Politics is very hard work…Some people get into it for the wrong reasons.
Sol Campbell October 2014
Imagine David Cameron and Gideon ‘George’ Osborne wearing England kits. The uniform may be less tailored than they are used to but the men inside remain the same; bullish, wealthy and with a grandiose sense of entitlement. Both are married to daughters of Barons and Baronets with vast family seats.
Now imagine Sol Campbell in an England kit and tell me the attributes are any different. Campbell is forthright, wealthy and with a stagnant air of entitlement that would get up anyone’s nose. He is married to an heiress of the Barratt Homes fortune and owns a Georgian mansion in Northumberland and luxury flat in Chelsea.
The attire maybe different but whilst the Prime Minister and Chancellor are part of the old establishment, Campbell is new money with the same ideals. He’s a budget Bullingdon Boy.
Sol announced a few weeks ago to The Telegraph that he ‘may work’ with the Conservative Party. Last week that ‘may’ turned into Campbell wanting ‘a conversation’ about moving the idea forward.
The former Arsenal and Spurs player’s motivation for this venture into politics has derived from Labour’s proposed mansion tax for properties over £2 million, should they be voted into power at the 2015 general election.
The Telegraph interview was littered with self-interest. Speaking about the ‘madness’ of the mansion tax Campbell said ‘all I can do now is pray it won’t happen. They’ve gone too far now. A hell of a lot of people are worried about it.’ Well the elite maybe worried Sol, the rest of us are more concerned with the NHS being sold off surreptitiously, jobs with no security and our social care for adults and children being described less favourably than in a Dickens novel.
After a week of reflection the tone of Campbell’s manifesto has grown from the rant about how much ‘people like him’ would lose in Labour’s proposed taxation plans, to how he could bring in the ‘black vote’ for the Tory party.
Which person is Sol being at this time? Is he just appealing to the wealthy ‘black vote’ or is he trying to appeal to all black people, regardless of their status?
The disparity between Campbell’s indignation about paying tax on his property portfolio and appealing to the ‘black vote’ in say Newham, where he grew up, appear to be polar opposite arguments. Places like Newham, where people are being socially cleansed from London’s housing market because they are either having to pay more tax for a spare bedroom or they live on land wanting to be developed by private investors. How does Sol Campbell really think he will bridge the divide?
Sol has earned his money (some would disagree I’m sure) and he has every right to be concerned about what burden he is passing onto his children. He also raised some good points about global corporations using Britain’s tax loopholes at the detriment of individuals.
It is important to remember however, that this is a man who sued Portsmouth FC for £1.7 million over unpaid image rights when the club had reached the point of financial collapse. Whilst players like David James forfeited their regular pay to keep the football club afloat for the fans, Campbell was determined to keep every last penny promised to him by a dysfunctional business. The money was owed to him but not earned from playing but from using his image. It’s this level of Campbell’s narcissism that is hard to stomach.
The defender thinks he has ‘got so much to offer’ the Conservative Party as a ‘consultant’ but he says that ‘something has got to be offered to me for me to really think about it.’ What Sol Campbell hasn’t ‘got’ is an ego deflation valve. He also believes that the playing career he has had ‘should warrant’ him getting a job as a football manager. When did having England caps become the equivalent of having an Oxford PPE degree? Just because you’ve earned one doesn’t make you the right person to run the country or a football club.
The disconnection between millionaire MPs and footballers is comparable. When Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand recently berated Manchester City fans for not being able to fill the Etihad for a game the backlash was fierce. The sentiment was clear from the fans that ‘you don’t understand us.’ Three home games in a row at £40 plus a ticket, football is a luxury leisure activity. Getting those fans to sympathise with Sol on paying more tax on his mansion will be difficult.
Sol Campbell has the tools to be a successful voice in politics. He is articulate, he’s passionate about the what he believes in and has the confidence to take on ‘the establishment.’ If the Conservative Party do employ him as a consultant it will consolidate everything I have ever thought about them and about Campbell. Egotistical, elitist and divorced from reality.