There will be even more excitement than expected during the Euro football tournament, as some fans have promised to boo footballers “taking the knee” in support of Black Lives Matter, because the campaign is “Marxist”.
It’s lucky they’ve spotted this. It’s obvious, now they mention it, that when he’s on one knee, Harry Kane is thinking, “Hee-hee, secretly we’re doing this to promote the cause of the toiling masses overthrowing the ruling order in favour of a communal system of production.”
What gives it away is that television companies have been supporting the Black Lives Matter campaign, and there’s no bigger supporter of Marxism than Sky Sports.
I expect some fans will boo because they favour a gradual approach towards social reform, rather than Marx’s revolutionary upheaval, so they’ll chant, “We won’t fulfil, sod-all until, we embrace the aims of John Stuart Mill,” followed by, “His beard’s too long, his theory’s wrong, Karl Marx is a w****r.”
Some England fans explained why they’re planning to boo their own players, saying: “We support ENGLAND so we have to boo England’s players because we can’t stand people who attack OUR players so it’s important we tell our players to P**S OFF because I’d DIE for that shirt which is why, when one of our players walked past me, I gobbed all over it.”
It’s lucky the England fans have rumbled this Marxist plot, otherwise the commentators would be gasping, “Gareth Southgate has surprised many of us with his formation, opting for four at the back, with the midfield turned into a collective farm communally owned by the peasantry, with Marcus Rashford up front as expected.”
Then a change in the format will be announced, in which all the goals are shared out equally so every game ends in a draw.
Some supporters explain that they plan to boo because Black Lives Matter supports defunding the police. This will become clear, when the commentator says, “This is Raheem Sterling on the edge of the box where he can be so dangerous, even more lethal than the brutal fascists of the police, organised to protect the state and uphold global neoliberal values, he shoots and it’s JUST tipped over the bar by David de Gea, jumping with the agility required by a mass movement that aspires to replace the armed brutes with a commune of jugglers from Brighton. So that’s a corner to England.”
Another complaint made about the “taking the knee” gesture is that there has been violence reported at some of the thousands of Black Lives Matter events around the world. So if you kneel in support of Black Lives Matter, you are supporting any violence that has ever happened at a Black Lives Matter protest, anywhere in the world.
In the same way, if you support the Union Jack you are supporting all the times it has ever been flown, such as while selling slaves or invading Iraq, so I expect the football fans will boo the flag whenever it appears.
And if you sing the national anthem you’ll be supporting anyone who has ever sung it, including Oswald Mosley, Gary Glitter and Reggie Kray. So I imagine they’ll boo all the way through that as well.
Lord Walney, who Boris Johnson placed in charge of the inquiry about racism in Britain, has spoken about the campaign, saying: “I want to look at the way anticapitalist far-left fringe groups hijack causes like the Black Lives Matter movement.”
Because when a global movement emerges committed to combatting racism following the latest in a series of murders of black people by the police, and it becomes the centre of the entire issue of racism in Britain, the most important thing is to make sure the Revolutionary Workers Party for Working Workers doesn’t use it as an opportunity to sell one of their badges.
It’s to be admired that people have found ways to object to the words “Black Lives Matter”. You might think this would be an uncontroversial statement, but they’ve found ways to scream about it. We should try them with other statements that seem uncontroversial, such as “Water is wet”. Perhaps they’ll all scream, “This is disgraceful! Why don’t you mention other liquids? ALL fluids are wet. What about ginger beer and urine? And some water, like the sea in the Bermuda Triangle, is anti-boat.”
Black Lives Matter is a simple and incontestable slogan, so they have to make up imaginative reasons to oppose it, mumbling: “I’m simply booing because I’m worried the players will graze their knee,” or, “It seems to hold the game up for five seconds and in that extra time the goalposts might collapse.”
The Conservative MP for Ashfield announced he would “Boycott England games” in protest at the knee gesture. This is a major blow for the players, as it’s been his support that has kept them going these last few years. From Paul Scholes to Mason Mount, knowing the Conservative MP for Ashfield was listening to the commentary in his car was what drove them on.
But he must be proud of being one more figure who’s showing his support for England by refusing to support England.
So this does suggest a solution. The people booing England over this issue clearly love England, but they love an England that doesn’t exist. The players, and the manager, and the majority of supporters who wouldn’t boo, support a different England – the one that does exist.
England should be allowed to field two teams: one that the booing people can support, that exists only in the imaginations of the permanently embittered and can play anywhere they like. And a real England, made up of actual people who can play on the grass, for everyone else.