Posts Tagged ‘Bandwagon’
Several of us were not much in evidence on the allotments yesterday, and others looked after the afternoon chicken feeding and egg-collection. If anyone tells you that looking after chooks involves little time think again, once you have them even short breaks depend on willing reserves. Anyway, we headed for Manchester to see the ultimate big spenders take on Spurs will a place in next year’s European championship at stake. And City won, thanks to an own goal by human skyscraper Peter Crouch. But, as we travelled back, we asked ourselves how it can be that a group of footballers on whom £300 million has been paid out in a season, and most of whom earn more in a week that a brain surgeon earns in a year, can struggle so much to overcome a team of bargains assembled by our very own ‘Arry Redknapp.
In fact it was the cockney sparrow who yesterday questionned the future of the Premiership, a league known even to those who have no interest in the ‘beautiful’ game. He remarked that the City owner, the “man from Abu Dhabi”, has got “unlimited amounts of money and is set to blow another £200 million this summer”. City already have players taking home £200 million each week and plenty more are due to climb on to the bandwagon of Sheik Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. And, as ‘Arry says, who can blame them. He reports that he hasn’t met many players who say “I’ll come to you for 40 grand-a-week less than I can get anywhere else because I like you”. It is, say the man tipped to be the next England manager, “crazy”.
Of course right now the fans love it. Already they are in two groups. Those that follow the moneybags at Man City and Chelsea who seem destined to sweep all before them, those at Man Utd and Liverpool who have some spare cash and uniquely gifted managers, and the rest whose sole motivation is to gain enough points at the expense of their fellow paupers to survive and continue to rake in hefty TV fees.
But already we have seen the demise of Portsmouth who borrowed to keep up. Now a large group of Premiership clubs is meeting in a mood of increasing panic and is planning to fix a maximum wage of £20,000 per week. Even this sounds obscenely high to those who have to earn their living by working, but in the mega-rich world of top soccer it represents peanuts, and certainly means that any talented players that those clubs develop will be lured away at the whim of Arab or Russian owners.
When I was a boy my weekly treat was ‘The Wizard’ comic. It featured the story of the richest man in the world who bought all the best players, and thrashed every opponent by double-figure scores. Eventually the fans wearied of such predictability and stayed away. The world’s richest man simply decided to play all home games in a locked stadium. There he would sit alone, content only when the tenth goal went in. Of course the end was disastrous for opponents and their fans tired of the regular diet of humiliation and the game ceased to be.
Pure nonsense of course, but is there not just a hint of the eventual outcome of the Premiership? That may be slightly different for all the signs are that two or three rich-beyond-riches owners will own every player of talent, but even their supporters might eventually tire of regular massacres.
Some years ago the sport of speedway had to adopt a form of rider allocation to avoid matches becoming meaningless processions. Could the same happen to big football where money is now all and, as we learn today in stories about the handling of the World Cup by FIFA , corruption reigns.
Will the sport that once featured such stars as Tom Finney, Stanley Matthews and Tommy Lawton, all paid a maximum of £25 per week, crumble to dust? It depends on the fans. The super-rich do not need their payments at the gate but games played to empty stadiums only happen in comics.
It is said that money is the root of all evil. So it may one day prove in the sport that was once British-owned and dominated our culture.
ANSWERS TO SUNDAY’S QUIZ; 1. The mobile 2.Mary Whitehouse 3.Paraguay 4. Will Young 5. Mantronix 6 Mine-sweeping 7 Basketball 8. 1950s 9 Reader’s Digest 10. 1968
TODAY’S EGGHEAD QUESTIONS; 1. Phil Read won several world championships in which sport? 2. What did an alchemist use an alembic for ? 3. What was Eternal’s first UK Top Ten hit? 4. In Hindu mythology who was goddess of destruction and death? 5. In which country is the Mackenzie River? 6. Which instrument did Lionel Hampton play? 7. How many top five hits did Elvis Presley have in 2005? 8. What was President Carter’s wife’s first name? 9. Who won the first squash world Open Championship? 10. Where is England’s national hockey stadium?
