Sunday 30th: A ‘destitute’ Sri Lankan fisherman manges to find $2650 to pay for a place on a boat to reach Australia. At one point he steers the boat and this makes him ineligible for a $3300 payment from the Australian government when he volunteered to be flown repatriated. There are a lot of very poor people in many countries across the globe but it is a travesty that men like Dinesh Kumar are considered by some as refugees when clearly they are despairing migrants driven on by personal economic considerations.
Tuesday 25th: An Australian Defence Minister farewells troops on their way to Afghanistan, promises Australian will not ‘cut and run’ and will finish the mission. Obviously leaving in 2014 is not cutting and running and it doesn’t matter that the Taliban will be back running the country shortly afterwards. Why wont politicians tell the truth? We do not mind hearing that Afghanistan was just too hard, change too unpalatable for Afghanis and that at least our Aussie diggers gave it their best. Unfortunately they along with their allies have been hampered by politicians who are more concerned with votes than effecting policy.
Saturday 22nd: Its a funny old world is politics. If Britain is to have a referendum on Europe, following pressures from anti-democratic federalists like the President of the European Commission, then the PM will not support a straight ‘in or out’ of the EU question. Yet when it comes to Scottish Independence guess who favours the one question, in or out of the United Kingdom option?
Thursday 20th: For over a quarter of a century Sir Alex Ferguson has sat astride the footballing world’s behemoth that is Manchester United. Last night he saw his 100th victory in the European Champions League competition. Yet he hadn’t even allocated which player should (or shouldn’t) take a penalty if one was awarded. So when Nani failed from the spot it was a rare case of Sir Alex taking his eye of the ball.
Monday 17th: A difficult few days for an America that has free speech written into its constitution but wants to be best buddies with countries who will never accept all that comes with such a liberty. I haven’t seen any reports of riots by the 2.5 million muslims in the USA, but in Sydney, Australia a small child was shown holding a sign saying “behead all those who insult the prophet”. Just what sort of sick parents would allow that and will they be prosecuted? Another ‘prophet’ said “suffer the little children….” It is difficult to reconcile the actions of such parents with their support of a religion of peace.
Thursday 13th: The remains of King Richard III may have been discovered underneath a council carpark in Leicester, UK. Richard was killed looking for a horse, which on the day proved as tough as trying to find Shergar. The last English King to die in battle, the church in which his remains were buried in 1485 was razed to the ground in 1538 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries ordered by Henry VIII. With the discovery of his skeletal remains comes questions about the king himself and whether there will be further revisions of his reign. Isn’t all ‘history’ revisionist though ? Even eye-witness accounts may have an axe to grind never mind the accounts of those official historians paid to paint a particular perspective by their sponsors. Yesterday the British Prime Minister apologised for the cover-up regarding the Hillsborough tragedy of 1989. Now the facts are known ‘history’ has been revised and on this occasion inaccuracies righted. I wonder if after 500 years it is too late for Richard III to get his ‘fair go’.
Tuesday 11th: Eleven years on from one of those rare days when everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing and the grief felt by so many for so many will be eternal.
Monday 10th: So that’s it. London 2012 is over, the victory parade complete. The Mayor of London’s Churchillian speech is done (for now). Britain must go back to work and now look back to a future of another winter of discontent, the effects of the double-dip recession. London deserves the sporting world’s thanks and respect. It must now deal with the hangover of a monumentally successful month of games, the buoying effects of which will hopefully provide some insulation against the mundanity of everyday life until we reach Rio in 2016.
Friday 7th: Association Football used to be the opium for the working class masses in England who weren’t into religion. The players earned little more than the fans, lived, drank and retired locally. Their talent made them local heroes. Men like Burnley’s Tommy Boyle were prepared to live and die alongside their fans and men who recognised how lucky they were to be able to earn an extra few bob by being better than their mates at kicking a ball. Players like Jimmy Hill, Johnny Haynes and Jean-Marc Bosman may have been visionary but their visions have removed the game from the working class just as successive British governments since the ‘sixties have changed the face of football supporting society forever. My philosophy is that life is cyclical – who knows the principles in small towns St Ives, many other amateur and semi-pro clubs and the pheonix-like rise of Wimbledon AFC may be the beginning of soccer’s renewed cycle of life. Just don’t hold your breath though while SKY etc continue to pay crazy prices for TV coverage ….
Thursday 6th: It is said elephants never forget. If you are a member of the Republican Party in the USA I bet its difficult to expunge the “ol’ country boy from Arkansas” out of your collective party memory. He made an ass out of Republicans twice and although its been twelve years since he was President and he ain’t normally no Obama apologist, there he was today in Charlotte just as impressive as ever. Love him or hate him, Bill Clinton has charisma with a capital K. There have been few if any orators to match him on the world stage in the last fifty years and perhaps, just perhaps, it is a pity the Constitution only allows two terms as President. Qantas today announced their new codeshare “dis agreement” with Emirates. Of course the CEO meant to say this agreement but English really seems to be his second language when even a word like regulatory is beyond his reach. Time for elecution lessons so the Arabs will be able to cut through that thick accent.
Wednesday 4th: Its easy to forget when listening to impassioned speakers that most people do have an axe to grind. Television and radio news programmes can easily provide a very lop-sided perspective of issues when only one side gives their views. I watched a representative of a striking teacher’s union this morning effectively arguing black is white because no-one picked them up on it while a former Australian Ambassador to Indonesia was totally idealistic and unrealistic about safety of life at sea.
Monday 3rd: When one blade runner was beaten by another today in a Paralympics 200M final, the length of the winner’s blades was queried by the defeated Oscar Pistorius. Here, in a microcosm, this competitive desire to have the best equipment reflects the eternal arms race, the need for national superiority over one’s foes. Thank goodness it was just the runner’s blades or I could see South Africa and Brazil falling out big time. I was saddened to see the Australian Governor-General visiting a Syrian refugee camp during an official state visit to Jordan today. Not because I question her motives but those who permitted the visit and allowed it to be filmed. The office of the G-G should be above politics and, however tragic, that camp is the result of a political quagmire which should not be the business of a Head of State’s representative.
Sunday 2nd: Can there be any better demonstration of courage in sport than being a paralympic swimmer with no arms? What happens if you get cramp?! I cannot understand why then they have to touch the end of the pools with their head instead of being allowed within an arm’s length before they start their turn. Technology is advanced enough to measure that I would have thought. In a world where we daily observe examples of sub-human behaviour by so many of the able-bodied the efforts of some paralympians are little short of miraculous. They demonstrate just what the human spirit can achieve.