Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.
As for those sour-faced leftists ‘celebrating’ England’s defeat – you have the blessed audacity to claim the mantle of understanding working-class politics? Just try explaining your revolutionary defeatism in public and see what that does for your politics. It sickens me at times like this that a group as marginal as the left pretends it knows what’s best for the rest of us, surrendering its credibility as it once again dumps on the progressive, inclusive potential of our national identity. For the Croatia game I was at Wembley with Hajra and Nadeen, England fans wearing the hijab – that’s the England I’m proud to be a part of and parts of the left will never engage with thanks to their inability to understand why.
The web, phone-ins and back pages have been buzzing with ideas on what is to be done after England’s defeat. Here’s my six points for those Red Pepper readers who share my view that what happens to the England football team actually matters.
1. Spiral of decline
If you thought missing out on Euro 2008 was bad: just wait until the 2010 World Cup. Second seeds in a group with Croatia again. Top team goes through, and only the best eight runners-up get a play off. The 2010 qualifiers are looking tough, very tough: a quickening spiral of decline beckons.
2. The table doesn’t lie
Without Sven, and allowing for the likelihood of injuries, qualifying for Euro 2008 was never going to be easy. The fact is we’re now light years behind the likes of Germany, France and Italy, and just a middle-ranking European football nation at the Croatia-Russia-Israel kind of level. If we’d qualified does anybody seriously think we’d have got out of our group in the finals?
3. Over-rated players
With very few exceptions our so-called world-beaters only look good when they play for their clubs playing alongside world-class team mates, none of whom are English unfortunately.
4. National team as the pinnacle of the national game?
Not any more it isn’t. Within a few years the England team will all be players from the bottom half of the Premiership, and within five from the Championship. Either the FA follows the Sir Trevor Brooking strategy of huge investment (far, far more important than the 2018 World Cup bid) in 5-11 year olds or the cycle of decline will become unstoppable.
5. No return to the home internationals
Okay, they’d be fun, but what exactly would an England team (or, for that matter, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) learn playing other teams too poor to qualify? It would be a huge step backwards conducted for one reason: money. The same reason our hallowed Wembley turf was turned into a quagmire for the Croatia game as a result of the stadium hosting that American Football match.
Yet there was Gordon Brown, the morning after the night of non-qualification, wading in to support the return of the home Internationals as a way of developing his British vision. Does this man ever step out of No 10 and into his constituency? Nothing represents the fact that England, Scotland and Wales are separate nations more effectively than a football match. It would almost be worth their return to see Gordon at Hampden Park for Scotland v England waving his cherished union jack, and to witness the response he gets.
6. Sacking McLaren
The easy bit. But the guy who appoints the new manager is the one who forced Sven out, failed to recruit Scolari and chose McLaren instead.
The future? The only hope is that Trevor Brooking is given a free rein, resulting in a huge investment in 5-11 year-olds, so that by 2017 the Premiership academies are stuffed full of English 17-year-olds, or that Mourinho decides his ego could do with rescuing England and a few of the under-21s come good. But I wouldn’t bet your house on it!
Mark Perryman is the convenor of London England Fans, author of Ingerland: Travels with a Football Nation, and co-founder of www.philosophyfootball.com
The police spend little of their time making arrests, and most crimes are not solved, writes Alex Vitale – their real purpose is social control
Many important things happened on conference floor, reports Alex Nunns – but you wouldn’t know it from reading the newspapers
Radhika Desai says Capital by Karl Marx is still an essential read on the 150th anniversary of its publication
The Spanish state is seizing ballot papers and raiding meetings, write Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte – but it is being met with united resistance
The crunch executive meeting ahead of Labour conference agreed some welcome changes, writes Michael Calderbank, but there is still much further to go
Dipesh Pandya speaks to documentary film-maker Sanjay Kak, who for 30 years has been working outside the mainstream to tell a story rooted in the struggles of those excluded by India’s militarism and its narrative of neoliberal growth
Jeremy Gilbert on how radical Labour politics can be inspired by the utopianism of the counterculture
Disasters have unequal impacts – it's the poor and marginalised who suffer most. David Harvey writes on Hurricane Harvey
#MeToo is necessary – but I’m sick of having to prove my humanity
Women are expected to reveal personal trauma to be taken seriously, writes Eleanor Penny
Universal credit isn’t about saving money – it’s about disciplining unemployed people
