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View from the House

Greetings from Westminster where it has been a tumultuous week. Two years on from the EU referendum it is clear, whether you like the decision taken or not, the UK remains hugely divided: between the old and the young, graduates and non-graduates, rural towns and metropolitan cities. Our ability as Parliamentarians to bridge these divides remains severely challenged.

But while we may be utterly divided over what we think the future of our relationship with the European Union should look like, amidst the political upheaval and unusually warm weather – football seems to have achieved what politicians cannot, to bring our nation together in support of England in the World Cup.

It has been a momentous two weeks: England have been in four penalty shootouts in the history of the World Cup: in 1990, 1998, 2006 and 2018. Up until last week, England had lost every single one. Indeed, the last time England made it to the semi-final was in 1990. And although Wednesday’s game was not the result we had hoped for, the Country’s renaissance as a football powerhouse will carry on regardless.

The England football team is an interesting prism through which we see the very best of Britain when we come together in unity and the team’s diversity reminds us that there is an England that we can all share.

The praise for Gareth Southgate, England’s manager is well justified, Southgate has led our young diverse and patriotic England team to the World Cup final four. He is more likeable and articulate than his predecessors, and indeed more so than some of the world’s current political leaders!

This tournament departure feels different from previous ones — it has sparked a wave of collective happiness; and it has exemplified what we can achieve with coolheaded, collaborative stalwarts that show our country at its best.

As we look forward to watching England’s final game on Saturday, I am sure I speak on behalf my constituents that they receive the unequivocal and very vocal backing of the Royal Town and a nation beaming with pride.

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