Exciting new ground being broken in our seemingly forever culture war this week, as HMG got itself into a bit of a semantic tangle defending the rights of
racists concerned and politically aware citizens who wish to resist the creep of *checks notes* Marxism? Really?
No point recapping the history too much, you are doubtless aware that the England team is continuing to take the knee as an anti-racist protest at the start of games, and you are doubtless also aware that a peculiarly
racist politically engaged section of their support has protested this stance, viewing it as deliberately divisive and in itself racist. They argue that BLM is a marxist movement that seeks to defund the police and alter our very way of living, and, as such, the England football team are making themselves stooges of a far-left cult who...
No, sorry, can't keep a straight face.
Right. This is a pretty clear-cut situation. If you're booing an anti-racism gesture, you're a fucking racist. There we have it. Clear? Good.
But not, it seems, if you're a representative of this current clown car of an administration, which can't spy a shitstorm without charging straight into the middle of it. The PM, who enjoys a bit of nudge nudging and wink winking with the old racism has called on people to support the team taking the knee, while at the same time refusing to condemn the
racists very well informed and intelligent protestors.
Boz, as you may have gathered, is a man who delights in those around him doing really shitty things while maintaining enough distance that he can pretend it's not entirely to do with him. And so, while he was saying players taking the knee was fine, he was also very carefully not censuring Tory MP Gillian Keegan, who was speaking her brains all over peoples faces at the BBCs notoriously fair and balance bearpit Question Time. Our Gill, hitherto something of a middle ranker, having spotted an opportunity to make a name for herself parped noxiously that taking the knee was "divisive" and (and this is a spectacular bit of doublespeak) that those who boo "would pretty much like to end racism as well."
Drink that in.
In doing so, she's playing carefully to the Tory side of the culture war, as well as keeping the racists on side. Because every racist likes to think of themselves as not-racist-at-all. Indeed, they'll generally be at pains to tell you how many friends they have that are "you know, a bit like that."
This is the regular tactic of stirring things just enough to muddy the waters. No sane person thinks that the England football team are Marxists. They're Premier League footballers, that's about as capitalist as it gets without running a hedge fund which specialises in guns, tobacco and children's tears. At no point has Harry Kane talked about seizing the means of production. Granted, Marcus Rashford has made a habit of making HMG look like compete arses, but I don't believe I've ever seen him singing The Red Flag.
No, the argument is clearly specious, but, what it is is another wedge that can be used to divide people and keep them angry. The Tories are playing a game the aim of which is to keep just enough people angry enough to keep voting for you because you hate and fear the other side. To be fair to them, it's working.
It's been something of a banner few weeks for top sporting racism, as the row over the England cricketer Ollie Robinson's pretty gruesome tweets got Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, and our own Prime Minister sticking their oar in, too. This was pretty rich in Dowden's case, as he was another decrier of taking the knee, saying that it was "important to keep politics out of sport". Given this, it then came as something of a surprise to hear that he'd appointed himself a de facto selector of the England cricket time, as he criticised the ECB for their suspension of Robinson over tweets that he had made whilst a grown man.
Nobody's perfect, of course, most of us have said things we regret, but they could have done anything but suspend him is beyond me. It was pretty horrible stuff. I'm sure Robinson's a changed man and a better person these days, but you can't just let that sort of thing slide.
Not according to OD and BJ though, both of whom went off at the ECB, saying they'd gone over the top and "it was ten years ago". Neither of them give two shits of course, but if it serves to angry up a few middle aged blokes in swing seats who firmly believe that you can't say anything any more then it's job done. Booooooo,