Sunday, September 14, 2014

Scottish Independence

Scotts Porridge Oates - or Scotts Humble Pie

I will be in the land of the round doorknob on 18 September – the day the Scots vote on independence from the UK. So, I better get my take in now.

First. This has been an almighty cock-up almost from its inception. It has to be said.

“The Edinburgh Agreement (full title: Agreement between the United Kingdom Government and the Scottish Government on a referendum on independence for Scotland) is the agreement between the Scottish Government and the United Kingdom Government, signed on 15 October 2012 at St Andrew's House, Edinburgh, on the terms for the Scottish independence referendum, 2014.[1]
Both governments agreed that the referendum should:
  • have a clear legal base
  • be legislated for by the Scottish Parliament
  • be conducted so as to command the confidence of parliaments, government and people
  • deliver a fair test and decisive expression of the views of people in Scotland and a result that everyone will respect
The governments agreed to promote an Order in Council under Section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998 to allow a single-question referendum on Scottish independence to be held before the end of 2014 so to put beyond doubt that the Scottish Parliament can legislate for the referendum.[2]
The agreement was signed by David Cameron, Prime Minister; Michael Moore, Secretary of State for Scotland; Alex Salmond, First Minister; and Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister.
The legal status of the agreement is a matter of academic discussion.[3]
The last bit is the good bit. Mr Cameron's brain must have been on holiday that day to agree to such a plan. Or his advisers were out to lunch. By agreeing that only people living in Scotland could have a vote on a matter that affects the whole of the UK, Cameron ensured that the SNP were already half-way there to winning. What an idiot. No wonder he has spent the last week running around north of the border trying to cry his way to a No vote.
Second. The No campaign has been run by idiots – or failed politicians – or both. Only now when the chips are down have they tried to get their act together. Anyone with half a brain could have told them that just lecturing the Scots was not going to work. It's a bit late to start a hearts and minds campaign.
Third. Cameron should have played the monarch card. Had he threatened to resign if the Queen did not speak out (assuming she is a No supporter), he might have had the real trump card.
Fourth. He should have been more pragmatic. If it works, use it. Now we have Gordon Brown on-board. Late. Very late. Alistair Darling is a disaster.
Fifth. He should have agreed to debate Alex Salmond. Not in Edinburgh but in Parliament. Somewhere in Westminster Hall would do. With a packed audience. Alex could not have refused and he would have been murdered.

Sixth. He should have offered Devo Max either much earlier or not at all. Now he has the worst of both worlds. The Scots don't trust him to deliver and the English may well demand similar powers from central government.
Where do I stand? I think the Scots would be very foolish to vote Yes. A Yes vote may be the prelude to a fantastic new opportunity for the country, but it's very risky! I might also be the precursor to economic and political ruin. Cameron is right on one point – there is no going back. If it's a yes vote, then that's it.
(Except for the obvious point that the Act of Union was the result of a complete mishandling of the Scottish economy and with bankruptcy looming!)
My feeling is the No will win but it will be far closer than it ought to be.
Nightmare scenario: Yes wins but by only a few votes. Cameron refuses to accept the result and resigns. A new Tory Prime Minister disowns the Edinburgh agreement and demands a UK General Election to endorse his actions. UK votes for Tories believing they are voting for the Union and we get five more years of crap Tory rule.
(A bit like the Falklands War gave us Maggie Thatcher!)
In any event the prospects are not great!

Monday, September 08, 2014

Chiefs Prospects 2014

Hope makes a poor meal!

I've been waiting to see what week one would bring before I make my predictions for the Chiefs season. I might not have bothered. The news and the prospects are all bad and getting worse.

“On NBC's Football Night in America: this exchange between NBC's Dan Patrick, Rodney Harrison and Tony Dungy.

Harrison: Kansas City, they're done. Their very first game.

Patrick: Done?

Harrison: Yes and I'm not exaggerating. You get your best player on defense, Derrick Johnson, he's out for the year. You play San Diego twice. Why are you looking at me like that?

Patrick: We just had one game!

Dungy: It's early to be done.

Harrison: You have to listen to what I'm saying. You have to play against Denver twice, San Diego twice. You had the entire season to prepare for the Tennessee Titans and you have to play outside the division, the NFC West. Stop looking away Dan. Are you convinced now?”

To top it all, the poll of Chiefs fans after week one comes out as 70% think the season is over. And, these are Chiefs fans, not some overpaid pundits!”


Remember before every season hope is on everyone's agenda. After a very good season last year with a play-off berth, surely the Chiefs would be better this year!

Sadly, no.

First the free agency when we lost too many good players and signed not enough. Then the draft when a team crying out for a genuine passing game drafted a line-backer first and no receivers at all. Finally the first game loss of Derrick Johnson and Mike Devito to probable season-ending injuries. Should I go on?

The blame game is about to start in earnest. We have the Broncos, Dolphins and Patriots in the next three weeks. After an 0-4 start questions are going to be asked.

Coaching? Fantastic last season when the Chiefs benefited from some excellent good fortune. Now is when Andy Reid has to earn his money.

Let's hear from the man himself:

OPENING STATEMENT: “As far as injuries go, Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito ruptured their Achilles tendon, and Jeff Allen has a bicep strain we’ll see how he is in the morning. That was a rough game. I thought the guys kept battling through the end, but I take responsibility on the offensive side of that. It was a terrible game I called, I didn’t put them in position to make plays, and I put the defense in a bind a number of times. Special teams we need to do a better job. If we have a fake punt we have to make sure we convert on those. We had a couple things there that we could have turned into points; we just have to do better.”

Are these season ending injuries for Johnson and DeVito? “I don’t know that, we are going to evaluate them overnight and see. They normally are, but we’ll see what happens.”

What’s the impact of not having Derrick Johnson? “You know my theory on that. He’s a great player, but I expect other players to step up and do the job. When given the opportunity we want that to happen.”

How did you feel like your new kicker did? “He did good (on) one of them and missed on the long one. His kickoffs were decent, so that was good.”

Jamaal Charles got three touches at the beginning and only eight after that, what was the reason? “They took away a lot of what we had designed for him. That was one of the reasons.”

Not to make excuses for not having Dwayne Bowe, we’ve known that for a long time, but it seemed like it was Donnie Avery or nothing down the field – 13 targets. “I didn’t do a very good job there. Could have used our short intermediate game better, probably could have run it more. Not a very good job on my part.”

Alex usually does a good job with the interceptions. I know you’ve been on him a little bit to be more aggressive down the field. Do you think that had a factor with what happened? “He was trying to make something happen and things didn’t work. Again, those are calls down there, opportunities for shots, and they had them covered. Again, I’ll take that responsibility.”

The call from the two, you were in that situation last year against them. Would you like to have that one back going into half time? “Any of the interceptions I’d like to have back. But yeah, I would. I’d like to have that one back.”

What are your impressions of Jake Locker and how he’s kind of progressed? “Ken’s (Whisenhunt) done a nice job with the team. They’ve got good talent there and they utilize it.”

Last year you guys built such momentum as the season went along, this is a tough way to start especially with the injuries. Are you worried about the mental state of your guys? What was the locker room like? “After a loss you’re down, I mean you’re not happy after a loss. There’s a lot of time and effort that goes into it, I would expect them to be a bit down now and then start to rally themselves as we get together tomorrow.”

Not much to be positive about here, but at least he's honest. The preparation and coaching were very poor.

Could the Chiefs turn it around in the next month? Not likely.