Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Idle as Arlott

For a modern example of a good result apparently justifying no end of foolishness, I refer you to two dogged but somewhat unimaginative cricket professionals, Coach Flower and Captain Cook.

'The result completely vindicates the tactics' they waffled. 'We've won by over 200 runs, what is there to complain about?'

Let me tell you, then. First, one of the rules of professional sport is to press home your advantage. Did you do so? No.

Second, there is such a thing as the Met Office and they are not always numpties. Short-term forecasting is better now than it has ever been. 'A good chance of persistent rain tomorrow' is, er, a good chance.

Always enforce a follow on when you have bowled out a side in less than 50 overs; you will not be draining your bowlers of energy for the rest of the summer, particularly if you have a spinner to operate from one end enabling you to rotate the quicks. If you HAVE to bat again, see off the new ball and then get stuck in. Don't play for your average or for a century when quick runs are needed. And when you bowl at a team needing a world record score to win, don't be defensive in the field. Only one slip and sweepers on the boundary? Give me strength!

Flower and Cook's strategy was wrong from the moment that England bowled out NZ in the first innings. Cook's initial quick runs in the second innings were rendered far less valuable when he and Trott batted like Barnacle Bill Bailey trying to save a test match in the 1960s. It is hard to recall so stark an instance of giving up the upper hand, given the poor weather forecast.

Australia are already here in this country and they would have been watching. They might have been given a reminder of our toughness, as well as our talent. Instead, they saw a weakness. 'Mate' (they would have said to one another) 'these guys are pussies when it comes to knocking the opponent out'.

Get a grip, England management. And then don't let go. Simple.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Hang 'em High

There is a clear case for capital punishment for the imbecilic savages who killed a young soldier with a machete today in broad daylight, in full view of the public, and then paraded up and down the street chanting the standard Islamic phrases, inviting their picture to be taken.

No good can come of their being saved from death by doctors, returned to health, sent to prison, and YES, you guessed it, released in due course, to become leeches of the state, being unemployable, having no money for food and shelter. They will cost us all a hundred grand a year for the rest of their cursed lives. Doubtless they will father children during 'conjugal visits'.

Opponents of capital punishment rely on the element of doubt. Better that a hundred guilty men go free than one innocent one put to death, etc.

In clear cut cases, let's dispense with the bleeding hearts and open the trapdoor. It won't bring us down to 'their' level, nor will it up the ante in the ongoing culture/religious war. The enemies of western liberal democracies have nothing but contempt for our weakness.

Disgusted of Sussex

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Definition of Insanity

We all know it, do we not? Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result?

I know Pakistan quite well, having travelled there three times a year for five years or so in the late 80s and early 90s. I have followed, with heavy heart, the evolution of the state from General Zia's strong-arm tactics to the recent absurdity of Asif Ali Zardari's administration. Zardari is a kleptomaniac, of billionaire status.

Nawaz Sharif is not much better. His last administration became so brazenly corrupt it virtually invited the military to take over again after the softest of coups. Sharif had to flee to Saudi Arabia.

There was only ever the slightest chance of the great Imran Khan getting his countrymen to see sense. But to vote Sharif back into power and expect a different result this time is bonkers. Even his own daughter has said  publicly that he has learned his lesson and won't be so corrupt this time. Crikey.

The failed state of Pakistan will remain a basket case, harbouring outlaws, terrorists and people who sell nuclear secrets to the North Koreans. Its government spends less on education than it does on minsterial limos. Less than a quarter of the last Cabinet paid any income tax at all.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Consolidating the Gains

Nigel Farage with his pet pint

Iain Martin in the Torygraph makes the valid point that there are many Ukippers who, heady with the success of last week, will become insufferable. Cameron, in his foolish contempt for Ukip when it was polling in the low single figures, was quite correct to say that amongst its supporters were to be found loonies, fruitcakes and closet racists. But no more loony than Nadine Dorries, no fruitier than Greg Barker, no more closet racist than, for instance, my friend the local Tory councillor down here who unwisely started racially stereotyping various Asian nationalities as a form of protest (yes, really) against the proposed imposition of an inner-city weekly boarding school in our parish. The Chinese will rise to the top, he suggested; the Indians will work hard; the Pakistanis will populate the E and F sets and bring up the rear. He didn't mention Afro Caribbeans, who would make up about 75% of the students, presumably because he thought it might sound a bit, well, you know, racist. Sorry, John, that boat sailed a while ago, with you on the quarterdeck. It is this kind of low level, thoughtless old-fashioned shire Tory racist guff that Cameron had in mind for his Ukip put-down. In truth, it is as likely to be heard from a member of any of the (four) main parties, with the possible exception of the LibDems, so terrified are they to have an opinion on this kind of topic.

Ukip, short of cash and long of hopeful candidates, have clearly not done a lot of vetting. Loonies, fruitcakes and closet racists will get through. Given a more willing audience from the local media, they will be interviewed and filmed and will say all sorts of things that intelligent and thoughtful people would not. Trouble is, they are not media-trained, and every faux-pas will be jumped upon. It is hard to know what Farage can do about this.

But to go back to Martin's point, a lot of smug crowing and bullish talk of a home-run in next year's European election may be fine for those who are already supporters, but will not endear the party to those who might yet join, but are wary of the taking the oath. Ukip's goal, surely, is to gradually entice them, by sounding reasoned, cheerful, optimistic and full of common sense. The greatest success they can possibly envisage is a re-integration with a demonstrably centre-right Tory party, from which all Cameroons, Clarkes, Grieves have been purged. This centre-right Tory party is the one Idle wishes to support.

The only Ukip froth should be that upon Nigel Farage's pint of London Pride. Take it easy, lads.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Stay at Home Party Wins Idle Vote

Two reasons:

First, the Turf Club spring meeting at the New Zealand golf club. I can't tell you how splendid it was. Idle is by no means a duffer but he ran into a mate who really knows how to play the game in an opposition club in London (Whites, natch) a month ago and we cooked up a plan. Said mate, who plays off 7 at Royal Porthcawl (a proper track, windy and tricky), was just the fellow. We buggered up the 18th but still came second (result! - the winners have to buy the drinks after lunch and come away with nowt; we get wonga to keep). I drew my partner well in the afternoon and we won; Idle won the Victor Ludorum, came away with three single bottles of champers and a magnum of Taittinger, many more balls and enough notes to more than pay for the very expensive day and lunch. Sunny spring days don't get a whole lot better than that.

Second, my friend the local councillor made an epic arse of himself a fortnight ago:
and got chucked by his party. But, because his name was on the ballot (still under Conservative) and it was too late to change it, he insisted on standing. Even had the nerve to ask me to be a supporter and teller tomorrow at the count. Sorry, John, I planned to vote UKIP anyway to shake the council up (I think we have TWO climate change awareness officers), but you really shouldn't be spivving yourself as the local Tory just because an accident of timing prevented a reprint of the ballot. We stay friends, but you must retire with what grace you can muster.

2015 will be all about the economy, and if it's in upturn I will vote for the blues; until then, I protest!