Qatar World Cup is an example of the West’s ‘retreating enlightenment,’ says Andrew Marr

21 November 2022, 18:45 | Updated: 21 November 2022, 18:46

Tonight Andrew Marr began his show with a simple reflection: “Silly Fifa”.
Tonight Andrew Marr began his show with a simple reflection: “Silly Fifa”. Picture: LBC / Alamy

By Danielle DeWolfe

Tonight Andrew Marr began his show with a simple reflection: “Silly Fifa”.

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Focussing on the World Cup which is currently taking place in Qatar, Marr said the tournament was a reflection of the West’s “retreating values” on the world stage.

“The World Cup in Qatar is, for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, an early example of a retreating West and perhaps its dimming enlightenment,” said Marr.

“We in the West – not just in Britain, but America and Europe too, have become accustomed to assuming that what we feel, and we believe, are universal values.”

Referencing those who “shake their firsts at Western hegemony or cultural imperialism”, Marr said: “here is what it feels like, when all of that retreats”.

He adds: “Fifa, who runs the World Cup, argues these aren’t about universal values, they’re merely politics and they should be kept away from sport.”

Andrew Marr says 'Western power is on the wane' after armband U-turn

“We in this country have values, these values include solidarity with people who happen to be gay,” he said, reflecting on the OneLove armband ban in solidarity with the LGBT community.

“But when it comes to the danger of a football player getting into trouble for wearing an armband that proclaims this value, here’s what we do: we give in.”

Noting the change has occurred for “all sorts of reasons”, Marr cites “ageing Western societies and the way we fuel our economies, to our failed wars in the Middle East and today’s rising powers in China and India” as the reason for waning Western power.

“Our authority isn’t what it used to be - and sometimes, that hurts,” he added.

Finally, reflecting on the Islamic state’s treatment of migrant workers and some 6,500 migrant worker deaths since preparations for the football tournament began, Marr labeled the situation “appalling”.

Speaking of other societies ‘flouting” Western values, Marr said “all we can do is shake our heads”.

Describing the politics surrounding Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup as “fascinating”, Marr said Fifa’s business model of one country, one vote, meant the influence of African and Asian regions on the tournament ultimately means they surpass that of the West.

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