CALL me old fashioned if you like, but I have never felt that my enjoyment of life would be enhanced by drinking 20 cans of strong cider, snorting what the press coyly called a “cocaine-like substance”, putting a firework in my bum and then bribing my way into a football stadium.

That was what Charlie Perry, a 25-year-old roofer from Sunbury on Thames, did last Sunday, telling The Sun later in the week that “I loved it all. I was off my face and I loved every minute”.

Stupid, offensive and criminal behaviour doesn’t respect national borders. You can find it in Scotland as much as anywhere else. The yobs like Charlie who left London streets in a disgusting mess had their counterparts in Glasgow in March and May, when George Square looked like a battleground.

Of course I accept without reservation that the majority of football supporters (and I freely admit I am not, and have never been, one of that number) will be very angry at the bad name given to the game by people like Charlie and their crass idiocy.

They will rightly point out that just as his behaviour is not confined to one team or country, so also are racism and prejudice, sadly, universal whether they be expressed through violent white supremacy, islamophobia or in a hundred other different ways and places.

However what marked out last Sunday’s display of both stupidity and hatred was both the context in which it was taking place and the culpability of those who have created the circumstances in which it was likely to happen.

Some of the blame lies in the appalling organisation and security which appears to have allowed hundreds of people without tickets to force their way into the stadium, endanger those who were legitimately there and create a volatile situation which could have proved disastrous.

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Given the need for individual football authorities to prove they can safely organise large-scale events it is pretty clear that any application by England to host further major competitions will be rejected for the foreseeable future – or if it isn’t, it should be. But the rot goes wider. The eyes of Europe were on England last weekend and they did not like what they saw. So, though lauding what it calls the “young talented team representing a vibrant and diverse nation” the French newspaper Liberation asked “where have the much-vaunted English qualities of fair play, respect and decency gone?”. Another European paper, noting that England is a “powerful, advanced and often generous country”, also called it “petulant ... incapable of accepting its limitations”.

That is an acute observation. There is something petulant about Priti Patel refusing to condemn booing those who take the knee, and Johnson’s blustering defence of what is an indefensible record on equality and race.

Petulance is the keynote of every contribution from “Lord” Frost , bristling at the temerity of the EU in seeking to hold a nation to its word as expressed in a binding treaty and it is the tone of much of the Tory approach to not only the world beyond the White Cliffs of Dover but also to the country which lies on the other side of Hadrian’s Wall.

Petulance is in fact the hallmark of Brexit and it has soured the UK’s relations not only with the rest of Europe, but increasingly across the globe. For example the New Zealand prime minister this week warned that failure to observe to the letter the EU withdrawal agreement would place in jeopardy any UK engagement with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership; something which Johnson has seen as being a profitable alternative to EU membership, though it would be no such thing.

It would therefore have been merely sensible for the UK Government to have secured a flawless final and to have been vigorous in promoting diversity , good behaviour and fair play. Yet the opposite happened. Shocking scenes, described by the Italian press as “fights, howls, maskless crowds and racists slurs”, took place on what Spain’s El Pais described as “a corridor of broken glass and scattered rubbish” and were permitted with what appeared to be little official intervention.

Meanwhile senior politicians, who were already regarded with suspicion across Europe because of the way they had aggressively promoted the hardest and most anti-EU of Brexits, were refusing to endorse actions that protested against racism. They also continued to push forward draconian and disproportionate immigration legislation which demonises foreigners, cut much-needed overseas aid and went on trying to clamp down on what they call a “cancel culture”, but which many others would merely think of as a developing consciousness regarding inequality and the recognition of historic wrongs.

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There is of course no direct line that connects any single mainstream politician to the racist thugs who used social media, graffiti and, even in one video clip, their boots to promote vile views. But context is all and whilst in Scotland the context that the Scottish Government seeks to create is one of outward-looking internationalism and equality for all, that is not presently the case south of the Border.

The current Tory ethos is a narrow, backwards one which attempts to recapture and apply to the future past glories that may never even have existed, whilst almost normalising xenophobia.It is little wonder that previous friends are turning into horrified bystanders.

The plain people of England, as Chesterton called them, have usually been far better than those who govern them. I declare an interest because I was born there, of an English mother. They are not all Charlie Perrys by any means, nor do they echo the empty rhetoric spouted by their current incompetent and venal Prime Minister.

But that is their business. Ours is to make our own way in the world, and last week showed again why we must do so to prevent not only our reputation, but also our future, being trashed.