What could be more important than life and death. Well former Liverpool football club manager bill Shankley was once asked if football was a matter of life and death to him?
Bill, or Shanks as he was affectionately know, replied, Erm no, its more important than that.
People around the world have different ways of dealing with matters of life and death. Americans tend to take refuge in exaggerated displays of religiosity, the French affect existential nonchalance, and Germans start working on a survival plan. Id like to say that Italians would sing an operatic aria or find someone to have sex with but as the Politically Correct Thought Police patrol these blog posts Id probably get in trouble.
We British, when faced with impending doom simply refuse to take the threat seriously.
If a huge tidal wave swept up the Thames Estuary towards London, The Queen and Prince Phillip would probable lead a conga line around Piccadilly Circus, if the most destructive ever recorded was advancing on our capital, Londoners would be doing the Lambeth Walk in Tube Stations and generally behaving as if they were enjoying a jolly holiday.
Americans say Its the end of the world, the French say, Cest rien and the British say, You have to laugh or else youll cry. Stoicism; if you expect life to be a bag oshite you will never be disappointed. If we are being honest about ourselves we ought persuade our neighbours across the pond to forget all that self help crap about positive thinking. Britons may sing God Save The Queen for the sake of appearances but our real national anthem, the one recorded on our hearts is Always Look On The Bright Side from Monty Pythons Life of Brian. It might sound like a paean to positive thinking but were famous for irony.
When out most famous positive thinking addict Tony Blair swept to power his campaign song was Things Can Only Get Better. Because the British know beyond doubt that no matter how bad things are they can always get worse we had jokes about Blairs inevitable failure in circulation the day he was sworn in as Prime Minister. With most of s protected by our cynicism only the terminally starry eyed were surprised when Blair screwed up.
As the world faces the twin catastrophes of climate change and failure of the global economy and the British joke about it I am beginning if we are perhaps getting a tad too silly.
Today, as I started to read an article by the Labour governments Climate Change Secretary Ed. Milliband (the one of the Milliband Brothers who looks less like a Thunderbirds Puppet) my eyes fell on the words, For two million people who live on sandbanks in Bangladesh, climate change is a matter of life and death.
And I thought, for two million people who live on Merseyside football is more important than that.
We must get our priorities right.