Friday, June 16, 2017

Defeat From The Jaws

I look stupid, not strong and stable – Teresa May

“The Titanic was steaming ahead under blue skies. Then we created an iceberg and steered towards it.” - Tory party spokesperson.

Dust is beginning to settle after what was, perhaps, the most interesting, ill-conceived and ill-fought election in a generation.

Conservative politicians and pundits are falling over themselves (and falling out with each other at the same time) trying to explain what went wrong? What were the voters thinking? How could Tories have ballsed it up quite so spectacularly after being comfortably ahead just six weeks ago. How could the electorate actually favour Jeremy Corbin and Diane Abbot? (Heaven preserve us – or is that in the hands of the DUP?)

( Prime Minister Harold Wilson - attributed, 1954 "A week is a long time in politics" )

He certainly got that right!

I am a creature of habit. My Sunday is not really complete until I have had a good read of The Sunday Times. I like to think of them as fairly balanced (even though that evil little gnome Rupert Murdock is the proprietor). Get up, have breakfast, read Sunday Times is my mantra.

The Sunday Times generally supports the Tories but in a not very enthusiastic way. I was interested to see their take on the result. I was shocked.

A flavour of their coverage: “The loyalties which centre upon (the leader) are enormous. If he trips he must be sustained. If he makes mistakes, they must be covered. If he sleeps he must not be wantonly disturbed. If he is no good he must be pole-axed.” - Winston Churchill - May must be pole-axed and probably will be. . . . She had a 20 point lead but managed to turn that crock of gold into a crock of shit. (Very unusual Sunday Times front page language!) By the end – in a campaign against Jeremy Corbin, for God's sake – we were even on the back foot over terrorism. That is the extent of the disaster – Senior Tory MP.

Who might the new leader be? Boris Johnson, whose innate laziness and sloppiness and inability to grasp the running of a department are legendary in Whitehall? David Davis, who is combative, insouciant and slightly flaky in equal measure? Amber Rudd, who so nearly lost her seat and whose flip-flop over Brexit . . . suggests flexibility if nothing else. It is as if a whole generation has gone missing, just when we need them the most.

Wading through the vitriol we finally reach page 15 and commentator Camila Cavendish's take on events. . . . “the person who lost most catastrophically was Teresa May. She and her people seemed to think she could triple Cameron's majority without wooing anyone. They were probably not helped by the wild predictions of landslides, Which I and many others believed. We Brits love an underdog and people may have voted to clip the wings of what they assumed would be a domineering Tory majority . . .she went into the contest as a no-nonsense, capable woman seeking a stronger negotiating hand with the EU. But she came to look more and more like an opportunist. This was partly because she had nothing to say about Brexit or at least nothing she wanted to share with the electorate. Mrs May gave the impression that we should trust her to get the deal done, not worry our silly little heads about the detail.”

Ron Liddle is definitely one of my favourites. His ascorbic with and classic turn of phrase lightens any Sunday morning. He says, “The prime minister made her magnificently stupid decision to call a general election while on a walking holiday with her husband in north Wales (I bet that was a barrel of fun!) . . . Look at that hill Philip. It's a large and very firm protuberance, rising up out of the ground. One might call it strong and stable. Certainly one couldn't call it a coalition of chaos. I am like that hill, Philip. I am strong ans stable. I am not like that bog over there. That bog seems to me a coalition of chaos. I am a hill not a bog (bog is a colloquialism for a toilet here in the UK).. . . But the country isn't united on Brexit, patently. And there are divisions at Westminster (as she gave as a reason for an election) because, uh, that's what the place is for, you dumbo. How did she manage to lose? My reasons were these. First, an awful lot of people in the North of England and the Midlands do not like the Tories. They mistrust them, with some justification. And the Labour vote – before the campaign – was still remarkably and even growing at local level. As for Jeremy Corbin: Westinister may think he's unfit to run a whelk stall, but north of Milton Keynes no such assessment was made. . . The Labour manifesto may well have been written by deranged Trots (Trotsky-ites) on acid, but at least it offered something , even if that something was unattainable by the usual laws of economics or even physics. What did the Tory manifesto offer, to anyone? . . . There was no enthusiasm for the Tories even among the Tories.”

