#fearlessfoxes and Leicester’s Cultural Revolution – Spreading the Leicester Vibe.
by Lizzie Soden –
An ode to LCFC and the City of Leicester, written after they had just won the English Premier League championship 2016.
Living in Leicester at this moment in time, in the current prevalant climate of division, negativity, fear and scare-mongering, feels like we are on a different planet. Unification, positivity and fearlessness abound. How incredible the impact of the sporting miracle by our Leicester City Football Club has been. How dramatically it has affected and added to the already rich Culture of our small, modern, cosmopolitan City, is unquestionable. You can viscerally feel the change in the energy of the place and the vibe of the people. The supposed cliches abound, but in this case they are true. You can’t put it into words. You can only experience it. It’s indescribable. Things will never be the same again. This was like an existential earthquake, the epicentre of which was the King Power Football Stadium.
Oh Lestah. (That’s how it’s pronounced.) Our typically English suppression of expression of love for our City literally cannot be held in anymore. We can no longer keep up the cynical self-effacing charade inherent in Leicester’s wonderfully dry humour. The classic piss-taking and downplaying of anything remotely positive has been thrown out of the window.
Everybody’s finally talking about Leicester. We are beyond doubt now ‘on the map.’ That Google dropped pin is continually plummeting down to puncture our virtual existence. Leicester City Football Club (OUR Leicester City FC), the 5000-1 outsiders, beat all the other obscenely over-funded English clubs. We have proved that just by chucking more and more money into the player’s budget doesn’t always win you the England Premier Football League.
Fuck you Arsenal. Fuck you Tottenham. Fuck you Man City. Fuck you Man-U
Or to be more polite…
Thank-you Arsenal. Thank-you Tottenham. Thank-you Man City. Thank-you Man-U
Most of all thank-you Chelsea who pulled it of the hat and from 2-0 down made it a 2-2 draw against Tottenham which meant we had done it.
Jamie Vardy had a party. Overwhelming emotions of elation literally exploded into the public realm and spread like wildfire. Brains were churning out copious amounts of natural opiates. From the Monday night we knew we had the English Premier League championship trophy in the bag, through to the amazing home game where the trophy was magnificently presented, and the final parade of the trophy through the streets, the partying started in full force and went on for 2 whole weeks. It was accelerating and pulling more people in as it went on. Every shop, and cafe and bar and building was bedecked in blue posters, and balloons. The players stood proud and strong in individual banners attacked to lampposts. Bunting lined the streets, pubs ran out of beer. People were no longer talking about the weather. We were talking about the football to any stranger we encountered.
Everyone was higher than a dance crowd, after taking pure ecstasy, in the ‘New Order’ era of the Hacienda night club in Manchester. If this naturally produced brain chemical could be bottled someone could have made even more money than the guys selling cheaply produced flags and tee-shirts for a tenner. 240,000 people came to see the magnificent trophy carried by the victorious team parade through the City Centre on a set of double decker buses. You do the maths. Nice bit of economic redistribution.
The final massive party on Victoria Park created a collective buzz which was off the richter scale. Even our local boys Kasabian, life-long LCFC supporters turned up and did a turn on the stage. We are more than fulfilling Leicester City Council’s most historically craved for and revered aim of ‘raising Leicester’s profile.’ It’s mental.
The Game Changers.
So much has been written about this sporting miracle, in terms of it being a game changer for football, but this is also a game changer for the future of our small and beloved City. It has brought the City together in an indescribable and never before imagined scenario, beyond any economic and/or cultural strategist’s dream.
Apparently Leicester has the lowest rate of disposable household income in the UK. At the same time Leicester is ranked in the top ten UK cities to live and work in, according to the 2015 Growth for Cities Index ratings. This was even before we won the Premier League Championship. Like any other City we are full of paradoxes.
