Thursday, 25 January 2007
Wednesday, 17 January 2007
People want a bit of parity and fairness and everyone over-reacts, claiming that the UK will fall apart. What rubbish.
New Labour tactics are crude and self interested (as always). A Scots dominated government gave Scotland a little of what they wanted a decade ago, and just as it threatens to bring the party to a close, they start scaremongering.
If English MPs have no say in how public money is spent on health and education in Scotland and Wales, why should Scottish and Welsh MPs have a say on English spending. There is nothing wrong in pointing out the absurdity of certain people having a vote in issues which do not affect the people they represent or govern.
If that was acceptable we would have welcomed the Nazis with open arms. But it is not acceptable and we are right to demand that our “leaders” put right what they have screwed up.
This Government should have fallen the day that Scottish MPs imposed tuition fees on English Universities and students just to protect the Government from an embarrassing defeat. This is vastly more iniquitous than the poll tax trial in Scotland ever was, and that issue directly brought about Thatcher’s demise.
Devolution is very simple to operate. It is quite simple – just exclude Scottish and Welsh MP’s from debates and votes concerning any issues which are already decided upon under devolved powers in Edinburgh and Cardiff.
You don’t need a new building, you don’t need any new politicians and you don’t need a new flag.
You just need some common sense and a willingness to ask one simple question – will the outcome of this vote directly affect the people of Scotland and Wales. If yes, Scottish and Welsh MPs vote, if no, they don’t.
Tricky isn’t it.
Previously we had the debate concerning Saddam’s execution and the outrage that it had been filmed and was being shown on TV and on the internet. The manner of Saddam’s execution told the truth about Iraq and the strongest complaints came from those most upset that the truth had been exposed. It was in effect the perfect ending to Bush and Blair’s personal crusade and their ignorant misadventure. But instead of accepting the reality of what they saw, they tried to damn those who dared film it.
Iraq lies in tatters and the vengeful and hateful manner of his execution gave a pretty big clue as to how the next 20 years of Iraqi affairs will pan out. Anyway, as an aside, we all know that Blair’s speciality is breaking things he doesn’t like and then staring at the pieces without any idea how to put them back together.
How many history lessons does it take to learn that if you remove a suppressive dictator, you either accept that a new, bloody and vengeful power struggle will ensue, or you must replace it immediately with an equally forceful leadership.
Now we have Big Brother who crime is simply to film and broadcast the true character of “beasts” that we have created and which we conspire to create through our tacit condoning of modern contrived culture.
These people exist because we created them and because we allow them to.
The camera never lies and broadcasters do us a greater service than we care to imagine. People always say that before you can change, you must first see and accept what is wrong. Thanks to TV, society finally has the looking glass is so badly needs.
You see the Big Brother house currently hosts the perfect microcosm of society as a whole.
We have so many features being played out. We have raw selfish ambition. We have astonishing ignorance and stupidity. We have youthful intimidation. We have supine cowardliness. We have spiritual condescension. Our shallow, vacuous, selfish, disrespectful society writ large.
That Joe, Jade and Danielle are celebrated in society at any level is an insult to every molecule of my being.
That they are as unintelligent and ill educated as they are is the most potent comment one could make about a decade of New Labour education policies.
That they act as they do is the most accurate reflection of that generation of our young white population.
That the older people in the house do nothing is diabolical and yet unsurprising. It happens in every walk of life every day.
The girlie gang’s behaviour is tawdry and offensive. It verges on racism in as much as they are basing their dislike for Shilpa on her cultural mannerisms and traditions. I would suggest that their primary crime is bullying, but it is strongly supplemented with racial aggravation. When cats in a sack fight, the hissing and scratching is prolific.
Shilpa, however, knows exactly what she is doing and is more in control of the situation than most of the 15,000 complainants give her credit. She is in the house for ambitious personal gain. She is clearly as manipulative as any motivated woman can be. She is playing the audience well and they are responding superbly.
Regular readers of this blog know just how important an impact I believe a leader has on those they lead and so none will be surprised when I suggest that what we are seeing in the Big Brother House this month is exactly the advert I would make for a decade of Blair’s Britain. Big Brother is Blair’s real legacy. Big Brother epitomises the Blair years.
The cameras hold a mirror up to society and we don’t like what we see.
Thank god for that.
Perhaps we are now as close as ever to the point at which society fights back.
P.S. I would of course love to know just how many of the 15k complainants laugh heartily at Little Britain and the racially inspired humour derived from the Indian lady in the Fat Fighters Club. “Say it again?!”
Friday, 12 January 2007
He has spent the last decade patrolling the world throwing British people and resources at any and every problem he can find. Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Iraq. His ego knows no bounds, especially when other people are cashing the cheques.
So, the world is in chaos; the Middle East is in turmoil; new unstable countries are pursuing nuclear capability; a full scale War of Terror is underway; our Armed Forces are in melt down - stretched to breaking point and criminally underfunded; our expedition / crusade to Iraq has failed; and Afghanistan could rage for another ten years, just as it did for the Russians.
