Friday, 21 May 2010

The Dream Match - the greatest football game of all time...

The Champions League Final...

I rarely bother with these. Since the Premier League rose from the old Division One in the early nineties and English football was embraced back into European competitions, the very notion of "The Champions League" has been something of a ridiculous concept. Back when Tottenham Hotspur were actually consistently good, a team had to win their respective league in order to qualify for the old European Cup. Now, any of the top four sides qualify, which makes a mockery of the term "Champion." Anyway, Spurs are never in the competition, let alone the final, so my attentions tend to drift elsewhere...

Save, of course, for the small matter of my "dream" match. That being the game I allow my mind to play out during quiet moments, especially during Saturday afternoon defeats. For those of you who haven't been priviledged to hear this match played out, it goes something like this...

The Champions League final between Tottenham and Arsenal has been brought forward to my birthday in order to allow for the World Cup. The game kicks off at the Nou Camp in front of 120,000 fans. At half time, Spurs are 6-0 down. Arsenal are gloating, cheating and rubbing our noses in it. Then, during the second half, we gradually come back into it. 6-1, 6-2, 6-3, etc. The Spurs fans are singing their hearts out. Arsenal have a player sent off for diving. Then two players. Sol Cambell then puts the ball in his own net to make it 6-4. William Gallas sits down and starts crying. 6-5. Just as the clock hits 90 minutes, we level it 6-6. There's a stack of injury time awarded due to Wenger needing replays for everytime he didn't see something. Finally, just on the cusp of extra time being needed, Modric completes his hatrick with a bycycle kick from outside the box that slams in off the crossbar. Spurs win, 7-6.

But that's not all. The tv cameras flash to the news channel - breaking news. A group of Arsenal directors have been charged with fraudulent behaviour and are seen being bundled into the back of a police car. The cameras flash back to the Nou Camp, where Spurs players are celebrating with fans. Flash to Wenger, who is stomping around so madly that his trousers fall down to a pair of y-fronts with the slogan "loser." emblazoned upon them (there may also be some wee). Cue the tv interview, where he tries to claim that he did not see any of the major second half interviews and that "mentally" his team won the game. We then receive breaking news that owing to the arrest of the directors, Arsenal have been relegated with immediate effect to the Championship due to financial irregularities. Wenger is asked his opinion and starts to cry. Fabregas emerges into view and shouts to Wenger that he has agreed to join Barcelona, which prompts a fight between the two men. The camera leaves the squabble and points to the podium on the middle of the pitch, where none of the Arsenal players bother to collect their medal as they are all busy fighting. We then receive news reports that subsidence has been discovered beneath Arsenal's Emirates Stadium. The camera flashes back to the podium where Ledley King raises the Champion's League Trophy, just as the picture shows a glimpse of the Emirates collapsing into rubble and dust back in London.

Now, you may mock and claim that I should perhaps set my sights somewhat lower, but I disagree. THAT, my friends, is what you call a sporting fantasy and I live in continuing hope to see that day.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

The trouble with having no time is that....

I've had a really good idea for a story. It would make a great screenplay (I'm thinking TV drama), but I could compose it as a play or as a novel as it is quite a malleable concept.

It's a cricket story. Fictional, but based upon our contemporary world. Sprinkled with politics and religion. It really is quite good, even if I say so myself.

And the annoying thing is that I don't have the time to write it!

Does anyone have some spare time to offer?

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

A camel is a horse designed by committee

...and that is the main danger of this coalition. That the pollitical ideas of a party become diluted and carved up.

But still - we have progress. Our unelected Scottish Prime Minister gave probably the most effective speech of his appalling tenure and finally did the honourable thing, paving the way for Mr Cameron to make his path to the Palace.

My only other comment on this is to highlight the calibre of the protesters outside Downing Street. I can understand that militant trade unionists will always be moaning and groaning and it comes as no great surprise that left-wing demonstrators called Apple and Leaf are to be found on unicycles blowing on hunting horns in and around Parliament Square. However, I found it disgraceful that a small number of Labour Party activists remained standing outside after Brown's departure, waiting to heckle Cameron as his car pulled up. To me, it shows the true nature of socialists and the total lack of respect they actually have for democracy and protocol - and I am sure they would have been crying into their muesli had the boot been on the other foot.

Still, despite the dithering of the Lib Dems, perhaps those people will finally slink off back beneath their stones and do us all a favour.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Desperate Measures

There was nothing dignified about it. Nothing at all.

A dignified resignation speech usually thanks close colleagues, expresses disappointment and remains understated. But, true to his style as a man desperate to cling on by the finger tips to the slightest atom of power, Gordon Brown has hammered yet another nail into his long-term project, otherwise known as “Operation Ruin England.”