ANY SCORE ABOVE 7 IS EXCELLENT! SCORE 9 AND JOIN THE ULTIMATE EGGHEADS!!!
We allotmenteers are beginning to feel as if we are stuck in a Dr Who vortex. Day after day we start afresh on exactly the same conditions and by dusk have everything unfrozen and every path made usable. We drag ourselves home, slump in the chair, go to bed and wake early to return to the animals. And lo and behold, in true Dr Who style we are back to exactly the point at which we started yesterday. It would be nice to borrow the Doctor’s time machine and be transported any place where the sun shines. Preferably not Australia though, we’ve heard enough crowing to be going on with! If come the Spring I am back on my bandwagon about the magic of an allotment site please remind me of my winter moans!
And as officially accredited Victor Meldrews we are not short of other things to moan about as the second ice age continues. We are running short of feed and the roads to our usual supplier are still deep in snow and ice. Today we enquired of the local authority when, if ever, it is going to tackle the side roads. We were advised that no such action is envisaged. It seems that there is an acute shortage of salt and all councils have received a letter from transport minister Norman Baker instructing them to spread it more thinly. Due to an “oversight” the 250,000 tons of extra grit/salt was ordered late and the suppliers cannot arrange supply until “early in the new year”!
The president of the Automobile Association, Edmund King, yesterday spoke for us all when he said that he was completely baffled by such incompetence. The emergency stockpile was a key recommendation after last year’s snow chaos. Why, Mr King asked, was the recommendation not implemented? Most people can answer that. We Brits are creative, inventive and artistic but when it comes to organisation we are incompetent beyond words. Nothing works. Perhaps this explains why the government is selling off every public service to overseas companies. People across the developed world love us for our eccentric ability to cock-up all that we administer. In the true tradition of Margaret Rutherford and Alistair Simm we never fail to sustain our reputation. But sometimes, if you actually live here, it becomes a little wearing.
Those of us who are hardly fans of the Cameron/Clegg bunch would happily castigate them for the fact that everyone is stranded everywhere. But that would be unfair, for the previous government managed to make the same mess last winter.
Perhaps that emergency stockpile will arrive in time for next winter! One thing is sure, if the government and its allies in the local authorities organised a booze up in a brewery the police would have no need for breathalyzer equipment!
AND HERES ANOTHER THING!
Irrespective of public opinion the coalition is hellbent on privatising the Royal Mail and it will not rest content until the French bidders are in charge. That in itself is stupid enough but now we learn that whoever drafted the Bill forgot to make the presence of the Queen’s head on every stamp a legal requirement!
Now ministers are rushing around like headless chickens in an attempt to pursuade us that no one in their right mind would leave out such a vital marketing tool. But that assumes that the buyers are in their right minds. It also assumes that they will not take delight in putting their own president’s picture on instead.
Have we no national pride left? And where is the opposition on this? In bed with the coalition, that’s where! The whole lot of them will not rest until there is not a single British institution that is owned by Britain.
As Tiny Tim would have said God bless them one and all!
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS; 1. 97 years old. 2. West Germany
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. Whose daughter did ‘Anastasia’ claim to be? 2. Which prince took his seat in the House of Lords?
The wheels seem to be coming off the coalition’s cost-saving bandwagon! When ministers announced, within days of the election, the scrapping of Strategic Health Authorities, Primary Care Trusts and Quangos galore the initial reaction from most of my fellow ferret breeders was one of delight. That was when they laboured under the delusion that there were precise plans in place. Now it is a different matter altogether for it is becoming clearer by the day that the headlines we heard were all that there was.
