided they can come up with sound arguments. If they do, I may still say they’re wrong and come up with counterarguments. But I shan’t say they’re stupid.

For example, I know a highly intelligent man who argues against the heliocentric view of the universe. As a complete ignoramus in astrophysics, I find his arguments logical, even though I suspect that a professional would blow him out of the water in two seconds flat.

That’s why, though I consider the iconoclast a bit odd, I can tell he’s bright, an assessment borne out by his less controversial pronouncements on other matters.

That, I’m afraid, isn’t the case with lefties in general and Remainers in particular. And it’s even less of a case with those who, like Gary Kick-Ball, demand a second referendum.

Again, the problem isn’t that I disagree with their conclusions. It’s that they reach those conclusions without the benefit of sound thought.

Hence Mr Lineker: “Whether you voted Leave or Remain, did anyone really vote for the mess we seem to be in, let alone the prospect of no deal with all the terrible consequences attached to that?”

To answer that rhetorical question, no. No one voted for the mess. Everyone assumed that even those who disagreed with the vote would simply abide by the people’s will, rather than creating the mess by sabotaging the majority vote.

That’s like an arsonist setting a house on fire and then lecturing the weeping owners on the dangers of property ownership.

Read my lips, Gary, I’ll try to explain this so even you can understand. It’s people like you who created the mess. If they then complain about it, they’re either dishonest or dumb or probably both.

And exactly what are “all the terrible consequences attached to” a no-deal Brexit?

I’m not questioning the terrible consequences. I’m simply wondering about the source of the certainty that they’ll ensue.

For example, how terrible will it be if Britain reverted to her ancient constitution and had her laws passed by her own parliament? How wonderful will it be if, say, a malignant dipsomaniac like Juncker lords it over a government accountable to us?

How terrible will it be if we avail ourselves of that ancient privilege of sovereignty: deciding who’s welcome to settle in our country and who isn’t?

How had we managed to muddle through until 1992 without suffering too many terrible consequences?

Isn’t it logical to suppose that, if we managed to do reasonably well for centuries without the EU, we’ll somehow manage to survive Brexit without too many terrible consequences?

One suspects that the terrible consequences Mr Lineker has in mind are mostly economic. He must find it easier to get his footballing mind around pounds and pence than such difficult concepts as constitution or sovereignty.

Now, at the risk of sounding arrogant, I probably have a firmer grasp of economics than Mr Lineker. Yet I can’t predict with any conviction what the economic consequences of a no-deal Brexit would be.

Neither, I suspect, can those whose grasp of economics is firmer than mine. We simply don’t know.

On general principle, however, sound economic theory suggests that leaving the protectionist bloc that’s the EU and opting for free trade with the whole world is unlikely to turn out calamitous.

Nor does history – or indeed current experience – provide any proof to the belief that we can’t trade with other countries without dissolving our sovereignty in theirs. Japan, for example, has just signed a massive trade deal with the EU without committing herself to being ruled by malignant dipsomaniacs.

Still, I’m willing to admit I don’t know what the exact consequences of a no-deal Brexit would be. How come Mr Lineker does?

A piece of avuncular advice, Gary: sounding confident on subjects about which you know the square root of sod-all ain’t clever.

The campaign behind which Lineker throws his weight is called People’s Vote, and I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered a more brazenly cynical name. It’s like ISIS re-branding itself as Religious Tolerance.

People have voted, chaps, or haven’t you heard? Apparently not, judging by the statement issued by the campaign. And if you think its name is cynical, how about this:

“This is a people’s movement holding the elite to account. We the people – from all walks of life and every region and nation in our country – are taking back control of the Brexit process from the politicians like Jacob Rees-Mogg who have failed us, and we demand a People’s Vote.”

On second thoughts, no one can be quite as cynical as that. Mental disorders are in evidence too, and not every spokesman for the campaign is even a professional footballer.

A minor point: ‘every region’ I can understand. But what’s that about ‘every nation’? Are there more than one in Britain? I wasn’t aware of that; I thought we were all one nation. Do they mean every ethnicity? One can never tell with this lot.

So the 17.4 million Britons who voted Leave are all members of the elite led by the backbench MP Rees-Mogg. The real people, all common as muck, are those like Blair, Greening and now Lineker who want to make people vote again – and presumably keep on voting until they get it right.

In other words, those who demand that we act according to the will of the people, especially that viper Rees-Mogg, have failed the people, while those who don’t give a flying header about the will of the people are its true upholders.

That makes sense. Especially for someone who has headed too many balls in his life.

2 thoughts on “Too many headers, Gary”

  1. “That’s why so many footballers . . . suffer things like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia in their old – or not so old – age. One’s brain can take only so much abuse.”

    American football players [we call football soccer in the USA] with really brain damage too. Use their bodies with helmet as a weapon to the detriment of all. Are taught to play that way.

    Football [soccer] the same way? Never thought of it.

  2. Next week, constitutional expert Professor Vernon Bogdanor has a go at explaining the unpopularity of the flat back four among Latin American teams.

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