So what is it really like living here? Obviously different for everybody as individuals. We all have day to day struggles and joys, and various life-crisis or positive periods. We all have ordinary everyday ups and downs. When we came together collectively as the revellers at Leicester’s biggest party ever, we felt like one. We were expressing much more than joy at a sporting achievement. It was the catalyst for an outpouring of pride for not only our football club’s achievements, (which even the non-football supporter could appreciate,) but for an overall newly discovered collective love of this place. There is a new attitude in town. It’s OK to admit things are good. The scale of audience and participation were largely what defined the moment. Following this coming together the possibilities of how the identity and culture of the City will further evolve are enormous. This will attract and create all kinds of new opportunities. We are on the up. We are oozing optimism.
Compare and Contrast.
We seem to be so at odds with most other states of mind elsewhere in the UK in the current zeitgeist.
In a nation that is seemingly becoming more and more angry, fearful, full of polarised black and white thinking, dividing and fighting, fracturing and splintering, we are a City that is chilled out, fearless, happy to accept stuff is complicated and generally united. When you aren’t in a psychological state of fear and uncertainty, you aren’t defensive. You see opportunities opening up everywhere. You are less prejudiced about people who are different to you because you have connected with them and united around something amazing.
The EU referendum.
I’ll just drop this in here. The current squabbling and negativity amongst either side of the EU referendum should learn something from this phenomenon. The rest of you could take a leaf out of our book. Hope and positivity are far better narratives to tune into, and far more persuasive, than focussing on all this fear-mongering on both sides regarding the EU referendum. It may not go the way you would prefer it to. It’s not going to be the end of the world. It doesn’t mean you can’t still campaign for the things you are passionate about and work to change them either way. The same goes for the US Primaries over the pond. No-one can know what will happen in the future. We live in a constant state of uncertainty. Things that no-one thought possible can happen. As Leicester’s most beloved new Italian immigrant Claudio Ranieri so rightly says, “Follow your dreams and keep dreaming. You don’t always get what you want. Nothing’s perfect. One game at a time. If you lose, move on and start again with a positive attitude. Look for other ways. Change tactics. Make the best of it. You cannot control everything.” Any other cheesy metaphors will be most welcome in the comments section below.
Leicester’s Cultural Icons and Diversity.
I wasn’t joking. It really feels like we are on a different planet. It seems the universe is currently channeling all of its best vibes and dropping them onto Leicester. Much of what’s occurred is 100% down to chance and luck. Humans do delude themselves they have more control over their lives than they actually do. Much is to do with strong focus, hard work and perserverence. Much is to do with adopting an attitude that anything’s possible. None of this has happened in a vacuum. At the risk of sounding like some exaggerated local government policy document over stating our positive attributes, you may not be aware but there have obviously also been other less high profile stuff going on in this City. These have all collided with the football frenzy to rupture Leicester’s self-effacive nature and obscurity. Generally, until very recently, the rest of the world didn’t really know where Leicester was, or much about it. Slap bang in the middle of England, it had previously been pretty elusive. However it has always been a vibrant little place, unbeknown to the world at large, with the best curry houses in the UK. Bonus.
Regarding our sporting prowess we don’t piss about with sporting achievements. We hosted some of the Rugby World Cup. Our rugby team, Leicester Tigers have been champions 10 times since 1987. We’re good at Cricket too. We’ve won 3 County Championships. Just this year, somewhat eclipsed by the football, Mark Selby won the World Snooker Championship, Leicester Riders basketball team won the BBL Championship, and Leicester City Ladies Football Club secured a Leicestershire Women’s Senior League top place.
In other areas we have had a pretty disparate cultural history. Famous Leicestarians include:
Actor and Film Director Sir Richard Attenborough, who set up Attenborough Arts Centre in partnership with Leicester University; Sir David Attenborough, his brother and world renowned Naturalist and Broadcaster; Las Vegas stalwart, Engelbert Humperdinck; bastions of musical expertise, Showaddywaddy and some band called Kasabian. Don’t forget Mr Gary Linekar, the former Leicester market trader, footballer, TV presenter but most importantly the star of the adverts for beloved local thriving business, Walkers Crisps. Then there’s the conspiracy theorist and lizard people exposer Davis Icke, the 90’s pop-group Corner Shop and the Bollywood actress Fagun Thakur.
