Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Foootball and Nationhood

Thoughts (again) regarding Nation and Nationalism...

I was in a the Sheperd's Bush area of West London this morning ahead of what turned out  to be an abortive
QPR -The Loftus Road Entrance.
Financial Capability session and found the grounds of QPR, football is very much in the air at present and despite England losing to Italy there remains a hope that the team will progress into the knock out section of the World Cup Tournament.

Queens Park Rangers to give them their full name remains rooted in the West London ground they've occupied for nearly 100 years (they've been in Loftus Road since 1917) but the grounds must be worth a lot of money and soccer is now more about money (not necessarily making profits but long term  losses are unsustainable) .

Football used to be a working class (male) sport with strong links to the community and area the team was located in but in Great Britain now we see in football a truly Global business, it is about identity and brand  and as we see in Brazil this is also the case where the game is played internationally on the world stage.

I can (if I want ) choose to support Manchester United having never been to Manchester and many of the worldwide fans do indeed take this position.

When I was in Glasgow recently  and having spoken with others about the difference from England (and more specifically London) - I start to ask myself what it is to be nationalistic - why does it matter to me in sports that my country should do well?

Do I feel British or English?

There was a discussion on the radio this morning (Today's Radio 4 programme)  about how it is possible to become British, through time and learning the customs (some dispute that you can if you're not born in Britian of British parents).

Where does the difference lie between Patriotism and Nationalism?

Norman Tebbit famously  characterised nationality by the 'Cricket test' and Samuel Johnston  labeled Patriotism  as
"  the last refuge of the scoundrel "

Nations and nationhood are relatively modern constructs and race undoubtedly plays a part in the Nationalist agenda as the Austrian born Hitler was very clear about - for me I will resist nationalism but this is not always easy  strangely particularly when sport is involved.

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