Saturday, March 11, 2017

Brexit Explained by Hooliganism

I recently read Bill Buford's fascinating 1990 book Among the Thugs. The book is a captivating look at the 8 years Buford spent learning the behavior and motivations of the world of English football (soccer) hooliganism. Three of the main motivations for acts of violence by club supporters were loyalty, patriotism and helplessness. On page 301 Buford writes:

Many things fell into place. This chant [England! England! England!]; it was the only one I had heard in a day otherwise characterized by its enforced sullen silence. And now: this declaration for England. It was such a simple but enormous thought: these fools, despised at home, ridiculed in the press, incapable of being contained by any act of impulsive legislation that the government had devised, wanted an England to defend. They didn't want Europe: they didn't understand Europe and didn't want to. They wanted a war. They wanted a nation to belong to and fight for, even if the fight was this absurd piece of street theater with the local Italian police.

That single paragraph helps in large part to explain why the Brexit vote was so successful.

Pick up the book if you have a chance. It's worth the read.

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