We’ve even managed to drill through to the fish which must have had a rather peaceful if lonely Christmas. I would like to imagine that they welcomed the rescue but it is of course distinctly possible that at least one of them complained about some old fat blokes suddenly drilling a hole through their roof. Like the coalition government the fish seem to spend their time going round in circles so it is hard to guage their moods. But ours is pretty good at the moment. The partial thaw has helped and we have decided to dismiss the Met Office warning that we are all about to return to Ice Station Zebra on the grounds that the same people promised us a barbeque summer. But the main source of our enhanced seratonin is the news coming through from Melbourne. England are giving the Aussies a thrashing and Ricky Ponting is running up fines for his constant attacks on the umpires. Might be a better to consult your self understanding and go for the batsmen Ricky!
Of course we cricket buffs would like to be there. Well, there is one rider to that! We have no wish to be located within hearing of the ghastly so-called Barmy Army. When, a couple of years ago, a group of us went to Old Trafford for the New Zealand Test we resolved never to go again. For day after day the morons chanted endlessly, never watched the cricket, became drunk and threatening and made sure that anyone who actually enjoys watching the finer points of the game had no chance to do so.
In actual fact the ‘Army’ is the invention of the Australians. They coined the name during the 1994-95 tour, when our team was so unconscionably clueless that the local press concluded, with reason, that only the insane would follow them around the world. From that small acorn an oak has grown and now it casts its shadow over cricket, particularly that of the serious variety such as Test matches.
They maintain a constant chant throughout each day irrespective of what is happening on the field. It is not a difficult one to learn. “We are the Army, the Barmy, Barmy Army, we are the England, the mighty, mighty England” is the gist of it. Dressing up as Nuns or something similar is mandatory for some, for others the display of obese wobbly bellies is a must. In fact these people are unique, they are the only faction of any sporting audience in history whose primary motivation for attending games is not to watch but to be watched. In some ways they produce memories of football hooligans but at least they were caught up in the fortunes of their team.
The identity of many of the army would perhaps surprise you. There is a hardcore that lives on benefits and cadges its way around the world cricket circuit. But many are professional people who delight in the exhibitionism and the annoyance that they are able to cause. Perhaps we should be thankful that they find their satisfaction from exposure in this way, the alternative might be more than annoying.
Whenever I attend a match that draws the Army in I feel genuine anger that so few are allowed to spoil things for so many. But the odds are that the louts are here to stay and travel companies and Sky commentators vie with each other to applaud and accomodate them . I do have one suggestion which I’ve pinched from columnist Matthew Norman. Why not round them up and press-gang them into signing enlistment papers and put them on the first RAF transport to Helmand Province.
Their whole posture is one of the brave defiant warrior and I’m sure that they would put the fear of God into the Taliban. A few belly wobbles and the cry of mighty mighty England would surely make any opponent quake!
THE CASE OF LANSLEY DISEASE!
According to the press both Cameron and other ministers are alarmed at the signs of chaos in the NHS as a result of the ill-thought through changes to the NHS announced by Lansley. A survey has shown that the outcome of the commissioning plan will be a move to postcode medicine. It has also revealed that a vast majority of ward nurses are unable to give adequate attention to patients given the pressures now being applied to reduce staff.
I do know something about the NHS and know without doubt that Lansley is on course to destroy the NHS. The first stage will be a dramatic lengthening of waiting times. Then will come major cuts in important services, the first of these leaked out yesterday. Cancer research is to be cut.
I find it amazing that people like Cameron are shocked. If you put an arsonist in charge don’t be surprised when he burns the house down!
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS; 1.1976 2. Ed Koch
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. 900 people died in a mass suicide in Guyana in 1978. Who led this bizaare cult? 2. Which former World War 2 commander and member of the Royal family was murdered by the IRA in 1979?