If you’re lucky enough to travel to Muirfield to play golf, make sure that you remember to set you watch back 200 years. Forsooth!
The only Olympic successes so far have been the ladies’ football and the male gymnastics team. Both have excelled.
OK, so the ladies haven’t won yet – but what an attitude! What a display of skill and confidence!
Let’s not ruin it all by suddenly predicting that they’re going to win the gold !
The gymnasts did not have the heavy weight of expectation crushing their shoulders and were totally brilliant. They won a surprise Bronze medal which was easily worth its weight in Gold!
Contrast that to the real medal hopes: Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield in the synchronised 10m platform diving event .“You miss one dive and you’re gone,” said Daley. He probably meant “Get every dive right and you win a medal”.
Mark Cavendish, another 100% medal hopeful came nowhere in the long pushbike race. Once again, too much pointless pressure had been exerted on him – you could see that from his tears when he finally showed-up – in 29th position.
Sailor and multiple Gold Medal winner Ben Ainslie is another “cert” who appears to be struggling and will no doubt feel gutted if he achieves anything less than perfection. Currently, he is lying a tantalising second but has two on-form Danes to contend with.
There are a couple of things at which we Brits excel: Synchronised moaning and over-optimism.
We’ve been doing it to the national football team for years but we never used to do it to our Olympians – until that is, they tasted real success in Beijing.
Suddenly, we expect – no demand about 50 medals in total, together with a shopping list of who will win what. That’s ridiculous!
They do all merit our unconditional support but remember, these are young people who neither deserve nor need the pressure generated by a nation so starved of consistent sporting success.
Even GB football coach Stuart Pearce has said “We are aiming for Gold” – merely to appease the media, one suspects. “We may win, we may not but will run ourselves into the ground trying.” would have been much better.
So how are we going to stop “assuming” whilst maintaining belief and motivation, instead of behaving as we do at Christmas time when the biggest kicks come from pre-present-opening anticipation, followed by the bitter taste of crushing disappointment.
Let’s just ask our sportsmen to “aim for a medal”. The rest will take care of itself.
Yesterday, in the 200m butterfly final, Chad le Clos beat Michael Phelps by 0.05 secs. Phelps may well have been briefly upset by both the minuscule margin of his defeat and by the fact that he missed out on a gold medal. However, he accepted and held that silver medal as if it was the gold. One suspects that he would have been exactly the same had he won a “mere” bronze.
The important thing was that he took part and did his best. Corny? Yes – but that is the ultimate that we should expect.
We do have it in us to take on and beat the world. That’s our destination.
We just need to think a bit more about the route we take.
(Of course, I was NOT including Helen Glover and Heather Stanning who have just won Team GB’s first gold medal of the London Olympics in the women’s pairs rowing!!!! Fantastic!)……and, of course , not forgetting Bradley and his unfeasibly quick pushbike! But then again, the normal rules of human psychology don’t apply to our Mr Wiggins!
The London 2012 Olympic ceremony allowed Danny Boyle to finally shatter the worldwide caricature of the average Englishman as a bowler-hatted, goofy, umbrella-carrying, upper-class twit who laughs and snorts at nothing in particular.
In a few short hours, he has undone years and years of the reinforcement of a negative British stereotype which the world has (unfortunately) continued to perceive through the medium of the uber-twittery of our own Cabinet.
Just for denting the Bertie Wooster archetype he deserves a “Sir”.
Yes, the Olympic Opening Ceremony was quintessentially British but it was also awe-inspiring, rejuvenating, rousing, funny, motivational in-the-extreme and in parts, so enheartening that this July morning, not just a nation but the whole world has woken up re-energised and inspired.
Danny Boyle may be quirky little gonk – but he’s also a genius.
Purely as an unintended by-product, the ceremony also highlighted the soulless robotic construction of Beijing 2008. No pretty girl miming to the singing voice of the plain girl cowering behind a curtain here, thank you. We had real kids. And certainly no over-choreographed Chinese Kraftwerk-like rigidness and rigorism.
We do real – not perfection.
The ceremony proclaimed “This is Great Britain!” with such volume and colour that anyone who saw it will be proud to say “I was there. I saw it.”
Did I say “Sir Danny”?
I meant, of course, “Lord Boyle”….
Apologies if you find what I’ve written below offensive but I find both racism and moronic soccer players offensive.
John Terry allegedly called Anton Ferdinand, brother of Rio Ferdinand who replaced Terry as England captain, after Terry been shagging someone’s wife, a “fucking b***k cunt”.
Of course, Terry claims that he has never aimed a racist remark at any b***k cunt but nevertheless still finds himself in deep water.
However, if he finds himself in real trouble, perhaps he can ask Wayne Bridge for a character reference.
The alleged phrase which Terry aimed at Ferdinand has only one unacceptable word (B***K).
Neither Anton nor Rio appear to object to the other two words used by Terry, possibly on the grounds of accuracy.
Bizarrely, had he omitted the colour reference, Terry would probably be in the clear and the whole episode would have been considered no more than normal footballer banter – even though the phrase would have blown at least 25% of Terry’s vocabulary in one instant.
Furthermore, on consulting the Dulux colour chart, it seems that Terry’s assertion was chromatologically inaccurate anyway!
Hopefully, if found guilty, Terry will be stripped of both captaincies and sentenced to several days in a sun-bed.
We Brits are not very good at sex but by God, we like to read about others doing it. There’s nothing we enjoy more, except perhaps witnessing a successful person’s life unravelling whilst we wallow in those delicious Sunday-morning waves of schadenfreude as we thumb through the weekend red-tops.
Nowadays, publicist Max Clifford appears to contribute the first ten pages to both the News of the World and Sunday Mirror. It is usually sex-based showbiz dross with either a real or engineered theme of celebrity crisis. It can be anything from Jordan’s split hair to an Antipodean bimbette being excluded from a talent-show panel. However, by far the best kind of celeb crisis is the one which contains sex, infidelity and a broken relationship. We lap it up.
That is why the alleged Ryan Giggs affair with Imogen Thomas has captivated a nation hungry for any hint of celebrity depravity. If there is any shortage of filth – we can join-up the dots ourselves. Think about it – what do we have so far? We have a millionaire footballer with a wife and children, an inexperienced Welsh former beauty queen, a super-injunction-busting Member of Parliament who himself hasn’t been slow in the trouser department and the undivided attention of a slavering media. Can we bear to wait until next Sunday?
The end-game will be the usual ” Mr and Mrs ……………….. ask that you respect their privacy through this difficult time as they try to save their marriage.” Then we’ll have the obligatory advice from the Fleet Street Harpies along the lines of “Should she leave him or should she stay with him?” It’s the usual script – only the main players have changed.
Our very synthetic outrage (how could he?) (the children) belies the fact that we’re glad. Any sympathy we express is sham. What we really want are all the gory details, we want to see those sentences with “hotel room”, “sex act” (usually a blow-job), “well-endowed”, six times (why always six?), “I loved him”,”he promised”,”he was gentle” etc.
So why do footballers and celebrities in general, take those risks? The answer is simple – Money and Opportunity. In fact, the former facilitates the latter – especially if you are a young fit famous footballer with a permanent hard-on, a Black Amex Card and a Bentley.
They say that erect prick has no conscience – and sad to say, that is true. Fidelity is not a state of mind or belief, it is a clause in a contract. Every person, given the right opportunity will screw someone who is not his or her partner. The difference between normal mortals and celebrities is that they are handed those opportunities over and over again. Opportunities which most ordinary people never experience. Inevitably, some of those opportunities will be too difficult to resist.
The ONLY things which can ever prevent an individual from straying sexually are either deep-held religious or cultural beliefs which have instilled the conviction that certain activities can be wrong. Regrettably, these days that type of education has largely gone AWOL.
Nowadays, morality, morals and sexual activity are three separate concepts – no longer viewed as being an intertwined trinity.
To many, the sex act is a bodily function which does not need the veneer of either love or ‘right and wrong.’
The ones who dispense judgement on those who are ‘caught’ fall into just two groups. Those who haven’t been caught or those who who have never had the opportunity. There is one final (minor) group which is rapidly approaching extinction – those who genuinely believe that sexual intercourse can sometimes be wrong or a sin and should never be played away from home.
Once a couple arrives at the ‘sex-by-numbers’ stage, it is often merely the lack of opportunity which flimsily binds them to each other. That is the time when sex truly does just become an ‘act’. That should be a time for reappraisal and re-invention. However, unless the couple has that rare 100% bond which enables them to say to each other “I didn’t like that” or ” This is getting boring” etc. , tension , stress, frustration and the danger of straying are constantly self-amplifying.
Having said all that – we are certainly not in the business of sympathising with a footballer who screwed a beauty queen and created Twitter mayhem. The only thing to remember is that there are no heroes or villains in this ‘whodunit’. Anyway, it has just morphed from ‘whodunit’ to soap opera!
Let’s just not pretend that we’re not loving every single moment.
(By the way, those things that I said about relationships and sex just applies to the others and not to you. )
A couple of years ago I was asked to represent a Bermuda-based bank. They wanted my company to increase their exposure in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). The idea was that I would design an all-singing, all-dancing presentation/pitch and deliver it to various organisations on their behalf. During a meeting with their Board, they asked whether I would mind (for the purposes of this presentation) acting as if I was a member of their senior team rather than as a consultancy. I agreed and they asked me whether a corporate title would help. Eventually, we agreed on Business Development Director and they even printed a few hundred business cards with my name a title on them.
I contrasted this with a similar scenario which presented itself here in the United Kingdom. A relatively small company asked me to help them to break into new markets.There were also specific clients which they had tried to attract but which they had been unable to “hook”. The owner of the business and I agreed that the sales pitch which I had arranged with a major company would be led by me and that he and two of his senior staff would also attend the pitch but more as corporate “ballast”. Once again, we agreed that I would present as his company’s “pretend” Sales Director.
A couple of days later, slides, handouts plus the script had been completed and I was ready to go. Then the phone rang with a rather frantic company owner on the line. ” You can’t call yourself “Sales Director” because, according to my advisor, there are legal implications. You’ll have to think of another title or present as Chief Executive of your own company.”
That is the British attitude. Not positive motivation but “fear” motivation.
The owner of the British company was being advised by an accountant who used to be a bank manager and a small-business specialist. Rules, legislation and regulations were more important than pulling-in business. The British Way.
He was also one of those people who believed that anything to do with “sales” , by definition, was dodgy. He also felt that he should be involved because he had all the figures at his fingertips. An accountant-bank manager attempting a sales pitch! THE nightmare scenario.
The company owner has still not realised that his “adviser” will do everything to ensure that his company remains small, otherwise the adviser will be out of a job and if the company did become big, he would be stranded well above his personal level of incompetence.
I politely told them that they should perhaps consider making the presentation without me and handed-over all the marketing material that we’d prepared.
To cut a long story short – they blew it and will carry-on blowing it until they rethink their attitude to business.
The banker/accountant had advised the company owner that if he agreed to me using the title “Director”, I might be able to lay some sort of monetary claim against his business and that it was “dishonest” to allow me to call myself something that I wasn’t.(The fact that the title “Sales Director” effectively demoted me did not occur to him). Ugly self-interest, an accountant’s caution and total lack of business “nouse” had blown a potential £30 million deal.
Here in the UK we are afraid of success and waste too much time considering what could go wrong, not what could go right and we have too many advisers. I have a relative who always did everything that his accountant told him not to do. He retired at the age of 40 with £7 million cash in the bank.
