Playing the football card

What is it about Labour politicians and football? Is it the need to demonstrate their ‘man of the people’ credentials, and that they are in touch with, and true to, their roots (whatever these may), or is it that they are just like any other politician, and think they know best about everything?

Whether it was Harold Wilson and the 1996 World Cup, or Tony Blair telling us that he used to watch Newcastle United as a boy (even if his hero Jackie Milburn had hung up his boots quite a few years before), over the years no Labour politician has been able to resist playing the football card.

The latest to do so is Mike O’Brien, the health minister.

O’Brien chose Twitter as the medium, and what he offered in his 140 characters was “The sacking of Terry is crass. Capello has bowed to tabloid pressure. Infidelity is bad but I saw no signs of fatigue in his football”. Having looked at his tweets, the one about Terry is possibly the most interesting unless you are one of O’Brien’s constituents (although glass houses and stones comes to mind, as I don’t think many of mine would pass Tammy Erickson’s test “Are you fun to follow on Twitter?”: see her HBR article). But why tweet about it all?

And why the strange linkage between infidelity and fatigue? Is there something he knows as health minister he isn’t telling us!