If you’re looking forward to watching England’s opening Euros game against Croatia on Sunday spare a thought for Lee Anderson.
The Tory Blue Wall MP can’t watch it, you see. It’s not that he’s blind or on a Trappist retreat, he’s just cancelled himself because he can’t bear to watch young men making a brief gesture against racism.
“I will not be watching my beloved England team whilst they are supporting a political movement whose core principles aim to undermine our way of life,” he wrote.
Mind you, he couldn’t have watched anyway, as the game is being shown on the BBC and last month he ripped up his licence because the Pinko Beeb is “rotten”. I wonder what he’ll be fuming at in his garden instead? His barbecue?
I doubt it as he no doubt cancelled that when he saw someone cooking a veggie burger.
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The culture wars that pollute every debate these days are depressing.
Some people are becoming increasingly uncomfortable knowing they could be sacked for liking a historic tweet they never knew was offensive. But the idea that all the cancelling is being done by woke lefties who want to rewrite history and kill fun is as fake as most of the right-wing fury.
Who is raging against footballers choosing to take the knee? The right.
One Tory backbencher this week even compared it to a Nazi salute.
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The right also went apoplectic when a handful of students voted to remove a portrait of the Queen from their common room wall.
Tory papers splashed their disgust all over the front pages echoing Iain Duncan Smith’s view that it was a “pathetic insult to Her Majesty”. What? It’s a room you’ve never been in where students you don’t know play on Xboxes. How could you possibly be offended even if they had Satan on their wall?
These culture wars are tiresome but when our politicians hijack them to bury bad news and win votes it becomes dangerous. And that is what this Tory government is undoubtedly doing.
You want to distract from the row over the pittance given to state school pupils to catch up from Covid? Get the culture secretary to condemn the English cricket board taking action against a player who tweeted racist stuff. But don’t get him to condemn moronic England fans booing players taking the knee because many of your populist core might agree with the morons.
A High Court rules Michael Gove acted illegally by handing a lucrative Covid contract to mates of Dominic Cummings? Get the lamentable education secretary to denounce the students who took down the Queen’s portrait. But don’t mention anything about your own leader lying to the monarch to get Brexit done.
It’s as though Tory Central Office has a war room which directs MPs to cultural clashes with orders to spew bile, preferably in front of a Union Jack, knowing their media lackeys will lap up the distraction.
Polling has told Tories that most older people (the ones who vote) feel threatened by changing attitudes to race, sex and history, so it pays to paint a challenge to the status quo as a left-wing conspiracy to destroy Brit values.
But as America found with Donald Trump, this cynical stoking of the culture wars for political gain is playing with fire. And our democracy is going to get burned.