Archive for February, 2012
We are going back a bit here but I was surfing YouTube earlier and found a video that has left me conflicted. It is a video showing a recording on a woman’s voicemail by SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt who also fronts Golf on the worldwide leader as well as host his own radio show. Van Pelt has always come across as a pretty cool guy. Anyway he met a woman at a bar one night and then decided to give her a call. Listen to what he had to say.
Her response was to give the voicemail to the media to show him up. What class.
I know he was a bit dorky but I just don’t see what is too wrong with it. He plucked up the courage to ring this woman and when she didn’t answer left her one (albeit long and rambly) voicemail. He wasn’t mean. He didn’t harass her. Just phoned up a girl and in a long winded way say that she was pretty awesome (which is surely a good thing) and asked if she wanted to go out for dinner sometime.
I ask ‘what the hell is wrong with that?’ and then I ask ‘what the hell is so wrong with the message that you decide to sell the message to the media because he is famous?’
Sometimes I just shake my head. It is hard enough for some people to ask women out expecting to get a negative reply or even worse get laughed at and mocked by the woman for being not good enough for them but to get your voicemail sold to the media? Wow. Just wow. That is way harsh.
I’m 28 and I still have only asked one person out on a date who I didn’t already know to some decent degree. With women like this in the world I can’t see me doubling up on that number any time soon…
As Nick Clegg stands in front of his en suite bathroom mirror brushing his teeth and washing his face he looks into the mirror and sighs. Just a few hours ago he had announced to the world that he had in fact found the cure to the common cold. It was the scientific breakthrough of the century. He thought that millions of people would rejoice. He thought the backlash of student fees would evaporate. His joy however was short-lived.
After his announcement though things started to go swiftly pear-shaped. GlaxoSmithKline issued a Press Release saying that this news would result in 1000s of job loses and a rather large dent in the UK Pharmaceutical industry. Job losses are never a good thing and Nick winced. He waited though for the six-o-clock news and expected a big back-slap via the tones of Sophie Raworth, Hew Edwards or George Alagiah. He was however to be disappointed.
‘Nick Clegg tries to use common cold cure for political advantage according to Ed Miliband’ comes out of the mouth of Sophie as the news gets underway. He sits up as a spot of tomato ketchup that he was dipping in chips in falls down his shirt and tie. Next up he hears Nick Robinson saying, ‘here in Westminster the knifes are out as Nick Clegg steps outside the coalition agreement much to the chagrin of several Tory ministers and backbenchers’ and Clegg can’t believe it as the third headline is a clip of a VT VoxPop saying ‘Why has Clegg done this? Doesn’t he realise that we the public don’t want no cure? We like the free days off from work’. Clegg slumps back in his armchair not believing what he is hearing, either in terms of content or in terms of the quality of the English language coming from the VoxPoper.
It is at this point that Clegg notices the tomato ketchup stain and tries to mop it up with a fish finger. Instead of flipping over to channel four and catching an old episode of The Simpsons Clegg decides to stick with the news. Ed Miliband is saying that by finding a cure to the common cold Nick Clegg is trying to destroy the NHS. Without common cold patients littering doctors waiting rooms up and down the country some of these surgeries will be closed or sold off to Tory housing developers to build new blocks of flats that will not be affordable therefore pricing good honest folk out of housing and making them move to ghetto type slums on the edges of the Scottish moors. By doing this he has also condemned 1000s of people to redundancy and inflicted serious harm on one of our biggest industries.
The boom mic over Ed Miliband’s head picks up a pinging sound. It is his button on his trousers flying across the room. Talk about a stretch there from the leader of the opposition. Nick Clegg can hardly believe his ears. He was sure the cure to the common cold was a good thing but it seems to may not have been gauging the temperature of the nation quite right. He then misses his mouth with a spoon full of peas and a couple roll down the back of the armchair. He turns to fetch them using the five second rule but before he does so the voice of Nick Robinson pipes up.