We “make do” and instead of getting something 90% right and launching it, we wait until it is 100% right, by which time we’ve missed the bus because someone else has not-only launched but stolen all the clients.
The company owner and his accountant above had gone into their presentation without the proper preparation and screwed-up the whole thing and forgot the most important thing – again very British. They forgot to ask for the business! Their pitch was amateurish because instead or preparing , they “made-do”. They thought that they could muddle through.
The Brits have a Heath-Robinson attitude in a Heath-Robinson society. We muddle through and invoke what is laughably called the “Dunkirk spirit”.
Currently, the country is languishing under a blanket of snow and inevitably, the media are hunting for human-interest stories. Stories abut how we are managing and once again “making do” because that is what makes the nation happy.
Roads, airports and railways are struggling because they “made do” in their preparation.
Our FIFA bid for the 2018 World Cup relied on the oratory of Beckham – for Christ’s sake! We made-do once again because we did not realise that the FIFA decision had been made months ago!
Our media likes to expose bribery scandals which upset our delicate British sensibilities so here’s another lesson:
I used to be a director of a company called American Marine and we used to carry out expensive refits on yachts in the Med. To everyone’s surprise, we managed to secure most of the business – from Nice, Antibes and Cannes to anywhere you care to mention on the Italian Med coast. How did we do it?
We would ask the skippers of any yachts which were tendering-out refit business to let us know what the highest quote that they had received was. Once we had the information, we made sure that our own figures well substantially above the highest other quote. Why did we do that?
Because we knew that the skipper of the yacht would demand 10% of the quote (in cash) as commission. Needless to say, we would always make sure that there was an additional amount paid over to him as well.
The higher the quote, the higher the skipper’s commission – except when the skipper was also the owner!
If I sold a yacht to an Arab Prince, I knew that his “advisor” would need a commission. That consisted of a handshake and an envelope full of cash before any deal was signed. Because of our British hard-wired gene-level suspicious nature, we in Britain believe that all Arabs are crooks. I have always found them to be extremely honourable. The real bandits are the suited ones in Europe who shake your hand and congratulate you on a wonderful presentation.
When I was Head of Broker Division at Citibank, I would talk to brokers and offer them ridiculous amounts of commission in return for them placing their clients’ money with us. I could erode a profit margin like no-one else! However, I made sure that there was still a profit and with the volumes that my over-generosity (bribes) generated, I was not given as much trouble by my CEO as I probably deserved.
So, we should stop trying to “make do” and always play fair and derive satisfaction from the belief that although we don’t win, at least we lost honourably.
As far as the FIFA bid for the 2018 World Cup is concerned, we should have done what most other countries would have done. We should have approached each committee member and asked him what we needed to do to be able to secure his vote. The answer would have been simple – money.
What did we do? We sent an ex-England footballer, a new Prime Minister that no-one outside London is particularly aware of and a grandson of our Queen!
So, the Queen couldn’t be bothered to turn up, the heir to the throne couldn’t be bothered, so we sent the grandson. OK, (on paper) he’s nominal President of the FA but he has never actually either played football or been interested in it – and they know it. You cannot fake passion about your product – unless you are a pro. William is a rank amateur.
We sent William because we are in love with our Royal family and imagine that everyone else is. They don’t care about our Royals any more than we care about the Dutch or Scandinavian ones.
David Beckham is a fine-looking young man but in spite of voice-coaching and presentation-training, he is not a presenter. This was a sales pitch which impressed no-one but fellow Brits.
David “Hey look at me I can talk wthout notes” Cameron’s spiel impressed the British media but it was not a sales pitch – it was politico-bullshit. He spoke without notes (wow). That may impress fat Tory ladies on a Conference front row but is not for the jaded palettes of Sepp Blatter and the rest of the football Illuminati. What they saw in Cameron’s noteless “trick” was not an impressive orator but a young Prime Minister who could not be arsed to prepare properly.
Boris Johnson would have made a better fist of the whole thing. Where was he? Either in the audience or munching canapes at a reception.
The FIFA bandits did not want to be entertained by Cameron, Wills and Becks (The Three Amigos). They wanted bucks transferred to their nominee companies in Liechtenstein. What did we do? We entertained them and were happy to be told how well our presentation was received.
We were suckered.
Now it transpires that we managed TWO votes out of twenty-two and one of those was the British vote.
I shall repeat that the decision was not dependant on the presentation. As Sun Tzu said over 2500 years ago “Every battle is won before it is even fought.” When you go in to pitch for any sort of business, it should already be in your pocket. The presentation is the Coda not the Exposition.
By the time Cameron, Beckham and William had entertained the FIFA committe, they were nothing more the “post-deal” cabaret. The battle had already been fought and won. It is unbelievable that they actually believed that such a major decision was going to be based on three amateurish performances by a footballer, a politician and a prince. They had missed the battle.
We “made do” and once again emerged as the gallant losers.
They say that a silver medal merely indicates the first of the losers. We weren’t really even among the losers so we must never ever again send amateurs to do a professional’s job.
Let the recriminations begin. (By the way, it was not the fault of the media).
This is a transcript of the first serious interview given by Fabio Capello after England’s 2-1 humiliation by those Brie-sucking, Gitane-smoking surrender-monkey French.
“Hi am think dat de football whene sheia isa playing in da Inglandterra continues is in to beano good. Isn’tit no da feaults ofda badder is habits which weiram seeon da fileld.
Lass weaks I expermimente widda newuseless yeurng players big coz I, Capello wazza fucked-offwith dalack of respek from daoldbastados like thefuck Lampard and all ofdem other injued on the led useless twats.
Dey is say dat I is no McLaren wid da sttupidofuck unmbrellos or why I weering da hat likea Postman Pat. Why socha stupido jokings? Dey canorl goan fuckthemsel. I no care no more. I is neither da Sweedish twat widda stupidofuck hair withhdacan of shit hairsprayings. Hejossashag Ulrika an he fenito. Now he where? I tell you hewid serm useloessfuckk clubb in da bottom divisione .
Da eenglish player alweys no good. Dey really no good. Itry widda coffee-cloured ones but dey useless fucks an’all. I even makeda cofee-coulered captain, the thicko Rio but he no understandda EEnglish or Italiano so he doubleuseless twat.An he got bad back.
Gerrard look like his fambly is capturing by da piratos and he run like he gotta da ass-piles an stuff. He missa da goalscore maybe threetimes so I bringon da really tall twat. Wassissname? Pietro Crutch. He run like a fuked-up giraffa widdalegs look like he Pinnochio on da string. He no look nice but I say to him”Listen talltwat. You scoreada gole ‘coz Don Capello know whereyore familia leev”. Workevry time. Heanother stupido.
Anda new criminalo widde girlie ponietale. Him name Randy Carol and he play good but he no coffe-coloured so he no score but he score good in da camera da letto when he come from drink-club. He gotgoodfuttura if he stop da Chianti and Dashaggin.
Monkeeboy Rooni (he have name Italiano) is havingda pretent fucckeup akle. His manager Sralec Fergusson is old twat anwill alwaystryto shit me with da pretend injurias.
Then I findiss Welch shagger ofthe “ovino”. Him name Joy Bothroyd and he play for capital of Scottishland, Car-diff. He runrounda bit, no fallover ees laces – so he in my plan – when I make one.
German Dafoe an daother di colore nero – is name too long for me. Saun da Black Sheep-Philips. Dey good at da runninbout likeada two black, ow you say, Jim Russells. But deys too piccolo. Small, you say.
So nobody say I no know da team . Dey is juss useless shits.”
George Soros Condom
George Soros, “Le Roi” of Hedge Fund managers and currency speculator-in-chief has bought 5% of The Female Health Company. Is he planning to screw someone? Is Mary Ann Leeper looking over her shoulder? Remember when George Soros screwed the British Pound in 1992 and forced Sterling to exit from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism? He trousered a cool £1 billion from that deal.What’s he up to?
This is the way it works. Max Clifford calls his chums at the Daily Mirror on Tuesday and gives them a story: ” Louis and Cheryl fall out”, ” Cheryl and Simon fall out”, “Danni not speaking to Louis”. You know the sort of thing – and there are many permutations.
On Wednesday, it is all printed on Page 5 by which time Max has called again with another “story”: “Wagner kicks the crap out of _______” , ” Cher is a pikey”, ” Wassail girl becomes unglued” etc. That sorts out Thursday’s Page 5.
Strangely enough though, by Saturday night, when we’re all gathered around our screens, everything looks quite stable.
We love it!
Well done , Max.
The Enlightened Catholic
Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard who is the head of all Catholics in Belgium has said that HIV is justice for the “travesty of homosexuality”.
People like the Belgian Archbishop and all of the other ordained men in pretty dresses are also a travesty. They are a travesty of human decency.
Perhaps he should keep busy by concentrating on dissuading his staff from screwing young boys. Now THAT’S a travesty.
These days, when you go to University, it is not just the tuition fees that you are spending money on and sometimes, life can be hard. From 2012, it could become a financial nightmare whose repercussions could result in some pretty extreme social engineering. Among other things, the new rules could generate a disincentive to work, a “brain-drain” and they could even affect first-time buyers in the housing market.
For three years, you will for pay rent at £100 per week, that’s a total of about £10,000. Food, drink and Entertainment? Let’s add £5000 per year, which is about £15,000. If your University is charging £9000 per year for tuition, you’ll borrow £27,000.
Add that lot up and you have a total spend of over £50,000.
Then remember that to compete properly in the job market you need a decent degree because nowadays, it seems that everyone with a double-digit IQ has a degree. So, the question is, are you confident that you are both clever, committed and ready to work hard enough to achieve a decent degree?
Do you want to go to a lower-tier university where third-rate students are taught by second-rate lecturers?
Or are you willing to risk £50 grand?
( I should point out that I attended university when there were no fees and only clever people went. There were no degrees in Equine Psychology, David Beckham Studies or any of the other vacuous pseudo-vocational qualifications which are currently being dished up by former Polytechnics).
You should also be aware that if, at the age of say 25, you find yourself sitting (or kneeling)(or worse) before a bank manager and you ask for a mortgage, a debt such as the one you are likely to be burdened with will automatically screw your chances of a mortgage.
Purely for comparison purposes, I can tell you that I know people who charge less than $5000 to write a PhD dissertation – and that includes coaching.
Final thought: We live in a market- driven economy. Are we going to be subjected to the unedifying spectacle of universities competing on fees.
“Oxford will charge you £9k but we can do it for just over £3k and we’ll throw in some Air Miles.”
It could happen.
It looks like it’s back to the future because a species which we had thought extinct is rearing its ugly head again. We thought that it had disappeared forever, back into the swamp of life but teenage football hooligans are beginning to be more and more visible in the media. As usual, there are experts, commentators and social scientists who have theories.
“Lack of discipline!”, “Flog’em!”, “…..a spell in the Army. Never did me any harm!”, ” I blame the parents!”. The platitude-mongers are being ferreted-out of blue-brick universities, pubs and bus queues. Once again to they are being invited to pontificate and shake their heads by an increasingly hysterical media machine. Even moronic football pundits who are not usually known for their knowledge of behavioural psychology have opinions.
So what is going on?
Yes it is a social problem and the reason why an old-phenomenon is making a return guest-appearance is because the social environment is once-again reaching the optimum conditions for the football hooligan to re-flower and flourish. As usual, the clues are in history.