His scorched earth policy has now been in effect for over eighteen months, with the budget deficit and the money markets taking the biggest hit from his appalling selfishness. In a desperate attempt to continue as Prime Minister and keep his party in power, this latest statement has achieved the unsettling of his political opponent David Cameron, by offering a version of proportional representation that will appease the Lib Dems and suit the chances of his own party over the Conservatives. A cynical move? Try this out for size then – by offering what the Lib Dems want, he stands a chance of forming what Alex Sammond as called the “Rainbow Coalition” – in other words a bedraggled assortment of left wing muesli munchers who, with the assumption that Sinn Fein MPs would continue to abstain from taking their oaths, would just about (and only just about) squeeze a majority Government. By doing so, he remains, by default, as PM. This means that he, and only he, can call a General Election. This means that, despite the Tory Party winning 307 seats, despite them having more seats than the Lib Dems and Labour combined, despite nearly 11 million people voting for them, despite 40% of English voters choosing them to govern, despite more people voting for them than the elected Labour Government under Blair in 2005, the Conservative Party will not form the next government. Nor will they be able to contest this result, as only the PM can call an election. Not, at least, until the Autumn when Brown stands down and a new Labour leader is elected. And this is where it really gets good – there is (and he knows this) the distinct possibility that, after having suffered three years of a man who wasn’t elected by either his party or the people of the UK, we could end up with yet another unelected Prime Minister.

Thatcher, love her or hate her, knew when to stand down. Major, as incompetent as he was, offered his resignation. There must be something about the novelty of power when it comes to New Labour that their distain for the people of England really shines.

It is only the Labour Party who consistently inform us that Britain wanted and voted for a Hung Parliament. Bullshit. The UK voters voted for their individual choices. How many people can honestly say they cast their vote for a Hung Parliament? And of those, who can say they are pleased with the outcome right now? Our country is in tatters and Brown has no interest in taking any of the blame – his only interest is in the continuation of his own political party retaining power.

And where exactly does this leave Clegg? A man who a few short weeks ago was a populist of the people – now reduced to clawing after political reform for the benefit of his own voters, despite having been trounced into third place. A man who, despite giving his word that he could not do a deal with Brown, has been having talks on the quiet with the Labour party these last few days. A man whose only aim now is seemingly playing both parties off against each other for petty self interest. A man, who I am afraid to say is nothing short of a weasel.

I wonder what the hoards of Lib Dem fanatics would have said if, true to Proportional Representation, with over half a million votes, 12 BNP politicians had been elected to Parliament last week. I doubt they would have wanted that. Just as I do not want them.

David Cameron – I implore you – tell Clegg to go stuff himself. Bide your time. When the rainbow coalition breaks down into petty squabbles, go in for the kill and crush the lot of them at election number two later this year.

You’ll be doing us all a favour.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

The Prince Harry Party

You may recall I touched on a former fantasy the other day in which I was a frequent passenger aboard a first class business carriage. Feeble, I know. However, I had another that crossed my mind as the election results poured in...

Picture the scene. Buckingham Palace the morning of the election – all eyes on the constitution. Prince Harry storms into the throne room and takes the crown from his grandmother, bypassing his father and brother in the process. It is a coup worthy of Shakespeare, Bolingbroke and the entire House of York. Slamming the crown upon his ginger thatch, he roars a battle cry, downs a bottle of ale and marches down the Mal and across to Whitehall. There, he kicks open the door to 10 Downing Street, pushes Cameron and Clegg to one side and grabs Brown by the scruff of the neck, before punting him out onto the street.
‘Take this dog to the Tower!’ he cries, his eyes boring fiercely into the terrified hacks, who scurry away as a succession of guards seize our former PM and place him in chains.
‘What of us?’ a small voice is heard from the entrance hall.
‘I wont be needing you!’ Harry replies, with a steely grin. ‘There will be a new dawn for this country – cry God for Harry, England and St George!’

It wont happen though. Things like never do.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Hang the Parliament

So, as usually happens in UK General Elections, more people voted for the Conservative party in England than any other party by a mile. And, as has been the case in recent times, it is the combined vote of the Scotland populace that props up Labour. What, I ask myself, have we done to deserve this draconian punishment? Is it payback for our annihilation of the Scottish armies during the Middle Ages? Is it in retribution for the demolition of Bonnie Price Charlie’s eighteenth century rebellion?

Whatever the reason, I have come to the conclusion that it is time to break up the Act of Union that has held the United Kingdom together for the last two centuries. For as much as I hanker after the glory days of the British Empire, the Plantagenet Dynasty and Longshank’s Arthurian legacy; the fact is that the world has spoken. They want to go it alone. They don’t want to be part of England – not anymore.

