There’s a lot of ridiculous stuff in the air this morning. And not just the prospect of Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin being the big three players at the G8 summit in Italy next summer.
One of the weirdest things, for example, is this bizarre coincidence about British Prime Ministers losing their jobs – and the extraordinary link with England losing to Germany at major tournaments.
The prologue to this story is in 1966 when Harold Wilson called a snap election in the spring, comfortably increasing his majority as he did so. Four months later, England won the World Cup.
Jump forwards four years, and things stopped looking so rosy.
The 1970 World Cup in Mexico was played in early summer. England, defending champions, came up against Germany (or rather West Germany, as they were then) in the quarter-finals. The match was played on June 14 with Germany winning 3-2 after extra time, having clawed back a 2-0 deficit; four days later, there was a general election at which Wilson was ousted.
The next time England faced Germany in a football tournament was at the World Cup in Italy in 1990. England lost to Germany on penalties after drawing 1-1 in extra-time. That match was on July 4; just four months later, Margaret Thatcher was forced out of office by her own party.
Six years later, at Euro ’96, England once again came up against the now-unified Germany side, in the semi-finals of the tournament. As in 1990, England had the better of the match – and a Paul Gascoigne chance in extra-time still burns the memories of those who witnessed it – but ended up losing in a penalty shoot-out. Within a year, Tony Blair had been elected in a landslide, ousting John Major.
Roll on a further decade and at the 2010 World Cup, the spookiness returned: this time the political upheaval slightly preceded the footballing turmoil, with Gordon Brown having been turfed out of 10 Downing Street on 6 May, and England’s 4-1 last-16 defeat by Germany occurring seven weeks later on June 27.
Absolutely spooky. And worst thing of all, England are on a collision course with Germany at Euro 2016 – the teams will play in the semi-final, assuming that they both get that far.
If they do face each other there will only be one winner. That winner won’t be England – and maybe we’ll have David Cameron to blame.