I asked myself this when I first saw the odd Vine and YouTube clips coming out of Marseilles on Thursday as they chanted ”ISIS where are you” to nobody in particular because they were in France, not Syria or Iraq. Then it dawned on me these were people going round a multicultural city trying to target Muslims because in the eyes of these fuckwits Muslims=terrorists.Another thing happened, a friend posted this video up on his Facebook so we can all take the piss and the horror of it all dawned on me.
To add some more weight to the increasing Lovecraftian dread I was feeling I saw this from the New Statesman’s political editor.
And this from the Guardian’s David Conn, one of their last remaining actual journalists as opposed to half-arsed bloggers and mates of the editorial staff.
I’ve been to the pub to watch England games as a Scot living in England and not felt any problems til fairly recently, after the last World Cup, where a darker, harder edge in the chants in the streets and attitudes of some England fans were clear for all. I’d never go near a pub when an England game is on now, and before anyone goes ‘ah, you’re being sensitive because you’re a Scot!!‘ there’s English friends who love the game, have season tickets for their local sides and refuse to go near a pub because they don’t want to sit near Engerland fans singing about bombing the Germans, hating the French and chanting ‘no surrender to the IRA‘.
It’s also easy to dismiss this as older fans having one last rage. It’s not as a quick look at any video shows. It’s as much younger fans being encouraged as much as the old hands who have been reinvigorated by the rise in extreme English/British (both are connected closely) nationalism that’s been at the core of the Brexit campaign. I also again need to make it clear it’s not every England fan as many reports also outline how peaceful English fans have been caught up in the French police reaction and that’s nothing to do with them. It’s the thugs that’s dragging England down.
And it’s bizarre. No other country that was on the winning side in WW2 have fans which constantly hark back to something their parents, grandparents and now, possibly great grandparents were involved with. Scottish fans don’t. Welsh fans don’t. Northern Irish fans don’t. American fans don’t. Russian fans don’t. Dutch fans don’t. French fans don’t. We’ve all moved on and alright, there’s banter but there’s a difference between me and a English mate sitting in the pub taking the piss out of each other as friends having a laugh, and a shaven headed ‘fan’ with his top off shouting at people that he hates the French and Muslims.
Forget the fact the Brexit campaign is fact free, it’s working to convince enough people they’re right because when Brexit tried dealing in facts they had their arses handed to them. Now they’re dealing in scaring people about immigration, not to mention dogwhistle terms about Muslims mainly, and its working a treat for them yet we’re seeing the very real effects of this in France right now with a section of England fans causing trouble. It’s at this point one has to consider just what Nigel Farage has unleashed with the help of desperate Tory politicians looking to gain more power. Whatever the result when votes are counted on the 24th of June this isn’t going to be put away easily, and in fact I don’t think it is going away because there’s no real progressive argument being made in England for the EU.
So to sum up this is an English problem here. There’s not a sign of violence from Welsh fans busy singing in the street, nor is this is a case where I don’t want to see England do well. I do, and apart from the fact they’ll never do that playing Rooney in midfield, they can’t shine if a section of their support are thuggish, racist xenophobes. You can’t claim moral superiority. Yet for a number of people empowered by the rhetoric of Farage, Johnson and Gove they don’t care, they’ve moved beyond facts are are operating purely on hate and lies.