No fewer than 177 quangos perished at a stroke, may of them deservedly for they had bred like rabbits under the last goverment. Who, in a supposed age of localism, needs a central advisory panel on local innovation? Who needs quangos that monitor quangos? And who needs advice from the great, good and friends of ministers that pack these bodies? But those who defend the rights of mentally ill and disabled people do need a champion yet the Public Guardian Board has suffered the same fate as countless others. Most of us have never heard of many of those now resting in Sir Humphrey’s out tray but we have heard of the Audit Commission which represented the only realistic check on just what local authorities are spending our cash on. It too now lies dead. But who or what is going to take on the important role that it played?
Right now there is chaos across the land. Surely someone should have had the wit to examine what each quango actually does before axeing it. Yes, we all dislike the name but even the most vehement critic must acknowledge that at least some of them did something that needs to be done. Leaving all the organisations over which they presided free to spend on the first thing that comes into their heads does not sound very sensible.
In the NHS absolute chaos prevails. Primary Care Trusts have made huge numbers redundant and some have set up joint commissioning panels in anticipation of the inevitable inability of GPs to take over their roles as announced by the hapless Andrew Lansley, who has the doubtful honour of being named by clinicians as the worst ever Secretary of State for Health. He can expect patients to follow suit once they realise that the ad-hoc commissioners are switching services vast distances from their local hospitals! And who will regulate the finances of Foundation Trusts now that Monitor has been diverted on to other tasks? Talk to anyone employed in the NHS and encounter bewilderment on a grand scale!
It doesn’t need Alan Sugar to work out that massive changes such as those triggered by a flurry of hasty announcements need to be planned carefully, and phased in only as the replacements become available. There is every reason to believe that all this is going to sharply increase costs and impair services in the short term And you don’t need to be the sacker of apprentices to know that short term in this context means two to three years!
What is it about the Brits that makes us so incompetent? The Labour government added layer after layer of bureaucracy in almost every field and they employed an army of expensive management consultants to arrange them. The coalition has leapt in the opposite direction but clearly has no overall strategy or understanding of what needs to be done or the consequences of doing it. And they are running a vast enterpise called the United Kingdom.
The popular view seems to be that Lansley, Gove ( who even had to amend his announcement on schools within days), and the rest of them, are merely rearranging the chairs on the decks of the Titanic. Perhaps the time has come to send for the Monster Raving Loony Party!
SAVING IS THE NEW EVIL!
The name of the deputy governor of the Bank of England is Mr Bean, which seems apt. I say that because his statement on saving strikes me as plain barmy. In esssence he has told savers to stop moaning and to start spending. In fact most are now doing just that given the virtual elimination of interest and the total withdrawal of National Savings index-linked certificates.
Of course one can understand the benefit to the economy in the short term but surely the longer term effect will be to render the state liable to fund all nursing and residential home care once the present mass of older people reach the stage of needing it.
And isn’t it also fundamentally unfair? At present the state has to totally support many who have simply not bothered to ‘save for a rainy day’. Now it seems that the prudent ones, who surely deserve applause, are to be villified for their prudence. Something tells me that Mr Bean hasn’t used his self understanding to think this through!
GOOD ADVICE FOR THE TORY ASSASSINS!
For me the best column of the day is that of Julian Glover. He warns that smearing Labour’s new leader, a decent man, will backfire. They should be testing him instead.
There seems to be evidence that Ed Miliband is not as excitingly adventurous as his brother and may prove vulnerable on detail. But simply attacking him with endless childish abuse will have the effect of endearing him to the public which always swings behind any victim of mindless bullying. One would have thought that the Tories and their press baron friends would have learned a lesson from the dramatic rise of Nick Clegg. Instead of questioning his policies they resorted to a tirade of abuse and millions set up a ‘all Clegg’s fault’ campaign aimed at both defending him and making the bullies look ridiculous.
A glance at today’s polls ought to be a warning. For the first time in three years labour leads the Conservatives!
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS; 1. Londonderry 2. Uganda
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. Which country exploded its first nuclear device in 1974? 2. Why did Britain work a three-day week in 1974?