Priti Patel has claimed that “fans have the right to boo the taking of the knee”.

Indeed they do.  Whilst it is thrilling, heady stuff to witness Patel embrace the terminology of “rights” (those pesky, frivolous things which – in Patel-speak – rarely apply to migrants, detainees or…well…humans generally), she’s only stating the blindingly obvious. Fans already have the “right” to boo, irrespective of Patel’s inane, witless contribution to the public debate.  Nobody was ejected from Wembley for booing the knee.  There is no law against booing the knee.  #bootheknee is a prominent hashtag on Twitter. What stinks, and what Patel is playing into, is an absurd victim mentality which lingers in the feverish fantasies of a substratum of English society, sadly still over-represented among those who follow the national team.

England is over 80% White, and – as part of the UK – is led by a right-wing Conservative government with a working majority of 87.  As for  “cultural Marxism”, this is a country in which the shipping forecast has been in its hallowed, immovable Radio 4 slot for over 150 years.  Followed, every night, by the national anthem.  And where, if you don’t like it, you can write a strongly worded letter to Points of View.

So, yes, fans have the right to boo the knee.  But let’s not pretend that the imbeciles (and they are complete fucking imbeciles) who engage in the booing, are doing so out of a sense of justified indignation.  It’s out of pure self-entitlement, the type that can only come from never actually having been deprived of your rights, from never actually having been victimised.  The same sense of self-entitlement which led Alan Partridge to yell “STOP TELLING ME WHAT TO DO!” into a stolen traffic cone in rural Norfolk, and which – less hilariously – caused senators to take cover inside the US Capitol in January.

Patel, in backing this right which already exists, is massaging the selfish (and, if unchecked, dangerous) victimhood of the already entitled.  From a Home Secretary, charged with domestic security and community cohesion, this is grossly irresponsible.

As part of the same tidal flow of verbal diarrhoea, Patel also dismissed the taking of the knee as “gesture politics”. The taking of the knee is indeed symbolic.  It is no substitute for the political, social and economic change actually required toaddress historic racial injustices, nor would any of its proponents contend that it is. Again, Patel’s intervention is little more than rabble-rousing – but, of course, far easier for a member of this government to condemn the symbol, than to ever engage properly with the issue to which the symbol relates.

Of course, in March – in a vintage week for self-congratulation, which also featured the Metropolitan Police clearing itself of any wrongdoing at the Sarah Everard vigil on Clapham Common – the government concluded that the government couldn’t possibly be racist.  That’s us all told, then.

This is not even an article about the merits or otherwise of taking the knee.  To be fair, it should be acknowledged that most fans (even those who support it and consider it to be a powerful act) do not want the taking of the knee to continue forever. But booing it, and refusing to condemn those who boo it (which is this government’s morally bankrupt position, presumably with one eye on a few dozen booze-fuelled culture warriors in Cleckheaton who’ll go to the polls in a couple of weeks’ time), is something else entirely.

If you’re booing the knee, you’re a selfish, pathetic racist.  If you’re an elected representative egging on those who are doing the booing – or, in perhaps the most egregious example of “gesture politics” emanating from this whole debate, refusing to even support the England team for as long as they take the knee (step forward Lee Anderson, Conservative MP for Ashfield) – then you’re even worse.

There’s frankly little point in describing Patel as unfit to hold public office, because the unfortunate fact is that she’s demonstrably fit to hold a senior post within this government of vacuous pygmies.

The sun is out, the beer gardens are filling up nicely, and England are playing well.  I would love us to win the Euros, for the eminently dignified Gareth Southgate to lead his likeable, multi-ethnic team to glory at Wembley on 11th July, and for the small-minded bigots who still attach themselves to the England team to shut up, once and for all.

Our own players actively want to take the knee, and they want us – their SUPPORTERS (the clue is in the word) – to respect their wishes, by simply refraining from engaging in the infernally juvenile act of booing.

They’re out there running about, so that you – yes, that’s you over there, with your Euro 96 bucket hat on, and your belly dangling over your cargo shorts and reaching halfway to the pavement – can sit on a plastic chair with a pipe of Pringoooals and dream of triumph over those effeminate polyglots from across the water.  All that your country asks is that you shut the fuck up for about ten seconds.

Sadly, with our elected government – who really should know better – cheering on the racists from the sidelines, who would bet against us having a few more weeks of this shite to go?

YOUSEF HATEM – @yousef_1892