The unity of the Euros is a rare but welcome feeling

The JC Leader, 2 July 2021


England supporters react to England's win, while watching the UEFA EURO 2020 football match between England and Germany at the fan zone in central London on June 29, 2021. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

July 01, 2021 16:05

Even for those for whom football is usually an irrelevance, there are few greater unifying forces than the England team on a roll in a tournament.

After Tuesday’s rare victory against Germany, anticipation is building towards a possible appearance in the final. Flags of St George have emerged on cars and in windows from wherever they are hidden when the Euros and the World Cup are not being played, and there is a widespread feeling of togetherness and unity as the country gets behind the team.

It would, of course, be hopelessly optimistic to imagine that this spirit might somehow outlive the ephemeral emotions of footballing success. But the contrast with the poison of so much in the public realm is nonetheless instructive.

This week, for instance, the news from Batley and Spen is focused on the divisive role played by George Galloway. More generally, while ordinary Jews and Muslims go about their daily lives, Islamist extremists seek to create rancour and hate.

Governments from Tony Blair onwards have sought to tackle the spread of this through programmes such as Prevent. But while organisations such as the Muslim Council of Britain are sensibly excluded from any role in Whitehall, regarded by the government as promoting the very divisions we have to avoid, there are those in our community who naively undermine this by choosing to work with such bodies.

Unity and togetherness come when people find a commonality in their lives. It does not come by embracing those who seek to divide.


July 01, 2021 16:05

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