Mary Killen Mary Killen

Dear Mary | 17 December 2011

Your problems solved

Once again Mary has invited some of her favourite figures in the public eye to submit personal queries for her attention.

From the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP

Q. Without his parents quite knowing why, our seven-year-old son has become fanatical about football. I have tried to channel this enthusiasm in a positive way, booking him into local coaching sessions, and on the basis that one should support a football club for reasons of dogged local patriotism rather than a thirst for glittering prizes, I have sought to nurture a passion for our local team, Queens Park Rangers, in his breast. But our son has remarked that QPR appear to win less often than other teams his school friends support — notably Chelsea. He is pressing me to consider a transfer of support or have him face continual playground mockery for a quixotic family allegiance. I, however, stand firm on the basis that a) the precedence for Conservative politicians switching their allegiance to Chelsea from other west London clubs (David Mellor betraying Fulham) is not happy, and b) Chelsea’s recent run of poor form (including defeat to QPR at Loftus Road) suggests that, like the British empire in 1938, the Blues are, after a period of hegemony, now on a path of inevitable decline. What would you advise, Mary?

A. You must stick with QPR — not because of David Mellor or Chelsea’s recent poor form but because of local patriotism. You are a busy man and loyalty to QPR will repay itself time and again in the convenience of being able to stroll to the ground. Your son is probably too young to grasp the concept of deferred, perhaps permanently deferred, gratification, but the concept of anti-elitism will be more manageable. Work on pricking his junior conscience so he can conflate supporting an unfashionable team with a sense of purpose and morality.

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