Football hooliganism was at its height in the 70s and 80s. It reached its peak in the early 1980s and then gradually disappeared.
It was in 1982 when the government announced that for the first time since the 1930s, unemployment had achieved a number in excess of 3 million. Fast-forward to 2010 and we’re there again. The new hooligan- crop consists of the new unemployed, many fathered by the old unemployed. Social outsiders. On the bench of life.
THAT is where the clue is. A gang of hooligans is made up of arousal-seeking males who have no social identity. These are men and boys who are “nobodies” is real life and who achieve excitement and recognition during otherwise empty and boring lives. That is what unemployment can do to a male. No job, no money, no future and possibly the most important – no “esteem in the eyes of others”. That simply means that they have no-one in their shabby lives who looks up to them for the usual (and normal) reason which is achievement. Theses are not achievers – they are the ones who took the piss out of “swots” and “geeks” at school but now they need the confidence and psychological sanctuary that is afforded them by a herd (or pack).
These are pack animals. They are not solo hunters. On the contrary, they need the psychological duvet of a crowd.
Hooliganism ( “Hooligasm” would be a more accurate description of what they are attempting to achieve) is most certainly NOT confined to the unemployed underclass. There are those in boring jobs who lead mundane lives, those who feel that their existence and employment are way below what they deserve. They too are ripe for a spot of football hooliganism.
Here’s some psychology:
There are four sets of what are known as metamotivational states: telic-paratelic (goal seeking behaviour and its opposite), conformity-negativism, mastery-sympathy, and autic-alloic (concern with oneself against concern for others).These “states” are four pairs of opposites and are the basis of what is known as Reversal Theory.
It is possible for an individual to “flip” from one state to another but he does not flip between the two states within a pair randomly.
Reversal theory suggests that some individuals have a tendency to spend more time in one metamotivational state than another. These people can be categorised as paratelic dominant, conformist dominant etc.
Research has shown that the above states are felt through the emotions which they produce – especially when combined with arousal level and how good the individual feels (the so-called hedonic state).
The theory postulates that when a person is aroused and feels good because they have a fulfilled life, we may say that they is in a telic (goal-seeking, forward-looking) state with low arousal and high hedonic tone, i.e a goal-seeker who is chilled out and happy.
( The term “aroused” is not in the sexual context. It is more on the Chilled-Angry Scale).
For football hooligans, hooliganism is fun. The football hooligan is paratelic dominant, so that when there are discrepancies between preferred and actual levels of arousal, primarily caused by boredom and consequent feelings of futility his behaviour leads to hooliganism as a means of compensation. He feels useless, insignificant, undervalued, and frustrated. This , given the right circumstances, will “flip” to anger (Reversal Theory) and so generate the search for excitement through dangerous and delinquent behaviour.
There is no real difference between the bungee jumper and the football hooligan. Both are attempting to compensate by generating excitement. The hooligan neither has the focus nor means to dissipate his feelings through any other activity than violence or, more often, the promise of violence. For most, it is the anticipation of violence which is the driver.
So why football? There is a powerful association between masculine sport, masculine identity and affiliation which is provided by the football club. Hooligans will not affiliate with a political party, a chain of shops, a pub, a badminton or rugby club.
Association Football is a working class activity and the largely working-class hooligans will only herd with their own ” species”. The obvious question? “Why are there no Rugby League hooligans or American football hooligans?” In those two sports, the violence on the pitch allows the potential hooligans to sublimate their violent urges. One could argue that if Soccer rules were modified to make it a more violent sport, there would be no football hooliganism.
It is unlikely that there was any hooliganism associated with the Circus Maximus.
Soccer is a metaphor for the sad lives of the disaffected minority which morphs into hooliganism.
Soccer and hooliganism are both games where (usually) expectation exceeds reality, where bonds are formed through false parochial affiliation and identity (“WE (?) scored in the last minute”) and both games consist of two herds in conflict whose weekly forays intersperse a life of abject boredom.
After the debacle with Nationwide and their decision not to continue as sponsors of the England Football team, it’s good to see that the Football Association has managed to attract several new sponsors:
Suddenly, Andy Murray is British again – at least for the next 12 hours-or-so. But just how British is he? We know that he comes from Dunblane which is in Scottishshire but where are his real allegiances?
Here’s a clue from Section 22B of the Davis Cup rulebook states: ” …..any player who spends at least three consecutive years in one country before the age of 20 is therefore deemed eligible for that second country.”
It was reported a few weeks ago that “British” Andy has already made contact with the Spanish Tennis Federation because he is considering a switch from representing Britain to playing for Spain. He is eligible to do so because as a teenager, he spent over three years in Barcelona training and honing his tennis craft: http://yhoo.it/bWIhP3 .
Because, in effect, we don’t have a Davis Cup team, who could blame Murray for defecting. After all, as No 4 in the world, he needs to play to a certain standard and a British team which was recently beaten by Lithuania and now languishes in the sub-basement of world tennis, is not for a top 10 professional.
Very soon, when you hear a Spanish tennis fan swooning over “El Boca Grande”, they will be talking about former-Brit Murray.
Murray and Nadal have known each other since they were 14 and each understands the other’s game perfectly. They are of similar age, trained together as youngsters , both could have pursued careers as footballers and both had to choose between tennis and football. It seems that, unlike most members of the England football squad, they made the right choice.
Nadal is not as popular in Spain as he should be. He is considered to be somewhat aloof and arrogant. Both he and Murray appear to be suffering from the post-op effects of a personality by-pass – which is normal for those who have lived life with tennis racquet in hand from the age of four.
That’s not a long-term problem. Remember Timbo at Wimbo? As a player, he had the personality of a shoe-box but as soon as he retired and had chilled-out, he suddenly became interesting his real character began to shine through. Timbo Henman has gone from sounding and looking like a personality-free zone to trainee national treasure.
During interviews Murray mumbles with what can only be described as The Tennis Circuit Monotone – the best exponents of which are the Eastern Europeans – notably La Navratilova . Unfortunately that makes him a bit difficult to like – but purely because of the voice. And the face. And the hair.
Non-Spaniards love Nadal because he is a good-looking boy who has been imbued with a raffish buccaneer charm but mostly, because when he is playing, every point fought is a battling act of attrition. He appears merciless and that makes him even more attractive to watch. The recent disclosure that he has knee problems which could make him retire early gives him a slight air of vulnerability which makes him all the more irresistible to the viewing public – especially the laydeees!
So, who should we support? Murray, of course.
WHERE HAVE THE HEROES GONE?
Collectively, we are the rheumy-eyed liver-spotted old duffer who gazes wistfully into his pink gin and sighs to his companion, ” Yes. Those were they days. You know, I used to cut quite a dashing figure then. By god, I was one for the ladies. Couldn’t keep them away……..”
The companion nods sagely but feels sorry for the tired old man who has nothing but his memories to sustain him. An old man whose future is now in the past. The threadbare collar on his shirt, the shiny knot on his Guards tie and worn jacket all tell you that his future has already expired.
When the future disappears, it is the out-of-focus memories of a once vividly-coloured past which will sustain him. Every time the old man recalls the good old days, they become more intense, more in-focus and more embellished.
The summer of 1966 has passed into legend but every now and again, we try and re-ignite THAT football game against Germany which, over the years, has acquired a mysticism which we often despondently refer to as the “Spirit of 1966”.
Just like the old duffer, we are beginning to re-draw those days to suit ourselves. The trouble is that anyone with the vaguest memory of that day in now at least 55 years old and has spent the intervening years as a spectator of that now-traditional English football cycle:
1. Media outcry leading to sacking of the England manager.
2. New Manager (Messiah) is hired.
3. England wins lots of friendlies creating national hysteria and media frenzy indicating that we’re going to win and that this is our best chance since…..wait for it……1966!
4. We’re dumped out of the (any) footnball competition to the accompaniment of another media frenzy but this time there is the added vilification of the incumbent manager.
5. Go to 1.
Why is 1966 is always our benchmark? Because we haven’t won anything since. Yet we perpetuate the myth and because we’re English, we somehow keep captive that arrogance which tells us that we are the rightful winners – even though ALL the evidence is to the contrary.
Here’s a bit of perspective: 1966 was just twenty years after the end of the World War 2. The Sound of Music beat Dr Zhivago to the Oscar. Four giants of the 21st Century were born: Teddy Sheringham, Rick Astley, Gordon Ramsay and David Cameraon. Walt Disney died and Strangers in the Night by Frank Sinatra was at No 1 in the Charts. Alan Ball was signed by Everton for a record fee of £110,000, Harold Wilson was Prime Minister and it was the year of the Aberfan disaster. John Lennon announced to the Evening Standard “We’re more popular that Jesus now.” Petrol was 5.3p per litre and the average weekly wage was about £23.oo. You could buy a detached house for £5000.
The sainted Alf Ramsay was England manager and the average footballer’s wage was £100. His Holiness Bobby Moore earned just £140 per week. Although that was about six times the average wage, today’s Premier League footballers earn more than 15 times the amount earned by the real “Golden generation” of 1966 who lifted the World Cup, which is nearly 50 times the present average wage.
We’ve had THIRTEEN England managers in the 45 years since 1966 but only FIVE in the 45 years leading up to 1966. It is as if post-Alf Ramsay, our football authorities imagine that a change of manager is all that is needed for success. Once again, there is no evidence to support that theory.
Very soon, the England Manager will be sacked, the media will adopt a favourite – this time it will probably be Harry Redknapp and the overriding cry will be for an ENGLISH manager. (Remember the Sven Goran Eriksson to Steve McClaren changeover?). This is the interval during which we move from patriotism to jingoism.
The Football Association, however, will probably appoint someone called Carlos Fandango or Pepe le Pew and the cycle will recommence.
So what do they lack – those prancing prima donnas who masquerade as the England football team? What is missing? There are clues. France and Italy appear to be suffering from the same disease.
Call it motivation, call it lack of direction. In fact, we can call it what we want.
None has the HUNGER to win and there isn’t a manager on the planet who can change that. Here’s the double whammy: Our overindulged footballers are not proud to be representing their country and are paid disproportionately.
Footballers now earn more in a week than the average person earns in a YEAR. The average annual wage of an English footballer in the top flight is now in excess of £1 million.
Take John Terry’s wage as an example. His pay shows an eye-watering 100,000% increase from Bobby Moore’s £140 per week. Inflation from 1966 to 2010 has been approximately 1300%.
In 1966, when Moore and his Band of Brothers pulled on those red England shirts and stood majestically in the July sunshine as the National Anthem played, they had tears in their eyes. Those were tears of pride in their country and tears of joy for having been given the opportunity.
The current shambles of no-hopers just doesn’t care. Half of them don’t know the words to God Save the Queen and they certainly do not feel any incentive to win. Their tears are the snivelling crocodile tears of self-pity as they slink from the pitch without removing their shirts in case someone notices the yard-wide yellow streaks up their spineless backs.
The team of 1966 earned their celebrity on the Wembley turf and we should hang our heads in shame in allowing acknowledgmant of their glorious achievment to go unrecognised for so long – some of the 1966 squad did not receive winners medals until June 2009. Five members of the actual team which played in the 1966 World Cup final (Cohen, Ball, Wilson, Stiles and Hunt) were handed MBEs in 2000 – 35 years after their triumph.