I would love to go out for a curry with that lot all together. Could be a surreal night.
We also have the biggest Diwali Celebrations outside of India, 2 thriving Universities, and one of the biggest Comedy Festivals in the World. We’ve been chugging along. Various Cultural Festivals and Events are an integral part of the fabric of the City. It is often the unseen local heroes that work extremely hard driving these initiatives that get forgotten. We have our own indomitable hero, Maggie Shutt, the Festivals and Events Officer from Leicester City Council. She deserves a bloody medal. I documented all the festivals which happened over the course of one year 12 years ago. None of these annual festivals really get us much overall attention, except from the audiences and participants of each of the culturally diverse activities. They do demonstrate though that this is a City that inherently likes to party and get out on the streets together. It’s in our DNA.
So things have always been pretty full-on for many different reasons within many different parallel strands of activity.
The Sudden Acceleration of Leicester’s Cultural and Economic Regeneration – Bigging up Leicester City Council
It’s complicated how these things occur. A lot of it is chance. The time was right and everything came together. Understanding it all isn’t an exact science. It seems like the important progress that has been happening on different levels in different ways through low profile and high profile initiatives, running in tandem and complimenting each other, have all played their own part. Oh, and then of course there was the discovery of the remains of Richard III under a Leicester City Council car-park.
There is an intrinsic, albeit complicated relationship between cultural regeneration and economic growth. Around about the time of the millennium the development of a long term and risky but brave Cultural Strategy was headed up by the City Council’s Head of Arts and Cultural Services at the time, Mike Candler. This was in many ways informed by the innovative approach of Dr Franco Bianchini’s work on International Cultural Policy and Cultural Planning. Another Italian immigrant that impacted this City in a big way. Seems to be a theme going on. The vision was to develop a Leicester Cultural Quarter.
The flagship Curve Theatre, once dismissed as an over costly white elephant, magnificently rose from the ashes of a former derelict industrialised area. Once kick-started the City Council then supported on differing levels the developing area. This had all been somewhat put on hold after the 2008 crash. Public spending was cut and the Arts and Cultural services became a skeletal team. Luckily the foundations were firmly in place to build on. It had long been recognised that a top-down large bureaucratic organisation could not be responsive so in many ways so this was not a bad thing. It necessitated a fresh and imaginative approach to new models to carry on the well-thought out strategic plans in terms of gaining new revenue streams and taking a more enterprising approach more synonymous with economic growth.
Independent organisations became more resourceful and those that had previous good track-records and experience survived with the advantage of being less tethered to Local Authority control. Some did not survive, but support for new self-sustaining initiatives was increased in many ways. They had to learn to think outside the box.
The Cultural Quarter now houses the Phoenix Cinema and Arts Centre, the thriving Two Queens artist led-studios, Leicester Print Workshop and Athena Conference and Banqueting Centre, (mostly used for lavish Indian Weddings.) Creative industries were nurtured, in the new Leicester Creative Business Depot, and Maker’s Yard, with a view to maintaining graduates who had studied in the City. Small and Medium Enterprises were supported by local Business Advice and the two Universities, DeMontfort University and the University of Leicester, National Government and European Funding initiatives. All this impacted on the growth of the private sector, and local business. In particular new restaurants, bars and cafe’s were popping up all over the place. (Alongside all this, a critically praised unique online magazine championing ‘The Art of Thinking’ was slowly developing, called CULTURE ON THE OFFENSIVE. That’s us.)
There is no doubt that all this has also made a big difference to Leicester as a whole, in terms of economic regeneration, even though many are sceptical about the value of the state having any input into Arts and Cultural facilities. The gamble paid off and the initial public investment in terms of time and money, along with partnerships with local businesses has been well worth it.
It is not just the high profile work that goes on that matters in a City’s Cultural and Economic regeneration and identity. Investing in communities, with local arts development, community initiatives working with the socially excluded, addressing social and economic deprivation is also something our City is passionate about. With the political agenda of Austerity imposed on Local Governments from National Government in the form of savage public spending cuts, many engaged in this area have had to seriously start thinking outside the box. There is a lot of work happening on a much smaller scale within schools and communities aimed at still attempting to actively give those from lower socio-economic backgrounds more routes towards social mobility. Various projects carried out responding to the needs of the diverse communities of Leicester have always been a kind of underlying bedrock in this small City.
