Friday, 7 May 2010

Keep the Red Flag Flying

Don’t be so miserable, Les

At the end of the day, I plump for the reds.

I only discovered this recently, when I was pinned in front of the telly by a squad of Ms. It was another Derby between Manchester City and Manchester United. The boys have long since despaired of trying to interest me in the game, take them to a game, or even to the big screen at the Spring Gardens. But I am obliged to put in the occasional appearance on the chesterfield.

So I was a little surprised to discover, that when the game stood 1-1, I had a surge of desire (everything is a surge, nowadays) for Man U to go one up. In fact, I think they did. And won.

To what do I attribute my surge (there’s another) of satisfaction? Maybe it’s because I had the pictures of the nineteen sixty six squad on my bedroom wall, and could even name most of them. Or because of a boy called Edwards seemed to know everything there was to know about them, such as Denis Law’s opinion about being put on the transfer list.

Nope: it’s just the colour. For me, blue is not the colour. Would I side with Everton or Liverpool? Spurs or Arsenal? It’s not difficult. We’ll keep the red flag flying here.

I’m not going to nail my political colours to the mast. Though M1 did suggest that a certain blue tie would be just the job to hang a parliament with, only he didn’t put it so politely.

I am happy to report that there has been a small outbreak of political activism at number 72. Someone in the household felt so passionate that they wanted something “new” (or was it something “fair”, or was it just “change”) that a very polite man in a grubby panama planted a flag on the front wall. At least it isn’t blue.

M3 is planning to stay up all night I think. He says that I should be pleased he’s so interested in politics. I’m delighted, I say. Though of course the chance of learning anything about politics in the course of a general election is remote.

Still, I wouldn’t have minded staying up with the neighbours, if I didn’t have work on. We could have baked a ham for the wake.

It might have been a chance for a rant, but I am no better at talking politics than football. However, as you’ve waited so patiently, here is my up-to-the-millennium analysis.

We are really a nation of pillagers, adventurers, freelancers. We’re happiest when we’re sacking London, painting the world pink, saving it from tyranny, or cornering the market in markets. But when we don’t have any special tournament on, we freelancers just to go to pieces.

So here we are, leaning on the old lance, and wondering why it’s all gone wrong. Every few years we bundle ourselves up, and clank over from the Blue Queen’s court to the Red King’s court, or back again. Until someone stumbles across something brilliant, or an invention, or something they've nicked from a foreigner – like the periodic table, printing, boy scouts, or selling euro-bonds.

In the absence of brilliance, give me a nag and a contract.

We’re off!

That’s more like it, children.

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