So having broken this particular toy, what is Tony’s answer – to have a debate about what role Britain should have in the World today.
The only reason we need a debate, Tony, is because you have made such a total and incomprehendable mess of it all. Oh, and by the way, the rest of us have been debating this very question for a number of years. It is just that you haven't noticed or cared.
He is without question the most contemptible and unthinking Prime Minister we have ever had.
Saturday, 6 January 2007
All I ever hope for is that some significant part of my life coincides with a period in which my national team are the best in the world at my favourite sport.
Football fans of my generation will sympathise with that sentiment, I am sure. We have been nearly-rans in World football since 1986 and with such a fabulously talented squad of players.
When you think you are nearly there, a thrashing like this is quite unbearable. Worst of all, it is the sort of ‘video nasty’ you just have watch.
Another “worst” aspect of this debacle was the fact that deep down, you knew we were on the receiving end of something very special. I wished I could have been neutral and been able to enjoy it for what it was – cricket history and the swansong of two of crickets living legends. Shane Warne is the first sportsman whose career and mastery I watched as it happened and who will still be talked about in 100 years. He is my Pele, my Mohammed Ali, my Bradman. I should have enjoyed it more. I should have seen him live.
Since an inquiry into England’s loss is soon to commence, and they will almost certainly consult this blog for views, I really had better provide some.
England were whitewashed the day the Aussie squad AGREED to partake in a boot camp last year. It told me everything I needed to know about their seriousness, their humility and their commitment to each other. I, and now they, understand the monumental importance of a shared hardship in building the team. I come from a culture of “train hard, fight easy” and the Aussies approach to this series is its epitomy. I emphasise the word ‘agreed’ because in England, even if such an idea made it to first base, it would have been laughed out of Court. Go on, suggest it now – see what happens.
England were whitewashed because our BOWLING was atrocious. Batting may be the glorious face of cricket but bowling is the only aspect that matters. You see the ONLY way to WIN a test match is to bowl the opposition out twice. You can score a thousand runs, but if you only take 19 wickets, you draw. It really doesn’t matter how good your batsmen are (and ours really are pretty good), if your bowlers let the opposition back into the game at every turn, confidence wanes, fluency departs, runs dry up and the old middle order collapse becomes endemic. In the crucial 2nd Test, our batsmen scored a massive 1st innings total, only to watch their bowlers throw the advantage away. Its like pouring water into a bath with the plug out – pointless and demoralizing.
England were whitewashed because we didn’t have a Captain. Flintoff may be an incomparable all rounder, he may be a talisman, he may be capable of turning a game, but he is not a leader and he is not a Captain. He cannot even spell the words and must be sacked immediately. I am pretty much alone in this observation. The TV pundits won’t touch him but he is to blame. The Captaincy quite obviously suffocated his own game and his strategies were hopeless. But worst of all, Flintoff doesn’t have the courage to stand apart from the team. He tries to lead by having pals, which of course means that your team splits into two camps and falls apart under pressure. He was powerless to help the floundering Harmison and he wouldn’t fire Jones or Giles until the Ashes were lost because they are all best mates. Just remember, this is the man who was received by our Queen completely pissed. How we laughed.
In summary, I believe that:
Giles, G Jones (wkpr), Mahmood and Anderson should not play for England again.
Harmison and Trescothick must be put in last chance saloon and asked to find their own way back to the top. Only then will we know if they really want it. Is Harmison a tough Durham miner or is he a wet, Essex lady-boy?
Dogged though he is, Collingwood must make way for Vaughan, who must play at number 6 initially.
Flintoff must hand the Captaincy back to Vaughan and return to the ranks where he is most effective.
Strauss must be Vice Captain at all times.
The search for a strong wicket keeper / batsman goes on, but trust me every candidate under the age of 23 knows exactly what they have to do, and will stop at nothing to achieve it. One of them will make it.
The ECB must face up to their error and pay any price to bring Troy Cooley back as our bowling coach.
Young bowlers such as Lewis, Tremlett, Plunkett and Broad must square up for the two places available in support of Hoggard, Flintoff and Panesar.
Our batsmen must be reminded that scoring runs is a matter of pride under any circumstances and regardless of how crap everyone else around you is. Cricket may be a team game but at the crease, you are on your own and should be as selfishly determined to succeed as Tiger Woods or Roger Federer.
Strauss, Cook, Bell, Pietersen, Flintoff, Vaughan, Wicketkeeper, Panesar, Hoggard, fast bowler, fast bowler. That’s the order and we have three un-named spaces. Go for your lives this summer, boys. Fight for it. The others all have.
We really do have a fantastic (and young) team here, but it must be lead properly, it must have ruthlessly disciplined and effective bowlers and it must live and breathe as one through thick and thin. It must also know that success comes from greatness, and greatest is not borne on the back of winning one perilously close Ashes series.