England and Southgate stop divisive politicians hijacking Euro 2020 success | Euro 2020

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As Gareth Southgate’s players revelled in the ecstasy and singalongs at a joyful Wembley on Wednesday and millions celebrated beyond, England itself seemed transported, not like a country bruised by divisive politicians, waging their dismal culture wars.

Boris Johnson was there, trying to fit in, and there is a feeling his government had a draft script for the Euros, if they thought about football very much at all. England doing well at a packed Wembley would somehow broadcast a triumph for Brexit, for the vaccine rollout, for how well the government wrestled with the Covid mugger and all that. But neither Johnson nor the home secretary, Priti Patel, thought it through before they supported the booing of the England team taking the knee before pre-tournament matches, thereby antagonising the players – and recklessly stoking racism in football that campaigners have fought 40 years to kick out.

Yet this group of players, continuing to take the knee and…

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