In the past fortnight, with the World Cup in full flow, football has been repeatedly mentioned in the House of Commons, used in international relationships and on the frontpages and leading the news bulletins of the media. In honour of England’s second round match against Germany on Sunday at 3pm, Total Politics here gives a round-up of the top political uses of the football in the 2010 World Cup.
1)George Osborne’s Budget speech, 22 June 2010.
Softening the blow after announcing a VAT rise to 20 per cent the Chancellor of the Exchequer used football patriotism to gain public support: "We have decided to reverse the previous Government's plans to increase the duty on cider by 10 per cent above inflation and the reduction will come into effect at the end of this month-just in time to celebrate England's progress to the quarter finals, or else to drown our sorrows."
2)The Sun, The Mirror and New Statesman, 24 June 2010.
After England’s victory against Slovenia set up a match against Germany in the next round, the media have made Germany Britain’s political enemy as well as their English sporting rival. The Sun newspaper published the headline "Herr we go again" and The Mirror wrote "whenever England and Germany meet in sporting clashes, it’s built up as a re-enactment of the world wars". While, in the New Statesman, Sunder Katwala recollects how fans have chanted "two world wars and one World Cup".
3)Dame Helen Mirren on “Late Show with David Letterman”, 14 June 2010.
Miss Mirren associates the BP oil spill with "Britain’s" bid to win the World Cup suggesting that sport has a large influence on international relations. On the USA v England match she commented: "I was so relieved it was a draw because, you know, if Britain had beaten America, what with BP, which to my mind stands for bloody piss poor...." She was then cut off by applause before continuing: "I mean I don't think I could have come on this show, I would have been so embarrassed and mortified at being British that I think I would have had to cancel."
4)Jeremy Hunt and Dr Thérse Coffey, 20 June 2010.
In a Parliamentary question, Coffey asked about England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup she commented that: "If I had not had the joy of being elected to this House, I would have been in South Africa right now, watching the games." The Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport seemed to add a minor jibe in his response: "I was in South Africa at the weekend, doing my job."
5)A selection of David Cameron’s World Cup moments:
12 June 2010
Before England’s first match against the USA, Cameron posts a "come on England" video to entrench his parliamentary slogan, "we’re all in this together". In the video he says: "I keep saying: ‘We’re all in this together.’ And that’s particularly true when it comes to cheering on the England team."
25 June 2010
Today, from the G-20 summit in Canada the PM told GMTV that he would be avoiding Angela Merkel on Sunday because "we might get a bit carried away".