Simon Lincoln Reader,
When I was visiting the UK in 1996 I got something I didn’t ask for and certainly didn’t want. Even then I was suspicious of football and footballers, but I was told that the person who invited me to watch Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and meet the players would be extremely cross if I didn’t respond graciously. So I went, the football sucked and happily I didn’t meet any players – there’d been an incident in the changing room and access was subsequently verboten.
One of Chelsea’s players, Graeme Lesaux, reportedly boasted an unusually high IQ for a footballer, like 70 or 80 or something. Before the match he’d apparently been sitting in his locker stall doing the medium-difficulty crossword off a tabloid. One of his teammates noticed this, approached him and whispered “poefda”. Lesaux took exception, and things kicked off lively.
That happened 24 years ago yet today England, once a genuine, guiding moral authority, is competing in a land that legislates against gays and lesbians, runs its obscenely wealthy economy off fossil fuels – in complete contrast to the UK’s unhinged “net zero” obsession – and whose stadiums were built on the corpses of Bangladeshi slave labour. This is not new information – but somehow it was too late before the country appeared to the increasingly confused west as an intergalactic black hole that would effortlessly consume and disappear today’s wild theories of intersectionality. So naturally, everyone has panicked into some of the most embarrassing, meaningless virtue-signalling ever.
It started with the idea the English team or its captain would wear armbands featuring the PRIDE flag. At the 11th hour FIFA bludgeoned this, England wet itself and so reverted to its pagan vodoo gesture (which lasts approximately 2 seconds). In the commentary studio, the BBC’s finest hypocrites, some of whom have already trousered Qatar’s cash, shoehorned a few platitudes in, none of which were original, profound or memorable. America initially decided to switch the red stripes on their logo to incorporate the colours of racial PRIDE flag. Then they softened by claiming these garments would only be worn around the hotel. Then they ditched the plot altogether. Before being beaten by Japan – a team with precisely zero percent diversity – Germany’s players held one hand across their mouths. A week into the tournament, the west’s footballers have finally appeared to solve their equivalent of the Diophantine Equation, realising that Muslim countries are actually Muslim – and nothing that the presently feeble west does will ever contain the darkness and the difference expressed in Samuel Huntington’s “The Clash of Civilisations” (1996).
Now these countries are trapped in the Sam Bankman-Fried contagion – like Russian Matryoshka dolls, decreasing in size and value until there’s nothing. What doesn’t decrease however, was the solution that appeared the very day Sepp Blatter received an envelope he already well knew the contents of, that would have eliminated the need for scrambling and excuses, that would stand as an authority immune to the present humiliations.
That was called “We. Are. Not. Going.” Such a position is not unimaginable: it would have been a testament to hard earned rights – an increasingly unfamiliar place where common sense and decency, applied together, prevailed with much greater substance over the performative hysteria of today’s cancelations of art exhibitions or surrendering to campus politics. But that’s exactly what these countries have exported today – like protestors seeking to audition for a reality show by hanging off a bridge – much to the amusement of its intolerant, tyrannical hosts.