‘Around these halls the name of Nick Clegg is being met with a mixture of disgust and pity’ explodes the BBC Political guru. ‘As one cabinet minister said to me today, there is no point backing Clegg when all he does is think of himself. The Conservative Party has always been pro-job and pro-industry but if Clegg wants to kill off jobs and a whole industry in one foul swoop then what can we say or do? He is making a rod for his own back’.
Clegg sits there aghast. He remembers the peas and goes to fetch them but they have too much fluff on so he put them to the other side of the plate to ensure he doesn’t eat them. He knew the third headline was about what the general public thought and he hoped it would be positive but he feared. He heard the same woman going on about days off work again but the other interviews were with GlaxoSmithKline employees and a doctor who is worried about the future of his surgery and the NHS as a whole.
By finding the cure to the common cold he thought people would focus on the billions saved by people having less sick days, the faster and stronger output from British industries, the money saved by the consumer buying cold relief placebos and the general feeling of being a healthier nation and a healthier planet but as always Nick Clegg was wrong. Whatever he did was wrong.
Ever since the trio of the Labour Party, the Conservative Party and the media realised that the Liberal Democrats a) existed and b) had a leader following the first Prime Minister Debates on the telly in 2010 things have started to go downhill for Clegg. The old guard were not amused at having a seemingly legitimate pretender to the throne. They had grown comfortable with two-party politics and enjoyed the state of passing control back and forth between them like a two-player pass the parcel. Having three people playing seemed rather unfair and limited their opportunities to win a prize or control the media agenda.
When the electorate couldn’t make its mind up it fell to Clegg to make a decision. He made one and the public were not happy. The politicians were not happy. ‘How can Nick Clegg and those insignificant Liberal Democrats have such power?’ exclaimed some unknown MP (probably). The country politically had moved on. The old boys club had been moved on to pastures new. There was a new kid and party in town but that only led to people fearing the unknown. People like familiarity. Having a new kid on the block scares people. They might hate Labour and hate the Tories but at least they knew them. They knew what they hated. With Clegg and his lot people just hated but they weren’t sure why.
Fast forward the best part of two years and here we are. The common cold cured but the person who cured it was so unpopular with Joe Public that they decided they didn’t want the cure and that it is a bad thing. As Ed Balls talks to Adam Boulton and sneezes over the camera he quickly says that colds are good for Britain and that he was happy to be infected and be infectious because that is part of what makes Britain great. Clegg can’t believe he turned to Sky News instead of going out for a walk.
After an evening where he just couldn’t settle Clegg looked at the social media world and knew that was a mistake. He was being called everything under the sun and knew deep down he didn’t deserve it. As he put the toothbrush back into the glass on his wash basin he sighed and looked at the mirror and said, ‘next you’ll be telling me that if I ensure competition in the NHS only benefits the NHS and the level of patient care instead of lining the pockets of private companies and individuals that no-one will like that either and claim that I’m either not doing enough or I acted to late. Heck I bet they’ll be those that say even if I killed the whole NHS Bill and did exactly what Labour say they want (but deep down they really don’t) and what the public want that I didn’t act fast enough and am still a loser who they hate’.
Nick Clegg shook his head in despair and walked back into the martial bedroom and lay awake in bed thinking about what could have been but sadly for him he mostly thought about what it is. He had discovered something that scientists had been striving for for centuries but yet because it was he who discovered the cure to the common cold no-one cared for it.
With that he rolled over and tried to fall asleep safe in the knowledge that he could do wonders but it wouldn’t be enough. In politics just like in the country the electorate were comfortable – if not exactly happy – with the status quo. With him and his party coming in and actually changing the way the country is run it has knocked more than a few noses out of joint and people weren’t happy. They thought that he could do everything and that he was Superman but alas he was just one man and change takes time certainly when you hold but 8.8% of MPs.
His last thought before he fled to the land of bedfordshire for the night was ‘people don’t like change but we are here to stay and one day they’ll appreciate what we are doing and one day we’ll get the credit for helping this country get back on its feet after the financial troubles of the late part of the last decade’. As that thought breezed through his mind he fell asleep and knew that whatever he faced the next day he’d do with the inner-belief that in the long-term he was making changes to the government and to the governance of this country that would make it a more liberal and more prosperous place to live for everyone – and not just one class of people.