Well, that’s fine by me. Sod the Commonwealth. Sod Scotland as well. If they don’t like the idea of the UK then fine – but I for one am fed up with Westminster being run by Scots, for Scots, having been voted in by Scots. Scotland is a small country with a very narrow economy and a huge social dependency upon a very bloated welfare state. Their only major hope lies in the non-renewal of nuclear arms and the quite preposterous idea that they should - by some kind of assumed right - lay claim to the entire reserves of North Sea oil.

Let’s rid ourselves of Scotland. Tear down the Union Jack. Build Hadrian’s Wall back up if they like – whatever works for them. But it is clear to me that we cannot go on allowing them to dictate the terms of government, drain us dry and keep their irreparable barrier in place of what we want to take place in the halls of Westminster.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Empty Cupboards and Paint Pots

We are now hours away from polling - nearer destruction and ruin or salvation depending upon your perspective. I've parked my political musings for now as I frankly have had enough of criticising Gordon brown and Nick Clegg, however easy and therapeutic that particular pastime is. I cannot place my faith in the British public - after all it was they who gave us Tony Blair and the X Factor - but at least I can rest in the knowledge that it will soon be out of all of our hands.

One thing I did want to touch on though is the thorny issue of public spending. I read one irate member of the public ranting about cuts be likely if certain parties got into power. Perhaps the biggest achievement of Gordon Brown's time in government is that he has hoodwinked people into the assertion that the more you spend the more you get...

Several problems with this theory. Firstly, you have to have the money - we haven't got it anymore. There is double the deficit there was fifteen years ago, despite all the taxes, and the economy is in a tender state of recovery which means there is little in the way of a reserve pot from which to draw. Secondly, you have to assume that the people in power spend it wisely - this rarely happens. Money is often allocated to administration and beaurocracy. Or, in the case of late, for laptops to poorer families so they can do their homework. Thirdly, even if the money is dispatched to a needy cause, it then falls into the realms of "management" - in other words anything from a Quango or a Civil Servant to a pfi team to an NHS manager to decide what to do with it. The less said on this one the better.

So for every hard earned pound, there is a great chance that seventy or even eighty pence of it will be frittered away into the system. Let's face it, if someone told you that they would spend your wages for you, would you be happy? No, didn’t think so...

Anyway, my hope is that the socialists will be voted out and we can save our reserves back up again. On that note, I'm off to do some painting whilst I can still afford it...

Saturday, 1 May 2010

I don't read newspapers...

I don't read newspapers.

I don't have the time or the inclination. News is so instant now that the papers simply act as a source of conjecture and subjection. I am fully able to achieve such things myself (I don't even enjoy the speculative approach of the BBC and Sky, but there we are).

I have always liked the idea of reading the papers though. This is something that has been formulated by an invisible world I had thought to exist before the realities of life eroded such thoughts away. I had anticipated that I would spend a couple of days a week sitting in the first class carriage of a train resembling a cross between the Hogwarts Express and the Mallard Locomotive from London to Edinburgh (why that particular route, I’m not quite sure), sipping filtered coffee and eating boiled eggs with bread soldiers with a rich quality parchment copy of The Times on my private table (broadsheet of course). Quite whether or not I had envisaged wearing a bowler hat during these excursions, I cannot recall. Those days where I would not be required to make this celebrated journey, I would be sitting in the morning room (yes, that’s right, the morning room) of my self-designed country mansion, where my butler, Hibberd, would fetch me The Times and a plate of fresh kippers.

It still remains an attractive proposition and one that almost leads me to rummage through my old boxes to locate my architectural drawings that I created during Mr Waller's Latin classes. Perhaps if I had paid more attention to Vergil's Aeneid, or whatever it was, I would now be a wealthy barrister with a smidgen of a chance of replicating my quite ludicrous fantasy, but still, I'll keep hammering away on the door of chance...

If I had managed to retain my concentration and had successfully embarked upon a career as a lawyer, or more likely had selected the correct six numbers on the first ticket going, then I do wonder quite what I would have been doing reading The Times in the first place. Not that there is anything wrong with The Times of course. I dare say it is better than it's militant rival The Guardian and more substantial than The Telegraph, not to mention any of the tabloids. It's just that I can’t imagine being bothered to read the thing on a frequent basis. After all, if I had a butler, I would simply ask him to keep me informed of the news (the fantasy was formed long before the internet took off, let alone the powers of social media took precedent) or turn the television on. The distractions strewn throughout my huge estate would be far too great to waste time reading the latest political events of the day when I could be swimming in my indoor pool, or utilising the computerised bowling machine in my cricket nets. You get the idea...

N.B For those of you who are interested in the drawings, I also created an eight-tiered two-hundred thousand all-seater stadium for Tottenham Hotspur in the mid-nineties called "The Octagon" and sent the plans to Alan Sugar. I never did receive a reply...