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Call me Elaine

A weekly column reproduced from the Bristol Evening Post

I never thought that I’d write this, but the treatment handed out to our football fans by the newspapers, television and the politicians this week has been an absolute disgrace.

England fans might be knuckle-dragging, beer-swilling low lifes who can’t even get tattoos that are spelt right, but someone needs to stand up for them or we’re all doomed.

It is quite impossible for the Belgian police to arrest over 800 “hooligans”. The vast majority of those lads were handcuffed, beaten and deported for nothing more than simply being English. They were dragged out of bars and restaurants and thrown out of the country for doing nothing more threatening than ordering a pint of strong lager and a bag of chips.

If you want proof, listen to Jack Straw bleating that taking passports away from known hooligans wouldn’t have stopped the trouble in Brussels and Charleroi because very few of the 800 had previous convictions.

Of course they didn’t, Jack, you moron. They’re just ordinary football fans who might like a drink and a sing-song but wouldn’t dream of throwing a bottle or a punch.

Now the Man of Straw has gone even further. Staggering from one crisis to another like a drunk draped in a flag, he blithely announces that anyone arrested abroad, legally or illegally, or even suspected of being a hooligan, will be banned from all grounds in this country.

So some foreign copper doesn’t like the look of you and the next thing you know you can never set foot inside Ashton Gate or the Memorial Ground again. And meanwhile Johnny Turk is swanning around Europe with a meat cleaver down his pants.

This whole thing stinks. They wouldn’t dare do this to us football fans if we were foxes.

Has the world gone mad? A Swindon vicar stands up in the pulpit and asks his congregation to call him Carol in future and nobody blinks an eyelid?

Does nobody object to the Reverend Peter Stone undergoing “gender re-designation” whilst preaching moral values to the rest of us?

I don’t want to be singing All Things Bright and Beautiful while looking at a six-foot blonde with a huge Adam’s apple fighting a losing battle with body hair.

If I turned up at the office one morning wearing a pair of court shoes and asking to be called Elaine, I’d be run out of the joint. They’d be giving me Chinese burns in the smoke room and laughing when my mascara ran.

This cannot be right. Still, at least the pretty choirboys will be able to stop worrying.

Speaking of foxes, I do believe that Mr Blah has made a fatal error in allowing a vote on banning hunting with dogs to actually go ahead.

We’ve grown used to him wheeling out this election pledge every time he hits trouble, but after getting roughed up by the Women’s Institute a battle with the Countryside Alliance is the last thing he needs.

These people know what they’re doing. Have you ever been to a country fair, a garden fete or a gymkhana? The organisation is ruthless and efficient.

They’ll be shooting hounds on the steps of Number 10, spraying the House of Commons with liquid manure and blocking the M4 with tractors. He hasn’t got a chance.

Incidentally, this law won’t apply north of the border because the new parliament in Jockland will reach its own decision. Does that mean the Scottish MPs in Westminster will abstain as the outcome has nothing to do with them or their constituents?

No? Thought not.

– Barry Beelzebub

* The views of Mr Beelzebub are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editor or staff of this newspaper, of all the lucky people who are going to get a giant blue Ikea box built on their doorstep, of all the workshy soap-dodgers passing through on their way to Glastonbury, or of all the ginger-headed people who still haven’t learned that when the suns shines, they should lock themselves in a dark cellar.

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