The Euro final loss is a victory for what’s best about England

A mural of Jadon Sancho’s fellow footballer Marcus Rashford was graffitied after Sunday night’s final. Four semen streaks spurted simultaneously from a tumorous cartoon penis towards Rashford’s face, suggesting a ruined urethra with multiple lesions. Perhaps this satirical penis had been snagged in a waste disposal, caught in a cruel penis trap, or nibbled by a greedy penis mouse in the night. And beneath it, overhung by one gibbous testicle, the incoherent command: “Fuck fuck Sancho shite in a ????? bastard.” (Some letters are obscured by the testicle.) The debate on race in England continues.

The English prime minister, Boris Johnson, tweeted at 7am on Monday, out-swimming a tsunami of accountability: “This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media. Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves.” Doubtless the prime minister’s words made England’s piccaninny players break into watermelon smiles, proud that English racists booed them, the English prime minister having encouraged it. Boris Johnson’s English dog whistle finally worked and now there’s English dog muck everywhere!

“Fuck fuck Sancho shite in a ????? bastard.” Hadn’t Boris Johnson’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities proved that there was no English racism? For the prime minister to condemn something that didn’t exist was Kafkaesque. Tyrone Mings mercilessly mauled Priti Patel: “You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism messages as ‘gesture politics’ and then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against happens.” Zing! I’m here all week!! Try the fish!!!

The English culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, must ensure the graffiti remains on Rashford’s mural, permanently protected by Perspex. Dowden has explained how retaining English slave traders’ statues illuminates the nuanced complexities of our English past and so the phrase “Fuck fuck Sancho shite in a ????? bastard” illuminates the nuanced complexities of our English present. If it was on the wall of an English university, removing it could contravene the Tories’ new higher education (freedom of speech) bill.

English footballers have come a long way since the bad old days when they filmed themselves racially abusing women they were having sex with five years ago. The England team now seem like the only credible moral opposition to the corrupt English government. Gareth Southgate blocked out the ballyhoo of a cynical Tory-stoked culture battle and Sunday’s loss is in fact a victory for everything that is best about England.

It is a victory for decency, thoughtfulness and diplomacy; it is a victory for Gareth Southgate, Marcus Rashford and free school meals; it is a victory for Owen Jones and Ash Sarkar, patriotic pints aloft; it is a victory for first world war soldiers playing a Christmas friendly; it is a victory for suffragettes, Swampy, and the Greenham Common women; it is a victory for David Attenborough and public broadcasting, for Clangers, Wombles and Pogles; it is a victory for Grange Hill, Rastamouse, Horrible Histories, Ghosts and Bing; it is victory for great crested newts, red kites and the baby beaver of Exmoor; it is victory for Alan Turing, Julia Grant and Dusty Springfield’s mascara; it is a victory for I, Daniel Blake, Cathy Come Home and Danny Boyle’s Olympics ceremony; it is a victory for William Blake, Simeon Solomon, William Langland and Viz; it is a victory for Laura Knight, Betty May, Shirley Collins and Nina Hamnett; it is a victory for Tom Robinson; it is a victory for Alexei Sayle; it is a victory for Sathnam Sanghera and Baroness Warsi; it is a victory for Judith Kerr and Nigel Kneale; it is a victory for Alien Kulture, the Angelic Upstarts, Misty in Roots and Rock Against Racism; it is a victory for Lady Leshurr, Shabaka Hutchings and Dry Cleaning; it is a victory for the communal house share from Rock Follies and for Lindsay Cooper’s Feminist Improvising Group; it is a victory for the overlooked second Selecter album, Celebrate the Bullet, and for the overlooked third Specials album, In the Studio, and its attendant singles, Racist Friend, (Free) Nelson Mandela and the 10-inch remix of War Crimes; it is a victory for Stonehenge, Wayland’s Smithy, morris dancing and Pendeen Vau; for Alan Moore, Leo Baxendale, the Cooper’s Hill cheese-rolling and Hawkwind; it is a victory for David Olusoga, Jo Brand, Lenny Henry and the Romany singer Freda Black; it is a victory for Babylon and its Dennis Bovell soundtrack; for Cornish pasties and Jamaican patties; for Brick Lane bagels and Birmingham baltis; it is a victory for the wives from the 70s sitcom Love Thy Neighbour and it is defeat for their husbands; it is a victory for Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and for Scottish independence; it is a victory for asylum seekers, Kent Refugee Action Network and those Sikhs who fed those lorry drivers; it is a victory for John Barnes’s rap on New Order’s World in Motion, for Michael Rosen and for his eternal bear hunt and for every reviled community peace mural in the land; it is a victory for Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka, Paul Ince, Darren Beckford, Mark Stein, Andy Cole, Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football, and, finally, for Jason Lee, forsaken.

And it is a defeat for GB News, Eric Clapton, golliwog merchants, the Lewis Collins SAS film Who Dares Wins, 70s Big D peanuts adverts, Lee Anderson MP listening on his phone and for Boris Johnson and his fabricated English politics of division. And it is a defeat for people who hang tiny sacks of dog muck on trees and for that woman who put that cat in that bin as well. What now, Gareth? Jonathan E? Rollerball? Where are you taking us? We are at your disposal, comatose with hope! They think it’s all over! It could be!! Soon!!!

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