Many can be cynical about Local Government-led, state-backed community embedded or educational programmes. They don’t see the point of them, or how they can possibly contribute to the overall flourishing of the City. Ironically, these are often the same people who are passionate about local democracy. There is an argument that neighbourhood facilities such as youth centres, community centres, community based arts projects and Surestart parenting centres are all a version of state nannying, of ‘underestimating’ people. Cynics typically believe that human achievements are things that will happen regardless of state assistance. They are proponents of schools merely being bastions of knowledge accumulation, and dismiss many other initiatives as ‘trendy,’ which is apparently on par with pure evil. This view sees any kind of help and support as being synonymous with ‘feeling sorry for someone.’
Cynics also believe that it is only the ‘middle-classes on the Left’ that support these policies because apparently the middle-class elite enjoy sitting on their moral high ground and looking down on people, patronising and infantilising them. People are after all very tough and if they aren’t they should be. All of them. Those that are not tough are only weak because they get molly-coddled. They would be more resilient without any assistance from any external specialist professionals.
So presumably they believe it is counter-productive to acknowledge and help people who are more vulnerable, whether that be because of traumatic life experiences beyond their control, health difficulties, or economic and social deprivation or disabilities? We should leave them to it, and it’s misguided to invest time and money into state schemes to make the lives of the vulnerable a bit easier? For some reason they equate funding of state programmes as being in conflict with any economic growth. In my experience it is totally the opposite. Leicester is proof of that. It is just another way to invest in the future.
This anti-nanny state view seems simplistic, and says more about an adoption of a kind of ‘all or nothing’ and ‘either/or’ type thinking, than about the truth of the matter. All state funded schemes do not ‘nanny.’ Leicester politically is a socialist Labour stronghold. We are no longer in the 80’s large bureaucratic dystopia. The Local Authority now works in partnership with independent organisations to deliver local services much more than it did.
Soft Touch Arts
A great example of this is Soft Touch Arts who work with Young People. They certainly don’t nanny them. Most of their clients are excluded from mainstream education, or have other significant social and economic disadvantages. The staff are extremely experienced and have accumulated incredible expertise. As a not-for profit business with charitable status they have expanded well beyond their base state funding to generate other income and employ people with sustainable careers as well as a pool of freelancers. They are an enterprising business. Their practice is used as a model of good practice for working with ‘disadvantaged’ young people all over the world. They are absolutely not patronising. They believe in those kids and they push them out of their comfort zones and broaden their horizons. They give them a sense of belonging and some stability away from dysfunctional and chaotic backgrounds. They challenge their beliefs, encourage debate and discussion, explore the implications of their arguments and get them to see that they can see things in different ways. They don’t censor them. They get them to take responsibility for their actions. They give kids the support, experience and skills most get from their families. They believe in them.
In a largely socialist City voters here are more than happy to know that some people are getting the extra help they need to thrive, not just survive. Voters are obviously made up of the whole population, not just a tiny minority of Left-leaning wet liberals. Those poor old demonised middle-classes don’t actually live in the areas where local people vote for local Councillors who invest in community facilities and projects like Soft Touch. Those local people see first hand the benefits in their local areas. Less crime, less violence, kids with a sense of purpose. The people who live in these areas are voting against the Austerity measures and cuts to public spending. They are active in their community facilities. They want more than just occupying the young people and keeping them off the streets. They acknowledge the mainstream education system fails a lot of these kids.
