This morning the “sports entertainment” company WWE announced that it would be holding a show at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, the first stadium wrestling event to take place in the United Kingdom for 30 years. While this has naturally been lauded by the wrestling media, hearts will have sunk in the chests of those of us familiar with the current parlous political situation in the UK. Put simply, there are multiple compelling reasons why WWE should not even have considered running a show in a rogue state like Britain.
Firstly, the United Kingdom cannot be termed a free and fair democracy by any measure. The head of state is a hereditary monarch who also serves as leader of the official state religion, a church whose clerics are permitted to legislate on the country’s legal system. Recent elections have been a sham, with rampant bias exhibited towards the ruling ultra-conservative regime by print media institutions and the state broadcaster, whose boardrooms are stacked with officials loyal to the government. The leader of the so-called “opposition” party is a former state prosecutor who has consistently supported government policy and only yesterday called for sweeping police powers to be used against political protestors.
This brings us to the country’s appalling human rights record. The regime recently brought in legislation that effectively criminalised protest, allowing sentences of up to ten years in prison to be handed out if demonstrations are deemed a “nuisance” to public order by the ruling authorities. The police are uncontrollable and unaccountable, harbouring rapists and murderers within their ranks, physically brutalising anti-government activists and refusing to prosecute officials caught flagrantly breaching the law. Despite some progress on LGBT rights, prejudice against members of this community remains endemic in politics and civil society, with the government recently announcing that it will continue to permit the use of torture against transgender people by those who would seek to “cure” them. The UK’s foreign policy, too, has long been a scene of widespread iniquity; the country is notorious for its willingness to invade other sovereign nations, and as you read this article is currently selling arms to dictatorships for use in proxy wars and genocide.
Of course, ordinary wrestling fans in the United Kingdom cannot be blamed for this sorry state of affairs, and I have every sympathy with those who would relish the opportunity to see megastars such as Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar and Butch perform in their country. However, for the UK to be allowed to host an entertainment extravaganza such as this would hand a huge propaganda victory to the ruling regime, and consequently I call on WWE to reconsider holding their show in Cardiff until such time as Britain has made sufficient progress on its human rights issues to be considered a free, democratic nation.