Enoch Powell at the footy
A football match is a simulated war; and politics itself is a frozen civil war—so what happens at international football matches matters, especially in an age where nationalists and globalists are locked in a struggle for dominance. In the recent Euro 2020 contest England was presented as a model multicultural team; several prominent team members were black and the team “took the knee” to honour the American criminal George Floyd in lieu of standing for the national anthem. Further, the team manager, Gareth Southgate, was seen to support progressive ideology in the media.
Football has been a political battleground for questions over nationality and multiculturalism for quite sometime; as long ago as France ’98, the victorious French team was lauded as exemplifying the “new France”, since it featured Maghrebis and black Africans prominently in the line-up. Similar issues arose during the last World Cup, with the Croatians facing excoriation from progressives for fielding a “hideously white” team; and, for some political followers of football, defeat or victory for the Croatian team became synonymous with a test for the superiority of “diversity” against nation.
With progressive ideology at the forefront of England’s campaign, some right-wing commentators took the attitude that it was better to cheer the opposition than England. After all, the values that the England team put forward had nothing to do with England itself. They kneeled to honour a foreign drug addict who died some months before; and they did so on the presumption that somehow black people are holy by virtue of being black—being historical victims—and that, therefore, the more holy objects that are brought into England the better people we become.
In other words, the England team showed respect not for the nation they represented—its customs, traditions, and history—but to the ideology that is promoted by a foreign power, America, and those elites who rule Britain who are loyal to that foreign power—its value system—and not their own people. Since the England football team have chosen to place their allegiance there, why should we support them? The ideas the England team chose to honour were not those that are best for the English people; nor do they have anything to do with what England has been considered to be for centuries—and, indeed, is still considered to be by the vast majority of English people.
The debate recalled a confrontation between Enoch Powell and Margaret Thatcher in the early 1980s. Thatcher had insisted that she fought for values, British values. Powell replied along these lines: values exist in the transcendental realm—you cannot kill values, nor can you die for values; these are eternal. Powell then stated that he would fight for England even if she were Communist. The implication we can draw from this statement is that Powell would cheer the England team regardless of whether they took the knee or sang the Internationale.
His reasoning was solidly conservative: the conservative, as Roger Scruton might have observed, prefers the particular to the general and abstract; he defends the traditions, landscape, and families in his country—he does not defend an idea. Indeed, to have “an idea” that one wishes to impose, top down, is almost quintessentially a left-wing notion; it is the left, the rationalists and Cartesians, who have an abstract blueprint based on “values” that will supposedly improve life once implemented. They have worked out, for example, that non-binary gender identity is superior to every other form of sexual identity in history; even though those forms of identity bear no relation to this concept and non-binary gender identity is entirely abstract and detached from reality.
Hence the conservative works from the actual towards a general principle, whereas the leftist works from an abstract scheme and tries to make reality “fit”; just as Le Corbusier would develop a comprehensively planned modern city and try to make people from Bangalore to Paris “fit” its rational schema. Values and ideas will exist forever; so, for example, if all advanced civilisations collapsed and, two thousand years later, a new civilisation arose on earth then that civilisation could rediscover the laws of geometry just as well as Euclid or Newton; yet this advanced civilisation could never reconstruct the particularities found in Euclid’s Alexandria or Newton’s England. Those families, traditions, and outlooks vanish forever once lost; and it is those particularities Powell would fight for, not “English values”.
Powell’s assertion was comparable to the situation in the Soviet Union when the Germans invaded. For the most part, the Russians resisted the Germans as Russians and not as proletarians engaged in international anti-fascist struggle—as Communist ideology would suggest they did. Indeed, the Soviets knew this was so; during the war they abandoned the Internationale for a more patriotic national anthem, loosened restrictions on the Orthodox Church, and created propaganda that lionised Russia’s past. Once again, the old dictum holds true: reality is rightist. When your country is invaded, no matter how internationalist you are in ideology, you can only mobilise successful resistance with appeals to nation, history, and religion.