So Leicester has developed pretty innovative models for doing ground-up projects, which are led by and respond to the needs of the community. These projects work across different community boundaries and break down prejudices that inevitably exist between different cultural demographic groups. It is not useful to be romantic or deluded here. Some criticisms are justified. Some projects admittedly don’t work, so they need tweaking and re-inventing. Some are still set up as local Councillor’s pet projects. That is hard to avoid. Some are outmoded and irrelevant. It’s true, some may be patronising. However, they are not stagnant. The proponents of the ‘we should believe in people’ line are right. When things are ineffective, or corrupt, or irrelevant, people change them. They have a say. That’s how those projects are set-up. That’s democracy. If you are critical it doesn’t mean you should just get rid. Nothing is perfect. Why throw the baby out with the bathwater? It means you should do everything you can to change what you are critical of.
That is the approach in this City.
People from Leicester don’t take much shit. Maybe the real patronising of people comes from the suggestion that people don’t sometimes need help. Overestimating people can be just as patronising as underestimating people.
If you saw a child drowning in the fountain in Leicester’s Town Hall square, you could move along, believing the child is strong enough to find his way out. Not only would this be incredibly callous and inhumane. It’s also patronising, because you’re protecting the child from knowing it actually needs help. Your belief in the child’s resilience is so delusional, it winds up protecting the child from the truth and contributes to them going under. The myth abounding in this ‘it’s a waste of money’ anti-state-funding narrative is that if voters do support Local Authority community projects that they are anti-enterprise or economic growth. They are keeping people in their place. Again, it’s not a case of either/or. We have public services and we have thriving businesses and a thriving local economy. Local Authority initiatives just acknowledge it is hard to trust the market to put people before profits. Profits don’t trickle down to the most vulnerable, but they do obviously revitalise the City in other ways. On the whole, it seems like Leicester gets the balance right. No City is perfect. These policies do not help everyone. It’s always evolving and evolution (as any biologist will tell you) takes time and is not finite.
King Richard III – Great Timing.
In 2011 we had moved to an elected Mayoral local government model headed by Sir Peter Soulsby. He was then re-elected in 2015. This has undoubtedly given the City a much needed continuity of vision vis a vis the London model, both for its work in it’s various communities, as well as an effective economic growth and cultural strategy. He is not a revered Saint type leader by any means. He is a human being that does his best and makes mistakes and can’t please everyone, just like other human beings. If you have unrealistic expectations of how everything should be perfect, you tend to live in a permanent state of bitterness and snarkiness. There’s a lot of those people about. When things aren’t perfect in this City we adopt a certain sensibility because we don’t expect anything else, so we’re not too disappointed. We just generally take the piss and laugh about it. It’s always OK in the end. If it isn’t OK it isn’t the end. We may not be behind everything he does but Peter Soulsby is a Leicester City Football Club Season ticket holder so that helps.
While the City Council’s ongoing efforts were trundling along elsewhere, randomly the last Catholic King of England’s bones were found under a car-park and dug up. After a bit of a battle with the City of York, it was agreed that we could keep them and have the reinterment at Leicester Cathedral. This was in March 2015, and following that was when the football team started turning things around. We won 7 games in a row to avoid relegation. Was this a twilight zone moment now the last Catholic King was now at rest in the rightful place? Spooky.
Anyway, this bought a huge amount of interest, tourism and investment to Leicester. So following the period of pretty dismal austerity since the 2008 crash, we started to wake up and thrive. Richard was laid to rest with a huge re-internment ceremony attracting vast international interest with his coffin paraded through the streets of Leicester in front of 35,000 people.We thought that was big. Obviously in hindsight it was peanuts compared to the Champions Football Parade.
Due to the City Council being able to put into practice a more far reaching vision, the City Centre had been further pedestrianised, cycling was encouraged by the building of lots of new cycle lanes, and the City was looking good.
Leicester’s Cultural Diversity
Whenever I say I’m from Leicester, I normally get some comment about our racial diversity. It’s either “bet you don’t see many white faces around you then?” or “I have heard it’s so multicultural up there and everyone gets on. How marvellous!” It seems that if people know anything about us, it’s that we have a diverse population in terms of racial backgrounds, and that whites are now in the minority. What they don’t get is we’re generally long past judging people by the variety of colours of their skin. It’s just wallpaper to most of us. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the amazing City Centre Leicester Market, with the incredible range of fruit and veg on offer.
