Saturday, 4 September 2021
Drink It Up
It is the reaction of the England players that has become the quintessence of patriotism. And against the heirs of the Arrow Cross, why not? Anyone booing the taking of the knee in this country would now expect a very robust response indeed from those around them. That action, with its even longer history on this side of the Atlantic than on the other, has become integral to the sport that dominates popular culture, and which could no longer be imagined without it.
Such as there are, any objectors are barely British or English at all. They side with those who identify with wartime Nazi collaborators, and they do so because they themselves spend all day and all night on American AltRight websites that claim, among much else, that taking the knee was invented by some American footballer or something. They know very little about Britain or England, but they know that they would hate it if they ever stepped outside into it. That is why they never do. The same thing would apply to them in the United States.
I have cooperated with Black Lives Matter in the past, and I may very well do so again, but it is not an unproblematic phenomenon. It is, however, better than either the Arrow Cross or the AltRight, and an important aspect of the only functioning Opposition in this country, which is barely in Parliament, but overwhelmingly on the streets. That Opposition is presently organised against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. That resistance that will not end when that Bill becomes law, and it will very soon extend to the Elections Bill.
Except partially while Jeremy Corbyn was Leader of the Labour Party, the same thing applied to the wars of the last 20 years, and to the austerity programme, as it had applied to the Poll Tax, and before that during the Miners' Strike. The Official Opposition was taking public money under false pretences. Or it was doing exactly what it was really paid to do, depending on how you looked at these things. But the streets were alive with the Provisional Opposition. As Covid-19 restrictions were eased, then they very soon will be again. There is a reason why the Blairite Electoral Commission refuses to register Black Lives Matter as a political party. The vanity projects of the Boo Boo Boys and of their fellow travellers are faced with no such obstruction. Anyone would think that they posed no threat.