This is supposed to be, as the media are forever telling us, the people's game, our World Cup, etc., etc. But we have little or no say in it. We generate the passion but all the officials see are the buckets of cash. The governing bodies of football, both national and international, are remote, out of touch and above all travesties of democracy. So long as big business and the multi-nationals control the game and shape it in their interests, this will continue to be the reality of things. The fightback should start now, starting with the grassroots supporters groups, to ensure that fans have a say in the game, alongside the players and coaches, and that big business is given the red card.
In August 1931 the Labour prime minister, Ramsay MacDonald, crossed the floor of the Commons with a handful of supporters to join with the Tories and Liberals in forming a National Government. This event was considered one of the greatest betrayals in the history of the Labour Party. More than sixty-five years later, voices have once again been raised about the need for a radical realignment of British politics and the formation of some kind of coalition. "If Blair is the Ramsay MacDonald of the Nineties," warns the Observer, "he could be getting his National Government in early as well." (24/9/95). Tony Benn has also recently drawn parallells between today and the period of 1929-31 and the formation of the National Government.
We hear a lot about the Third Way these days. But does this represent anything new or is it just the socialdemocrats recognising that there is no longer any room for manouvre? Barbara Humphries looks at where these ideas come from and what do they really mean.