England football fans are all racist scum and the Queen is their idol
You will remember all that stuff about football fans being “slum people watching a slum sport“. You will remember how casting all football fans as scum who deserved to be caged was what led to Hillsborough, when police sent for the attacks dogs as fans corralled into a too-small terrace not fit for purpose gasped for life.
Football fans were the Untermenschen on which all new methods of control could be tested. One doctor present at Hillsborough said the only difference ID cards could have made that day was to make it easier to identify the young corpses.
You remember that?
As the truth emerged after a mere 27 years years of waiting for the State-sanctioned police lies to dissolve, the Hillsborough campaigners calls for justice were dampened by a wall of sanctimonious bilge about their fight being a great day for Britain, a triumph of law and modernity, how today’s political, police and media elite had “learned lessons” to ensure “it will never happen again”. But we didn’t have to wait long before the same old dislike of football fans to seep out. Guardian readers were told “The authorities failed Liverpool fans at Hillsborough. But so did the real hooligans.”
What hooligans? The fans who ran amuck when Luton Town played Millwall? The Liverpool fans who charged Juventus fans at Heysel, causing a stampede and a wall in a dilapidated stadium to break, killing 39? Yes, we know there were acts of hooliganism. But there was no aggro as the fans at Hillsborough died. The police were not attacked. Fans did not urinate on corpses and rob from the dead, as the Sun claimed (and finally apologised for). In the cages, the innocent begged for help. The police replied by forming ranks, by forcing the desperate fans back into the pens, by looking like an Army. They put on a show of force and menace as the innocent died.
Sticking with the Guardian, in today’s edition Dawn Foster writes beneath the headline “The Queen’s birthday has unleashed a pernicious new patriotism”. Her Majesty is 90. Foster is unimpressed and offended:
“…the celebrations for the Queen’s 90th birthday have crept up; if you’re lucky, you’ll suffer nothing more than a bombardment of Union Jacks this weekend – but many of us will experience something much worse: the performative cheeriness of the street party.
Friends of mine who live in areas where street parties are in the works have, without exception, reported that the people responsible are the perennially furious residents who spend most of their lives in a rage about parking. Shifting their attention from the contentious temporary ownership of asphalt, they have decided the neighbourhood needs to commemorate the birthday of a 90-year-old woman none of the residents have met.
It is all sneery stuff.
The party will follow the usual template: tea, cupcakes, flags upon flags upon flags, wartime slogans and songs, and the performance of a very specific type of Englishness – the Englishness of Fry and Laurie rather than This Is England. One harks back to the empire while the other attempts social realism.
This kind of middle-class nationalism, rooted in a confected history of postwar austerity, has been resurgent in the years since the last royal wedding. The ubiquity of the Keep Calm and Carry On poster is the most obvious symbol…
And then football fans get a kicking. The old hatred is back:
Nationalism now has two faces: that of the far right, signified by a certain sort of caricature of a football supporter and England flags, and now the middle-class right, posh enough to wear chinos while raising a glass to “her maj” in front of a Union Jack. The two aren’t entirely separate: the former is openly racist, the latter a frequent apologist for the British empire.
The football fan wrapped in and England flag and replica kit is “openly racist”, says Foster. In short, the England fans are scum, slum people, the embodiment of everything the knowing liberal elite despise.
Lessons learned? Never again? Nothing of it. The knowing have just found new ways to control the working-classes they deride. Don’t say that. Don’t sing this. Sit down. Pay up. Stay home and watch it on the telly because the seats have been made too pricy for you.
Let’s all have a street party. It’s part of British culture. It’s what the British do. If you want to serve humus, wear a Mexican hat, cheer for the French or tell everyone they’re sad losers, you can. Live and let live is part of the same culture.
Now, where is that flag and Jamie Vardy mask? C’mon In-ger-land. If we win, we’re having a party…in the street, the fountain, the shopping precinct, the hospital…