Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Cheering The Enemy

I was intrigued by this article by Donata Huggins in the Telegraph, articulating her shock at Gordon Brown being cheered at the Paralympics while George Osbourne was booed:
Crowds at the Paralympics this week booed George Osborne and cheered Gordon Brown. Yes, you read that right
Huggins is clearly astonished and baffled by this behaviour and doesn't understand so can only put forward the argument that it must be due to the stupidity of the British public, ill-disguised as this comment:
I cannot believe how short the public's memory is.
There is of course another explanation. When people have limited power they express their disaffection in the only ways available that they can. For example, when football fans fundamentally don't agree with their manager or board and have fallen out, they begin to celebrate opposition goals during a thrashing - as a way of trying to humiliate their own club. It's an expression which confirms powerlessness against vested interests.

Jonathan Aitken makes a similar point in his book, Porridge and Passion documenting his time in prison for perverting the course of justice, particularly when Michael Howard former Home Secretary visited him, which resulted in immature behaviour from the Prison Officers' Association:
The row between the screws and the Special Branch Officers continued for most of the visit, thereby alerting everyone in the room to this public spat between two traditional enemies: the police and the Prison Service. As a consequence, several prisoners decided to demonstrate their support for [Michael Howard my visitor].

As the visiting session ended with each inmate being called out by name, a dozen or so prisoners put on little demonstrations of respect towards the former Home Secretary. 'Good afternoon, Mr Howard,' 'Nice to see you at Standford Hill, Mr Howard,' 'Good to 'ave you with us sir,' and 'Thanks for coming to show yer loyalty to yer old friend, Mr Howard', were some of the bouquets tossed in Michael's direction by inmates passing our table as they left the visiting hall.

The point they were making was if the screws were going to be rude then the cons were going to be polite. It was a rather better point than any made that afternoon by the Prison Officers' Association.
So what better way of expressing discontent against Osborne than cheer on Brown who left him such a toxic legacy? Osborne the same chancellor't have successful budget in March and whose budget we the people pay for have absolutely no control over.

The only option left is to cheer a massively failed man in order to piss Osborne off. Such nuances though are above Huggins' head


  1. Or is it maybe that the Paralympic competitors and their audience are overwhelmingly those who suck at the teat of the State?

  2. spot on analysis and well ilustrated using the football ananlogy of the phycology of crowds with a common interest....

  3. I'd never cheer him on, no matter what.

  4. @anonymous 5/9 15:39

    That's about the only thing that comes to mind when trying to figure out what they were cheering for.

    The only other thing that came to mind is the aspect that Jeremy Clarkson referred to.