Likewise I also write a while back several pieces for Business and Politics about Football Fascism. Now gone!
Here’s the first one, written before the previous UK General Election in 2010. Its wise message still holds:
According to my watch it is 29 March. April Fool’s Day is not yet with us. So what are we to make of this piece in the Guardian, suggesting that the Labour Government has plans to compel football clubs to hand over shares to football supporters?
Read the whole horrible thing. And marvel: The plans include:
• Requiring clubs to hand a stake of up to 25% to fans in recognition of their links with their local community
• Implementing a change-of-control clause that would allow fans a window to put together a takeover of their club if it was up for sale or went into administration
• Giving the football authorities a deadline to reform the FA and remove “vested interests” from the board, and streamline decision making.
More: Legal advice is being sought on the idea of a change of ownership at a club triggering a mandatory window for fans to take the opportunity to shape the ownership structure and buy the club at a price set by an external, independent auditor. Under the proposals, fans would be free to set up their co-operative style model, shareholding trust or other structure that enabled them to have a say in the club. While the government will reiterate that it has no desire to regulate football directly, the prime minister believes the democratisation of football club ownership taps into wider themes about the “mutualisation” of public services and the need for regulatory reform.
Clear, undiluted, collectivist looting.
Why? Because football is not a ‘public service’. Because the ownership of a football club – like the ownership of a local tennis club, or a website, or a factory, or a sweet-shop, or a computer – is a matter of private law. It is none of this government’s damn business (or indeed the fans’ business) what happens to a football club and its ownership. If so-called fans want to raid their piggy-banks and buy part of club as and when it comes up for sale, let them put in bids in an open-market way like anyone else.
So what if Manchester United and Liverpool are massively in debt? Let them go bust if they can not pay their way. A few decades in the lower divisions will do them no harm – plenty of clubs in lower divisions were huge names many years ago.
More! The fact that they go bust if they can not pay their way is not a bug – it’s a feature. It shows everyone what not to do.
Back in Whitehall which civil servants are prepared to put their signatures on papers mulling over such Chavezite-Leninist confiscation of private property? Why are they all not resigning in protest? Who cares what the Prime Minister ‘believes’ about the democratisation of football club ownership for mutualised community benefit? If he believes that he has the right to loot private property for the sake of his febrile beliefs, he should be arrested on conspiracy charges.
Central to the fascistization of public life in the UK and in much of the formerly free Western world is the collectivist notion that anything out there is basically ‘public’, not private. You want to smoke in a private place such as a pub or even a private club? Sorry – it’s now a public place. You want to watch for free a major private sporting event? Fine – the owners will have to agree to sell it to the BBC at less than the market rate. And that having got that idea launched, the people who best define ‘public’ needs (ie socialists, fascists and communists) necessarily must be those who decide what then happens with such public property. Who else shows the sensitivity to ‘the community’?
Related to this is the idea that if something happens which is unpopular or hurts people’s feelings, the government ‘has to act’. This sort of thinking ultimately turns on the insane idea that somehow there is an ‘equilibrium’ state for society, a way to balance rival interests and mange change which is best left to the state to identify. Yet do as I did this morning and drive from Faringdon to Woodstock. The state can not even fix the soaring number of holes in the roads which its own mis-allocation of resources has created. Why should it grab the power to steal football clubs?
See also Climate Change, where we are proclaimed to be able to tinker with our global energy usage to the point of stopping the climate changing. But what would happen to the planet if the climate did not change?
I am a former civil servant. I know what this sort of thing means in practice. More and more myriad complexities of cause and effect and risk-taking and profit-and-loss management get removed from the Wisdom of Crowds as represented by the market-place, and in-sourced to government departments. To tired civil servants sitting in tawdry offices with signs Celebrating Diversity! and Promoting Change! sellotaped to flat wall surfaces. Issues get put into Categories. Targets and Road-maps and Objectives start to breed round them. What? Life does not fit into these categories? But it must! And it will!
The civil servants will be using slow, sub-optimal computers, legacies of previous ‘resource round’ inefficiencies. Their data recall processes are in disarray; no-one has gripped the public records data-storage function properly. They can not weed out lazy weak colleagues, since the appraisal system is rotten with political correctness. No-one there will have any idea of how to balance short-term, likely winners against medium-term not-so-likely but bigger-if-it-works winners – it is theoretically impossible to do so. So they’ll take the easy option and go along with whatever bullying new populist idea Ministers come up with. Confiscate football clubs? Whatever.
Maybe all this is simply a Stupid Noise emitted by Labour only to try to whip up a few more lumpen underclass votes. But … what if they get re-elected?