Divorce hasn’t exactly played a big part in my life but recently divorce has played an unwitting role in dictating my short-term future. So today I was interested in a piece in The Independent entitled Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Why breaking up should be much harder to do. It is a very interesting read and poses some interesting questions.
Divorce has become all too common. The rise of the internet generation has played a role in that but more importantly the stigma of getting a divorce has all but evaporated. People fail at marriage all the time. Things don’t work out for whatever reason but it is easy enough to move on. Well legally it is anyway. Emotionally it must be far harder to swallow.
I come from the viewpoint of ‘if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it’ and I stick by that mentality. I personally feel that people get married because they often feel that is what they are meant to do. Being happy and cohabiting is not enough. A big day and a piece of paper is needed to validate the relationship but often that only leads to one side getting the itch. When things are legally binding people tend to feel more trapped and when people feel more trapped they tend to try to leave.
Maybe it is the case that people are hoodwinked into believing that marriage is easy. Marriage will solve all ills in a relationship when in fact marriage will only exacerbate the problems and bring them into more sharp focus.
The author says this in the piece:
In this Pollyanna world, inspirational divorcee role models are Prince Andrew and Fergie, Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, Jude Law and Sadie Frost. Those who can’t join this merry train are judged to be immature, selfish, manipulative, uncaring, backward. As one distraught mum said to me: “He leaves me, broke and broken-hearted and I am just to take it, give him his share of the babies I carried and gave birth to, treat him well, never cry, never tell him I want to die.”
I have bolded the piece that piece that I find most apt. People do often tend to believe that you should just move on. Get your head down and work on through it. He/she doesn’t know what they’ve lost. You are better off without him/her etc… but these are just words and words to not equate to feelings. Words are just that – words whereas feelings reverberate around your very being and soul. Words go in one ear and out of the other but feelings never escape. They only reduce and get more bearable to the point where you feel that life can move on.
To describe people who are hurting over losing something so special as immature, selfish, manipulative, uncaring and backward is surely not right. Would you say that to someone who lost a close friend or family member? I know death and divorce are two different kettles of fish but you still need to grieve for both. Both situations result in loss whether it be of a loved one or a loved relationship.
People heel in different ways and at different paces but I find it hard to ever have a problems when someone has feelings. You can’t help but have them. So why do some people get stigmatised by society for not moving on with their lives in an orderly fashion?
Personally I think the divorce rate and marriage as a concept is rooted in the past. Marriage is like a millstone around the neck for so many couples that it can tear them apart. You can be committed without being married but still society sees marriage as the ultimate commitment to the world that you love your partner. Just because a man hasn’t asked you to marry him it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you.
I wish I knew the answer. Wouldn’t it be easy if we could all control our feelings and emotions? However if that was the case then living would be a very different experience. People have feelings and no-one should ever be told off for having them.
As a footnote it is February 29 in a couple of days, the day when women can traditionally ask men to marry them. I would suggest that no-one is going down on one-knee in front of me on Wednesday and if they would then I’d just shake my head. Marriage is right for many people but for just as many it is not right but they feel compelled to do so.
So my parting words on this subject are always do what you want and never be forced into anything you aren’t comfortable with because if you do then things may well not work out how you hoped and dreamed that they would. Always be true to yourself and getting married because that is what your partner craves might not be best for you both in the long run. The same regarding children. Sometimes giving in to what your partner wants isn’t healthy for either of you in the long term.
It has been unofficial for a while but that all changed following two new pieces of information over the past few days. Last Thursday I had a interview with five local Lib Dems to decide whether or not I could be approved to run for Southend Council as a Lib Dem. I passed this interview. Then two days later whilst sitting on London Bridge platform I got an e-mail saying that I had been chosen to stand in Westborough for the forthcoming election.
It had been unofficial for a couple of months but now as they say it is all legit and we can get the wheels in motion.
