AS I write this, the front page of the Sun — that festering toilet accessory, that utter waste of trees certainly not worthy of the designation “newspaper” — has a “story” purporting to be a “scandal” about Jeremy Corbyn and a “commie spy.”
This sums up everything that is wrong with the right-wing tabloid press in this country and the deep divisions in our society it still has the capacity to foster, despite its slow death at the hands of social media.
It’s like an ageing pub bully who is still just about capable of striking fear into his contemporaries while those younger and nimbler, who occupy a different world, simply ignore him.
Nobody I know under 50 uses the phrase “commie” any more, either as self-identification or term of abuse. It’s a '70s battleground term suited to the Sun’s target demographic — old Ragged Trousered Philanthropists with less money than sense and a capacity to get red-faced and angry with everyone except the people who are actually doing them harm.
Like the old “Corbyn supported the IRA” stories, it’s the last-ditch reaction of a terrified elite who know they have lost the economic and social arguments. Most people now support Labour policies like renationalisation of rail and utilities and the end of PFI and so they resort to old-school slur tactics.
I, like many of you, constitute the progressive part of that same target generation. I am sure you will join me in wishing the Sun and its ilk a quick demise while our new look, forward-looking Star goes from strength to strength. There’s nothing wrong with newspapers, if they print news, not reactionary garbage.
The first gig for my new early music-meets-punk band Barnstormer last Thursday went very well and I had the chance to utter my favourite new rock'n'roll phrase: “More crumhorn in the monitor please Dave.”
We had our second one last Thursday in Brighton and are now well prepared for the first dates of our nationwide tour starting next month – we’ll be in Reading, Birmingham, Wrexham, Lancaster, London and Shoreham.
And so to football, and the dear old FA Cup, so devalued by the attitude of many of the big clubs in this age of Premier League millions but still a source of pride and hope to many further down the league.
Tomorrow Brighton plays host to Coventry City and we Brighton fans who fought so long and hard to save our club will be expressing our solidarity with our visitors, whose story in the last decade has been so similar to ours in the nineties.
Coventry are owned by SISU, a London hedge fund, and their stewardship of the club has been as baleful and contemptible as Lancashire businessman Bill Archer’s treatment of us just over 20 years ago.
We nearly went out of the Football League and spent two years playing our home games at Gillingham. Coventry were turfed out of their home stadium and spent just over a season playing theirs at Northampton.
The owners have absolutely no interest either in the club or in football in general – they’re a hedge fund, for Marx’s sake – and one of the things that football fan Corbyn and his team should pledge is that a Labour government will take steps to ensure that this kind of treatment of clubs, and fans, becomes a thing of the past. It’s not rocket science. “Fit and proper person test” should mean just that.
From we who have been there, to Coventry fans going through it now, a simple message, emblazoned on the banner we displayed at so many games during what Brighton fans describe as “the war years.”
PROFITEERS OUT OF FOOTBALL – IT’S OUR GAME NOT THEIRS!
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