I left my cricket club as a young man because they convened a committee meeting to discuss whether we could allow a Pakistani member. I didn’t want any part of an outfit dumb enough to need to discuss such matters. The only fair question was whether he could play the game – and given the lack of such ability through the club even this would have been dubious. I returned when sense prevailed and the banter we exchanged in encouragement included me calling him an idle Indian when his bowling slacked and him questioning the width of my waist-line to the nearest yard and muttering ‘Englishman’ under his breath (a sure insult to a Scot).
Racism is rubbish, but sticks and stones break bones, words (allegedly) never hurting us. In the natch, Evra clearly went to kick Soares out of the ground with a tackle so inept it almost put his own player, Ferdinand, into hospital. Against this, the words and gestures should pale to insignificance.
Racism remains in politically correct people in scientific tests. This doesn’t make it right, but does indicate that properly mannered speech isn’t the ‘cure’. Nor is a situation in which our own people find themselves without work at decent rates of pay AND increasing net migration. The scandal is an economics and governance that gives people reason to blame immigrants for their poverty, crime, lack of housing and the rest. This is where the resolving debate should lie. Not around the increasingly vapid ‘beautiful game’.
Today’s overdue Disaei convictions are a more significant anti-racist move than anything political correctness has achieved.