Paul Gascoigne outside Stevenage Magistrates Court on 5 August. Photograph: Getty Images.
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Why do we still remember Paul Gascoigne's best moments so fondly?

By now his credit is all used up.

If you look closely enough, Gary Lineker can still replicate that expression.

Usually he reserves it for an uncomfortable spot of live television during the Olympics or even the sight of one of Mark Lawrenson’s adventurous dress shirts on the Match of the Day sofa, but it is impossible to forget where the former Leicester City and England striker first found that particular look.

It came nine minutes into extra-time of England’s World Cup semi-final against West Germany on a warm night in Turin in 1990. Lineker, like millions of captive eyes across the world, watched with mute horror as a young Paul Gascoigne - England’s enigmatic tyro - produced a tired two-footed lunge on Thomas Berthold and deservedly received the booking that ruled him out of the rest of the tournament.

Despite only being a footnote to England’s penalty exit, the 23-year-old’s resultant tears made the papers the following morning, but it was Lineker’s grimace- often captured in the background of Gascoigne’s personal agony - that echoes with particular relevance today.

The news that Gascoigne - a million miles away from his footballing nadir in Turin - has been fined £1,000 after admitting to a drunken train station assault earlier this month, is no longer surprising, nor, sadly, particularly newsworthy. 

The first decade of Gascoigne post-football, much like his final years as a professional, has been a sad parody of his tabloid persona. Tales of meat pies, cat droppings and late night takeaway brawls replaced those sporadic, iconic, moments of quality for once he was known. Where once he could balance these exploits with a glorious piece of skill on a Saturday afternoon, he now needs acclaim to be able to walk to the shops.

The truth, however you dress it, is that Gascoigne never recovered from that night in Turin.

Paul Merson, a disciple of the ‘Tuesday Club’ drinking culture at Arsenal in the late 80s and early 90s, shares similar wild stories to those attributed to Gascoigne, however the key difference being that ‘Merse’ has managed to pull himself out of his funk and into gainful employment.

‘Gazza’ has pointedly failed to do either.

It is with some irony that Gascoigne’s latest downward spiral has coincided with ESPN’s decision to pull the plug on ESPN Classic: the broadcaster’s nostalgic TV mantelpiece. The channel - a common port of call for drunken students and insomniacs - acted as a constant time capsule where, in true Bill Murray- Andie MacDowell fashion, it was forever June 1996 and Gascoigne’s last great moments in an England shirt were relived in glorious sunshine.

Perhaps Gascoigne, now one of those drunken revellers, has himself sat in front of the screen at 3am reviewing that moment during Euro 1996 that his agonising slide failed to convert Alan Shearer’s pinpoint cross and catapult England into a first major final in 30 years. 17 years later, we’re still waiting.

It seems sad that a new generation will no longer be able to stumble across Gascoigne’s peculiar charms on a satellite backwater - even more so because they won’t be grabbed by his statistics in the record books.

You see, Paul Gascoigne’s enduring appeal was never about numbers. Players whose careers are cherished for their aesthetic qualities rarely are. Tottenham fans will talk about his free-kick against Arsenal in the 1991 FA Cup semi-final rather than his career-threatening kamikaze tackling that followed in the final.

Rangers supporters speak about the creative renaissance that spelled domestic domination in the mid-1990s rather than his sectarian flute celebration that courted controversy and ire.

And England followers will forever remember that goal against Scotland in 1996 rather than his hotel room meltdown after failing to make Glenn Hoddle’s 1998 World Cup squad.

Perhaps wrongly, we have always chosen to remember the best of Gascoigne wherever possible. His heartfelt honesty and vulnerability as he staggered around the Stadio delle Alpi with his England shirt yanked up from his navel bought him that much.

However, with no new football memories to enjoy, the Dunston-born entertainer is well and truly out of credit.

A group of celebrity friends and admirers paid for the cash-strapped Gascoigne to undergo a course of rehab in the US earlier this year, yet at no point was there any confidence that his personal torment was at an end.  

For every George Best style story - and Gascoigne’s slippery slope continues to echo that cautionary tale - there are unlikely examples of a substance-abusing phoenix emerging from the flames.

Yet no one appears to see this as a remotely plausible end to the story.

When Lineker returns to our screens with Match of the Day later this month, watch closely for that familiar fleeting grimace when he is forced to talk of young current players treading Gascoigne’s path. You’ll recognise it, whether ‘Gazza’ will too is a different story.  

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Chuka Umunna calls for "solidarity" among Labour MPs, whoever is voted leader

The full text of shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna's speech to Policy Network on election-winning ideas for Labour's future, and the weaknesses of the New Labour project.

There has never been an easy time to be a social democrat (or “democratic socialist” as we sometimes call ourselves in Britain). Whereas the right can demonise the poor and extol the virtues of the market, and the hard left can demonise the market and extol the role of the state, our position of constraining the domination of markets and reforming the state is, by definition, more complex.

It is nonetheless the case that social democracy has a historic responsibility, in every generation, to renew democracy and preserve a civic culture. This is achieved not through soundbites and slogans, but through the hard-headed development of a progressive politics that reconciles liberty and democracy, new comers and locals to our communities, business and workers, in a common life that preserves security, prosperity and peace.  This historic mission is all the more urgent now and my determination that we succeed has grown not weakened since our election defeat last May.

But, in order to be heard, it is necessary to make balanced and reasonable argument that both animates and inspires our movement, and which is popular and plausible with the people.  The first is pre-requisite to the second; and there is no choice to be made between your party’s fundamental principles and electability. They are mutually dependent - you cannot do one without the other.

