Opinions amongst our allotment gang on English football fluctuate somewhat. Verdicts on the Premiership swing from beyond compare to couldn’t win a raffle, and views on ownership by foreign magnates are unsuitable for use in a family-style blog. Suddenly a unanimous voice has emerged, we are in a class of our own. Abramovich has brought pride to English hearts. I stayed well clear of all this guff, being a non-league fan I view the whole Premiership thing with scepticism, to me it is a classic example of money taking over sport, and to hell with feeder leagues when we can simply buy the best in the world whenever the mood takes us. Chelsea isn’t exactly an example of English players, my pals should save their judgement for the English team. They won’t have long to wait.
But I kept my thoughts to myself and when, after the hen-cleaning ritual, we gathered for our brew conversation shifted to the latest political opinion poll. Today’s version in the Independent makes worrying reading for our dear leader. Ten per cent of 2010′s Tory voters say they have decided to back Ukip, while 26 per cent of those who still support the Conservatives are “seriously considering” switching to support the Eurosceptic fringe party.
Clearly Europe is becoming a major issue for many. Forty-six per cent say they would vote for Britain to leave the EU, and a further 23 per cent are considering that possibility. Worse still for our dear leader his personal popularity is down seven points to minus 28, he has been overtaken by Ed Miliband for the first time. And Miliband/Ed Balls have now overtaken Cameron/Osborne for trust in handling the economy.
Overall Labour now has a nine-point lead, up two points on the last ComRes poll, to 41 per cent. Small wonder really given the growing implications of our dear leader’s involvement in the Murdoch scandal, and the clear evidence that the fierce austerity policy is taking the economy in the opposite direction to that achieved by Obama’s growth programme.
So Ed Miliband rules OK? As things are now he certainly does. But amazingly he is contemplating what would surely be political suicide. He is seriously considering meeting Tony Blair’s desire to return to front-line politics. “I think we should respect him” says young Ed in an interview published today in the Telegraph. “It is his decision as to what he wants to do and how he wants to play a role”. Asked whether he plans to give Mr Blair a job he said “of course”.
Apparently TB has already devoted time to advising the party on strategy, clearly his zest for money-making tours is beginning to wane. But am I alone in seeing such a comeback as suicidal for the new Labour leader? One of the greatest criticisms of Cameron is that he is a new version of Blair, and they do have much in common. The Murdoch affair has only just begun to do its damage to the various players, and both Cameron and Blair will emerge with shattered reputations. Both have been less than honest with the people, Iraq springs to mind as does the NHS. Both are brilliant presenters, both have come to be seen as posh versions of dodgy second-hand car salesmen.
Up to this point Miliband has impressed many of his original foes. He looks like someone who would stay well clear of the Murdochs of this world, he looks like someone who cares.
But talk of bringing back Cameron’s mentor casts a shadow. Can his judgement really be that suspect?
HIGH SPEED RAIL HITS THE BUFFERS!
Word is that having seen an analysis of supposed benefits, the Treasury is developing cold feet in regard to the £33 billion or so needed to achieve a short reduction in train journey times by 2023.
Meantime directors of the Quango HS2 Limited are being accused of holding shares in one of the contractors awarded contracts. And other critics have asked how it is that contracts have been awarded, and millions spent, given no treasury sign-off.
Sounds like a well-oiled plan for a cock-up to dwarf even the last government’s NHS IT blow-out!