A political rant that only barely belongs here…

I had hugely mixed feelings about something I saw outside the Spurs ground earlier today, when I walked past while Tottenham were beating Man City. It was one of those weird narrow vans with sides sloping in to make a high triangle, viewed from the back, acting as a mobile placard. This one was from the Metropolitan Police. It started something like “Your throat gets hoarse from shouting at the ref – but that won’t stop you going home and shouting at your wife later.” It continued on a very good line about domestic violence not just being about hitting but including psychological abuse, and pointing out that the police no longer require a statement from the victim to make an arrest. This is an area I feel particularly strongly about, and the statement here is a real advance on the last police position I was familiar with.

But there were a couple of things that bothered me. Firstly, some of the people shouting at the ref in the crowd would have husbands rather than wives (and that is leaving aside those with neither, of course). But since the crime they are talking about is predominantly men abusing women, I can forgive that.

But the other bothers me more: does anyone think they park a version of this in the city, with “at the ref” replaced with something like “across a commodities floor”?* This thought troubles me on two levels – the old and repeatedly disproved notion that this crime is restricted to or more common among certain classes, and the assumptions that it implies about football fans, that they are more likely to commit such crimes. I’m well aware that football is sometimes the occasion for violence, and that some of its supporters are violent, but I’m not convinced that that is anything like sufficient evidence of a specially strong correlation.

* Obviously if someone tells me that yes, they’ve seen just that parked outside the Stock Exchange or some such, I withdraw the rest of the paragraph unreservedly.