Times are hard at the Radio Times. No one buys TV listings magazines for the sake of TV listings anymore so they’ve had to resort to more attention-grabbing measures to keep up with the demands of the 21st century consumer. Like racism!
In probably the most farcical case of parochialism since the EDL set up a Spanish ex-pat division, propa Cockney geezer ‘ardman and sometime soccer ‘ooligan (and resident of Los Angeles) Vinnie Jones has taken to the pages of the redundant listings glossy for a rant about how immigrants are ruining his dear old Engerland and nothing is quite the same as it used to be. It’s exemplary stuff from a fading-celebrity-with-a-new-thing-to-promote … after all, if you’re some has-been old fuck that doesn’t live in the UK anymore and you need to remind everyone of your existence ahead of your latest book deal/series on an obscure satellite channel, what could be better than calling up your publicist, spewing some bile about how the women/gays/brown people/the poor are ruining everything and should get back to knowing their place and sitting back, relaxing and waiting for the outraged think pieces in the Guardian, the tentative dog-whistle approval from the Daily Mail and, if you’re really lucky, maybe even topping the showbiz round-up on This Morning! If you need some cheap publicity it’s a hell of a lot easier than having to spend weeks prancing about on Strictly Come Celebrity Dancing anyway.
It’s not the country I grew up in. It’s a European country now. If someone blindfolded you and put you on a plane in LA, and you landed at Heathrow and they took it off, you wouldn’t have a clue where you were…. I just think we should get our own house in order before we open our doors. It’s mind-boggling to me.
First things first, if some hypothetical kidnap situation was to arise where you end up blindfolded at LHR, chances are your approximate whereabouts would probably become quite clear after seeing the massive WELCOME TO HEATHROW signs. So does Vinnie just mean there’s a lot of you know… foreigners at Heathrow? Yes catch up dear, it’s a fucking international airport.
It seems Vinnie’s issue is bigger than the mere racial mix at the Terminal 5 arrivals hall though. There’s also far too many foreign football players in England, he continues, who are squeezing out home-grown talent and sending it the way of the “Dodo bird. Extinct” (Dodo birds are extinct just in case you were wondering). Of course, our man Vinnie knows a thing or two about this subject, having been born and raised in Watford but playing his international career with er, Wales!
It’s all very confusing for Vinnie, who doesn’t appear to have been keeping up much with British politics of late, admitting he’s “not familiar” with UKIP (which is perhaps just as well), Rather, he’s been busy carving out a small piece of England in another continent, forced from the UK by the circumstances of it being “past its sell by date” (waheyyy at least he got something right!). If anything, this seems to be a full-time job in itself – tracking down Ribena for $14 a bottle and importing Walkers crisps by the boxload (hopefully these too aren’t past their sell-by-date by the time they arrive):
I get my Walkers crisps delivered once a month. I have a box of Roast Chicken, a box of Salt and Vinegar, and a box of Monster Munch
Vinnie Jones is hardly the first celebrity to spout off about how they’re through with the UK, and nor will he be the last. Indeed, this blog’s very first Weekly Wanker accolade went to Vinnie’s fellow champion chump, one Ray Winstone, who was at the time using an analogy about “the country being raped” to explain why he doesn’t like paying tax very much and that he could “see himself leaving” the UK. As fucking stupid, downright offensive and Weekly Wanker worthy as their comments are, they’re symptomatic of the identity crisis currently facing the UK – from the impending constitutional crisis over Scottish independence, to the government’s macho posturing over welfare and immigration. to being at loggerheads over the EU and, in the piercing words of an anonymous Russian diplomat, being “a small island no one listens to”. To that last remark, Cameron’s comeback amounted to little more than a checklist of past glories, that Britain “invented sport and fought fascism”. We live in a country defined by vapid nostalgia and its own sense of self worth, with both left and right stuck in the past and constantly drawn back to their respective mythical golden eras. Vinnie’s right that we need to “get our own house in order”, but rather than harking back to a bygone day when ‘England was ENGLAND’, a better place to start would be recognising that the UK is moribund, the institutions that once held it together in terminal decline and/or run by Serco. Britain needs to get over itself – not everyone has the luxury of moving to LA to find their Jerusalem, monster munch and all. We’re making a stab at it in Scotland, and we’ve written before about how the English left needs to find its own two feet and break with Britain.
Anyway, I wish Vinnie well as he continues his new life in a state where only nearly 30% of people are, like himself, foreign-born immigrants, sorry er… ex-pats. Honestly, if someone blindfolded you and stuck you on a plane there, you wouldn’t have a clue where you were…
Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AThousandFlowers
Follow us on Twitter @unsavourycabal