They (the iron triangle of political/media/academia) have their self interests which clearly doesn’t include the interests of that demographic.
The Football Lads Alliance is a working-class movement – and the political class wants to ignore it
Politicians are always going on about ‘the voiceless’. By which they usually mean poor and working-class people. People who have been shunted from public life and never get to air their concerns. At the Conservative party conference Theresa May styled herself ‘voice of the voiceless’ (before, too ironically, becoming voiceless herself). Impeccably bred Corbynistas, all bleeding-heart ABC1s, dream of giving a leg-up to the little people and having more working-class voices in politics. Which makes it odd, then, that on Saturday, London hosted one of the largest working-class demonstrations of recent years and these weepers for the voiceless said nothing. Nada. Zilch.
Ah, but these were the wrong kind of working-class people. They were the Football Lads Alliance (FLA), a fascinating grassroots movement founded earlier this year to protest against terrorism and the ideologies that fuel it. These Football Lads had their first demo on 24 June. Thousands descended on London Bridge, site of an Islamist massacre just three weeks earlier, and held a traffic-stopping demo against extremism. On Saturday they had their second gathering. An estimated 10,000 fans brought Park Lane to a standstill. Rival fans, from Spurs, West Ham, Leeds and other teams, rubbed shoulders, held wreaths in the colours of their clubs, and listened peacefully as speakers railed against hateful extremism and slammed the branding of people who criticise Islamism as ‘Islamophobic’.
It was a very rare thing in the 21st century: a march organised by working-class people and attended by working-class people. Thousands of them. Most marches these days are packed with public-sector types, plummy anti-fascists, and Guardian columnists who must maintain their rad cred by occasionally traipsing through the streets with people holding dusty trade-union banners. But the two FLA marches have been different. They have been cries from below. And they’ve been all but ignored. Sure, there has been media coverage, but it has been perfunctory. Despite being big, stirring and novel — people in football shirts gathering in their thousands to confront the ideology of terror! — the demos haven’t trended online or attracted much attention from the ‘voice for the voiceless’ brigade. They don’t want to hear those voices.
Modern politicos, of both the Maybot and Corbynista variety, like ‘the voiceless’ when they’re hard-up mums having to visit food banks or out-of-work young people who feel let down by the world. When they’re people who need a therapeutic pat and a handout. But working blokes who spend their Saturdays on the terraces and whose political beef is with the rise of a murderous ideology that has claimed 34 lives in Britain this year? They have no interest in them. They’re scared of them, in fact. They’d prefer it those voiceless people, those ruffians, those oiks with strong views, stayed voiceless.