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Other teams might be better at scoring and defending, but England can still win World Cup

Russian roulette: fans will be hoping that Raheem Sterling and his England team-mates can lead the country to World Cup glory
Russian roulette: fans will be hoping that Raheem Sterling and his England team-mates can lead the country to World Cup glory

By Mark Steel

The current debate about Brexit and the European Union proves that Iain Duncan Smith must be sent immediately to Russia to help England's chances in the World Cup. No balanced human being can possibly understand it and, if anyone does, they're probably a serial killer. So, it's marvellous how a few people have succeeded in clarifying the points that really matter.

The Sun was particularly helpful, informing us this week that we were facing 'The Great British Betrayal' by MPs too friendly towards Europe. The paper proved this by putting pictures on their front page of things you can get in Britain.

There was the roller coaster from Alton Towers. That explained matters for me. How can these treacherous MPs threaten to vote in favour of staying in the AEIOU Agreement on Scotch eggs when some people like to go up and then quickly down?

Next to Alton Towers on the front page was Stonehenge. The stones were lined up so the sun passes through them on Midsummer's Day, whereas before Stonehenge was built, the heat from the sun all went to Europe.

The Neolithic people then clenched their fists in unison and growled: "We've got our sun back" while performing a ritual dance. But if they'd known Dominic Grieve and other traitorous Tories would propose an amendment to something or other 5,000 years later, they wouldn't have bothered.

One of the votes this week was a debate on whether there should, at a later stage, be another vote that is "meaningful". You can see how this annoys any true patriot, because proper British people would insist we only have meaningless votes.

So, we must be grateful to Iain Duncan Smith for putting the issue into words we can all understand. "The EU has remorselessly set out to humiliate us," he said. "They want to impose their will and force the UK to repent."

And that's why the European Union was set up. All the treaties and conferences and agreements and tariffs and courts and elections - they were all part of a giant plan to humiliate Britain.

Back in 1960, Charles de Gaulle phoned up Luxembourg and said: "Here, do you fancy being part of our plan? We're going to humiliate Britain by imposing an agreement on margarine that works marginally in our favour. Are you in?"

We must have the resolve to leave the table and break off the talks altogether, Iain Duncan Smith explained.

And if anyone is concerned what might happen then, that means they're traitors because we'll be fine, because we're Britain.

The difficulty is that every time the vague notion of getting our country back runs up against the real world, the real world tends to win.

So, although one of the main points of the Brexit campaign was to reduce immigration, the Government has had to relax immigration controls for skilled workers - especially for the NHS.

This is another betrayal, because we should say, "Sod the real world", and when you're lying on a trolley in A&E with your kidneys hanging out and no one to put them back in, you should be shown a picture of the Spinball Whizzer ride at Alton Towers. That works better than some foreigner.

This is why Iain Duncan Smith must be sent to Russia. Because we're approaching the point in a four-year cycle when, despite all historical, social and sporting evidence, England convinces itself it has a chance of winning the World Cup.

It'll scrape a draw with Tunisia and beat 473rd world-ranked Panama and announce it's a major contender, because other teams might be better at defending and scoring and goalkeeping and throw-ins, but this is England and anyone who disagrees must stop talking the country down.

If England is 2-0 down against Belgium at half-time and England midfielder Dele Alli asks how to deal with the driving runs of De Bruyne and his accurate passing to a dominant Lukaku, Iain can say: "We deal with it by being England, you traitor. Don't ask questions. We're England.

"And if they try to score again, we should all leave the pitch, shouting, 'No deal is better than a bad deal'. They'll be terrified."

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