It’s not often that I disagree with James, but I don’t think that David Cameron returns from Zurich with egg on his face. Of
course, we Scots learn to see the upside in sporting defeat, but I really do believe the World Cup bid was a credit to England – and to the Prime Minister.
That video which Pete blogged yesterday spoke with incredible elegance: England is already the home of world
football. People get up at 4am in Singapore to watch Manchester United and Chelsea play, and I suspect most Man Utd fans have never visited Britain, let alone Old Trafford. It’s an
extraordinary national asset, an area where Britain punches above its weight time and time again.
Cameron himself will doubtless have had daydreams of doing a Blair (who personally turned around the IOC to win the 2012 Olympic bid) – but, as this morning’s papers suggest, FIFA is rotten to the
core. For England to win just two votes looks suspicious.
I don’t really share the condemnation of the BBC and Panorama: if FIFA doesn’t like a country which has a free press whose priorities differ from those of the government, then they
chose the right winner yesterday. God knows the FA has its problems, and that Britain’s infrastructure is nothing boast about (as anyone who has commuted today will now). But the final stages
of the bid, where Cameron formed a troika with Prince William and Beckham, were something to be proud of.
In a year’s time, if I’m asked what’s great about Britain, one of the things I’ll point to is that promotional video showing fans the world over tuning in to English
football. The whole process reminded me about why it’s great to be British. If Cameron had stayed home worried that he’d be associated with a failed bid (as Brown would have done), then
he might deserve some criticism. He fought a good fight, and should be proud of it.
Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.