Chelsea in Paris and UKIP: how one stupid moment blew up Josh Parsons life
As he rode the Paris Metro for Chelsea FC’s Champions’ League match, Josh Parsons, 21, was just one of the fans on a night out. Then it happened. A black man named Souleymane S tried to board the train. A few Chelsea fans blocked his path. A few Chelsea fans sang “We’re racist and that’s the way we like it.” This small moment was captured on camera. The mainstream media picked up the video. And very quickly the shaven-headed and white the fans quickly became the eptiome of racism.
David Cameron said it was “extremely disturbing and very worrying”. In his mind, a nasty moment between a handful of people demanded language more apt for an ISIS snuff movie. Feelings were hurt. Idiots had been caught behaving sadly. But the elite in Westminster and what used to be Fleet Street wanted more. They held the video up as being a sign of much greater ills. And once again football – the great meriticratic melting pot watched by scum fans – was in the dock.
The great moralisers could now bind the nation behind a common enemy. The Chelsea boot boys had heaped shame upon us all. Lessons must be learned. Hang the fact that no-one was physically hurt, that real racism pervades society not from the bottom up, but from the top down: count the number of black faces editing national newspapers; sat on the front benches in Parliament; captaining industry; running the police; owning football clubs or race horses; riding race horses; owning land; dining with the Dons at Oxford; and, well, you name it.
The elite like their racists white, preferably working class and always obvious.
David Cameron should not lamabaste the Chelsea goons – he should write them thank you letters.
And in the centre of this State-led mob justice is Josh Parsons. He could not have realised that his choice to ride that carriage would have an impact on his life. But it soon did.
The Sun led with a picture of Parsons. He wasn’t pictured chanting, shoving or doing anything other than looking. Alongside the photo of him on the Metro, the Sun thought it wise to feature a thumbnail of Parsons open-mouthed – as if chanting – and apparently shirtless. What a hooligan, eh. But Josh Parsons wasn’t undresed or behaving like that on the Paris Metro.
But never mind the facts. The Sun had its target.
And we can have Parsons.
Parsons, we are told, lives in Dorking, Surrey. (The Times shows us photo of his home.) He is an ex-public schoolboy. On Page 5, the Sun says that the “VILE CHELSEA RACE YOBS” are the subject of an “international hunt”, you know like the White Widow or jihadis are.
And this is because, in the words of the man who filmed the fracas, Chelsea fans were “getting quite agressive”. Mitchell McCoy, who was on the carriage, says the man barred from boarding by the bouncers-on-tour was wearing a PSG scarf, the colours of the club Chelsea were playing. The chant, of course, suggests more sinister motives at play.
We then get more on Parsons. He is a “City high-flyer”. He studied at “30,000-a-year” Millfield school. He works for the Business and Commercial Club in Mayfair. And in case you still can’t find him, the Sun says that Mayfair is in Central London.
Grab your torches! Saddle up! Let’s roll!
And it gets worse.
One day on and the Daily Star leads with Josh Parsons. Three Chelsea fans have been suspended from watching football at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s ground. Parsons isn’t one of them.
And then it gets really odd. The Star tells readers:
“Meanwhile, seson ticket holder Josh Parsons, 21, one of those filmed, is a UKIP supporter who enjoyed a pint with Nigel Farage”.
The Star likes UKIP and its leader, or “UKIP NIGE”, as they dub him. (The Star once supported the EDL.)
Inside the paper, we hear from Parsons’ boss, Miranda Khadr:
“He is very scared and he called me to say he is not coming in today.”
It’s worth pausing to note that Josh Parsons has commited no crime. In a hideous twisting of facts and prejudices, the story of a man barred from riding the Paris Metro has become the story of a man too scared to leave his house. Who needs a Twitter mob when you have the Press to monster you?
And he is being monstered.
The Guardian makes a declaration in the manner of a lawyer revealing his most damning piece of evidence to the jury:
Chelsea fan in Paris Métro video posed in picture with Nigel Farage
To the righteous, that’s enough to bury him.
A mere nine paragraphs into its diatribe, the Guardian thinks it fair to note:
Wearing a black hooded jacket, Parsons can be seen in the Paris video after those around him appear to have chanted: “We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it.” It is unclear from the video whether Parsons was among those chanting or remonstrating with a black commuter, who had been earlier pushed from a carriage.
The Times leads with that picture of Josh Parsons and Farage. The word “racism” hangs like dripping poison beneath the photo.
This time, Farage is no “Nige”. He’s the face of Channel 4’s dire docudrama UKIP: The First 100 Days, the show that imagined what the country would be like if UKIP won the Election. For those of you who missed it, the upshot is that life would be awful. It would like living in a carriage with Chelsea fans.
And with that Parsons is no longer a football fan on the train, he’s a chimera of UKIP’s middle-class, petit-bourgeois supporters and knuckle-dragging white racists. He’s the embodiment of everything we are told to fear and despise. He ticks every box.
Football fan: Yes.
UKIP supporter: Yes.
Been seen with a St George flag: Yes.
Josh Parsons has become something less than human, a vulgar symbol of everrything the bien pensant love to hate.
(Not too long ago a Labour MP was lambasted for mocking men who wave the England flag. Not now.)
The Times picks up its sledgehammer to crack the bad egg. With no proof Parsons has broken a law, the Times investigates his mind. It says Parsons was “banned from playing in a football match when he attended the £30,00-a-year Millfield School in Somerset for after sending an allegedly racist tweet about a black referee.”
Did he? It doesn’t matter.
Like anyone sane, we realise that if the sins of the teenage berk are to used to explain the man, well, we could all be shafted.
We’re told that Parsons “smashed plates” when Chelsea lost a match. He and his brother – get this – Beno (!) “left you with no illusions looking at their social meda that they were a) Chelsea fans and b) UKIP supporters.”
Last time we looked neither hobby was illegal.
But it might as well be. Because alongside a picture of Parsons and news that he is being “probed” by his employers, we hear Souleymane (who says he was on his way home) say “LOCK ‘EM UP.”
We also note that the victim says, “No other passengers defended me, but what could anyone do? When the train left I waited for the next train.”
What could Parsons have done?
You might be now be wondering what Josh Parsons did to becomes public enemy Number 1 and live in fear?
And the simple asnwer is nothing. The more complex answer is that he offended the knowing and right-thinking, who look around for offence as a way of explaining themselves, seeking a salve to their own vanities and a mirror to show that how they live and the decisions they make are the right ones.
If you want to spot real, censorious, bigoted scumbags. There you go.