A little bit of needle…..
July 24, 2010

There was quite a bit of needle about this week!

BNP racist (and MEP!) Nick Griffin (seen well to the right…) was rather needled when, at very short notice, his invitation to attend the Queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace was withdrawn.

Many would say he should never have been invited in the first place but it didn’t matter as boastful claims, on his website, that he would be, “welcomed at Buckingham Palace by Her Majesty the Queen,” and that, “this event shows how far this party (the BNP) has come,” were enough for him to be banned on the grounds of insanity and exploiting the invitation for political purposes.  

Of course, having missed out on the cucumber sandwiches, he was now able to play the victimization card, making capital of what he described as a, “thoroughly unBritish outrage,” which subsequently picked up front page coverage in most of the dailies.

Another Nick, this time Clegg, needled a few of his coalition friends, and turned the air blue on both sides of the house, during PM’s questions.

While the master was away in Washington, playing down the special relationshipCleggy had his first opportunity to stand-in and promptly dropped a brick by referring to the ‘illegal’ invasion of Iraq.

The Speaker of the House and Cleggy’s Tory mates might not have been impressed by this gaffe but at least Jack, the grim reaper, Straw enjoyed a laugh at his expense.  

Apparently Cleggy is rather puzzled why a recent independent survey shows the yellows standing at 13% in the polls whilst his true blue mates are at 44%. I have to take my hat off to DC, he has played this coalition game to perfection!        

There was a bit of sporting needle on Le Tour, when Alberto Contador flouted an unwritten cycling rule by kicking on to build up a lead over his main rival, Luxemburg’s Andy Schleck, who had to stop and perform running repairs on his bike chain.   

It’s ironic, if not down right hypocritical, that in a sporting event renowned for its cheating, through the illegal use of performance enhancing substances, blood transfusions etc, that something as relatively insignificant as this caused such a fuss!  

Surely, if a cycle chain slips or is broken, it is unfortunate for the rider, but should be accepted as part and parcel of the race in a similar way to a Formula 1 car shredding a tyre or developing an engine fault!

Anyway the sporting etiquette of Le Tour was already set in only its second year, 1904, with recorded incidents as diverse as: booby trapping the road with tin tacks, hitching a lift in a passing voiture, the beating up of rival competitors and blackmail!     

Last but not least I’m also feeling a tad needled!

A visit to the local medical centre, yesterday afternoon, to discuss the immunisation requirements, for my VSO posting in Rwanda, led to an impromptu swine flu jab.

Just a little prick sir,” and, “by the way you might have a headache and feel nauseous over the weekend!”

This is to be swiftly followed up with yellow fever on Monday and the first of three rabies injections on Wednesday. I can’t wait!

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Time to stand up and be counted!
June 23, 2010

90 minutes to kick off!

If you don’t know or understand what all the fuss is about now would be good time to head for Tesco, you should have the place pretty much to yourself.

The country is about to grind to a halt. For 90 minutes the revival of the national economy will take second place to the revival of the national football team. Even DC announced, in PM’s Questions, that he is hoping to catch the second half.

Will the flag of St George will still be flying over the House of Commons at 5.00pm – we’ll see! Ridiculously, if we put in a half decent performance today and win, the trials and tribulations of earlier this week will no doubt be replaced by a cautious optimism that we could still lift the trophy. Crazier thing have happened – just look at the English cricket team!

Yesterday they saw off the Aussies in yet another assured one day performance, Eoin Morgan leading the way with a fine century. There was a time, not long ago, when we could not buy a victory in the short form of cricket and the likely outcome of any  match against the Aussies was a ‘no brainer’.

In the space of twelve months, the English cricket team has wrested back the Ashes, lifted the World T20 trophy, after hammering the Aussies in the final, and are currently 1-0 up in the one day (50 over game) series. 

I’m looking forward to seeing more of the same, tomorrow, when I visit Cardiff for the second day-night match. I don’t want to put my foot in it and spoil our chances but are the Aussies, for so long seemingly invincible, fast becoming our whipping boys?  Even Johnno’s rugby team sneaked a win down under at the weekend. Come to think of it, it’s a pity we aren’t playing the Aussies this afternoon instead of Slovenia!      

‘Nothing builds confidence like success‘, ‘success breeds success’ and ‘winning becomes a habit’ are well-worn sporting clichés because they tend to be true. It is being amply demonstrated by the England cricket team right now.

To quote another cliché, ‘you don’t become a bad player/team overnight’. England are ranked 8th in the world by FIFA. They are playing a Slovenian team ranked 27th. Nothing but a stirring display full of pride, passion, and no little skill, resulting in a victory for England, will do this afternoon. It’s what the nation needs, deserves and expects.  And while I’m in cliché mode: ‘there are no more excuses’, ‘the time has come to stand up and be counted’ and ‘don’t leave the tournament wondering what if………..’       

30 minutes to kick off!!!

It’s time to play ‘3 Lions’, grab a beer, dust down the vuvuzela and steady the nerves.

COME ON ENGLAND!  It’s Coming Home, it’s coming home, it’s coming, football’s coming home………..