Wednesday, 17 February 2010

The Tyne-Wear Derby & Remedial English History

"The Tyne-Wear derby may be perceived by the uninitiated as parochial and unsophisticated, but like the world's greatest derbies it has a historical conflict as its bedrock. And if anything, as a basis for a rivalry, the Sunderland-Newcastle derby is the most legitimate conflict anywhere."
Bullshit, it is a parochial sporting rivalry nothing more - and there is nothing wrong with that. The sporting rivalry between the two football clubs in question - SAFC (Sunderland Association Football Club) and NUFC (Newcastle United Football Club) is actually quite recent and arguably a result of the popularization of the motor car - making travel between grounds easier and leading to increased ticket prices thereby encouraging fans (to whom money did not grow on trees) to choose one team over the other. Even as recently as the 60s it was still relatively common for fans to regularly attend matches of either team.
"It became a conflict between Sunderland's socialist republicanism, against Newcastle's loyalist self-interest."
Bullshit again. This is Richard Stonehouse shite-hawking in the Observer some five years ago; an article to which I was alerted by a thread on Ready To Go, a SAFC message board.

It's true that the "Roundheads" (the name given to the league of various political factions opposing the dictatorial rule of Charles I) found large support in Sunderland, but they were neither socialists nor even republicans; they were in fact fighting not against monarchy per se, but for the establishment of a constitutional monarchy. In fact the Roundheads, although they executed Charles I, actually failed to achieve any substantial political reform. That dirty little shit Charles II, upon succeeding to the throne following the murder of his father, never took them or Parliament seriously and took the piss for years - starting a perverse war with the Dutch and treacherously trying to sell England out to Louis XIV on the side.

In fact, the aim of establishing a constitutional monarchy wasn't realized until, with the support of men like the 1st Earl of Shaftesbury, and through his marriage to Mary, William of Orange was able to ship his way across from Holland to take the English Crown. I don't know to what extent William himself was convinced of the rightness of accepting constitutional limits upon his power, and there can be no doubt that he was considerably indebted to the political maneuvering of Shaftesbury, but insofar as "architectural responsibility" for the massive political reforms can be attributed to any one man then John Locke must certainly be in the running for that particular crown. That these reforms were carried out in the cause of freedom of religion and freedom of thought and together came to be known as the "Glorious Revolution" is now all but commonly forgotten in England.

It was on the 300th anniversary of William III's Glorious Revolution that Mark E. Smith found occasion to make the point: "He is NOT appreciated."

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