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Day: September 30, 2010

The Return of Mark Halsey

I read today that Mark Halsey has passed his fitness test and will return to the top flight as a Select Group Referee. This is excellent news and I for one am delighted to see Halsey return to what he does best.

His battle with cancer was well documented and to get back to full fitness in such a short time is impressive in itself. However I’m happy that he is returning not only for him but selfishly because he is one of the top officials in the country.

The way he referees is unlike most of the young up and coming referees. He lets a lot of things go, his attitude seems to be ‘it’s a man’s game’ and lets the players get on with it. He also understands the advantage rule better than most and the players seem to respect his style.

Halsey returning to the middle is great news for him but it is just as good news for fans of the beautiful game. If referees have done their job properly then most people won’t even know who has officiated that game. When Mark takes charge of a game you wouldn’t know it and that is the way it should be.

I wish Mark a successful season and look forward to seeing him referee again this season. Hopefully it can end with him leading out two teams at Wembley for the FA Cup, preferably Portsmouth but some things are a real long shot!

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Southend Hospital Radio – dragging themselves into the modern era

Just a quick post to talk about what I do on Wednesday Night’s – well apart from try and find gorgeous nurses around Southend Hospital. I’m at Southend Hospital for the purpose of presenting a Hospital Radio show. I have done it for four years – although for a while I was in the main an absentee member due to the fact I lived 100 miles away – but now I’m back and once more I feel comfortable with the show and everything.

Now in recent times we’ve got a new guy doing all the technical stuff. This has meant that we’ve worked on our website, put together a blog and I just found out that we are even on Twitter. I mean Southend Hospital Radio on Twitter, whatever next?

Anyway, I did a blog post today over on the SHR Blog about what we do and why Hospital Radio isn’t something that is out of date. I know young people in hospital probably have iPods and iPhones and Laptops to keep them amused but many people do not and for those people Hospital Radio provides a service that they enjoy. It isn’t just me saying that – they tell us themselves – and when they do it makes it feel all the more worthwhile.

So if you are interested in helping out your local Hospital Radio station then get in touch with them. They won’t bite and for aspiring broadcasters & journalists it can be a good learning experience as well as good for the soul.

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Balls by name…

I’m not sure what I can say really. Anyone who has encountered Ed Balls’ in the past few weeks upon their television screen or on the radio air waves will be shocked by one thing – this man genuinely believes he can be the next leader of the Labour party and in turn the next Prime Minister of this country.

I know. Insane.

Last night whilst watching the interested ‘Five Days That Changed Britain’ – which can still be seen on the BBC iplayer service (for another seven days) it was clear to me that everyone who took part spoke openly and honestly except one man – Mr Ed Balls.

He used his talking head appearances to bash Nick Clegg over the head. Everything was a snide remark aimed at the leader of the Lib Dems and the Deputy Prime Minister. It was like a personal vendetta that he wanted out there. He blamed Nick Clegg solely for Gordon Brown not being PM any more. It had nothing to do with anyone else, it was Nick’s fault.

The actual issue turned out quite simply that Nick Clegg felt he couldn’t prop up a Prime Minister who hadn’t been elected in the first place and then during his first election campaign lost. He felt that there was a future with a Lib-Lab deal (although the numbers wouldn’t have made it easy) but that future could not involve PM Brown and the then PM just wouldn’t let it go. It was Brown as PM or no-one in the Labour party, an act that might be seen by Labourites as selfish. The keys to #10 were there for the Labour party but in a straight choice between himself and his party – Brown chose himself.

Back to Ed Balls. He was the closest to PM Brown and has a legitimate chance of winning the leadership contest even though the Miliband brothers are the favourites. His performance on Question Time after the election showed that he wasn’t living in the real world. Circumstances had changed and the events in Greece in the week running up to the General Election changed everything.

The deficit needed cutting and it needed cutting now. If a country in the Euro Zone could be in the brink of bankruptcy then any country could go. As the country with the largest deficit in the EU, clearly the UK would’ve been next had the World’s money leaders sniffed that we couldn’t actually pay back the money.

I see people saying that these cuts are brutal and it is going to far. If you lose your job and have a mortgage to pay do you keep spending the same amount each month on things that aren’t bare essentials? Do you cancel up your Sky subscription? Does the gym membership go out of the window? Are nights out on the town cut back on? Of course you do and for the country it is no different.

Yes I like the idea of free swimming for all kids and OAPs but at this current juncture we simply can’t afford it. I love the idea of kids getting excellent buildings to learn in but is that sustainable at the moment? No it’s not. Hard decisions have to be made to show the people who have lent us money that we are cutting our spending and we will be able to pay them back in time. If we don’t these debts are called in now and frankly we don’t have the money to pay for it and then we are all screwed.

On Question Time after the election, Ed Balls still said that he would spend our way out of debt by investing in public services and jobs, which is good in one way but all that means is we get into more debt and at some point you have to cut your losses and tighten your belt.

Sadly that is the situation we find ourselves in (thank you financial sector) but that is the real world. I live in it, you live in it, everyone lives in it except Ed Balls. If he becomes Labour leader then it is a slam dun that they’ll still be forming the opposition comes the autumn of 2015, you can bet your bottom dollar on it.

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