Nigel Lawson was only half right. He said that in modern Britain, there is a religion: the NHS. Although one sees his point, what about football? This week, there will be a budget, plus an alarming background: the threat of a global banking crisis. It is hard to form a clear picture of military developments in Ukraine, yet there are many grounds for alarm, if not despondency: not today at any rate. But that could happen. The Government is also trying to deal with illegal immigration.

So there is a large amount of material for headlines and reportage. Yet the main issue appears to be Gary Lineker’s fatuous comment – and that story is by no means over. Bill Shankly, a footballer from a previous generation, once made a joke. But these days, irony has become literal truth. “There’s a lot of nonsense talked about football” he would say. “Some people go on as if it was a matter of life and death. What rubbish: it is far more important than that.”