Political Football in the UK

British Prime Minister David Cameron caused a stir over the weekend when he forgot that he supported Aston Villa in the middle of a speech.

The Conservative leader, who is currently seeking reelection, said at a Tory Convention on Friday:

"We are a shining example of a country where multiple identities work.

“Where you can be Welsh and Hindu and British, Northern Irish and Jewish and British, where you can wear a kilt and a turban, where you can wear a hijab covered in poppies.

“Where you can support Man Utd, the Windies and Team GB all at the same time.

“Of course, I’d rather you supported West Ham.”

Cameron, who has long been purported to be an Aston Villa fan, like several high profile Brits and including members of the Royal Family, later claimed to have experienced a "Brain Fade" when questioned about his allegiances.

Perhaps the claret and blue of West Ham, which is fairly similar to that of Villa threw him off.

Call me a cynic, but I always detect the pungent whiff of bullshit when politicians start talking about their football allegiances.

Even claiming that you support Aston Villa doesn't sit right with me, seeing as how they're essentially situated in the middle of country, so it's almost as if you're sitting on the fence and taking care not to piss off everyone outside of London by supporting a Cockney team, or annoying Londoners by supporting a Northern giant like Manchester United.

I remember Tony Blair, in the run up to the 1997 British General Election claiming to be a Newcastle fan and being filmed doing headers with Kevin Keegan. He also cuddled up to Britpop stars of the day like Noel Gallagher, to win the youth vote, on his way to winning a landslide victory in the election.

Showing an interest in football only seems to be adopted by politicians looking to appear as a man of the people, with their support rather dubious at best. 

Politicians and football go hand in hand, now in the United Kingdom as questions on the misbehavior of players, the spiraling costs of tickets and merchandise, and foreign ownership are thrust at those running for office.

In the days of Margaret Thatcher's time at Number 10 Downing Street, football and it's fans were seen by the government as mostly a nuisance that needed to be controlled, but now it's an election issue and I can't help but see through the phoniness of that. 


Post a Comment