First up has been the move of me to Lib Dem Focus editor for Westborough and the production of my first Focus. I wrote it last Sunday and after some feedback things were changed relatively dramatically and that Focus has gone to print. That should be done by the end of the week so delivery will start in earnest next week or possibly over the weekend. Here’s hoping that the weather holds.
Secondly has been my decision on how to campaign. I have made the unilateral decision to focus solely on what I can do and not on national issues or what the other parties say they want to do or in fact do. I can’t influence national policy on the NHS for instance but I can campaign to plant more trees in the ward or to get more PCSOs patrolling the ward. They are issues I can legitimately try to deliver.
I won’t be saying ‘don’t vote for x y or z because they suck’ because I don’t think that is the right way to do things. Call me naive but I detest negative politics. Scaring people into voting for you by saying the other person is worse than you. I think that puts people off politics. My plan is to inform people what I believe I can realistically do as a Councillor and if they think I sound like the type of guy they think will do a good job then that is great. If not then everyone is entitled to their opinion and if one of the other candidates is right for them then they should vote for that candidate.
I cannot promise the Earth. I cannot promise to change everything overnight. All I can say with any certainty is that I will listen to the thoughts and opinions of the electorate and try to get the small things changed for the better because if you get the small things sorted then the big issues will sort themselves.
Westborough as a ward and Southend as a place have two distinct and different set of problems. Being a Councillor will be about marrying the two to get the best for both sets of people. Whether it is regards to getting improvements in the long battle of parking in Westborough ward or sorting out what to do with the Cliffs. If elected I will try and make both the ward I represent and the town as a whole an even better and more prosperous place to live.
If you have any issues that you would like to contact me over with regards to Westborough then my contact details are in the right-hand navigation bar.
Have a good one folks.
May 2011 wasn’t the best month to be a Liberal Democrat. It was even worse if you were a Liberal Democrat Councillor that month. Plenty of good people up and down the country lost their seats on the back of a national backlash against the party for firstly daring to go into a coalition with the Tories and not winning the election outright but secondly and more importantly for the very public back down on student fees.
A lot of these good men and women have been left dangling by the national party. What do the party have planned for these people? Do they want to help them to get back on to local councils or do they not give a damn?
I was at a meeting last night with a former councillor who still gets calls from HQ addressing him as councillor. It riles him up no end and to be honest I’m not surprised. He has no contact from anyone up the hierarchy until they want something from him and even then they haven’t updated the databases to get him prefix right. It just smacks of a lack of class. I know the party aren’t flush with money but honestly how hard would it be for an intern to go through the databases and sort all this out or heck even a work experience kid?
Of course the database is one thing – and something that should be easy to sort but more importantly is what do the party want to do with these valuable assets? No doubt a few lost because they didn’t campaign well or because of natural shifts in the vote but the majority lost due to nothing they did. They lost because of the national perception of the party. They are in the main still angry at the national party for this and they need help and reassurance that they haven’t lost their seats in vein.
I know some who said they were done with politics but have been persuaded to give it another go because of how badly they feel people are being represented in their absence. These have done it off their own back but many haven’t and many need a guiding hand to steer them through.
Personally I think the party should look at this far more seriously than they have. They have been caught up in national issues and leaving the local parties far more isolated than they have done in the past. These ex-councillors not only deserve an explanation and some time but they also deserve respect from the party and they are also one of the most valuable resources that the party has at a local level.
I would urge the party to come up with a constructive plan to bring these 700 back into the fold. They are out of power today but they are a key to returning to power for the party in many local areas. Experience isn’t something that any political party can just cast aside without a care in the world. Also people flat out deserve to be treated better.
So lets get together a cohesive plan to get these people motivated by politics again and bring them back into the fold of the party. Most are still members but they laying low and finding it hard to justify putting in so much energy after losing so badly last year. A message of support from HQ wouldn’t go amiss and that is the very least that these people deserve. The very least.
No that title isn’t over the top – and yes they could both beat me up with two arms tied behind their backs.