If Powell had been Russian at that point, he would have, by his own logic, fought for the USSR; even though in abstract terms National Socialist Germany was closer to his elitist and racialist instincts—and he would have done so because the particular, his Russianness, should trump, from a right-wing perspective, any abstract notions about elitism or racialism. For Powell, Communism would represent a temporary imposition, a departure from reality that would, in the long view, pass away; and he would be right to think so. The network of families, traditions, and sensibilities that constituted Russia would continue, even under ideological assault from the red Tsars; yet for this nation to be occupied by a foreign power would be a catastrophe.
To be tyrannised by your own people is preferable to occupation by a foreign power, even if you happen to agree more with their outlook. In evolutionary terms, it was bad news if another tribe occupied you in archaic days; if you were a man it meant you would be enslaved at best, probably killed. Consequently, it is rebarbative in any circumstances, even if you disagree with your government, to wish to be defeated in war or even to see your country lose a football game. It is better to suffer a headman with weird ideas for a decade or so than to let your village be overrun by another village, upon which you will be killed and your women raped. This is why you do not fight for ideas.
The weakness in Thatcher’s view has been exposed by time; for whatever she thought British values were, what Conservatives call “British values” today are quite different. British values are tolerance, diversity, and inclusion—the Tories seem to agree with that. Britain is, I am assured, a “nation of immigrants”; a slogan that originated in America, but I am sure the Germans say the same—and also subscribe to whichever PR firm produced the BLM slogans and “Build Back Better”. It turns out that British values are very fungible indeed; we see here, though it is strange to relate, that Thatcher, the meritocrat, was really quite far to the left already. She had already accepted the notion, popular in America in the last decade, that Britain was “an idea” not a people—a proposition nation, you might say.
The sorriest British politicians speak of a “British Dream”, a soggy and pale imitation of the American Dream; and they do so because they think Britain is an idea—the values and idea can be pulled apart and remade at will. Yet this is nonsensical: the America Dream is, in part, to be liberated from the Old World’s concerns—religious wars, rooted populations, and aristocracy. Yet all these remain, residually anyway, part of every European nation. There is no “British Dream” in this sense; it contradicts what Britain is in actuality—an immigrant to Britain arrives in a country where the population has been rooted for over a thousand years, not a New World with a frontier that is anybody’s to claim.
Powell’s point is further supported by the difficult relation the left has to English football. Although the left has complete narrative control over football—the squad takes the knee and has a strong multiracial composition—the actual thought that England might win scares the left; and this is because the actuality “England” is stronger than the leftist ideas that attempt to corral it. The political commissars in the USSR experienced the same discomfort, “Comrades, due to the nature of the ongoing emergency, we have been forced to use some propaganda that we dislike—reactionary imagery. And, indeed, we have even let those vile old charlatans from the Church scurry about. Although we can all welcome the victory that will soon be ours, thanks to the genius of comrade Stalin, we must, nevertheless, remain vigilant in the coming post-war period and act swiftly to suppress the unfortunate recrudescence of reactionary sentiment during the emergency.”
Thus the Guardian columnists who cheer the multiracial, BLM-compliant England squad as representatives of the “real England” get extremely nervous, almost hysterical, when hundreds of footy lads storm the gates at Wembley hours before the game starts, completely crazed on national pride and pissed out of their heads on Stella. The political commissars like the idea of the nation’s power on a leash to serve their ideological goals: “The real England, a woman in a hijab cheering a black man who arranges free meals for POC children. This is our England.”
Yet almost none of the real fans are like that at all; indeed, the people who talk about football in this way have no interest in football, except insofar as they think it can be manipulated to serve their political ends—and gaslight the “gammons”. The political commissars have the lion on a chain, it senses the red meat of victory—saliva forms on its mouth—and it starts to slip the chain. Where will it go? The commissar becomes uneasy; they thought they had corralled national pride to serve their egalitarian goals, but now the English lion looks, with victory at hand, very hungry; so hungry it might eat its own keeper…reality is like that.
It would go like that even if the England squad were to be entirely composed of black transsexuals, the egregore England and the embodied reality have not gone anywhere; just as the double-headed eagle, cross, and national colours reasserted themselves in Russia, despite the most vicious and sustained extirpation campaign. So long as the bonds of families, traditions, and locality exist—and, demographic change notwithstanding, there are still many English people—the actuality will endure and reassert itself over the “values” imposed from above.