There’s no such problem for the current assemblage of Muppets. They are already celebrities and know that in two weeks time the media will continue to regale a gullible public with photographs of them sunning themselves on a West Indian beach while they tell interviewers what an over-long season it’s been and how “tired” they are.
The illiterate overpaid prima donnas will once-again be forgiven while their manager is thrown to the dogs, still wondering what happened.
“I make you da offer you can understand”
John Terry gave the game away after the full-time whistle was blown when he and his team-mates were putting together their staged “let’s form a team circle” stunt.
They were celebrating a 1-0 defeat of the Slovenians who are from a tiny country with a population 2 million and a first division of ten teams, formed as recently as 1991.
Did you notice Terry (who seems to have forgotten that he has been relieved of the England captaincy) formed a small huddle with several other players and was waving at others to join the circle in a show of “ersatz” camaraderie and “teamship”.
During the game, commentators appeared to be creaming themselves and breaking open the hyperboles at machine gun speed whilst their grammar deteriorated back to normal. The footie-hysteria had well and truly returned and the country once again lost touch with reality.
Meanwhile, Defoe scored after a cross bounced off his shin at point-blank range, “captain” Gerrard carried the jolly air of an undertaker’s apprentice with Aids, Terry made too many mistakes and Rooney looked lumbering and unfit with a face like a trodden-on anaemic blood orange.
“Postman Pat” Capello strutted the line gurning in Italian and treating us to a show of arm-waving which looked like Roman semaphore – probably the best way for him to communicate. Who recorded his Linguaphone lessons? Chico Marx? “To winner yew needa da goal.”
This is from the Marx Brothers Duck Soup. Is this where Capello found his “inpiratione”?
Wednesday we went to the ball game, he fool us and no show up.
Thursday he go to the ball game, but we fool him and we no show up.
Friday it was a double header, nobody show up.
Let’s hope everyone shows up on Sunday. We need you for the penalties.
…..and with profound apologies:
Stuart Pearce: “That kind of play we should eliminate.”
Fabio: “Atsa fine. I’ll have a nice cold glassa liminate.”
Capello and Friend
We football fans need heroes, we need supermen to represent us and to show the world what we’re made of. We believe that we are the chosen ones. So where are our English heroes? Where are the latter-day longbowmen of England? What happened to them? Have they become too lazy and spoiled? Have they had it too easy? They have to be found before it’s too late.
I have loved football all my life and many of my early memories are of playing not on well-drained and manicured lawns but on pitches with penalty areas so boggy that it was an effort to lift ones boots out of the ground. The stinging sensation on a frozen thigh as a water-logged ball smashed into it – and the less said about heading a wet ball, the better. Chilblains as you stepped into a hot shower after 2 hours running about in horizontal sleet.
There was a sliding tackle in the 60s which I remember so clearly to this day. I only remember it because I snapped my thumb in an iron-hard frozen rut as I tried to slide-tackle the opposing team’s too-fast centre-forward. Our trainer rushed onto the pitch, grabbed my thumb and decided that it was maybe just dislocated. He then proceeded to manoeuvre it as you would a gear lever on a non-synchromesh gearbox.
Once my screaming had died down, he told me not to be a pussy and to carry on. By the time the game was over, the pain had gone because luckily, I had lost all sensation right up to the elbow and my hand had turned greeny-grey through a combination of frost and pain. By the end of the game, my concentration was solely on my long-gone stomach muscles which were aching from the forty minutes-or-so of non-stop pain-induced retching.
Half-times used to be spent in the middle of the pitch. Even when the temperature was sub-zero. there would be orange segments, sometimes so sour that your scrotum would involuntarily contract in the genetically-programmed “flee” reflex.
The changing rooms always smelled of feet, piss and disinfectant and there were many occasions when we sat after a game, our hands so frozen that we could not even begin to untie our laces. I even recall occasions when we would stand in the shower fully clothed in our football strip, shivering as we waited for the thawing process to kick-in.
Another memory which still makes my teeth itch, took place on a sloping, frozen pitch somewhere in Leicester. I was running very fast towards a left-back who had the ball at his feet. I had already realised that there was little chance of me stopping because the stopping distance on a frozen field a 15 mph is more-or-less infinite. My purple legged adversary took two quick steps back and hoofed the 2-lb water-logged semi-frozen mud-spattered ball, presumably in a vain attempt to hoist it over my head. Whatever happened, I knew that a collision was inevitable.
That’s the last thing that I remember until I found myself supported by two team-mates who’d dragged me to my feet and were holding me under the arms. The trainer then proceeded to pump me up and down as he screamed into the gale: “He’s only winded. He’ll be OK in a minute!”
When the ball had hit me it clobbered me in the testicles so hard that I had temporarily blacked-out. However, the momentum had still carried me full-on into the full-back and I was indeed winded by the impact – but it was the excutiating pain between my legs which was making me puke.
I spent the next few days lying on my side with one of my mum’s very nice embroidered cushions between my legs with nuts the size of hand-grenades.
The faces of my old team mates are still there in my head and I can still remember goals that I scored decades ago. Sometimes there were tears when we lost but most of all I remember the wins. THAT is why football can be so addictive and such joy. The “ups” are so intense that you want to take them home to bed. The “downs” cause intense pain. They hurt so much because when you lose a match and lose it properly, you are spent. The energy has been burned off, you self-esteem is nowhere and you can hardly lift that pint as you drink to forget.
The young prancing English prima donnas with their silk suits, hotel-houses, large fish tanks, orange wives and Ferraris know nothing of the “coarse” football which we played and which even professionals played a version of, until quite recently.
They have become a freak show, an obscenity, a band of pampered illiterates. Many were plucked from their schools before they could write properly or construct a sentence (and it shows) because they could kick a ball – because they had “talent”.
Nevertheless, youngsters still look up to them because they are heroes. There was a time when I imagined myself pulling on a white shirt with three lions on the chest. Why? Because I too wanted to be a hero, a superman – a god. I wanted to feel unashamed pride in my country of birth.
Unfortunately, our present footballing heroes are men of straw with hollow insides. The whole country is trying to decide why. We don’t understand – even now, after the queue of media psychologists has given its last TV and radio interview.
Why do Englishmen “choke” at the slightest hint of success. The answer is surprisingly simple.
The overpaid ball-kicking thickos are mostly working-class scumbags who have retained the world-famous English class-inferiority complex – added to which, they are stupid. ( Don’t believe me? Listen to any post-match interview)
The mock-Elizabethan mansion, electric gates etc are there because these are essentially working-class dunces who need to show-off. It is exactly the same principle which turns a lottery winner from a normal well-balanced factory worker (remember those?) into a raving Ferrari-driving nutter.
They are all seeking esteem from others. They need that esteem because their own real self-esteem is so low. They cannot elicit esteem from others through the force of their intellect because they have none. Neither can the majority enjoy the admiration of others because of their sparkling personalities. The trappings of wealth are all that they have.
Their confidence flows from their self-esteem, which needs the esteem of others as a catalyst.
The present England team in South Africa looks lost and totally lacking in confidence. Add to that the fact that they have been celibate for a few weeks and all you have left (for all intents and purposes) is a bunch of depressed eunuchs wandering around a field in their underwear kicking a ball – when they can get hold of it.
If the incomprehensible Gerrard, thuggish Terry, drooling Lampard et al could arrive and be greeted like heroes as they are at Wembley, if they were confident that everyone knew them and possibly seen their photo-spread in Hello magazine or read about them crashing their Lambo into a tree somewhere in Cheshire – they would be happy and they would have their self-esteem intact and firing on all twelve designer cylinders.
Unfortunately the Vuvuzela-toting South African crowd doesn’t know most of them from a bar of soap. Here, they are just footballers. The small pink, beer-bellied contingent of English fans cannot make itself heard, it cannot cheer its heroes and so the life-blood of the English players egos has been temporarily interrupted.
Ah, you may ask – but what about all the others? What about the Brazilians, the Koreans and the rest? Why are they not “choking”. Well, strangely enough, many of the over-pampered ones have choked. Just look at France and Italy. It is the ones who had to fight for their football, the ones who came from the stench of the slums , shanties, favellas and townships who are playing with both their hearts and minds.
They do not need the mental crutch of adoration. To them the B-flat of the Vuvuzela is a clarion-cry and not a distraction.
The English manager and Postman Pat impersonator, Fabio Capello is floundering. He cannot massage his charges’ egos or deliver a Churchillian address because he cannot speak English.
Can you imagine Fabio doing a Henry V – mind you, rent-a-moron wouldn’t understand what he was talking about anyway:
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
The solution? Stop believing that England can ever win the World Cup. We don’t deserve it.
p.s. Just to demonstrate the “sprit” off the English team: Did you notice how many English players put their arms round Robert Green or consoled him in any way after he’d made that dreadful goalkeeping error against the USA? That’s right. None. They all walked away and left him to suffer on his own.
“The (round) Jabulani ball”
The way that the World Cup is shaping up for England does not look too good. You know, the West Ham goalie with a ball-catching problem, a centre-forward who does not score goals, ITV presenter Adrian Chiles who has the air of a garage mechanic who’s waiting for the Samaritans to call back and thick football pundits who are in permanent cliché mode:
“It’s a big ask” ; “Watching Brazil play is just like watching Brazil play”; “Only just offside”; ” It’s their usual passing game.”; “Set their stall out”; “Clinical Finish”; “The referee was right on that occasion”; “Spirit of 1966″; ” He’s facing a fitness race”; “All credit to the lads; “Quality; “That’s what the World Cup is all about”; “At the end of the day”; ” The ball hits the back of the net” (Actually – it’s the front of the net. If it hits the back, it isn’t a goal! etc. etc.
Let’s hope that the pundits don’t run out of clichés half-way through the tournament – otherwise, we’ll be in real trouble.
I could lip-read Rooney referring to an American opponent as a “boundah and a popinjay” and on another occasion I’m sure that he said that their goalkeeper was “a thoroughly bad egg” and “not quite the sort”. However, it was amazing how he made each phrase look as if it started with the letter “F”! Now that’s real talent.
During interviews, Jamie Carragher still appears to be speaking Swahili.
So the new Jabulani ball is too round, is it? Robert Green, the England goalkeeper would probably benefit from a Velcro ball with corners and a couple of handles on it.
They say that he was so depressed after the USA game that he threw himself under a train. Unfortunately it went under him.
Lastly – the Vuvuzela , a plastic trumpet which plays B♭(admittedly not everyone’s favourite note) has come in for a bit of unnecessary criticism from both players and spectators. They have obviously forgotten the good old days of the wooden football rattles, which made the fillings in your teeth resonate and fall out by half-time.
During the England-USA game, I found the constant buzz of the Vuvuzela quite soothing. It helped me to sleep.
If the definition of a cliché is a word or phrase which has become stale though overuse, here are some racist examples which pundits and commentators use to stereotype: Germans- efficient; Latin Americans – temperamental; Black players – panther like; Asians- industrious; English – shite.
“They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
Down the line
Successful men have high sex drives. It is not clear whether the it is the high sex drive that makes them successful or vice versa.
John Terry is currently being vilified for reasons which are already well documented but he is neither the first nor the last successful young man to be caught with his tackle in the wrong penalty area. The list is very long.
The current England captain , Rio Ferdinand and his friends Frank Lampard and Kieron Dyer starred in a famous sex movie shot in Ayia Nappa a few years ago.
David Beckham has had a few sex-related allegations – the most memorable one being the Rebecca Loos affair.
