1930 – Labour Government led by Ramsey McDonald, soon-to-be head of Conservative-dominated National Government. England has fallen out with FIFA and doesn’t even enter the inaugural tournament held in Uruguay.
1934 – Ramsey McDonald National Government dominated by Conservatives. England and FIFA still in a huff with each other.
1938 – Conservative Government led by Neville Chamberlain. He has his own plans for surrendering to the Germans and Italians without the need for football. England gives the tournament in France a miss.
So that’s the first three World Cups out of the way – and England didn’t win any under a National or Conservative government. Not a good start.
1950 – Clement Attlee’s Labour Government. England crash out in the first group stage, losing to Spain and the US.
1954 – Conservative Government headed by Winston Churchill. England reach the quarter finals but lose to Uruguay. Probably just as well. Hungary were up next.
1958 - Conservative Government headed by someone whose nickname sounds like he should have been a great footballer instead of an aristocrat. Super Mac (Harold Macmillan) has the dubious distinction of the first ever 0 – 0 World Cup draw to his name. England don’t get past the group stage.
1962 – Super Mac is still in power. Brazil and Garrincha put England out at the quarter final stage.
Four more tournaments down, three held during Conservative Governments. Oh dear.
1966 – Labour Government under Harold Wilson sees England finally win the ultimate prize.
1970 – England crash out at the quarter final stage as rumours of a Conservative election victory cause Alf Ramsey to lose the plot and substitute Bobby Charlton against West Germany.
1974 – England don’t qualify because of terrible record during Conservative Government.
1978 – England don’t qualify because of terrible record during Labour Government.
That’s another four tournaments accounted for; still Labour 1 Conservatives 0.
1982 – Conservative Government headed by a deranged old nutter. We can’t even beat Spain - and they lost to Northern Ireland.
1986 – Nutter still in power. She hates football and has implemented a ban on studs. This explains why England players all fall over as Maradona scores the winning goal in a 2 – 1 defeat.
1990 – England reach the semi-finals, an amazing achievement under a Conservative Government. Sadly, the ban on studs is still in place, leaving the players at a disadvantage during the penalty shoot out. Some fall over, others just seem to have forgotten how to shoot.
1994 – John Major is Conservative Prime Minister. England don’t qualify. You put the two together.
Another four wasted opportunities, all under Conservative governments. I think I can see a pattern emerging.
1998 – A New Labour government. England go out in the last 16. At least they qualified, unlike under you know who.
2002 – England lose in the quarter finals. Cynics blame their demise on similarities between New Labour and Conservative policies.
2006 - England lose in the quarter finals. See above.
So that’s 18 tournaments and one World Cup (under Labour). When we couldn’t be bothered, it was usually because we had a Conservative or National government. When we had a good chance of winning but didn’t, it was usually because we had a Conservative government. In 2010 we have a fantastic opportunity under a Coalition now dominated by Conservatives. What have we done?