‘We have no choice but to confront the very worst aspects of English football’

Your digest of analysis and commentary from the British and international press

Raheem Sterling taking the knee
Raheem Sterling taking the knee
(Image credit: Justin Tallis/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

1. Southgate showed us a new England. But the old one hasn’t gone away

David Olusoga for The Guardian

on post-match racism

This week, despite our country’s “collective sense of heartbreak”, we should have been celebrating England’s second-place finish at the Euros, says historian and broadcaster David Olusoga in The Guardian. “Instead, in a damp week, in a so-far largely dismal summer, as a third wave of a pandemic spreads invisibly among us, we are forced to defend our national team from an outpouring of hate.” The “toxic racism and swaggering hyper-nationalism” we’ve seen since England’s loss on Sunday has “left millions feeling excluded from the national game, and damaged our reputation abroad”. We’ve been forced to confront “the very worst aspect of English football” as well as the “ugliest strains of English nationalism”, exacerbated by government figures who “allowed that poison to fester”. But we cannot forget that the team and their remarkable manager have proven “that there is another path, another form of English patriotism, another way of being together and – if enough of us want it – another England”.

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2. Space tourism? It will never give me a Buzz

Craig Brown for the Daily Mail

on Branson’s space flight

“It's odd that three of the wealthiest men on Earth – Sir Richard, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk – are so desperate to go into space. Why are they so fidgety?” questions Craig Brown in the Daily Mail. Is the view even all it’s cracked up to be? My suspicion is that the Earth from space looks exactly like “what you would expect”, he says. It would be a bit like “when you set eyes for the first time on the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Statue of Liberty” and “your first thought is not one of wonder, but of familiarity. ‘Gosh!’ you say. ‘It looks just like it does in the photos!’” The explanation for this extraterrestrial obsession must be an “excess of money” which “has a strange effect on those possessed of it, or by it”. Asks Brown: “Why else build your own rocket?”

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3. We’re learning the hard way that flashing isn’t trivial

Sara Tor for The Times

on Sarah Everard’s killer

“The problem with a patriarchal society,” writes Sara Tor in The Times, “is that, among other things, great importance is given to male genitalia.” Wayne Couzens, the police officer who pleaded guilty on 9 July to raping and murdering 33-year-old Sarah Everard in March, was accused of indecent exposure three times – twice “just days” before he abducted the marketing executive. “I’m outraged but not surprised,” writes Tor. “Male genitalia may as well parade around on a velvet cushion, we give them that much significance. Our language equates courage with having balls. Our teenagers doodle penises on steamed-up bus windows or chewing gum-patterned school desks and no one blinks an eye. As a result of this attitude to men’s privates, the law promises not much more than a slapped wrist for indecent exposure, so long as the man hasn’t done it before.”

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4. To help Haiti, stop trying to save it

Bret Stephens for The New York Times

on what next for Haiti

To really help Haiti following last week’s assassination of President Jovenel Moise, the best thing the United States can do is “as little as possible – and, if possible, a bit less”, says Bret Stephens in The New York Times. What the US owes Haiti is what it’s already giving: “legal and forensic aid” to help establish the facts about Moise’s murder. But what the US can’t help Haiti with are “the facts that led up to it – the endemic corruption, rampant lawlessness and institutional decay” which have “long crippled” the country and make “nearly every form of foreign assistance not only useless but also harmful”. The best way to help would be for the US to “stop the flow of aid” to Haiti, “except during humanitarian emergencies”. “The greatest gift the Biden administration can give the people of Haiti is to stop trying to save them.”

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5. I was a child when I fled from the Nazis to the UK – refugees today deserve safety here too

Lord Alf Dubs for Metro.co.uk

on Britain’s treatment of refugee children

“I can’t help but feel emotionally involved in the lives of the refugee children of today, although I’d like to think I would be campaigning on their behalves regardless of my background,” writes campaigner and politician Lord Alf Dubs on Metro.co.uk. In June 1939, when Lord Dubs was six, he left Czechoslovakia for the UK on the Kindertransport. His aunt and uncle died in Auschwitz and, after his father died from a heart attack, he was raised in England by his mother – a refugee who didn’t speak the language. “Europe is now facing the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War when Britain took in 10,000 refugee children like me who would otherwise have perished,” says Lord Dubs. “I would like to see the UK live up to its proud humanitarian tradition and take its fair share” of children fleeing violence, as other European countries have done. “I’d like to feel the refugee children arriving today… would be given as warm a welcome and the opportunities that Britain gave me.”

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