There is always some new tasty food to sample whenever we get an influx of people from particular countries. We hence all have pretty eclectic and cosmopolitan food tastes.
When you walk around the City Centre ( aka go into town) you do see an incredibly eclectic bunch of people all mixing together; all shapes and sizes, from all ages, races and backgrounds; gothic types, geeky types, sporty types, bohemians, townies and business types. People wearing hi-vis jackets, mums with babies, dads with kids, grandparents, homeless people, posh and rich people, designer label lovers, stylish trendy people, quiet people, loud people, opinionated preachy people and party people. There’s gangs of young people, large families, groups of friends, and solo cafe dwelling laptop people. They all rub along together. You can easily walk from one side of the City to the other. It is a small City Centre which we all share. In many ways when you live here, and you wander around a lot, that is the diversity you notice. People are not identified by racial demographics like they once were. What they have always had in common is that they live here. Now added to that every single person in the population is immensely proud of the place.
The City of Leicester has arguably been quite inward looking, but once you penetrate its boundaries and settle here, it is by and large really friendly and welcoming. As a Londoner who moved here 35 years ago that is one of the main reasons I never went back down to the Big Smoke. People talk to you, have a laugh with you, and you feel like you are not invisible. The City is made up of areas with strongly established communities. Narborough Road is situated in our West End, where new immigrants arriving in the City tend to initially set up a base due to its more eclectic population and lack of predominant culture. It has hit the press lately as it is now the most diverse street in England, where in the space of a mile there are people living alongside each other from 23 countries. It is mostly run-down privately rented housing. Apart from the Narborough Road area, many communities are still mostly defined by particular racial and/or socio-economic demographics (as in most cities).
“Like settle with like.” We’re ok with this because, treating people as individuals, we don’t judge them for wanting to live with people like themselves. We don’t assume this makes them racist. Nor is it evidence that anybody else is racist.
We have the ‘Golden Mile’ of Belgrave, a huge South Indian mostly Hindu population housing many Sari and Indian Gold jewellry shops. It’s got amazing and cheap vegetarian Indian restaurants. Then there is a pretty large Sikh population. Highfields is made up predominately of African Caribbeans and Pakistani Muslims, out of which emerged the annual Eid Celebrations and Caribbean Carnival.
It is true that the demographic group of white working class people (although not all confined to the council estates) are now in the minority of Leicester’s population. They are, however, in the majority of the Blue Army of LCFC fans. This is the group that have traditionally supported our local football club with their families. It’s literally a part of their culture. Their families hand down the mantle from generation to generation.
So although there has been lots of efforts made by the great and the good to celebrate and promote the City’s cultural diversity over the years, through a wide range of Festivals and Events, many outside of the fans did not really acknowledge or value and celebrate the cultural activity of watching football. Make no mistake about it. This is because football is traditionally engaged in by the long established white male working-class community. It was felt they’d just get on with it. The club is a business.
There are arguably historical reasons for this and times have changed dramatically. In terms of Leicester City Football Club, a tiny minority, the notorious NF led ‘Baby Squad’ terrorised both local and visiting football fans alike. Living on a backstreet behind Leicester’s Filbert Street ground in the early 80’s necessitated leaving the house all day on match days, due to regular running street battles spewing down at the end of the match from the terraces, planned out with military tactics by the odious John Tyndall and Martin Webster. There were the notorious slicing of cheeks with razor blades on sticks, where pain wasn’t really felt until the perpetrators were long gone, and the victim’s cheek flapped open, pouring with blood.