We are in the midst of choosing a new leader and it is clear to anyone who has watched the UK Labour Party leadership election this summer that amongst a significant number there is a profound rage against Third Way politics – as pursued by the likes of Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Gerhard Schröder and others - as a rejection of our fundamental values.

In the UK there is a view that New Labour accepted an uncritical accommodation with global capital that widened inequality, weakened organised labour and we were too close to the US Republicans and too far from the European left.

I do not believe this is fair, not least because we rescued many of our public services from the scrap heap when we came to office in 1997 and there were very significant achievements  we should celebrate.  New Labour renewed our National Health Service in a fundamental way; we built new schools and improved existing ones; we set up new children’s centres all over the country; we brought in a National Minimum Wage; we worked with others to bring peace to Northern Ireland; we introduced civil partnerships.  Just some of our achievements.

However, though we may take issue with the critique, I do not think we can simply dismiss out of hand those who hold critical views of New Labour. Like any government, the New Labour administration made mistakes - it could and should have achieved more, and done more to challenge the Right’s assumptions about the world. In the end, it is not unreasonable to be ambitious for what your party in government can achieve in building greater equality, liberty, democracy and sustainability. It is far better we acknowledge, not reject, this ambition for a better world, as we seek to forge a new politics of the common good fit for the future.

Realising our values in office has been disrupted by globalisation and the surge of technological forces that are displacing and reshaping industry after industry.

Some argue that globalisation as an ideological construct of the right. But we must recognise that we live in an increasingly integrated world in which markets have led to an unprecedented participation of excluded people in prosperity, a rise in living standards for hundreds of millions  of people and a literacy unprecedented in human history – this is particularly so in emerging economies like my father’s native Nigeria. And the internet has led to a level of accountability that has disturbed elites.

Yet, this has been combined with a concentration of ownership that needs to be challenged, of a subordination of politics that requires creative rather than reactive thinking, and these global forces have exacerbated inequalities as well as helped reduce poverty.

So it is important that we understand the sheer scale and impact of new technologies. At the moment we are engaged in a debate about Uber and its threat to one of the last vestiges of vocational labour markets left in London, those of the black taxi cabs and their attainment of 'The Knowledge'. But the reality is that within the next decade there will be the emergence of driverless cars so we have to intensify our exploration of how to support people in a knowledge economy and the realities of lifelong learning, as well as lifelong teaching. As people live longer we will have to think about how to engage them constructively in work and teaching in new ways.

Once again, I'm addressing all of this, Social Democracy requires a balanced view that domesticates the destructive energy of capital while recognising its creative energy, that recognises the need for new skills rather than simply the protection of old ones. A Social Democracy that recognises that internationalism requires co-operation between states and not a zero sum game that protectionism would encourage.

Above all, Social Democratic politics must recognise the importance of place, of the resources to be found in the local through which the pressures of globalisation can be mediated and shaped. Our job is to shape the future and neither to accept it as a passive fate nor to indulge the fantasy that we can dominate it but to work with the grain of change in order to renew our tradition, recognising the creativity of the workforce, the benefits of democracy and the importance of building a common life.  Sources of value are to be found in local traditions and institutions.

This also requires a recognition that though demonstration and protest are important,; but relationships and conversations are a far more effective way of building a movement for political change.

One of the huge weaknesses of New Labour was in its reliance on mobilisation from the centre rather than organising. It therefore allowed itself to be characterised as an elite project with wide popular support but it did not build a base for its support within the party across the country, and it did not develop leaders from the communities it represented. It was strong on policy but weak on strengthening democratic politics, particularly Labour politics.

Over half a million people are now members, supporters or affiliated supporters of our party, with hundreds of thousands joining in the last few weeks. Some have joined in order to thwart the pursuit of Labour values but many more have joined to further the pursuit of those values, including lots of young people. At a time when so many are walking away from centre left parties across the Western world and many young people do not vote let alone join a party, this is surely something to celebrate.

So it is vital that we now embrace our new joiners and harness the energy they can bring to renewing Labour’s connection with the people. First, we must help as many them as possible to become doorstep activists for our politics. Second, I have long argued UK Labour should campaign and organise not only to win elections but to affect tangible change through local community campaigns. We brought Arnie Graf, the Chicago community organiser who mentored President Obama in his early years, over from the U.S. to help teach us how to community organise more effectively. We should bring Arnie back over to finish the job and help empower our new joiners to be the change they want to see in every community – we need to build on the links they have with local groups and organisations.

I mentioned at the beginning that in every generation Social Democracy is besieged from left and right but the achievements of each generation are defined by the strength of a complex political tradition that strengthens solidarity through protecting democracy and liberty, a role for the state and the market and seeks to shape the future through an inclusive politics. Solidarity is key which is why we must accept the result of our contest when it comes and support our new leader in developing an agenda that can return Labour to office.

Yes, these are troubled times for social democrats. All over Europe there is a sense among our traditional voters that we are remote and do not share their concerns or represent their interests or values.  There is surge of support for populist right wing parties from Denmark to France, of more left wing parties in Greece and Spain and in Britain too. There is renewal of imperial politics in Russia, the murderous and abhorrent regime of ISIL in the Middle East, volatility in the Chinese economy and in Europe a flow of immigration that causes fear and anxiety.

But, the task of Social Democracy in our time is to fashion a politics of hope that can bring together divided populations around justice, peace and prosperity so that we can govern ourselves democratically. We have seen worse than this and weathered the storm. I am looking forward, with great optimism to be being part of a generation that renews our relevance and popularity in the years to come.

Chuka Umunna is the shadow business secretary and the Labour MP for Streatham.