The behaviour of the two of them in Germany at the weekend was about as classless as you can get. Chisora never deserved a fight with a Klitschko as he’s done nothing in the sport in all honesty. Looking at his résumé his best wins have come over Sam Sexton twice. Not exactly world level now is it? However he got the fight at proceeded to act like a bum throughout. From slapping his opponent at the weigh-in to spitting water at the other Klitschko brother in the ring before the fight.
I know Boxing is a dangerous sport and all but it shouldn’t be damaging their brains to such a degree that they might need to make a claim for brain injury compensation. The behaviour of the two of them is a disgrace and yes they get hit hard but they haven’t been dealt so many blows that they shouldn’t be able to act like human beings!
Classless doesn’t even scratch the surface but then we get to the other person in the title.
David Haye acted like a bum for two years when it came to the Klitschko brothers. Agreed to fight them before pulling out because of injury first and then because he found an easier fight for a title elsewhere. He finally agreed to the fight and got totally outclassed by Wladimir and promptly retired whilst showing his broken toe to the watching media. His antics of turning up in a t-shirt of him holding the decapitated heads of the brothers only gets a footnote which shows you just how poorly he acted.
Fast forward to Saturday night and Chisora was beaten and Haye was talking up a fight with Vitali. Vitali said fine he’s ready for aye and Haye said he was ready for Vitali. Seems simply but in boxing things are never simple. At the post-fight Press Conference Haye shouted from the back of the room. Here is a transcript of the confrontation courtesy of Ben Dirs at BBC Sport
Bernd Boente, manager of Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko: With the bad experience we’ve had with British fighters, we will now look for other countries. Contrary to David Haye, Dereck Chisora really went for it. He really tried.
David Haye (from rear of the room): You don’t want to fight David Haye, no?
Boente: You had an offer. You didn’t accept it. Now you are out. You are out. Out, out, out. You cannot talk yourself back into the fight; you have no belts. Chisora showed heart, contrary to you. You showed your toe [referring to Haye's toe injury].
Haye: I accepted your offer in December.
Dereck Chisora: We’ll get it on in London – be quiet. David Haye is an embarrassment, Sky Sports don’t do Box Office any more because of David Haye. He messed it up for all those young fighters coming through. I’m going to give you two slaps for that. If Haye is a fighter, he should fight me.
Haye: You’ve lost three fights in a row (actually three of his last four).
Chisora: Let’s fight.
Chisora’s promoter Frank Warren: I’ve got a great idea. If Dereck fights David, the winner fights Vitali.
Boente: Sounds like the perfect plan.
Haye: Vitali said he could knock me out, do you think you can knock me out?
Chisora’s trainer Don Charles: Be quiet, can security get him out of here?
Haye: Vitali said after his last fight, ‘I want to fight David Haye’. Where is he now? He said he wanted to fight me, I agreed the money, I agreed everything in December.
Chisora: How’s your toe? How’s your toe? How’s your toe?
Haye: You’ve lost your last three fights, you lost to Tyson Fury. You’re a loser.
Chisora: Tell that to my face. I’m coming down, tell that to my face.
Chisora leaves his seat and approaches Haye at the back of the room, where a melee ensues. Haye at one point picks up a video camera tripod and swings it.
The two are eventually pulled apart before Chisora returns to the front of the room.
Chisora: (Shouting and indicating towards Haye). He glassed me. I swear to God, David, I am going to shoot you. I am going to shoot you. I am going to physically shoot David Haye. He glassed me. He glassed me. He glassed me. I’m not having it. He glassed me.
Haye’s trainer Adam Booth approaches Chisora, his head bleeding.
Chisora: (Referring to Booth’s cut) I’m sorry about that. Adam, your fighter glassed me.
Booth: I want to know who glassed me.
Chisora: As you were trying to hold your fighter away, he [Haye] probably glassed you by mistake.
Booth: You hit me with a bottle.
Chisora: David had a bottle in his hand.
Booth: No, no, David didn’t hit me with a bottle. I want to know who glassed me. Someone hit me with a bottle.
The two are separated before Booth addresses Vitali Klitschko.
