As the highest point of English football since 1966 rushed towards us like a hoard of handsome Italians marauding at our home (and then suddenly falling over clutching their toes, natch), invading our (their) restaurants and drinking us out of Peroni and Birra Moretti, draped and painted in the Tricolore, what about England and our relationship with our national flag.
Confused and conflated with the UK and Great Britain Union Jack/flag, we are now almost automatically given over to a feeling of shame to be associated with the George Cross. Whilst the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish can be proud, can be patriotic and loud about their country, we, apparently cannot be. Because yes, it has been stolen by right wing elements of our politics and society, the now cartoonish and caricature shaven headed, fat, gammon faced man with a Union Jack or George Cross tattooed on his arm and a can of strong European lager, eating a pizza or curry and watching U.S TV, is shouting at immigrants and anyone with a foreign sounding name to get out of “their” country. Well not in my name you colossal thundercunt.
We have a government to be ashamed of, one more concerned about photo opportunities with fresh out of the cellophane England football shirts, one made up of MPs who are allegedly boycotting the games because the players are taking the knee. This is a divided country as the extremes of the political spectrum claim superiority and the moral high ground, with an embarrassing hooligan minority of football fans and the blame for Brexit.
But should we accept this as a reason to be ashamed of our country? Some will point to nationalism as being what caused the problems, that Euro 96 and Noel Gallagher’s Union Jack guitar somehow created this intolerant, bigoted, blinkered country. Where on one hand people are dragging the statues of slave owners into the rivers and seas and the other is attacking protestors, who then want to march themselves against a breach of their freedoms because they have to wear a mask.
When was it that the George Cross became the flag wavers decoration of choice? It was always a case of being a very “British” concept in the 90’s. At the World Cup Italia 90, the Union Jack far out numbered the English flag for English fans. It was one and the same thing, so why did it change, what happened?
In the wake of the final of the European Championships Final, the battered and bruised national stadium is swept of the carnage. A celebration of what our young team had achieved was forever tarnished by the acts of the few, but a too larger few. The general acts of antisocial behaviour in Leicester Square, the intimidation on Wembley Way, the storming of the stadium by several hundred “fans”. Then after the agonising defeat by penalties came the horrendous, hateful and racist abuse of those that missed their spot-kicks. In a strange way it softened the blow of defeat because instead there was anger at these despicable, evil cunts, faceless on social media spewing their revolting vitriol.
Instead, a general feeling of acceptance in defeat that this country doesn’t deserve victory. The team did. The manager did. The backroom staff and coaches did. No one else did though. Until we accept what a fractured society we live in and something changes, we won’t get another night like that at Wembley, we won’t be given the opportunity. The team may be in the final in Qatar or the next Euros, but we probably won’t see a tournament here again in my lifetime. Nor a European club final in decades.
The human race is devolving. Man is regressing. With any luck the animals will take over. And show us no mercy.