You can probably imagine how distressed I was when I found out that Boris Johnson agreed with my view that the English Cricket Board (ECB) had been been rather over the top in banning Ollie Robinson for some racist and sexist tweets he’d made when he was young. Unlike Johnson himself, it appears that Robinson learned the errors of his ways rather quicker than Johnson who has made a living out of being a racist and a sexist, not to mention as a homophobe and a liar. So, Johnson’s support was probably based upon the fact that he rather agreed with the racist stuff. Indeed, Johnson rather proved the point by refusing to condemn the racist booing of England footballers who took a completely non-political knee. Despite his support, I still think Robinson has been on a journey and learned some important life lessons.
Doubtless, Johnson will also approve of Robinson’s likely replacement in the England cricket team by Craig Overton, the Somerset fast bowler, who once told a Pakistani-born player to “go back to your own fucking country.” Give that man an England cap or even a peerage, as befits Johnson’s cricketing pals.
As you can imagine, the Robinson affair has ruffled the feathers of the suits at the England Cricket Board who claim that “cricket is for everyone”, to which one should reply: you cannot be serious. Something like 6/7% of children attend private schools but more than half of the all white England cricket team attended private schools, including Robinson and Overton. Cricket has been thriving in private schools and declining in state schools, which may explain why so many privately educated pupils make the national team and the club game, which thrives in the affluent middle class suburbs, is close to irrelevance in traditionally working class areas.
Perhaps it is coincidental that Boris Johnson and his friends the cricket chaps share two things in common: they hold dubious views on race and they enjoyed the best education money can buy, even if the teachers failed to teach them what racism is.
I don’t know if it’s all about forgive and forget because I can only take the cricketers’ at their words, that their comments were aberrations and do not reflect who they are today. And as we have noted before, isn’t the whole point about making a mistake to learn why and then do something about it?
In truth, I didn’t give a toss that Johnson said broadly the same kind of thing that I did. A broken clock is right twice a day so we should count our blessings that Johnson gets something right once.