Remember Wayne Rooney and “Grannygate”. That particular affair highlighted not-only footballers’ high sex-drives but the fact that in the brain department, Rooney and his chums only pose a danger to themselves. Rooney had sex with Charlotte Glover, a granny-prostitute and mother of six, then he sent her a card which read ” To Charlotte, I shagged you on 28th December. Lots of Love, Wayne Rooney.” When Rooney retires from football, it seems that there is already a career waiting in the Greeting Card industry.
Rooney also starred in a US escapade with teammates Ronaldo, Anderson and Nani. This escapade involved an amazing booze-fuelled sex-romp with two famous sisters, a Marilyn Monroe wannabe and a goat. (Allegedly a Nani goat.)
Mr Nice Guy Gary Linenker was divorced by his wife of 20 years for alleged serial infidelity.
Former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson also had difficulty keeping it in his trousers. He screwed the former FA harpie, Faria Alam , as well as that tasty little morsel of Swedish smorgasbord, Ulrika Jonsson. The incestuous nature of the footballing industry was further highlighted by another of Ulrika’s “special friends”, Stan “Dogger” Collymore who had a fascination for not-only knocking women about but for watching couples have sex in pub car parks.
Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards was cautioned for spying on a lady in a Cheshire health club toilet cubicle.
More recently, Ashley Cole strayed and bagged some professional lovely in a hotel room – even though he had the foxy Cheryl at home.
Ten years ago, Arsenal and England midfielder and Chelsea coach Graham Rix was sentenced to twelve months in prison for having underage sex with a 15-year-old girl who he allegedly plied with drink and drugs in a hotel room before having sex with her.
How about that video of Dwight Yorke and Mark Bosnich dressed in a skirt enjoying a sex orgy with four women and a variety of S&M equipment?
Have you noticed how David Pleat has quietly sneaked back into football commentating? He resigned as Spurs manager after having been caught kerb-crawling. He had been cautioned three times.
The sainted Bobby Moore, captain of England left his first wife for air hostess, Stephanie Parlane.
Tommy Docherty was manager at Manchester United when he had an affair with the physio’s wife and then left his own wife and four children.
George Best’s philandering ways are also well documented, as are Paul Gascoyne’s difficulties. Those two are not alone – there are a few more eminent footballers who are connoisseurs of the grape, hop or the Colombian nose powder: Paul Merson, Willie Johnson, Rio “forgetful” Ferdinand, Chelsea’s goalie, Mutu and most famously Diego Maradonna.
What about Brazilian Ronaldo picking up three prostitutes and then discovering that they were men?
The above list is by no means complete and those are just some of the ones who have been caught.
Last week Fabio Capello said “As a captain with the team, John Terry has displayed extremely positive behaviour. However, I have to take into account other considerations and what is best for all of the England squad. What is best for all of the England team has inspired my choice.”
Fabio Capello is wrong; The ideal man to lead England obviously has to be a lying, kerb-crawling alcoholic thug with a penchant for prostitutes, extra-marital affairs and Wacky dust.
Rio Ferdinand? It’s a good start.
Last night in Newcastle, Amir Khan took just 76 seconds to demolish No 1 contender Dmitriy Salita. Although Khan was very impressive, what seems to have been bothering him lately is the apparent British lack of recognition of his greatness as a sportsman.
He claimed that racism has prevented him from becoming a “superstar” in Britain. “If I were a white English fighter maybe I’d have been a superstar.”
As a “personality” he has very little going for him.
Frank Bruno, Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn , Lennox Lewis and David Haye are all examples of great British Champions who are perhaps even further along the Dulux colour chart than the deluded Khan.
The difference was (and still is) that they all had charisma. There are many great athletes who are not heroes because they lack charisma. They are good at what they do but they never fully engage with the paying public.
Whenever you hear Khan speak, the overwhelming impression is of an inarticulate moron who speaks with the ugliest of all accents – a mixture of Bolton, Urdu and Punjabi, plus he looks like a spud with a bad haircut.
Joe Bugner was another OK boxer who was white but nevertheless, never became a British hero. It wasn’t because he’d defeated Henry Cooper but because he sounded odd – a mixture of bad English and Hungarian and he had a bad attitude. Those who saw “I’m a Celebrity” this year would have noticed that Bugner is still a thoroughly repugnant charisma-free zone, still speaking with those weirdly elongated Eastern European vowels which have now been eroded by a touch of a newly-acquired Australian drawl. It’s nothing to do with the colour of his skin. We just have never liked him.
Khan should work hard to tart-up his image, employ a speech coach (before he become too punch-drunk), stop driving into pedestrians or cyclists in his flash motors and not drive down the M62 at double the speed limit.
Oh yes, stop wingeing and playing the race card.
Who said this? “Piracy and the taking of hostages is unacceptable in any circumstances. We call on those people who have taken the British citizens hostage to release them as soon as possible. They should abide by international law.”
Those Somali pirates must be really crapping themselves now that Gordon Brown has told them that they should “abide by international law”. Gordon, you muppet – these are pirates and NOT abiding by the law is not-only implicit in their job title but also in their job description. Kidnapping people is their JOB. Continue reading Naughty pirates
So the Sun will not be supporting the Labour Party. No real problems there, except the usual one. Why should an Australian like Rupert Murdoch have any say in which newspaper supports which Party. The Sun is read largely by the drooling classes who are very susceptible but regrettably, there is very little that can be done. The Sun’s sister paper , the News of the World, no doubt is poised with some salacious Labour politician scandal ready-to-go.
The Sun will not just be pro-Cameron – it will be strongly anti-Gordon Brown. The Sun will do the same assassination job on Brown as it did on Neil Kinnock . The Sun has a circulation of 3 million which means a readership of about 9 million – so when the Labour Party says – ” it’s people who decide elections” – they are not really being naïve because they know deep-down that seven months of relentless mickey-taking of Gordon Brown by the Sun will have a profound effect on working class views. Remember that this is the paper that helped Margaret Thatcher to power – they’re THAT good – and relentless. Incidentally, did you know that one James Murdoch is a pal of David Cameron? Coincidence? Er…No.
Today’s Conference speeches by Ed Balls and Andy Burnham are very likely to be delivered to a near-empty Brighton Centre. Quite right too.
One hesitates to dispense advice to Labour MPs but those who are screwing either their secretaries or researchers should beware – at least until the First Thursday in May 2010. Whatever you’re doing that is naughty, illegal or vaguely interesting – stop doing it immediately. The News of the World will be releasing the hounds at any minute. For all you know, they already have their snouts in your dustbin.
Why was Gordon Brown banging-on about “change”? They’ve had 12 years. It’s a bit late with only a few months to go.
Gordon Brown has announced a referendum on how we vote in future – a subject always popular with minority parties. Which counting system will the referendum use? First Past the Post, the Single Transferable Vote or the Alternative Vote method? I think that Gordon looks like a Schulze Method man.
Good to see Martin McGuiness attending a Party at the Grand Hotel. Wouldn’t it have been ironic if someone had blown up the hotel – just like his IRA did in 1984?
350,000 old people are to receive free home help. The only good thing about that is the fact that the £400 milllion cost is being made available by cutting some “bolt-on” NHS departments such as Marketing(!) and Communications. Get rid of them anyway.
Nero’s revolving dining room has been discovered in Rome. I’ve been in lots of rotating dining rooms in my time – funnily enough, they usually begin rotating at about 11.00 p.m on a Saturday evening. We call it the “whirling pits”.
Interesting statistic which doesn’t appear to be receiving the publicity that it deserves: In the United States, a house is foreclosed or repossessed every 7.5 seconds. As usual, the politicians are taking care of business at the macro-level, while the grass-roots are burning.
It is an excellent idea for Gordon Brown to take-on the other two Party leaders in televised debates. Any future Conservative or Liberal vote should be a “pro” Conservative or Liberal vote and not an anti-Labour vote. The Labour backroom boys, led by Darth Mandelson are obviously running a campaign centred-around the comparative inexperience and youth of the other two leaders. That’s fair, because that’s exactly what the Tories did to Tony Blair in 1997. Admittedly, David Cameron and the Liberal David Whassisname look fresh and youthful compared to Brown – who currently looks as if he has been cage-fighting with his hands in his pockets but in spite of his comparative lack of political fitness, he is not to be underestimated. He will be boring but he will come out fighting. There will be blood. We’ll know by late next week whether David Cameron and George Osborne have steel and substance. Constant criticism and sniping at the Government by the Opposition is quite entertaining but when it comes to a General Election, we will need to witness views and hear policies. Having said all that, remember that PERCEPTION is king and if in spite of brand-new shiny policies from the Tories, the Labour spin machine manages to make David Cameron look like a shallow “oik” then the forthcoming election will be much closer that we currently perceive.
One of the ideas being kicked about at the moment is the saving of millions of Education pounds by cutting teaching assistant jobs in schools. In the UK there are 40,000 teaching assistants – they’re the ones who sit in the classroom with “challenged” children or take them on zoo trips. They are all very nice people, I’m sure – but a waste of money. Many of the children don’t need a glorified baby-sitter – they need specialist teaching. While we’re on the subject of cuts , I would take an immediate horizontal slice through the current Education Department bureaucracy and take-out all those school advisers – the ones in the designer suits with Series 3 BMWs. They are a waste of time but unfortunately , many are ex-teachers.
Conference time is the time when politicians churn out populist crap in order to grab newspaper headlines and cheap applause. Gordon Brown now says that he will turn 11,500 Post Offices into the “Peoples Bank”. That’s what Building Societies used to be. There was one other bank which used to be popular with the “people”. Now what was that called?…… Oh yes, it was called the Trustee Savings Bank. Whatever happened to that? Here’s a quote from Gordon: “I want the Post Office to step in to help hardworking families to save and access their money easily with banking for the people in our neighbourhoods”. If Brown thinks that he is going to create a new banking system in under eight months, then perhaps Andrew Marr was right about the happy pills. Brown is obviously playing without the full complement of marbles. Oh yes – one final thing. “Hardworking” working class families need JOBS. They rarely save their Giro cheques.
Today’s the day that Gordon Brown will either read the best speech of his life or stumble his way through the world’s most-boring and longest-ever suicide note. Whichever way it swings – there will be lots of applause, back-slapping and standing-up.
If you keep putting rats in a cage and keep adding rats, there comes a time when they start eating each other. The human equivalent is the run-down council estate. Weak rats are prey to the bigger and stronger rats. That is exactly the phenomenon which killed Fiona Pilkington and her disabled daughter Francecca. Mrs Pilkington was driven to such desperation through being goaded and verbally abused by a gang of young pikeys that she set-fire to herself and her daughter. Not the best way to die. Needless to say there will be enquiries, lessons will be learned, the Social Services will be exonerated, the Police will make excuses, the local Council will hold a press conference and make a statement. By now, the whole process is probably in an Operations Manual somewhere.
Jack Straw is surprisingly eloquent today. The trouble is that The Brighton Centre seems half-empty or as the Tories might say “half-full” or as the Liberals would say “too big”. Let’s hope it fills up when the leader performs. The Labour Party is going to play dirty this time. Straw mentioned Section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act. This was repealed by Labour in 2000 and was the section of the 1988 Act which stated that a Local Authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality”. They should stop dragging up 20-year old legislation (under which there wasn’t a single prosecution). Homosexuality is not an issue in 2009 and “New” Labour is clearly demonstrating what little legislative success it has had in the last 12 years. Occasionally they still bang-on about 13 years of Tory Rule!!! Labour should fight on current policies. By the way, when Jack sat down, the reception was at best muted, at worst underwhelming. As the spin doctors might say: He received a seated ovation.
