Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Over the last few weeks I have been going over in my mind the reasons why I should support my national side at this years World Cup.

Mad English Dog! This statement may surprise a number of my readers as I have tended to be very patriotic in the past. Over the last year or so however, such stanch support for my country of birth has been slipping away. Whilst I am still proud to be English, it seems harder to reason why. In a celebrity driven, politicised, segregated, money driven and resource dependent culture, it’s hard sometimes to be comfortable with being English.

Given these concerns, it annoys me that when ever England are involved in a major football tournament, I feel as though I’m being sold ‘being English’.


‘England’ feels very much like brand these days, banded about by the Sun newspaper, with the merchandise being flags flown from everybody’s cars, alongside the predictable reports on Midlands Today about England football kits for you dog, or the latest craze in fridge magnets.

I can’t help getting the feeling that the majority of people in this country are patriotic because The Sun said they should be.

And nothing says England like the St. George’s cross - with ENGLAND spelt out across it. In case it wasn’t immediately obvious by the red cross on a white ground I guess.

You know, I find it ironic that people drive around with these flags flying from the back window of their Renaults, BMW’s or Toyotas etc. To me this seems a little hypocritical given that one of the major causes of the death of MG Rover (and those companies that went before it) was that very few people in this country actually brought our own car brands. Of course, the fact that half of the workforce was constantly on strike wasn’t helpful either.

Tony Christie and the Crazy Frog. Again.

Around this time of year, we also have to contend with an endless stream of nobodies that suddenly feel they are able to reach the top of the music charts. Seemingly rewording a vaguely familiar song by injecting the words ‘world’, feet’ and ‘England’, and listing famous English footballers is a recipe for success.

If putting up with the consumerism of your own national identity wasn’t enough to contend with.

Reasons to Support England

So, putting aside the fact that, realistically (and even statistically and historically), England will exit the tournament with one lucky player getting signed up to do an advert for Pizza Hut (no doubt alongside Stuart Pearce and Gareth Southgate), why exactly should I support England?

Because I was born here?
Maybe so, but I was also born in Epsom, but that doesn’t mean I like horse racing.
Because I support the players?
Maybe - if they supported more than their own bank balances and stopped complaining ‘that their career will end in their thirties, and so £70,000 a week is compensation’ (as is often the case put forward by the PFA). I’m willing to support the players as long as I’m convinced they are playing for this country, not for their own personal gain.
Because I support the FA?
Because it will encourage this nations growing number of obese children to go out and play football?
Yes. On the industrial units, housing estates and retail parks that replaced the playing fields they were built on.

I think Lewis summed it up best:

You’ve got to do it on your own terms.

And that I am. Of course in the last few days, World Cup fever has started to bite. I’m a big fan of the World Cup given it’s spectacle, and the fantastic football matches it produces. I guess I also enjoy (in a suicidal sort of way) the emotional roller-coaster that is supporting England in a major football championship. So much about being English is living in the past - be it 1966 or 1945. As during the Rugby World Cup in 2003, I want to be able to say I watched England win the World Cup.

I want to see England win, because it will prove to everyone… or perhaps just me, that sometimes, this country can sometimes get it right.

Having said that, if we do win, we’ve just sacked the guy who got us there.


4 responses so far. Go on, add yours!

 Gravatar#1 On June 6, 2006 11:55 AM, Jon Roobottom said...

Having said that, if we do win, we've just sacked the guy who got us there.

His swan song do you think?

 Gravatar#2 On June 6, 2006 1:41 PM, Paul said...

This report caught my eye on the BBC News website:

Patriotic World Cup adverts are all over the television. But how much do these global corporations really support any national team? Prepare for plenty of, er, own goals...

 Gravatar#3 On June 7, 2006 7:27 AM, Lewis said...

I have just heard on the radio that some banks are decked out with the St. George's cross and their staff are dressed in similar clothing! When did banks loose their sense of decorum?

I wonder how many of these "Flag Flyers" know the history and usage of the St. George's cross?

Have a look here

 Gravatar#4 On June 13, 2006 1:44 PM, Ben said...

You have to remember that the last thing most people want is to stand out and the people who can use this to their advantage know this, but they twist it to make it feel like they are helping you. The best way to sell something is to make people believe that if they dont buy into the latest fad then they will be left out of the 'watercooler' conversations at work and they will have nothing to talk about with their mates - generally they just wont belong.

This phenomemon can be seen throughout T4's programming schedule ie Big Brother and all its soul consuming spin offs. By not challanging peoples views at any time people become comfortable with what they know and are scared by anything diferent so dont give it due consideration, instead switching back to what they know and what everyone else is doing.

Why do you think commercial radio stations play the same 10-15 songs day in day out and most people watch films at the cinema which are sequels or worse, a sequal to a sequal. It cannot be blamed on anything else not being out there as 1000s of songs and 100s of films are released each week. Its all based on fear and distraction.

Also you have to remember that we live in capatalist society where everything has a pound sign on it, nobody takes responsibility for themselves or their actions prefering to pass blame rather than learn from mistakes, politics is seen through the eyes of economics rather than sociology and no emotion is attached to business dealings.

We live in a country where polititions are looking to look cool to get voted in rather than proving they are effective at their jobs but they smack of ignorance when talking about any social issue relating to those who are not rich. These are people who read the papers to find out about the youth of today but we all know newspapers have their own agendas and are payed by the richest companies to promote certain products/people, therefore the news papers are not full of whats best but what the people with money want to sell and the newspapers help to create the right environment to sell these things

How can rich white men possibly know what is best for everyone when the majority of the people they represent are not rich, not white and not men.

They talk of ousting racism in the police force by employing more officers from ethnic minorites so there is a 50/50 split of white and ethnic officers but its just as racist doing this as the percentage of the population in races doesnt support these figures working in practise and therefore you discriminating others for not being of a minority.

The only way to sort out the problems of this country is to revert to a meritocracy where the best man for the job gets the job. This is the only way to positively discriminate in a recruitment process. Of course the flaw in this idea is that the people who are in power and who have the money are not the best people for the jods they do but they have to much power to be removed from their positions. Or do they?

If people werent distracted all the time by useless, mind numbing fads suchs the afore mentioned Big Brother, the latest mobile phone or dodgy hair styles(you know the ones i mean) then they would see that they can change how things work, people have more power than they realise and the government is scared that we will find this out so the system keeps distracted with created desires such as cars and home improvements or whatever.

Is it any surprise that stress and depression are on the rise. People are conned into thinking that they want the latest mobile phone/car or whatever the flavour of the month is, but this is a desire created by advertising and has no real meaning to us therefore when we get these products we will be perpetually disappointed as we will then want the next thing and on the cycle goes. Perpetual dissappointment is bound to cause depression.

Its time to wake up people and realise that life isnt about material things, yes they can help but only as a means to giving us more time to do what really matters - meeting people, going places and experiencing life. Be honest, are you happier when you buy a new car or when you meet a new girl, when you get paid or when you visit somewhere new that blows you away, when you get paid or when you have a child?

Think about it and next time you see someone trying to sell you something you never needed before, dont stop and listen just think stop trying to distract me from what ive got to do and move on.

(I hope this rant makes sense cause I've ad to write it at work and that means avoiding being caught - oh yes I am a bad man arent I)

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This entry was written on 6 Jun 2006, 4:40 AM and is filled under .