Booth: Vitali, you are a great fighter but your manager is an embarrassment to the sport. Congratulations for winning.
Chisora: (Addressing Booth) Either we do it in the ring or outside of the ring. Because I want him. If David don’t fight me, Adam, I am telling you the God’s honest truth, I am going to physically burn him. So you tell him I said that. I am going to find him.
Honestly what can you say? The German police arrested Chisora and his trainer at the airport as they tried to leave the country. They were later released without charge. They want to speak with David Haye too.
I am torn as to what I want to happen. I either want them to fight or go away and never be heard from again. Let the two bums fight for the right to be taught a boxing lesson by Vitali. Chisora and Haye can fight in the summer before a December showdown in Germany for the winner.
Seems the best way forward but the way they acted shows so little class that it makes my soul cry inside. The sport of boxing is going through rough times at the moment and all this does is show off just how terrible it can be. I know I would find it hard to root for either of these two against Vitali because they make me ashamed to be British. They act like two liquored up lager louts abroad and that isn’t what makes Britain great.
Someone left me this comment that I haven’t approved. Now I used to be a linkbuilder. I used to be that guy that spammed you with e-mails but I would at least make it personal and if I didn’t know their name I would say Sir/Madam but calling me Rocky gets my relationship with off to shall we say a bit of a ‘rocky’ start. Oh I’m so funny.
So anyway on with her sales pitch…
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So I have decided to nip into town at lunch to do a spot of shopping. Nice and easy it is for me. I live right by the railway station and it is a five-minute journey into town. I do it all the time but today I was actually unable to travel.
There was only one ticket booth open but the gentleman refused to serve me telling me that he was too busy. So I go outside and the self-service ticket machine had been emptied and wasn’t accepting any ticket purchases. I walk over to the other platform and that self-service ticket machine had been emptied as well so wasn’t accepting any ticket purchases.
So there I was actually unable to buy a ticket for my journey to actually get on a train. I mean just how crazy is that? So I am now back at home and I’ll try to go into town in an hour or so and hopefully they won’t be too busy to sell me a ticket – at a ticket booth.
I just can’t get my head around it. No doubt there is some important paperwork to do and you have to cash up at various points in the day but doing it when there is only one person and whilst the self-service ticket machines are both not working is just mad. As a customer this type of service just seems pretty shocking.
All in all I hardly ever have problems on the c2c line and compared to the issues I used to feel all the time with SW Trains then c2c are like the pope but I just really thought that was off. As I trudged back home (ok trudged is slightly over the top considering I was home within a minute) but I could see other people walk in, try and buy a ticket from the ticket booth only to be turned away and walk to the self-service ticket machine and look at it and then look around wondering how on Earth they’ll actually be able to get on a train.
Hopefully I’ll be able to go later otherwise I will be rather annoyed. I think that was a pretty poor show c2c. I try to buy a ticket to travel but you made it impossible.
Update: I went back half an hour later and the guy was still doing a cash up. There was some young woman watching over him. Guessing they were doing a spot check on the tills or something. Luckily by then the other ticket booth was open so I was able to buy a ticket and go do my food shopping. Rejoice!
Those few of us who care about US sports will know a few stories inside and out. Jackie Robinson breaking the colour barrier in 1947 to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers is without a shadow of a doubt the most important. We all agree on that but other stories are told. For me the depths that Josh Hamilton plummeted with all the natural ability in the world but unable to deal with alcohol and drug issues and the comeback and that night in Yankee Stadium is one I read a lot about. The ongoing struggle as he continues to face those demons today.
However at the moment we have Linsanity. Some unknown kid (well not exactly a kid anyone) but a player who has been cut twice, was playing D-League ball comes up to the big team because of a rash of injuries and plays flat out lights out. He takes the team on his back and they’ve now won six straight since he’s come into the club. The feel good story of a guy living on a team mates couch and being the most talked about player in the league isn’t a new one.
