When I was 16 my father arranged for me to join the Marylebone Cricket Club waiting list and a few cold winters later I found myself a member of the world’s most famous cricket club. These days the waiting list is an eternity long. As I am allergic to London, I have not been to a match in years. My in-laws are the only Indian family on earth with no interest in cricket but I keep on forking out the Country membership fee on the basis that one day I shall retire and head down to snooze in the sun watching a spot of cricket at Lords.
Like most great British Institutions, the MCC is determined to show how in tune it is with how a Metropolitan elite believes is the whole of modern Britain. It is only a matter of time before it declares that May to September each year will be Pride week and force all players and spectators to wear rainbow-coloured armbands. As part of the modernization process the MCC proposed this year that it would no longer host Eton vs Harrow and Oxford vs Cambridge matches at Lords, instead hosting more women’s cricket, etc.
But the members revolted at a decision taken without consultation and now there is a special ballot to revisit the decision. In a rather Orwellian fashion we are asked to vote on whether we support the committee or not. The MCC might as well have asked us to vote “Do you support the committee (vote here) or are you a reactionary snob who has no place in modern Britain (vote here)?”
I’d quite happily see Eton and Harrow shut down tomorrow and have no very fond feelings for Oxford which I attended or Cambridge which is a minor institution in East Anglia.. But…
Do I wish to support the stuffed shirts taking arbitrary decisions without consultation with a wider and far bigger church of stuffed shirts? And do I wish to bring joy to Guardian reading fools who care nothing for cricket? And there is also a practical matter: MCC members do actually want to watch the games the committee wants to scrap. Why replace them with games that we, who are the membership, who own and fund the club, don’t actually want to watch?
So, I have voted against the committee and I hope that my fellow members do the same in droves. It is, in my view, not folks like me who are out of touch with the wider country, but the London elitists who just live in another country who see ripping down ancient institutions as a good thing per se. I cannot say that I care that strongly but if MCC members vote as I did, the rage of the BBC and the Guardian when the result is announced will bring me some brief moment of joy.