The Plastic Hippo

June 9, 2012

Here we go

Filed under: Media,Politics,Sport — theplastichippo @ 5:00 pm

No sooner has one spectacular celebration of patriotic unity ended, another one begins. No, not you Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, it`s time to lower the flag of the union and raise the cross of Saint George. Football`s coming home.

Fill up the fridge with beer, open up the packs of potato and corn based salted snacks and settle down for three weeks of national stereotyping and xenophobia. As Europe descends into financial chaos, Euro 2012 is here to take our minds off the ongoing crisis. Perhaps the footie fest would be more interesting if teams that are eliminated at the group stage are denied an economic bail out and the final winner takes control of the economies that reached the quarter finals. The IMF could be the referee. England, of course, can take no part after team captain Cameron walked out of the meeting that intended to save Europe from ruin in December last year. Standing on the touchline yelling abuse is all that England fans can do now.

Back in the real world and a million miles away from Cameron and Osborne; spare a thought for Michel Platini, president of UEFA. The controversial decision to stage Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine was always certain to cause concern. All the usual stuff about infrastructure, stadia completion and unruly violent home supporters comes with the territory, but added into the mix is the interesting way in which the process of government is conducted in Ukraine.
Following the Orange Revolution of the winter of 2004, Viktor Yushchenko was elected as president and then poisoned with, appropriately enough, Agent Orange. Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is currently being beaten up in prison for the “crime” of trying to negotiate a trade deal. This is the equivalent of poisoning David Cameron and beating up Theresa May. Err…hmm. Leaving that thought behind, the British government have decided that ministers will eschew the hospitality of Ukraine and instead watch the game down the pub.

As for the England football team itself, oh dear. Even the most optimistic follower of English football will doubt that the current crop of millionaire adulterers will progress very far given the fact that they are useless. This is in marked contrast to previous tournaments when they were expected to win even given the fact that they have always been useless. Being useless, however, does not preclude the flower of English manhood from being role models for young people. They are the motivation that confirms that you can be thick, crude and unpleasant and still become very rich.

There is much talk of racism overshadowing Euro 2012. Fired up by a BBC Panorama documentary exposing fascist salutes and swastikas on the football terraces of Eastern Europe and ill judged comments suggesting that black and Asian fans will return to England in coffins make this a self fulfilling prophesy. The BBC asked Michel Platini if he would “consider his position” as president of UEFA if there were racist incidents. Platini, who scored nine goals in Euro 1984, asked the BBC if they thought that he was responsible for every racist in Ukraine, Poland or even England. Perhaps, just before the Olympics, state television services in Poland and Ukraine will broadcast documentaries featuring the fun and games that went on in London and elsewhere last August including footage of people shooting at police helicopters in Birmingham. Panorama has some form upsetting the football authorities. Just before the announcement of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup venues, a Panorama documentary exposed the governing body of FIFA as a bunch of corrupt, avaricious crooks. England lost the World Cup in more ways than one.

The Panorama documentaries might have been accurate but were hardly helpful. Yes, FIFA is a corrupt organisation and yes there are right wing hooligans on the terraces in Kiev and Krakow but that does not make Ukraine and Poland fascist states and has done nothing to make FIFA less corrupt. Right and left wing extremism exists everywhere and will increase as corrupt organisations and governments continue to rule and profit from the chaos created by corrupt organisations and governments. Confiscating the passports of known English hooligans will not stop the export of racism into Eastern Europe.

Mr John Terry, having mastered the art of tying football bootlaces and the 30 yard set piece, is a role model to many. Forgetting the brawl with a nightclub bouncer, the extra marital affair, the parking of his Bentley in a disabled bay and the unfortunate incident with an American tourist at Heathrow just after 9/11, he was once voted Dad of the year. A vital part of England`s midfield defence, he is important enough to have a court case deferred until after Euro 2012 has concluded. Accused of racially abusing an opposing player, a charge he rigorously denies, Mr Terry is too good a player to be left out of the squad. Clearly, this has caused tension in the England camp, particularly as he might be forced to train and play alongside the brother of the player he is said to have abused. The FA came up with an elegant solution to this dilemma. Pick the white guy, drop the black guy. Sadly, it looks unlikely that Mr Terry will represent his country as he is suffering, appropriately enough, from a groin strain. To prove that there is no racism in the England squad, a tasteful photo opportunity was arranged at, of all places, Auschwitz. Oh dear.

On reflection, perhaps it would be beneficial to restore the passports of English right wing hooligans and pay their airfares to Ukraine. The security forces of that proud nation are not known for their subtlety in deploying indiscriminate violence and the prospect of fascist thugs of different nationalities beating seven bells out of each other and then being “restrained” by riot police is too good to be true. That would make better television than watching two bankrupt countries slog it out in a boring nil – nil draw and would, no doubt, keep the sponsors happy. Punch ups sell burgers and trainers and beer and that is what “sporting” events are all about these days.

If this alternative fighting Euro 2012 is successful, it could be rolled out into the Council of Europe to solve the Euro crisis. After all, it`s already started in Greece.

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