England has gotten through the group round and will now face Italy tomorrow. The stores are full of everything you can think of in Red & White. We see flags and bunting on shops, houses and cars, far more than we did two months ago for St George’s Day, everywhere there are people wearing caps and tee-shirts emblazoned with designs based on the English Flag.
Is this a form of latent nationalism emerging or just football-ism?
Are they supporting the team or the country?
Are they one and the same thing or worlds apart?
The English have been, and still are, bombarded by the Unionist elite and the big three parties into believing that it is ok to be Scottish or Welsh nationalist, because they are expressing their individuality as minorities in the UK, but, because we are the largest nationality on the islands, it would be bad for the English to be nationalistic.
Because, so the argument goes, that would make the English as the larger group racist for wishing to distance itself from the smaller ones.
This argument fails because the UK is a constructed state, there are no ‘United Kingdomish’ people here. To carry the unionist argument on one step, at the moment of Scottish independence do Scottish nationalists become racist because the Scots would be the largest group in their new nation?
It would be good the think that this outpouring of ‘English nationalism’ will remain focused and be harnessed into a political movement. It would be good, but we know that will not be the case, sometime between Sunday and the first few days of July most of the Red & White will be packed away ready for the next ‘big show’.
The establishment and sections of the media will tolerate ‘Englishness’ in a sporting context but not outside of that. Some people who may lean towards English nationalism may well use the pretext of supporting the football team as an excuse to fly the flag without being pointed at. Those people need to be reassured that it is OK to do so at all times.
As far as Red & White is concerned the establishment mantra goes;
“Sport is good, politics is bad.”