Posts Tagged ‘Twelve Months’
They tell us that farmers in the south-east are praying for rain. We chicken-men are generous souls and we would gladly let you have some of ours given a pipeline. But for a few hours at least someone up there has turned the tap off, and we have been able to use our best B & Q broom to ease the tide out from the paths surrounding the Columbian Black Tails. As we did so a lot of the chat was about the amazing climax to the Cardiff Test match. In fact there was a definite Welsh tendency this morning for two of our number hail from the land of song and they are at Snowdon height over the arrival in the Premiership of Swansea City. Mind you their prediction that “they’ll thrash the lot boyo” may, one suspects, prove as valid as those Blackpool fan Bert was making just twelve months ago.
But either way it has been a good week on the field for the ‘beautiful game’ and everyone is still buzzing about that magnificent display by Barcelona. Sadly, the good stuff on the pitch has been drowned out by the scandalous news off it. Clearly the President of Fifa, Mr Sepp Blatter, is not a man of great self understanding and has not read the sound advice from Burns about seeing ourselves as others see us. Yesterday he exclaimed “Crisis, what crisis?”. The crisis, dear boy, is that your organisation is seen around the world as utterly corrupt. The crisis is that every soccer fan believes that you have been in charge for long enough. The crisis is that your arrogance and reluctance to recognise what is happening all around you is damaging football and even jeopardising its future.
Every day brings fresh revelations. Today there are pictures of a brown envelope containing $40,000 which a Caribbean football official says was offered to him by the Fifa presidential candidate, Mohamed bin Hammam. He allegedly used bribes to secure votes for his presidential bid. Meantime, Jerome Valke, Blatter’s closest aide as secretary general of Fifa was found to have stated that Qatar had “bought the 2022 World Cup”. He later attempted to qualify the claim but by then another bombshell had burst when Chuck Blazer, the American Fifa official stated, when asked, that he thought “individuals within the organisation are corrupt”.
It is certainly convenient for Blatter that the one rival for the presidency is suspended, for the election to appoint for another four years is due this week. Given all is is being alleged any organisation with even a vague ethical code would postpone the election. But not this one, Mr Blatter is to stand unopposed and guaranteed a clear run by his cronies.
I imagine that it is hard to find any football follower across the world prepared to say a good word for its ruling body. For my part I find it strange that some of the big influences seem to represent countries that are not renowned as football-playing nations. Over the past few days I have heard America, Australia, and the West Indies mentioned many times. It seems that most of the European and South American countries take little part. In the case of the English Football Association it appears that contempt is linked with non-participation. Yet there always seemed sense in that old adage about peeing out of the tent rather than into it!
Perhaps I am missing something here but why do the UK associations not lobby all their European counterparts to demand change? Between them they must represent the majority of footballing nations. Could they not demand a proper investigation and a proper election. They would of course receive the usual smarmy brush-off from Blatter. That would be the moment for them to form a breakaway organisation based on the existing European Football Association.
In the unlikely event that the blazers read this they will of course pour scorn. Such action would be improper and unconstitutional, they would cry. But they need to face the reality. World football is being dragged ever-deeper into the mire of corruption by an incompetent and throughly corrupt organisation. The time to worry about what is or isn’t constitutional has long gone.
Blatter and all his cronies should, as Albert puts it, take a long walk off a short pier. Or as most would put it, Blatter should get the hell out of it!
TODAY’S NEW EGGHEADS QUIZ..CAN YOU BEAT KEVIN? 1. What was the first Gareth Gates single not to make No 1 in the UK? 2. Which creature is represented in the year the Chinese call hou? 3. A fear of cats is known as what? 4. Which country ruled Greece until 1830? 5. Who wrote the line; ” The female of the species is more deadly than the male”? 6. How many species of ostrich are there? 7. Dakar is the capital of which country? 8. Which theme gave Clannad their first UK Top Ten hit? 9. Who is the elder – John Prescott or Trevor MacDonald 10. The spice allspice is made from which part of a plant?
