Nato targets football fans – nobody protests

spiked editor Mick Hume's Notebook in The Times (London).

Mick Hume

Mick Hume

Topics Politics
  • What do you reckon the reaction would be if spy aircraft tracked the movement of suspicious-looking Muslim youths, just in case these ‘potential terrorists’ do something illegal?

Strangely, I have not heard anybody complain about the German authorities’ plan to use a squadron of Awacs, Nato’s military spy planes, ‘to follow football fans around Germany’ and spot potential hooligans during next summer’s World Cup. This is the latest in an extraordinary battery of measures that governments have deployed against the minor problem of fat men misbehaving at football matches. When it comes to football hooliganism, fashionable concerns about human rights fly out of the window.

Judges and opposition politicians object loudly to the Government’s draconian proposal to detain terrorism suspects for weeks without charge. Nobody seems to mind when police ask the courts to issue a football banning order taking away a British citizen’s passport without charge or trial. There are more than 3,000 FBOs in force, and will be many more before next summer as a joint Home Office/police chiefs body enforces a new ‘zero tolerance’ policy on minor offences.

When two men objected that their six-year football banning orders infringed human rights laws, the courts ruled that such ‘very firm measures were justified to confront the various sickening ills of football violence’. It seems strange that these ‘very firm measures’ are deemed more legitimate than draconian anti-terror laws. After all, the ‘various sickening ills of football violence’ do not include suicide bombings.

The difference is that ‘potential football hooligans’ tend to be white working-class men. And most judges, human rights lawyers, liberal journalists and MPs tend to despise those whom they see as white trash every bit as much as the Government does. ‘Chav scum’ are the one minority it is legitimate to give a good kicking to.

The authorities’ target is not just a few violent boneheads but the whole ‘drinking culture’ of proletarian excess that accompanies big tournaments. A ‘football hooliganism expert’ from the Netherlands, where they put suspected hooligans under house arrest during matches, this week told BBC radio of his fears about England fans, having watched them at the World Cup qualifier against Wales in Cardiff. ‘They were drinking without shirts on, they don ’t integrate with the local supporters, they hate some people from other countries and refer to the war, and it doesn’t make a nice relaxing atmosphere.’ How long before shirtless drinking is made a banning offence? Although anybody who thinks that the World Cup should be played in ‘a nice relaxing atmosphere’ does seem like a candidate for house arrest for the duration of the tournament.

The other people who seem to believe that the white working class are all braindead lager-soaked soccer hooligans who deserve all that they get are, of course, Muslim extremists. Where do they get their ideas from?

  • What exactly has David Cameron, the Tories’ rising star, ever stood for apart from election?

Everybody bangs on about how young he is. But come on, he is nearly 40, which may seem boyish in Westminster but is surely long enough for any putative leader to have put his public stamp on some issues by now. To say that Mr Cameron is up-and-coming because he is youthful is rather like suggesting that Margaret Thatcher broke through because she was a woman. But Baroness Thatcher was also a walking manifesto. The Tories’ problem today is not just that people fail to recognise who their leadership candidates are. We have little idea what they are, either.

  • How is anybody meant to follow the advice of the Food Standards Authority’s television adverts, to eat no more than 6g of salt a day?

In any case, the benefits of these things are rarely as clear-cut as some experts suggest: the Japanese, who eat far more salt than we do, also tend to live longer. It is easy to forget not only that human life evolved out of a saline environment, apparently without any advice from the FSA, but that people die for lack of salt and that our bodies have a pretty efficient mechanism for getting rid of any excess. I shall take the latest advice with a pinch of sodium-free salt substitute.

Mick Hume is editor of spiked
This article is republished from The Times (London)

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Topics Politics


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