Fiona Phillips off the telly is speaking but she is having difficulty speaking because she appears to have her tongue well-stuck up Alan Johnson’s well-groomed backside. She is acting, flicking her hair and simpering like a love-struck typist who’s just shagged the boss. At least Johnson, who looks (and sounds) more Bookie’s runner than Statesman has the good grace to look embarrassed. What the f*** was all that about? “Airhead introduces Postman Pat”?
There is one session that we presenters and speakers like to avoid – if given the choice. It is the session immediately after lunch when your audience arrives full of food and drink and whose brains are temporarily in semi-shutdown as their stomachs begin the digestion process. We call it the Graveyard Session. Wonder who’s speaking this afternoon? Oh yes! Him! Perhaps the audience needs to be semi-comatose. If it isn’t, it soon will be.
I’ve just been watching a recording of John Denham speaking at the Labour Conference. Is it me, but doesn’t he look like a Conference League Football Referee? He’s another one who disapproves of David Cameron’s “Notting Hill” Policies. All Labour speakers are talking-up the social gap between the poor and the Conservative Party. A dangerous and desperate strategy. Only Mandelson has verbally placed the Labour Party firmly in the middle of the political spectrum but he also took the opportunity to accuse the Tories of lurching to the right as soon as they are elected. The Socialists are going to defend that middle ground to the death. That is where the election will be fought. The Labour strategy appears to be to make the electorate perceive the Tories as a gang of inexperienced extreme right-wing Notting Hill hoorays.
Have you noticed how the Party that’s behind in the polls always accuses the BBC of “bias”. Today we have anti-Government bias – in the old days, under Her Thatcherness and John Major, we had BBC left-wing bias. Apparently the BBC is capable of bias in all sorts of delicious flavours and colours.
Gordon Brown has started his speech with a list of Labour achievements. That’s the first five minutes gone. He has obviously structured his speech very simply. The next list is one of his cabinet and their achievements. That will probably be another ten minutes. Luckily I have a hairdressers appointment at 3 o’clock. He’s just mentioned Northern Rock. Talking off-script? He started with a smile but has now forgotten it and his expression has returned to looking as if he’s defusing a Taliban bomb. I notice that his <pauses for applause> seem to be immediately after he has mentioned a large number of some sort and his intonation changes as if he’s saying “Crackerjack pencil! “He’s mentioned Harriet and Alistair but has now stopped naming Cabinet members. My current thought is that his speechwriters should be ritually disemboweled and fed to Darth Mandelson. His speech has now become the usual drone. As he is slagging-off the bankers, I fear that it is time to go. If you listen to his speeches, you will notice that he seldom uses adjectives or adverbs. I just killed a fly and wonder whether I should turn the Aga back on today, in spite of the sunny weather. Our field was cut a couple of days ago but I just cannot summon the energy to cut the lawn. It takes two hours. Gordon Brown is still talking. He doesn’t like banks, does he? Surprising therefore that he’s invested so much of our money in them. I’ll record it and come back later after a couple of Bushmills. He’s just used the most exciting phrase of the whole speech – Economic Model. Enough. He’s off on his pre-leaked Post Office bollocks. Low carbon Zones? He knows how to give his audience a good time.
What’s all this about “Middle England”? Why don’t they just say Northamptonshire? Or do they mean Middle Earth?
In the USA, the Federal Housing Association has a leverage ratio ( What it owes compared to what it owns) of 50-1. Interestingly, that’s just about the same as Bear Stearns had on the eve of its collapse. The FHA insures about $750 billion in mortgage debt. In the UK, “leverage” is known as “gearing”. They are both euphemisms for debt.
Have you noticed that the £-Sterling is just about to achieve parity with the Euro?
An ASBO is an Anti-Social Behaviour Order and it is usually given out to pikeys and their parents. The trouble is that most of them are so thick that they probably think that an ASBO is a qualification which will be worth a few points on their UCAS form when they go to University to study demolition or vehicle hotwiring. I’ve just seen some ASBO-pikeys being interviewed and it seems that the sub-species favours a single earring and a tattooed neck (men) and the women have to be very fat with bleached hair. Their natural habitat is either a bus shelter or a stained sofa which faces a television. They only eat orange-coloured food – as long as it doesn’t contain fruit or vegetables.
Just saw a re-run of Sarah Brown introducing Gordon. She was good. She will be a major Labour weapon in the forthcoming General Election. I wonder if David Cameron’s wife Samantha is taking Powerpoint and sincero-talk lessons?
Excellent headline grabbing by that jug-eared gargoyle Andrew Marr. He is without doubt a supreme journalist but his questioning of Gordon Brown yesterday was inexcusable. Suggesting that Brown needs prescription drugs to get through the day, followed by Brown’s admission that he has trouble with his eyesight was a direction that no journalist should steer. There is a real danger that if the Tory Press goes down the ” Brown’s a sick man and therefore unfit for office” route, there will be a swell of pro-Brown sympathy. Then, if the Socialists succeed in portraying the Tory Shadow Cabinet as a bunch of hoorays lounging about in the senior common room with David Cameron as a self-serving Head Boy, there is a very real possibility that Labour will retain office. Undecided voters are driven by PERCEPTION and not by policies or past performance. Remember John Major’s victory in 1992? He was behind in the polls, yet in that year claimed the most votes in British electoral history. Leading up to the 1992 election, Labour had been ahead in the polls since 1989 plus the economy had entered a recession under the Tories. Yet Major won and remained in power until 1997. He won because the electorate liked him and thought that Neil Kinnockwasaprat. Nothing to do with policies.
Alistair Darling is going to deliver his usual speech on bank bonuses. “Clawback”, “Unacceptable” “Deferred” etc.will all make their appearances – as they have done for many months. Alistair Darling will “pledge” to clean-up the banking industry. The proposed Fiscal Responsibility Act sounds like another focus group creation and no doubt, there will be another Financial Services Act close on its heels. He is obviously working on the principle of “If you can’t win the argument – legislate”. It’s all a monumental waste of time but look on the bright side – we will be living in a society where the highest earners are footballers and pop singers. Something which our children can really aspire-to.
Gordon Brown says that he won’t ”roll over”. I do wish that his speechwriters would give him words that he is comfortable with. What’s next? “I ain’t goin’ to be no Tory dude’s bitch. Shabba”?
Roman Polanski arrested on a 31-year-old warrant. Apparently in 1978 there was a plea-bargain andhewasto receive a nominal sentence if he pleaded “guilty”. The judge then reneged on the deal so Polanski absconded. Originally, Polanski has been charged with rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14 but the plea-bargain reduced the charges to a single charge ofunlawful sex with a minor. Polanski was six years old when WW2 broke out and like many Polish children who grew-up during the war, he was damaged. Add to this the horrors of the Manson murders and the killing of his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, it is doubtful whether Polanski has ever been in what we might call a normal psychological state. However, the fact remains that he did horrible things to a 13 year-old girl and is a convicted criminal who probably still poses a danger. There is no Statute of Limitations for this type of crime but as his victim has forgiven him and so much time has passed, one hopes that the high-level diplomatic activity currently taking place will result in some sort of amnesty. There should be a White House statement soon.
The next Labour Prime Minister is the new the darling of Conference. Yes, Peter Mandelson earned a standing ovation and became the Labour Party joker today after delivering an appalling speech. He stumbled over the funny lines, his timing was out and his voice was its usual oleaginous drawl. However, the Conference highlight up to that point had been Alistair Darling and had it not been for Mandelson, they audience would have been engaging in synchronised self-harming. That’s how dire it had been. He is going to extend the scrappage scheme <applause>. Sadly, he appeared to be talking about motor cars and not the Cabinet. The scrappage scheme will keep the Japanese, German and Korean car industries going for a couple more months so let’s hope that their own governments can take over soon after that.
Tomorrow Gordon Brown is widely expected to give “the speech of his life”. That good eh? He’s probably in his hotel room practicing by reading the instructions on his Corby trouser press – that’s just about the level of excitement that he’ll generate tomorrow. But the Labouristas will clap and there will be a standing ovation. Is it true that the conference-hall doors lock from the outside?
Alistair Darling’s speech also had all the excitement of a talk on basket-weaving at the local WI . He obviously had gaps in his script indicating <pause for audience reaction>. Unfortunately, the pauses were more exciting and informative than the text. As expected he did some pointless macho posturing on the subject of bank bonuses – in the certain knowledge that the whole thing will be picked up by “Boy” George Osborne and lost in the mountain of unfinished business that Labour will leave behind in the May 2010 rush to clear their desks.
The British Frigate IRON DUKE scored a decent stash of Colombian Marching Powder, weighing 5.5 tons with a street value of £250,000,000. Apparently , the fishing boat containing the stuff was sailing erratically and suspiciously. That’s Coke for you! The only worry is that instead of sinking the boat WITH the cargo, the frigate is now taking the cargo to New York. Let’s hope that H.M.S Iron Duke doesn’t sail up 34th Street all shiny-eyed and twitchy to tie-up outside Macy’s.
The American Fed has issued the following statement: “To provide support to mortgage lending and housing markets, and to improve overall conditions in private credit markets, the Federal Reserve will purchase a total of $1.25 trillion of agency mortgage-backed securities and up to $200 billion of agency debt.” Now we can watch the demise of the once-mighty American Dollar. Fund Managers and Investors will now start dumping dollars like confetti. A TRILLION is a million millions and in this case, it represents more Quantitative Easing or to be strictly accurate, the purchase of toxic assets with “printed” i.e non-existent money. The sort that caused the global banking meltdown. This is a case of throwing bad money after bad.
President Obama has announced tough new capital requirements for banks as well as more stringent rules on bank borrowings. If you were to ask what these rules are likely to be or when they are to be implemented, the answer would probably be “We haven’t really decided but it will definitely happen later.” They are saying that the rules will be phased-in once financial conditions improve and recovery is “assured”. Leaders have been discussing a cap on bank bonuses for a while but they still haven’t agreed any numbers or timescale. The only thing that they have agreed is that bonus payments should not be guaranteed for many years, should be deferred in part and should not exceed a percentage of the bank’s revenue. That is how vague it is at the moment. When the global economy has healed itself and both governments and banks return to generating profits, most of this will be forgotten because by then, the balance of power will, once again have shifted back towards the banks and the next boom-bust cycle will begin.
