There haven’t been many times in my life when I’ve been overwhelmed with gut-wrenching shock at England’s complete and utter shiteness.
In the last few days, it’s happened twice.
The first, on Friday morning, was waking up to the news that we had decided to divorce from our European partners and isolate ourselves outside of the EU. Bit by bit, hearing those who had promised so much expose their hot air balloon of lies in the days following. What a pitiful destiny our country now has.
The second was on Monday night when, dazzling miscontrol after breathtakingly woeful pass, the national team crumbled at the hands of Iceland at Euro 2016. They don’t have a professional football league, their population is smaller than Leicester’s, and yet they absolutely out manoeuvred some of the shining lights of the Premier League. What a humiliating representation of our national temperament.
But there’s more, much more: the spate of racist attacks that we have seen in the short period following Brexit, the murder of the progressive Labour MP Jo Cox, UKIP’s blatantly prejudiced and deceitful campaign posters plastered over the country, English hooligans terrorising French streets, destroying as an act of fun.
Sometimes, bad luck comes in clusters. Is that what this is?
Or are we, in fact, a country that is petrified to succeed, petrified of difference. Are we a racist country? Some of the immigration discussion we heard in the build-up to the referendum was rational, but some of it was plain racism. Let’s call a spade a spade when that’s what it is – the attacks in the last few days prove as much.
The future of our government and national football team are both up in the air. At least for those institutions, however, there is a blueprint of how we change. There are procedures, there are options. When issues go deeper, though, the path to resolution is much less clear. How do you reunite a divided nation? How do you instill acceptance? There are no procedures for that.
The woeful state of England right now – everything I have mentioned above – is of our own doing. We are not the victim; we are the perpetrator. It was our vote, they were our players, they were our fans.
It is only if we face up to our dire current state that we can improve it. It’s time England did some soul searching.