We are feeling much as we imagine Nick Clegg is feeling this morning. The sun has vanished, so have a couple of the hens. Some of the others have indulged in a spate of egg-pecking and someone has broken the main gate in to the allotment, (Inspector Knacker suspects a connection here). There are times when you have to take a deep breath and decide whether what you are doing is really worth it. Perhaps what we need is some fresh blood, some younger legs as Fergie is apt to say. Bob suggested we should invite Nick Clegg to join us. One reason was the suspicion that he is daft enough to take the blame for everything, the other that we all have a sneaking sympathy for the bloke that struck such a chord with us just twelve months ago.
If the polls are correct his dream of winning a referendum on the voting system is about to be crushed. Bad enough in itself for young Clegg who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for the chance to introduce electoral reform, but even worse there is little doubt that his critics will argue that he got his timing wrong and compounded this by appearing in the campaign. To add to his day of gloom it seems probable that the Lib Dems will receive a thrashing of Wackford Squeers proportions in the local elections.
There will not be a leadership challenge since even the most ambitious would shudder at the idea of taking the Lib Dem helm at a time when they are in the clutches of the Conservatives. And any doubts will be quickly dispelled when they notice that the Tories are neck-and-neck with Labour in the national polls. If the economy does respond to treatment the only section of the coalition that would benefit from a general election would be the Tories, and with Miliband still looking somewhat lightweight they might just fancy it if Nick and his pals become too stroppy. If, as many economists expect, the ecionomy goes belly-side-up the odds are that the blame will fall on Clegg for allowing such drastic cuts to be enacted.
It is not a happy scenario and the ‘I agree with Nick’ sweaters have been consigned to the shoe-cleaning trade. The truth is that in his eagerness to demonstrate committment to the coalition, the inexperienced Nick made too many mistakes. He may not have been able to stop the tuition fees increases but he should at least have been seen to vote against them.On the NHS it was only after being chastised by the party conference that he decided to seek concessions. In fact on almost every issue he failed to grasp a central truth which is that in coalitions the junior party never gets the credit but always gets the blame. And as shown in the national brochures supporting the AV ‘No’ vote, beneath that silky exterior lies a Cameron always ready to put the boot in.
Who can tell whether this government will last the course? But of one thing we can be reasonably sure, Nick Clegg is finished. Even if the Lib Dems eventually recover their support – and one only has to note the trades union support for the Labour Party to hope that they do – they are hardly likely to persist with the Sheffield Kid.
How would I know? I don’t but I can calculate odds, and I rate the chance of a comeback by the fallen Nick Clegg as similar to those of our missing hens. And they are probably in some traveller’s pot right now.
Come and join us Nick. The only qualification is a working knowledge of cricket and a deep distrust of all politicians. We imagine that you meet the second criteria now, the first is merely a matter of buying the latest Wisden.
THOUGHTS FOR TODAY; CRICKET: “I took an American friend to her first game of cricket. She took one look at the umpires and asked “what are the butchers for ?”……Alan Henderson “I watched a game of cricket for three hours waiting for it to start”……Groucho Marx “Personally, I have always looked on cricket as organised loafing”.,…William Temple “Cricket is basically baseball on Valium”……Robin Williams “My definition of a foreigner is someone who doesn’t understand cricket”…..Anthony Couch “A loving wife is better than making 50 or even 99. Beyond that I wouldn’t go”…….James Barrie “I am to cricket what Dame Sybil Thorndike is to non-ferrous welding”……Frank Muir “Facing a fast bowler is like standing in the outside lane of the M1, and when a car is 22 yards away, trying to get out of the way”…..Alec Stewart
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S QUIZ; 1. Northern Ireland 2. Georgia
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. Did Henry Kissinger remain secretary of state when Richard Nixon resigned? 2 Busby Berkeley died in 1976. For what kind of films was he famous?