Going back 13 years now the St. Louis Rams lost their star QB in an exhibition game and they turned to backup Kurt Warner. r Warner was a star of Aerna League Football and had been stocking shelves at a local supermarket when he joined the Rams. No-one heard of him and no-one expected anything and then something happened. He played football and became quite simply – the best QB in the league. Some unknown backup took a team on his back and was just brilliant. It inspired to this day still my favourite SI front cover Who Is This Guy?
Kurt Warner led his team to a Super Bowl that they won on the last play of the game with a tackle at the one yard line. He led them back again only to be beaten by a last second Field Goal against the Patriots. Then it was over. The Greatest Show on Turf as it was dubbed was finished. Warner became just another back-up in New York and then in the desert in Arizona. However then he started to play great again and led the Cardinals to their first Super Bowl and put them in a position to win late but the Steelers would come back to win it late.
The voice-over artist on NFL Films America’s Game said this of Warner, ‘in the space of four months he (Warner) went from anonymous backup to national curiosity to bona fide superstar’ and that is spot on. Kurt Warner should end up in the Hall of Fame. I’m not saying Jeremy Lin will but what I am saying is that these stories are great and compelling. Sport is all about stories and Linsanity is a great one no matter what Floyd Mayweather says.
I don’t watch Basketball apart from March Madness but I don’t want Linsanity to end. It is a great story that keeps people engaged in the sport. Look at Tim Tebow and the Broncos this year. The madness that surrounded the ex-Florida QB led to the Broncos v Pats AFC divisional playoff game being the most watched non Super Bowl match of all time. That was all thanks to Tebow and the story transcending sport into popular culture. Linsanity is starting to do that and if it continues for the rest of the season then the NBA’s lockout will seem a distant memory.
Being accused of being prejudiced is something that most of us would be immensely insulted over. However if we are being honest with ourselves we would realise that we are all prejudiced to some level. Take me for example. I know that I am prejudiced against Southampton Football Club. They could do the exact same thing as Portsmouth Football Club but I would look at it differently no matter what logic says.
I am prejudiced towards ginger-haired women. The most gorgeous girl I have ever seen was a brunette but overall I will always look at a ginger-haired woman differently. If there were two identical twins at a bar and one had died her hair blonde away from her natural gingerness then my eyes would gravitate towards the ginger. In the same scenario if there were two identical twins at a bar (this is assuming that I’d be in a bar – I know – crazy talk) but lets just say I was, if I was there and two identical twins were there one rocking a nice dress and one rocking some sort of PVC/Latex number then I’d see the two women differently. Without knowing them I’d automatically like one more than the other on initial viewing.
It would be foolish to think I was alone on this front. Every day we make decisions and impressions on people for various reasons without any real reason behind it. Everyone has always told me that I would go nowhere in life because I’m not a suit and tie man. I can be exactly the same person in an interview wearing jogging bottoms and a t-shirt as I am wearing a suit and a tie. I can give exactly the same answers to exactly the same questions but the interviewers will have a dfferent opinion on me.
The dictionary tells me thus:
Prejudice is feelings formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason, any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavourable.
So it can be both positive and negative.
I bring this up for two reasons. One last night whilst watching Around The Horn and Pardon The Interruption the six journalists across the two shows discussed Floyd Mayweather’s comments regarding Jeremy Lin. If you don’t know the story or the people involved Floyd Mayweather is the undefeated boxer who keeps punking out of fighting Filipino fighter Manny Pacquiao and has thrown many racial slurs at said Asian fighter. Jeremy Lin is the Point Guard of the New York Knicks who has come from nowhere to dominate the sports news over in America and his rise has been dubbed ‘Lansanity’ by the media.
Floyd Mayweather tweeted this on Monday:
Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise.
This tweet became the headline story on both shows and was a headline story across the Sports Media yesterday. Out of the six journalists on the two shows three were white and three were black. Michael Smith (black) spoke first and told Mayweather he was wrong, that no-one had done what Lin had done in the history of the NBA (which is true, he has scored more points than anyone in his first five starts ever) and that the story is so big because a) it’s in Nw York, b) it’s the Knicks, c) because he went to an Ivy League School, d) because he is sleeping on a team mates couch and e) because of his race. I happen to agree with Michael Smith. I think he nailed it. The fact that he is Asian is part of the story but it isn’t why the story is so huge.