The scheme has cost a fortune and done nothing but cause suffering. So why does it exist at all? Tom Walker digs into universal credit’s origins in Tory ideology
Meet the digital feminists
We're building new online tools to create a new feminist community and tackle sexism wherever we find it, writes Franziska Grobke
The Marikana women’s fight for justice, five years on
Marienna Pope-Weidemann meets Sikhala Sonke, a grassroots social justice group led by the women of Marikana
Forget ‘Columbus Day’ – this is the Day of Indigenous Resistance
By Leyli Horna, Marcela Terán and Sebastián Ordonez for Wretched of the Earth
Uber and the corporate capture of e-petitions
Steve Andrews looks at a profit-making petition platform's questionable relationship with the cab company
You might be a centrist if…
What does 'centrist' mean? Tom Walker identifies the key markers to help you spot centrism in the wild
Black Journalism Fund Open Editorial Meeting in Leeds
Friday 13th October, 5pm to 7pm, meeting inside the Laidlaw Library, Leeds University
This leadership contest can transform Scottish Labour
Martyn Cook argues that with a new left-wing leader the Scottish Labour Party can make a comeback
Review: No Is Not Enough
Samir Dathi reviews No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics, by Naomi Klein
Building Corbyn’s Labour from the ground up: How ‘the left’ won in Hackney South
Heather Mendick has gone from phone-banker at Corbyn for Leader to Hackney Momentum organiser to secretary of her local party. Here, she shares her top tips on transforming Labour from the bottom up
Five things to know about the independence movement in Catalonia
James O'Nions looks at the underlying dynamics of the Catalan independence movement
‘This building will be a library!’ From referendum to general strike in Catalonia
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte report from the Catalan general strike, as the movements prepare to build a new republic
Chlorine chickens are just the start: Liam Fox’s Brexit trade free-for-all
A hard-right free marketer is now in charge of our trade policy. We urgently need to develop an alternative vision, writes Nick Dearden
There is no ‘cult of Corbyn’ – this is a movement preparing for power
The pundits still don’t understand that Labour’s new energy is about ‘we’ not ‘me’, writes Hilary Wainwright
Debt relief for the hurricane-hit islands is the least we should do
As the devastation from recent hurricanes in the Caribbean becomes clearer, the calls for debt relief for affected countries grow stronger, writes Tim Jones
‘Your credit score is not sufficient to enter this location’: the risks of the ‘smart city’
Jathan Sadowski explains techno-political trends of exclusion and enforcement in our cities, and how to overcome this new type of digital oppression
Why I’m standing with pregnant women and resisting NHS passport checks
Dr Joanna Dobbin says the government is making migrant women afraid to seek healthcare, increasing their chances of complications or even death
‘Committees in Defence of the Referendum’: update from Catalonia
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte on developments as the Catalan people resist the Spanish state's crackdown on their independence referendum
The rights and safety of LGBTQ+ people are not guaranteed – we must continue to fight for them
Kennedy Walker looks at the growth in hate attacks at a time when the Tory government is being propped up by homophobes
Naomi Klein: the Corbyn movement is part of a global phenomenon
What radical writer Naomi Klein said in her guest speech to Labour Party conference
Waiting for the future to begin: refugees’ everyday lives in Greece
Solidarity volunteer Karolina Partyga on what she has learned from refugees in Thessaloniki
Don’t let Uber take you for a ride
Uber is no friend of passengers or workers, writes Lewis Norton – the firm has put riders at risk and exploited its drivers
Acid Corbynism’s next steps: building a socialist dance culture
Matt Phull and Will Stronge share more thoughts about the postcapitalist potential of the Acid Corbynist project
Flooding the cradle of civilisation: A 12,000 year old town in Kurdistan battles for survival
It’s one of the oldest continually inhabited places on earth, but a new dam has put Hasankeyf under threat, write Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson
New model activism: Putting Labour in office and the people in power
Hilary Wainwright examines how the ‘new politics’ needs to be about both winning electoral power and building transformative power
What is ‘free movement plus’?
A new report proposes an approach that can push back against the tide of anti-immigrant sentiment. Luke Cooper explains
The World Transformed: Red Pepper’s pick of the festival
Red Pepper is proud to be part of organising The World Transformed, in Brighton from 23-26 September. Here are our highlights from the programme
Working class theatre: Save Our Steel takes the stage
A new play inspired by Port Talbot’s ‘Save Our Steel’ campaign asks questions about the working class leaders of today. Adam Johannes talks to co-director Rhiannon White about the project, the people and the politics behind it
The dawn of commons politics
As supporters of the new 'commons politics' win office in a variety of European cities, Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel chart where this movement came from – and where it may be going