Mark Andrews – Tinkly pianos, slowbalisation and socking it to the Qataris with rainbow armbands

The Football Association could have made a principled decision not to compete at the World Cup in Qatar, in protest at the host country's poor record on human rights. Or it could have said politics has no place in sport, and that it is not our place to tell other nations how to govern themselves.

This should scare the Qatari authorities
This should scare the Qatari authorities

Either move would have taken a degree of courage, so of course the FA has done neither. Instead, players will take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the tournament, but will do so wearing rainbow-coloured armbands. That should have the authorities quaking in their boots.

And, of course, the FA bigwigs and broadcasters will spend the next month boring all of us at home rigid with stern lectures about diversity.

Funny old game.

* * *

Preparing the ground for this week's raid on our wallets, the Prime Minister, Chancellor and various other ministers produced an online video complete with tinkly piano music.

Now I suspect most of us are quietly resigned to the fact we will be giving more money to the Government and getting less in return. And we all know that when politicians talk about 'those with the broadest shoulders bearing the heaviest burden', they really mean 'screwing the last penny out of middle earners'.

But if you really must put us through all that, please don't insult us by marketing it like a nauseating rom-com.

* * *

And in these difficult and uncertain times, it is always reassuring to hear from a wise elder statesman to make sense of what is happening.

But since they are thin on the ground at the moment, The Guardian dug out Gordon Brown instead. He brings us these pearls of wisdom:

"The hyper-globalisation of the last 30 years is not giving way to de-globalisation or even slowbalisation, but lowbalisation: a globalisation-lite defined by near-shoring, friend-shoring and shortening supply chains."

I hope that makes everything clearer.

* * *

The hardship facing the young is laid bare by the BBC, which spoke to 20-year-old Kye Bourne from Gloucester to find out about life on benefits.

"It feels like I can only live and eat," he says "I've stopped drinking alcohol and stopped using Netflix and Spotify subscriptions."

Sounds like things are worse than we feared.

* * *

Not that I'm denying the real struggles faced by many, it's just that there seems to be a increasingly shrill section of the population apparently unable to distinguish between genuine hardship and managing without a few luxuries. I've never subscribed to Netflix or Spotify, but somehow seem to have survived unscathed.

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