The least entrepreneurial profession of all is banking. There is a vastly different mental attitude between say, an entrepreneur such as Richard Branson and say, MervynKing, the Governor of the Bank of England. That rule works all the way down the line until we have the small local businessman and the small-town banker. Chalk and Cheeze. Incidentally, when I say “entrepreneurial” – I am referring to people who take risks with their own assets. Just to reinforce the cultural difference – bankers will gladly take risks with other people’s money – especially in very large amounts – as evidenced by the cause of the current Global Banking crisis. However, when a local business goes to its local bank in order to borrow say £20,000 to purchase a machine, lots of fiery hoops are assembled for the business to jump through, fees are charged, personal guarantees are demanded, forms need to be filled out, cash flows and business plans are sought . So when a small businessman goes to his bank – the MOST likely answer (especially nowadays) in “NO”. Perhaps unknowingly, the banking profession is not-only killing itself but it is also slow-strangling the business community. The banker chose to work in a bank because he didn’t want the worry of not having a pay cheque at the end of the month, he did not want to work a 16-hour day and he didn’t want to cold-call people in order to drive his business forward. What he needed from his life was predictability, order, neatness and a company pension. This is the paradox: The banking profession has managed to evolve itself into something which it was not designed to be and it has managed to do it by what is known as the “Halo Effect”. There is a saying “Get them by the balls and their hearts and minds are bound to follow.” Banks now have “business advisers” ; mostly young people with degrees who cannot possibly have ever tasted the fears of an entrepreneurial businessman. Bank management has developed a culture of self-importance and inaccessibility. Remember the time when a bank manager tried to impress you in order to win your business? Now , you have to ask him to welcome you to his club so that he can look after your money. He is now doing YOU a favour – unless it’s ” I’d love to help you but the System ( or those upstairs) say “NO”. The banking tentacles have moved further into he business community. Local Enterprise Organisations and Business Clubs are now both Governed and heavily populated by more bankers. Entrepreneurial andmanagementadviceisbeingdispensed by a profession with little or no practical or first-hnd business experience or knowledge. That is the Halo Effect. Put simply, because the banker knows about money and has you by the balls, you assume automatically that he is able to dispense Tax Advice, Marketing Advice, Sales Advice, Organisational Advice, Training Advice, Recruitment Advice, Purchasing Advice and any other Advice that you need. The total power of the banking community is evidenced by the fact that Chancellors, Prime Ministers and even Presidents are having to say “Please do something about your bonuses Mister Banker.” Banking has developed into a multi-headed all-powerful Frankenstein. It is not a simple case of imposing a few rules. What is really needed is a massive cultural change within the banking industry and a massive perceptual change from both private and business clients. If you’re a businessman or work for yourself in any way, ask yourself – ” Am I comfortable with taking business or financial advice and all the other captive-audience advice that they like to dish-out, from an organisation populated by people who obviously did not heed their own advice and lost billions but have no idea what really happened?” WATCH THIS SPACE.
I received a letter from a Member of Parliament today. He addressed me by my Christian Name. What’s going on? Paranoid? Moi?
The airlines appear to be learning from the banks. British Airways will be charging us again AFTER they have our business. We book a flight and then pay an additional fee to get a seat. Genius! Can you bring your own seat and pay corkage?
There’s only one thing wrong with an Indian Summer. The Global Warming Mullahs will wake from their torpor and deliver the usual speech about our emissions. I think that 4X4 vehicles should be compulsory. Have to go now and have my dolphin steaks and light the coal fire.
In the last two years, 150 teachers have been sacked for sexual misconduct. A loss to the teaching profession but what a bonus for the Vatican’s recruitment team!
Gordon Brown has been voted World Statesman of the Year – mostly for giving away any leftover taxpayers’ money that Mervyn King has not given to the banks. Brown has been generous to Africa and quite right too. In addition, he has enjoyed many politicians’ or Pope’s ultimate wet-dream. An embrace from Bonio who , apart from being big in the dog-biscuit trade, is (apparently) some sort of Irish pop singer. He plays in a popular beat combo named after some American spy-plane. U2, I think. Crucial.
Remember Gordon Brown selling off the UK’s gold to China a few years ago? Who better to value, melt-down anddoitallover again with that pile of gold Anglo-Saxon tat recently dug up in Staffordshire – wherever that is. Middle Earth?
There’s a very exclusive TV Club – the old dears who used to read the news and appeared on the Christmas Morecambe and Wise show in the 50s and who did high kicks andeithermarriedapolicemanorshagged Jon Snow or went to live on a farm in Scotland. Pretty soon, the pre-teens running the BBC andthecommercialchannel will be playground-bullied into re-hiring these venerable oldsters. Prepare for News at Ten to look like a re-run of Macbeth, Act 1 Scene 1.
In 1959, Typhoon Vera struck Nagoya in Japan. There was a 20 ft tsunami, 150 mph winds and 5000 people died. Did you know that they managed ALL that without Global Warming! They could do stuff like that in the 50s. We have a lot to learn.
TV’sDoctorGorgeousappearedtohaveeverything – but he was struck by the one affliction that even he could not cure. He lost the ability to keep it in his trousers. Marriage, Mistress, Divorce, Mistress, two-timed Mistress, Girlfriend. Best of luck mate. The definitive case of “Surgeon heal Thyself”.
In an average week, I speak to 5 or 6 Chief Executives – guys I’ve either trained, coached or who I know personally. This week I had the most weird experience with a company CEO and company owner. He fancies himself as a “leader” but is just realising that he has recently reached the upper limits of his incompetence. The stress-levels are phenomenal and I shall devote a whole article to him next week. Look out for it – it WILL be libellous!
Fantastic evening for crumblies. ITV is celebrating 250 years of Cliff Richard. He hasn’t changed one bit – apart from wearing Frankie Howard’s old rug. Well, it’s either that or a very quiet ginger cat.
Friday September 25th 2009
The mole who leaked the MPs’ expenses information to the Daily Telegraph has revealed what motivated him to do so – apart that is, from the £110,000 fee that he was paid. It now appears that his primary motivation was not money but the fact that serving soldiers were “moonlighting” at the House of Commons. They were working in the Security department and protecting the Civil Servants who were dealing with confidential matters – one of which was Members’ expenses. Apparently, it wasn’t long before the soldiers realised the extent and extravagance of MPs’ expenses and so glimpsed the comparative opulence and excesses of the politicians’ lifestyles. The very people who represented them and who had sent them abroad to be shot at. The sums of money involved in the claims that they either saw or were told about were further amplified by the fact that the soldiers were doing this extra work in order to buy decent boots and body protectors and other items which would make their soldiering duties easier and safer. It is currently very easy for us to feel very emotional when they hear stories such as this – but we should proceed with extreme caution because it now seems that the mole is trying to justify his actions in leaking the information. He appears to be telling us that he now feels vindicated because of the “poor” soldiers and because MPs have to-date returned over £500,000 in mis-claimed expenses. Planes bearing dead blown-to-bits soldiers, processions through Wootton Bassett and full-page photographs of a recently mutilated soldier paying his last respects to his blown-up dead buddy certainly do tug at the heart-strings. Great propaganda andimmaculatetimingbyourmole. Now the facts: The mole received £110,000 pounds from a right-wing paper. Currently each soldier receives Osprey lightweight body armour and£3500 – worth of state-of-the-art equipment – including boots and shoes. The mole’s motives for leaking the information would not be in question had he not accepted such a large amount of money – which one presumes has been donated to the Army Benevolent Fund. I am not a great supporter either of this Government or of the pointless shenanigans in Afghanistan but sometimes there are over-sugared pills which are just too difficult to swallow.
One question remains: Why were security men -serving soldiers or not- allowed to either view or be given confidential information.
China , India and Brazil are to play a more prominent part in G20 and will also have more IMF votes. Currently, China wields 3.7% of IMF votes compared with France’s 4.9%, although the Chinese economy is now 50% larger than that of France and in spite of the fact that China has over 20 Provinces which each has a population greater than that of France. This looks very much like the dawn of the Eastern or New economies and the inevitable sunset for the once all-powerful West. Regrettably, not only is it a question of size and manufacturing power but the West is currently “in hock” to China. Chinese and Indian savers enabled all of us to be borrowers. Now economists are saying that the East has to create the same free-spending and borrowing consumer society that we have enjoyed for so many years: just look where WE are now! Are we really so well-placed as to be dispensing economic advice?
Another New Labour piece of legislation which has been languishing in the long grass for a while is the changing or possibly the removal of the Statutory Retirement Age. It is a shame that there are ex-teachers, ex-managers, ex-engineers who happen to be over 65 and who are now either shelf-stacking, working at B&Q or watching Countdown. What a waste. The Government says that the matter will be dealt-with in 2010, in other words, by the Tories. Meanwhile, at least 300 over 65s are taking ex-employers to Tribunals and yet again, lawyers have become involved. That is New Labour’s one big success – through their intransigence and incompetence, they have produced the best-ever Lawyer Job-Creation Scheme. The Brits have always been obsessed with 65 being their time to stop work, relax, take long holidays etc. Unfortunately in many cases it’s retire, sit around for a bit, die. We are changing as a nation and it is not purely because of the recession or plundered company pension schemes that people wish to carry-on working. Our “retirement mentality” has gradually been disappearing and people genuinely WANT to work for as long as they can. OK, there are very physical jobs where at age 65, you’re clapped-out. For instance, building, mining or farming. You can punish your body to such an extent that by the time you are 50, you start looking forward to the day when you can stop. However, nowadays many of us are engaged in non-physical work which means that we SHOULD be as fit at 65 as we were at 45. Policies should not be driven by a Government with one eye on unemployment statistics because as usual, public opinion is against them. It’s now time for the Statutory Retirement Age to be abolished.
Iran is the world’s fourth-biggest oil producer. No wonder they need to make such a vast investment in nuclear energy. You never know! Or, could it be that the Mullahs want to produce nuclear warheads in order obliterate Israel and/or the USA. That’s not possible because the Koran says that Muslims want us all to be their chums. Here are three quotes directly from the Koran (or Quran if you know your Peking from your Beijing). Here goes: “O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.” (5.51) or :“So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates.” (47.4) or “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement” (5.33) As I said – nothing to worry about. They’re just misunderstood. Talk of fundametalist Muslims being a bunch of fanatical murdering misogynist psychos is very naughty. They want to love us – as we love them. It says so in the Quran. Let them build their nuclear power stations bombs. It’s for our own good. Just think about all that cheap electricity.
Nearly forgot: “O Prophet! urge the believers to war; if there are twenty patient ones of you they shall overcome two hundred, and if there are a hundred of you they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they are a people who do not understand.” (8.65)
The often misunderstood and misinterpreted thing which suggests that when a Muslim blows himself up for the cause , he will be rewarded in Paradise with 40 virgins to shag (presumably) -is wrong. Martyrs in Islam are classified as people who die for their religion whereas people who blow themselves up for women are dying for their own lusts. It’s Hell for them. Presumably you need to die with a hard-on. Not impossible – many men do, apparently.
These are Iran’s main Nuclear sites:
Apparently, there is a small but statistically significant rise in patient deaths when junior doctors start work in August. Perhaps the same survey should be done with slightly different parameters: Before pubs open and after closing time.
A friend sent me a cartoon yesterday which, for the first time, explained the constant Midde East conflict . Jewish man looking up at the sky saying, “Now, let me get this straight God. The Arabs get the oil and you want us to cut the end off our what….?”
This snippet explains better than anything the anonymous nature of the Liberals’ leader. Nick Clegg will be delivering the Leader’s rabble-rousing Conference for the THIRD time!! He will attempt to come cross as a TOUGH leader. Doesn’t compute, does it? He always looks as if he’s just taken a “NICE” pill.
Justin-lee Collins has said what many are thinking: Bruce Forsyth should have stopped TV presenting three or four years ago. There’s a touch of the Emperor’s New Clothes about the whole thing. So much so that no-one appears willing to say ” Brucie, you are now coming across as an old twat. Piss off”. Instead the poor old bugger is being patronised, allowed to be unfunny (obviously from the tumbleweed school of humour) and worst of all, he’s being referred-to as “sprightly”.An adjective every man dreads because it is THE word which signifies the beginning of the end. It is NOT a compliment. It means that you are past-it and when you attempt to tap dance avec embarrassing Sammy Davis Jr-esque gurning, you look like a swinging cadaver with a ferret up a wet trouser leg.
