Clarets star Joey Barton hopes for considered response to ISIS outrage

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He’s not the first politically-minded Burnley player, nor the first to boast an appearance on Question Time.

Former Clarets skipper Clarke Carlisle was the first footballer to appear on the show, back in January 2011.

Joey Barton

Joey Barton

Joey Barton followed suit in May last year, shortly after helping QPR join Burnley in the Premier League.

And the midfielder retains a keen interest in politics.

After the harrowing events of the past week, in a country where the 33-year-old plied his trade while on loan with Marseille in 2012/13, the deep-thinking one-time England cap held court at yesterday’s pre-match press conference.

Barton, hailed a ‘genius’ by Oxford University students after an hour-long talk at the Oxford Union last year, is renowned for his brand of Twitter philosophy - having embarked on a part-time degree in the subject at Roehampton University.

It’s worrying times, we need to be very careful about our next move

Joey Barton

Fond of quoting Nietzsche, Barton quoted socialist Karl Marx earlier this week, saying: “History repeats ... first as tragedy, then as farce.”

With the media, he chewed the fat on England standing shoulder to shoulder with France, the response to last week’s Isis attacks, and the subject of Syrian refugees.

Speaking about the singing of the French national anthem La Marseillaise at Wembley ahead of Tuesday’s friendly with England, he said: “I’ve still got friends in France and you can see how well it’s been received.

“I was embraced by the French.

“Growing up, with history lessons, the Anglo-French hostilities...but when you get into the nitty gritty of it, the countries are very closely aligned.

“60% of the words we use are French, as was explained to me when I was learning the language.

“You realise how closely integrated we are, so I wasn’t surprised by it (singing the anthem), the rivalry was put to one side for humanitarian issues, and I think the French were humbled by it.

“I think they were taken aback by the level we went to to show our support and solidarity.

“It says an awful lot about this country, it’s a great country.

“We’ve got a long way to go in other aspects, and I’m trying to pussy foot around, because I don’t really want to get into the politics too much, but we have to be very mindful of what we do going forward.

“For me, everyone is affected by it, you don’t need to know individuals involved, it’s a difficult situation. You wouldn’t wish that situation on anyone, but it’s the nature of what’s going on at the minute, it’s a difficult period. Everybody is at panic stations.”

The anthem will be played ahead of Premier League games this weekend, but asked what effect that will have, he mused: “If everyone sings La Marseillaise this weekend, is it going to solve the problem? Is it going to stop young people being radicalised? Probably not - again, we do things with great intent, but if we sing, and then next week march into Syria as part of a coalition and start dropping bombs, we’re back to square one, probably even further back.

“The reason we have these issues is because of what we’ve done in the Gulf war, and when we went back. Isil was formed in the prison camps of Iraq and Afghanistan, we’ve created this problem.

“Do I think we can solve it? No. The Americans, who are incredibly more powerful militarily than us, have got their fingers burned, so what makes us and France think we can solve it?

“We’re incredibly egotistic and naive to think we can solve everybody’s problems, we have enough issues going on here.

“The answer is certainly not to get involved too hastily. I understand something needs to be done about it, but I think, for us to pass things through parliament, and we’ve seen things rushed through in the US senate, to protect against the war on terror, people get the rough end of it.

“I find it coincidental the snooper charter was going to be defeated, Cameron didn’t think he’d be able to get enough votes to force it through, and all of a sudden it’s fever pitch. Who knows where we’ll end up in six weeks.

“It’s worrying times, we need to be very careful about our next move.”

And Barton is against the use of force in Syria in response: “I don’t think we should rush into a war again, we’ve already done that, and it doesn’t need me to say it didn’t work last time. When you look at similarities between the US war on terror, and Francois Hollande declares it, almost a call to arm, and Theresa May’s snooper charter, there are just a few things that make me really uncomfortable.

“Do we really want to jump into this? It’s almost fever pitch now, to go and start bombing, and for me personally, that isn’t the answer.

“The newspapers here have latched onto that a refugee ‘may’ have been on one of the boats, but they were EU nationals - the problem is here, it’s not going away if we carpet bomb the Middle East.

“I’m not classing fundamentalists the same as those getting into drugs or gangs, but there are a lot of similar themes, they are generally uneducated with no prospects, they live in poverty...

“All you do by going to war is create more of that, you’re not starting the education process with the youth of tomorrow.

“This isn’t particular to one place, every major city has poor, deprived areas, and this, unfortunately, is a breeding ground for crime, at whatever level.

“It makes me fearful, this urge to punish people who practice Islam, you only have to flip back 20 years, and myself being of Irish descent, you know what was going on then, and not every person who practices Islam or has different religious beliefs, is capable of committing what these monsters are doing, these people don’t want to negotiate, you’re in a difficult position.

“They want to die. Where do we go?

“I’m kind of happy I’m not in London, you think a metropolis like that is on high alert, you don’t envy people of being in that fearful position, people talking about cancelling holidays to France, everyone is on panic stations and we have to be mindful of how we communicate that.

“Yes, there is a threat out there, but does that mean everybody is capable of terrorist acts? I don’t think so.”