Young white economically deprived working class males had always been marginalised or ‘socially excluded’ if you use Local Authority speak, and seen as a bit of an embarrassment by the local policy makers. In the late 1920’s, many of the most economically deprived families had been rehoused from the slums in new housing estates, stuck out in the outskirts. By the 70’s, they were labelled as trouble-makers, and were feeling pretty resentful of local authority money and regeneration schemes being focussed in the new ethnic minority areas. This initially contributed, along with the closure or takeover of the traditional textile industries by an influx of Indian immigrants, to an environment where the NF and the BNP have at times got a stronghold. This was especially true in the late 70’s. In 1976, the NF won nearly 20% of local election votes. I sometimes think the fear of the Baby Squad, caused a kind of existential rupture in the minds of non-football loving middle class, highly paid policy makers, many of whom, still in all honesty look down on these football fans and can only see them as mindless, violent animals. They never saw this part of our city’s cultural life as something to be talked about in polite conversation. They would wax lyrical and boast about religious festivals like Diwali, where annually 32,000 majority Indian people would celebrate, coming from all over the country. They’d do this without acknowledging in any cultural policy documents that 32,000 were flocking to King Power whenever there was a home game.
So if white-working class males in particular have in many ways fallen below the radar over the last four decades, Leicester is now finally beginning to get on the case. Maybe it’s allowed now they are a racial minority. The Blue Army have been behind their team through thick and thin, every step of the way. It has always included women and kids. The club has a family feel. The younger members inspire their mates from school who may come from less traditional football backgrounds to become fellow fans. These are 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants. They are Leicester born and bred. That’s what matters. They don’t need to be patronisingly reached out to because we need to get “more Asians” or “more African Caribbeans” participating. This was the suggestion made by a killjoy dick of a Guardian journalist. Yet another commentator who wanted to peddle a worn out old agenda, and wrote a ridiculous and smug article asking “Where are all the Asian fans?” as he’d counted the non-white faces on a picture of the crowd in the stadium on his TV screen….
When people are treated as individuals, race doesn’t matter. Even racial inequalities. Racial inequality at certain public events, we should remember, is not the same as racism or racial discrimination. Just because different cultural activities are engaged in by different racial demographic groups, as they are part of their cultural up-bringing, it doesn’t mean those activities should drag people in who aren’t interested or don’t relate to them to “not be racist.” Those raised in families who regularly watch and attend Bollywood films and invest in their film-stars do not feel the need to drag along their mates who prefer a live rock band playing in a field. That doesn’t mean some from different cultural backgrounds don’t get turned on and connect with activities not typical of their backgrounds.
The celebration of LCFC is about Leicester City and County people supporting their local team. If you can only see the colour of people’s skin, who’s the real racist bigot?
So from all this what real benefits have we reaped that we can take forward. These ultimately come down to philosophical attitudes, values and life-lessons that can be applied to our everyday lives. We are a wiser City. What has this Cultural Revolution given Leicester that we can build on to go forward? What is this new Leicester vibe? Nothing we didn’t really know, but it has reaffirmed a lot of stuff that is good about humanity, and we can carry on focusing on that. Some won’t of course. Lets not be deluded hippies about this.
- We are all human and none of us are perfect.
- It is importance to treat people as individuals, and not underestimate the human spirit.
- It’s ok to value the development of skills, hard work, practice and determination.
- We can celebrate the resilience of humans not giving up, and the inspiration that brings.
- It’s best to practice compassion and the acceptance that sometimes we all need help.
- Supporting others and investing in their well-being, is good for everyone if it helps them reach their potential.
- A good financial investment combined with intelligent strategy and long-term plans (as opposed to chasing instant gratification) does pay off.
- It’s good to acknowledge that coming together around a shared cause builds connections and breaks down barriers.
- Accept the fact that people respond best when they feel part of something.
- Civic Pride cannot be imposed onto people. It is built through positive shared experience from the grassroots. It cannot be manufactured.
- Individuals gain Civic Pride through many different routes.
- It’s not useful to listen to snarky, miserable, bitter and twisted people who can’t be happy for anyone else and pick fault with everything.
- Be determined to not be caught in the ‘divide and rule’ trap.
- Forever wonder if Dead Kings resting in peace help release positive vibes. There’s lots we can never know.
Our overall legacy from all this is that we are Leicester and we can do anything. We are forward looking. We are on the offensive. We can always have have hope. This moment in sporting history united the whole City, from the most established to the newest communities. It was a once in a lifetime event. Civic pride has an infinite amount of economic and cultural regeneration and growth potential. It also produces some pretty decent rap music if that’s your thing…..Viva Le Revolution.
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