MOST UNFORTUNATE CAMPAIGN SLOGAN: A van carrying advertising turned over in high winds on the M6 on Tuesday. Nobody was hurt, but the central theme of Teresa May's campaign suffred a slight dent. Not very “strong and stable” was it?

I doubt any political party will again make the mistake of producing a responsible manifesto.” - Dominic Lawson

Mr Lawson is an arch-Tory with impeccable credentials. Therefore what he has to say ought to be listened to.

. . . if the Conservatives somehow managed to lose seats and failed to gain an overall majority, it would be a near-terminal rebuff to a prime minister who had gamed the Fixed-Term Parliament Act to hold an election of choice – especially as Mrs May has run a clunkily personal campaign . . .a cult of no personality. Wrong again, I should have written terminal and left out the near.

I just can't remember a Tory-leaning paper ever savaging a Conservative politician in quite so systematic, thorough and sustained manner.

Fittingly, the last word goes to Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration Of Independence.

Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

A Prince, (in this case Mrs May) whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
How long can she last? Consensus has it not long.

She did get some respite owing to the tragic loss of life in the west London tower-block fire. Some respite, but only for about an hour until she turned up and did not meet with any of the residents. Meanwhile Jeremy was on the streets hugging people.

If a week is a long time in politics she may not make it past June 20.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Cricket Subsidising Supermarkets

 We Don't Like Cricket - We Love It

Looks like the pendulum is swinging my way on the subject of cricket teas.

About time too. I have borne the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and hoots of derision far too long for suggesting that the tea interval (and the tea itself) is not really necessary and may be actually counter-productive.

Writing in the Eastern Daily Press under the title “Let then eat cake? It's just not cricket”,
Sharon Griffiths, a regular columnist, makes the case for dispensing with teas altogether.

“Cricket teas are under threat because they cost too much to prepare and take too long to eat often up to forty minutes.” (Even with the extension to 30 minutes in the NCA teas can last the 40 on occasion. The NCL still specifies 20 minutes for tea.)

This makes a long game even longer and young chaps less inclined to play. They have better things to do than eat cake, even on Saturday afternoons, so some clubs are thinking of cutting rations and cracking on.” Unfortunately, she does not specify the “some” clubs.

Amazing, really, the cricket teas still exist. Many many years ago I was besotted with a batsman and spent Saturday afternoons gazing adoringly at him . . . buttering my way through loaves of Mother's pride and pouring gallons of tea. . . Other wives and girlfriends were there too . . .the men played and the women fed them, admired them, and the children got bored and everyone waited until the men were ready to go home.

Well that was not going to last for long . . . The Sixties began to swing, bras were burned and women found they had other things to do with their time.

Thirty years later I had a brief stint of turning up with plates of sausages when my boys were playing in the local village team. By then mothers swooped in with their offerings and out again . . . no-one expected them to stay and watch an entire match.

At a wedding once I met a lovely lady who'd won a competition for cricket teas (Rocklands CC?) and had been invited into the Test Match Special box at Lords. Wonderful. She was rightly proud.

But that was then. No one starting from scratch would put a great big tea in the middle of a sporting match. Pretty bizarre, really. Other sports get by with nothing more than a slice of orange and an energy drink. Anyway, now the boys play cricket in the sort of leagues where they all go to the pub. Which probably seems a much better idea all round.”

I have been banging on about this for years. Essentially the cricketing fraternity is subsidising Tesco, Morrison's and Sainsbury. Money which could be used to improve the clubs is going, instead, into the “hard-pressed” Supermarket's coffers. This is crazy.

Clubs which still choose to provide teas should charge the opposition, say £2 a head. Clubs which do not choose to provide tea should provide a drink, tea or squash. If you want anything else, bring it yourself. Match fees can be reduced to account for the reduced cost. Time can be saved by only having a ten minute break. Get your drink, munch you home-made sandwich, crunch your crisps and get on with the game!