#More in Common


Mark Perryman explains why in any match of Hope vs Hate Philosophy Football knows which side we are on

The shocking news of MP Jo Cox's murder has affected us all. A terrible crime that begins with hate for a neighbour because of where they came from. A hate that is amplified by politicians and media to serve their own interests and never mind the consequences. A process that ends with this and who knows even worse to come.

Britain isn’t alone in suffering any of this, a tidal wave of hate-politics is sweeping Europe. The Freedom Party in Austria, Front National in France, AfD in Germany, Jobik in Hungary, Golden Dawn in Greece, Liga Nord in Italy and more. A racism that exploits and encourages division. A populism that offers easy answers to close down the space for difficult questions. A culture that promotes exclusion, intimidation and isolation.

‘Our cars are German, our vodka is Russian, our pizzas Italian…’ Who would ever have imagined that coffee would replace tea as Great Britain’s favourite. Or wine overtake beer as the most popular tipple. Fish and chips vs Chicken Tikka Masala. Cheese and cucumber sarnies vs pitta and humous.  Does this mean national identities no longer exist? Of course not. But we co-exist and for the most part are the better off for it.

Immigration doesn’t happen by accident. We live in a world of bloody wars, extremities of inequality and increasingly the catastrophic social impact of climate change. These more than anything else cause rising levels of movement of population from every part of the world.  And on our own continent European youth culture is interconnected in a way unimaginable only a decade or so ago. This is the easyjet generation of  twitter, facebook and instagram. Thus living and working in another country is both possible and practical. Immigration? This is about emigration too. A Europe where another country which was once perhaps a holiday destination today provides a workplace.

Interconnections in a Europe of possibilities isn’t what most politicians talk about. In their absence hate fills the gap. That’s why Philosophy Football has always actively backed the Hope not Hatecampaign. While others have done far more than us we made our own contribution. We coined the slogan 'Hope not Hate', designed the logo, produced and donated banners to decorate the Barking cHQ in the succesful 2010 General Election campaign to defeat Nick Griffin and his BNP, helped raise funds and tramped the streets spreading the message. And so when we read that Jo Cox’s friends and family had chosen Hope not Hate as one of the campaigns to donate to in her memory, we wanted to find a means to contribute. Our 2016 Hope not Hate tee is towards that end, raising funds with a new design featuring a message for the better world she believed in. 

Jo Cox was rare. She both understood why people move from country to country, some for work, others for safety, many for both. But she also had the courage to challenge these lies about immigration that exploit anxieties with reckless abandon. Inspired by her principles and ideals, our shirt features Jo's words from her House of Commons maiden speech 'We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divides us'. A simple idea, we’d like to think while not uniquely British, a British value. Getting on with others, pulling together, sharing adversity for the greater good, bold and brave enough to engage with the other, celebrating our differences but not at the expense of one another. In the big match of hope vs hate knowing which side we’d rather be on thankyou very much.

The murder of Jo Cox didn’t come out of nowhere.  A single lethal act but out of a mood that seeks to justify, legitimise, give respectability to a politics of hate. One singularly tragic consequence but against a background of countless other acts of hate. If politics is about anything it is about standing up for change, to challenge prejudice and misinformation, a vision of a better society for all. This is how we resist the drift towards the hateful.

Our simple act of remembrance has a practical aim. In place of our customary new shirt discount £5 will be donated for each shirt sold to Hope not Hate. If you can purchase at the solidarity price £10 will be donated. Remembrance and solidarity.

Hope not Hate 2016 shirt available from www.philosophyfootball.com

Campaign details from www.hopenothate.org.uk