I have just discovered that Chas & Dave have split up. p.s. I am writing this on Beachy Head.
Kristna Rihanoff whose Strictly Come Dancing partner is Joe Calzaghe celebrated her birthday yesterday. Rumour has it that Joe and Kristina have grown very close. I wonder whether he had any difficuty in wrapping her present?
More meaningless military “sincero-talk”today. Acting Sergeant Michael Lockett was blown up by a roadside bomb in Helmand Province. “There’s now a gap in our ranks that will be so very difficult to fill” and “Sgt Lockett’s raw bravery and seflessness cost hm his life but undoubtedly saved that of one of his soldiers.” are just two more examples from the Army Book of Fine Words. Meaningless twaddle. Sgt Locketthas left behindastrickengirlfriend and three children aged eight, seven and five. “We take solace in the fact that he died doing a job he was born to do” was more puke-inducing bollocks – this time from his father. Stop this pseudo-heroic crap and bring ALL of our young soldiers back here to the United Kingdom, where they belong. The Taliban certainly do not see these young soldiers as heroes – more like fairground ducks.
When will the Vatican be called to account over the tens of thousands of children that have been abused by pervert priests? The Catholic Church has been accused at the United Nations Human Rights Council of a systematic and long-standing cover-up. The Vatican is in breach of its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Handing out MILLIONS in compensation is really not the way forward. It’s customary to pay for sex up-front , not ten, twenty or thirty years after the event. Let us hope that one day there will be a time when the Vatican can close its child-abuse fund and get on with the business of religion.
Nothing about Gordon Brown today because he hasn’t said anything new or original. Situation normal.
Friday September 18th 2009
- There has been some concern that Romell Broom may have suffered mental anguish when two Ohio State officials failed to find a vein in order to deliver a fatal injection. According to Broom’s lawyer, Broom had suffered both “mental and physical injuries” and apparently became distressed and appeared to cry. Broom was convicted of raping and then killing a 14 year-old girl.
- We’re too fat, we drink too much alcohol, we’re unfit, we ingest female hormones in our meat and weedkillers from our vegetables and we’re too stressed. Paradoxically, our life expectancy is increasing.
Alistair Darling is engaged in a series of meetings in order to decide where spending cuts can be made. If you’re expecting decisions within the next few months – stop being so silly. Although professional pundits do now have the opportunity to make pointless predictions.
Andy Burnham is suggesting yet more NHS changes. The God of Change strikes again! This month’s idea is that we will all be able to choose our GP. I would like one that’s qualified, understands human anatomy and is sober.
Baroness Scotland should know that in a Court of Law, ignorance is no defence. Mind you, the Baroness is the Attorney General. Hopefully, hiring someone called Loloahi Tapui(clue!) with out-of-date papers was just an oversight and as such, does not generate a witch-hunt. Oh yes – there’s an enquiry. There’s always a feckin’ enquiry.
Suddenly, Jordan doesn’t want to talk about “the rape”. It seems that her PR people are running out of interesting stories. The only remaining possbilities are either ” I was abused as a child” or “I was abducted by aliens”.
Bit of a “to-do” about unofficial sperm donors. Apparently, ladies can contact a sperm donor on-line, arrange a meeting and either be handed a container-full of the stuff or on occasion have it delivered direct through the medium of sex. Hence the phrase : “”Bottled or draught?” Sounds like an excellent service as well as an interesting career move, although it could mess-up the old CV, especially if the CV is printed on a sheet of Kleenex. Just realised that if this type of work is a career, the phrase “hand job” begins to make sense.
How would the management at Student Loans UK feel if they were told that because of administrative incompetence, their September salaries will be paid at the end of October. They would probably be quite upset. Next question: How do young kids with the incredible stress associated with leaving home feel-when they’re told by Student Loans UK that their University grants will be paid “about” four weeks late? Why is the beginning of the academic year ALWAYS a surprise? For the record and to help Student Loans UK: The next academic year will be starting in October 2010. Hopefully, that’s enough notice.
Scientists at Newcastle University have produced human sperm in the laboratory. Didn’t know that there was a shortage. Just take a chipping hammer to any Confessional carpet.
Gordon Brown said today “Cooperation between nations at the G20 summit will be crucial to ensure global economic recovery” That is probably the twentieth version of the same sentence . It is a truism and it’s boring. Here’s another sentence which I hope Gordon finds as interesting as his own deep thoughts: ” The sun is in the sky”
Here is a quote from this evening’s No 10 bulletin: “The Prime Minister is launching a brand new podcast series this week talking directly to you about the big issues of the day. The podcasts, which will be available on our iTunes channel andonYouTube, will be recorded at Downing Street or around the world when the Prime Minister is travelling.” Wow! That Gordon Brown is so “street” -using that Interwebthingytoconnectwith the YouTube dudes. Way to go, MC Gordo! Soon, he’ll be buying a pair of those really cool Levi Strauss blue denim casual trousers with the turn-ups, copper rivets and the little red label. Sound! Should go well with the black brogues.
Remember what I told you about the American dollar going into freefall. Soon. Continue reading Monday September 7th 2009-Friday September 18th 2009
Brian Reade of the Dail Mirror has created a tribute to the victims of the Hillsborough disaster and it was distributed with the paper on 15th April 2009 – the 20th anniversary of one of the darkest days.
I had several attempts at reading Brian’s very moving piece. Every time I tried to have a run at it, a dark anger seemed to get in the way but I persevered – not as a Liverpool or Nottingham Forest fan and not because I was there but simply, because I love football.
All who love football share an indefinable bond, an empathy and even a language – which Brian expresses better than anyone.
Yesterday’s most harrowing quote: “I used to be a mother and a wife. Now I am neither.” Although the hollow-eyed lady delivered those 13 words as a quiet, dignified statement of fact – it was no less devastating…………….
Please click on the picture for the tribute but before you do, see Brian’s short article published two days after the disaster – it is pasted below. The words are simple but if it was the red-white heat of his anger which fired each furiously denunciatory sentence, who would blame him? He was there.
Nearly 100 people lost their lives on Saturday – because they didn’t count.
They didn’t count because they were football fans and in the eyes of authority, and indeed the general public, that placed them beneath contempt.
As I watched young policemen frantically trying to pump life back into corpses on ripped advertising hoardings, the shattering numbness of that night in Brussels returned.
There was a difference. In Belgium we were riddled with guilt and shame. At Sheffield it was just deep, deep pain.
But as men slumped heavily into their seats around me and threw their heads into their hands, the same angry word was being spat out through the tears: WHY?
The answer is: Because you don’t count. Because society has allowed itself to view the football fan as a moronic caricature. And the people who make decisions are happy to play along with this image because it makes their jobs easier.
Take the police on Saturday. Because of them, for the second year running, 28,000 tickets were allocated to Nottingham Forest, whose average attendance is 20,000 while 24,000 tickets were given to Liverpool whose average gate is 39,000.
There were ticket problems last year and they were forseeable this time. The fans complained and Liverpool FC complained to the FA and to the police. Nothing changed. The decision stood. For “safety reasons.”
It depends on your definition of safety. Mine does not include cramming one end of a ground while leaving enough space to play five-a-side on the opposite terracing.
On Saturday afternoon as I looked down at the heart-breaking sight of bodies piled up on the pitch below me, to my left there were clear gaps in the huge bank which had been set aside for the Nottingham Forest fans.
The families of the dead will not agree with the police idea of safety, especially as many policemen were assigned elsewhere. Ensuring safety.
As the Liverpool fans drove off the M1 they were greeted by 20 to 30 police who pulled them off the road and searched their cars, vans and coaches for drink. For safety reasons. On the main road into the city all pubs were shut. For safety reasons.
Your civil liberties go out of the window if you happen to have football in your blood.
Outside the ground this year police say they saw large queues forming, so they opened the gate. For safety reasons.
Inside the ground when people turned blue as the life was crushed out of them they pleaded with the police to let them out. But they were kept in their cages. For safety reasons.
When people needed medical help as they lay on the pitch drifting near to death, the response of the police was to form a line round the terraces and across the pitch, and to bring on the Alsations. For safety reasons.
The Alsations got into the ground but the ambulances didn’t. Dozens more police were drafted in but the doctors and nurses weren’t.
There was no shortage of boys in blue in the stadium but there was a critical shortage of oxygen machines.
But then this was only a football match. You wouldn’t expect the authorities to have any contingency plans for dealing with people being crushed to death in a 50,000 crowd.
No. Just keep the animals in check in their cages. That’s all you’ve got to worry about. That way there’ll be no trouble and everyone will be safe. And if there is trouble, well, they’ll probably deserve it. They’re only football fans. They’re only hooligans.
I’m not critical of the average policeman who was on duty on Saturday. I saw many trying to save life and comfort the bereaved.
But I’m criticising their bosses. I’m criticising the people on very big salaries who sit around tables making decisions.
I’m criticising a society, led by a government, which has lost touch with what a real football fan is. You know football. The national sport. Watched by millions of normal people every year – 99 per cent of whom are as violent as the average crowd at The Odeon.
Authority hasn’t listened to football fans. It hasn’t wanted to. It hasn’t had to. Because society has been happy to live with the myth that every football fan is a potential criminal.
Well nearly 100 people have just paid the price for this woeful misconception.
Gordon Brown has invoked the British wartime spirit to cope with the current economic downturn.
He probably thinks that that we are all quite looking forward to shivering in our Andersen shelter as we pump the old Primus stove and await our turn with the teabag. Is that what he means? Or are we being gently steered towards seeing him as the new Churchill?
“We must not just plan for tomorrow. Our task over the next twelve months is to build tomorrow today”. Is that what he was thinking seven years ago when he sold-off our gold reserves?
Between 1999 and 2001 the gold price stood at a 20-year low. Rumour has it that the Bank of England counselled Brown, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer not to go ahead with his proposal to flog-off 415 tonnes of our gold. He ignored their advice and like the corporate entrepreneur that he undoubtedly is (!) , he announced his intentions. The price of gold then fell even further.
The word on the streets was that he was going to spend a large proportion of the gain on Euros. That made most banking “experts” (yes, it was them!) think that he was preparing us for an entry into the single European currency. The European Central Bank’s announcement that countries wishing to join the euro would have to sell off their gold reserves reinforced that view. In retrospect, that may not have been a bad idea.
At the time gold represented about 17%of the country’s total reserves. The gold disposal reduced that by 10% and left us with the lowest bullion holdings of any major country. This was our first step towards third-world economics and 2009 will usher the final step.
So far, the actions of that Chancellor have cost the taxpayer at least £4billion and in the future, the loss is set to rise.
Who benefited from the Delboy-type deal? China. They bought most of it.
Currently, bankers are slithering out from behind the sofa and “predicting” (on average) that the downturn will last another 18 months and that everything will then be OK. Will it?
Having worked in the financial services industry for over 30 years, my only suggestion would be that if you need any “no questions asked” money, register yourseld as a bank. The Government will then provide you with shedloads of cash. The good bit is that they won’t ask you what you need the money for and they won’t even inspect your accounts.
If you don’t want to own a bank, change your name to Bernie or Bernard and start a fund (role models and heroes: Bernie Cornfeld and Bernard Madoff) . All the experts who are currently making positively sunny economic predictions will probably invest in your fund. That should keep you going for a few years by which time, the world economy should have sorted itself out.