Sir Alex Ferguson – Arch capitalist
Sir Alex Ferguson is famously a staunch supporter of the Labour Party. But judge a man by his deeds, not his words alone
Even Manchester United haters (they do exist) would have to admit that Sir Alex Ferguson’s claim to be the Greatest Football Manager of All Time is strong.
Famously, Sir Alex is also a staunch supporter of the Labour Party. Ferguson had a hard upbringing in solidly Labour Govan, and his support for Labour is no doubt heartfelt.
Still though, judge a man by his deeds, not words alone. Sir Alex has given clear indications of being an arch Capitalist, and therefore an even more admirable person than the press has painted him. Here are ten reasons why we might believe his politics are as fundamentally sound as his footballing judgement.
1. Fergie hates Britain’s most notorious nationalised corporation, the BBC, and boycotted it for years.
2. He loves John Wayne films. Wayne, a staunch Republican, painted the world as a struggle between Good and Evil, or Capitalism versus Socialism as we say in the freedom-loving community. Nice one Fergie, the Manc Manichean.
3. Sir Alex loves the good things in life, especially those that only money can buy. Fine wines, racehorses, a timeshare, a New York apartment. If this is socialism it is decidedly of the Cherie Blair variety. On me head, son!
4. He also has a soft spot for accumulated capital. The inter-generational savings and credit lines of United’s owners, first the Edwards family and others and lately of the Glazer family, are not readily available in socialist societies. If Comrade Alex had been born in Eastern Europe he could have played for the local council’s ice hockey team or he could have lumped it. (True, Red Star Belgrade used to be good at footy, but the Yugoslavs were “splitists”, which is left-speak for a bad thing.)
5. Team games such as football are the apotheosis of voluntary co-operation under the rule of law. No state coerced niceness required, thank you very much.
6. “Sir” Alex rightly prefers to be addressed by his full and correct title. He respects hierarchy and expects his underlings to do likewise. Sir Peregrine Worsthorne would approve, and so should we.
7. Fergie has always been respectful of United’s heritage. He is also a great believer and investor in youth. That is to say, he recognises the value of institutions and he identifies that a culture is a compact between the living, those who have gone before and those who have yet to come. Very Burkeian.
8. Sir Alex surely knows that his vast wealth derives from global capitalism. United’s sponsors and exec-box users could out-Gekko Gordon. Life’s little pleasures – the chewing gum, the flash car, the burgundy-coloured conk – were all de facto paid for by Murdoch’s moolah.
9. Fergie seems to have a soft spot for the good old U.S. of A. He holidays there, and probably approves of my using a noun as a verb, as I just did.
10. No protectionism for Sir Alex. His teams competed internationally, and no nonsense about “prizes for all”.
So well done Fergie, and may you and your lady wife enjoy a long and happy retirement in a land of a thousand tax shelters.
But nobody is perfect. Like all avowed socialists, Fergie is not afraid to use a bit of muscle if he feels he has to force people to be good – as evidenced when he kicked a boot at Beckham’s eye. It’s a pity for Beckham’s sake that the boot wasn’t kicked by Gary Neville. He would have missed.
Andrew Gibson is a political activist in Lambeth
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