I’ve mentioned before the deep delight I have in living in multi-racial London and the largely unremarked upon improvement we’ve witnessed since the dark days of SUS laws, riots and the rise of the NF in the 70s and 80s,
Today I went to Lords to watch the 5th day of the 1st test between Bangladesh and England and the SUN CAME OUT!
The pictures tell the story of how a crowd of 10,000, mostly children and parents mixed together on the pitch at lunch and saw the sun come out both physically and metaphorically.
Again and again I heard white people getting excited about Bangladeshi kids – in the queue, in the stands and on the hallowed turf of Lords itself!
Another loop was loosened in the old school tie and i found myself laughing with stewards, MCC members and Lords groundstaff who I congratulate for opening their doors to the 21st Century hey guys …..it was good!
Two days before i was at Twickenham watching Saracens and Leicester battling out one of the best games of rugby I have ever seen. Everywhere I looked were kids and women as well as the old lags like me.
No jingoistic nonsense, no limp versions of Swing Low only two set scrums in the first half and a game that flowed because both sides had decided that they want to put on a spectacle and enjoy themselves in the process.
Another loop in the old school tie loosened
That everyone I talked to after the game was delighted with the day (including the Saracens fans) is in marked contrast to the deflated mood after recent home internationals.
Quite clearly Twickenham, like Lords, can get it right- the lesson is to put the crowd first not the corporate boxes nor the RFU’s Six Nations pomposity.
As a nation we are getting better, as a City London has got better. We are now a shining example to all cities in the world of how to tolerate, integrate and ultimately not even notice the differing groups who form part of our wonderful wonderful city.