Next up Kevin Blackistone (black) disagreed completely. He said Floyd Mayweather is right and that the story is only big because of Lin’s race. He said that there are many black players around doing what he is doing (which is factually incorrect as no-one has ever done what Lin has done) and that they don’t get the praise that they deserve before citing black players who aren’t well known doing good things. Blackistone has always defended Mayweather on the Pacquiao issue as well so I knew that Blackistone would defend Mayweather again.
Bill Plaschke and Tim Cowlishaw (both white) backed up what Michael Smith said and Cowlishaw made the great remark that Lin’s race was a percentage of the story but that Blackistone believed it was a large part of the story and the other three thought it was very small. Michael Smith said that was spot on.
Next up on PTI the two most famous and loved talking heads on the American Sports Journalism scene. Tony Kornheiser (white) and Michael Wilbon (black). They are both first rate and I like them both a lot so I was very interested to see what they would have to say. Wilbon spoke first and he called Mayweather a Bigot. They agreed that black players get praised all the time and get paid handsomely in the NBA so to say that they don’t and this kid is is total nonsense. Can’t agree more. When you talk about the greats you start with Michael Jordan and go from there. Most names on that list will be black athletes.
That seems a lot of waffle but here is my point. I knew Kevin Blackistone would defend what Mayweather said because he has always had that fierce defence of any black athlete in any racial situation. The other two black journalists saw it the same as the others that the reason the story is so huge is because of the back story (Harvard, cut from two NBA teams, was playing in the D-League, sleeping on a team mates couch, is in New York) but mistly because he has come in and led the Knicks to five straight wins and he’s lighting it up. In sports one thing I have learned is if you perform you’ll get the praise whether you are black or white or green or purple. No-one cares but if you do well people will cheer for you.
So I would argue that Kevin Blackistone is prejudiced towards black people. Nothing wrong with that per se because his life has influenced him and all the issues he faced as a young black man growing up in America in the 60s and 70s no doubt made him who he is today. Now here is where I bring it back to politics.
A couple of weeks ago now Chris Huhne left the government. He was replaced by a white middle class man in Edward Davey and that cried derision from the blogosphere. It showed that we aren’t diverse enough and that the only way forward is to be a white middle class man. If you aren’t that then your career hopes and dreams would be a struggle. These calls have mostly come from older people who have fought through barriers and problems their whole life.
Being from outside the white male middle class family and wanting to break into business or politics was a real barrier 20 or 30 years ago. Things are by no means perfect these days but those walls are coming down. I don’t think anyone would seriously argue that it is just as hard today to succeed in those chosen career paths for women or for people of ethnic backgrounds compared to how it was a couple of generations ago. Steps are being made to make it a completely level playing field.
However this cannot happen overnight. You can’t just magically wave a wand and 50% of politicians are white and 50% are not. You can’t just wave that same magic wand and suddenly 50% of MPs are men and 50% are not. So the question is what more can be done and should we introduce positive discrimination to help this out?
Would promoting the person who is not best suited for the role in the mind of the employer be right or fair? Would it be the best thing for the country? I remember being in a job where I saw someone get promoted who wasn’t right for the job and it brought the morale f the whole company down dramatically. People knew they were dealing with someone who wasn’t qualified for the task at hand and that whole department pretty much went in the tank.
Now I’m not saying for one minute that Jo Swinson, Lynne Featherstone, Tessa Munt, Jenny Willott et al were not qualified for the role but what I am saying is in the employers opinion the most suited person happened to be a white middle class male. Should he be passed over because he was born a male and to two white parents? Would that be right? Would that fit in with our ‘everybody is equal’ opinion? No it wouldn’t. It would be wrong and would be discriminatory towards someone based on their race and gender. That to me isn’t what the Liberal Democrats are all about.
What does this all have to do with prejudices I hear you mind cry? (if you have read this piece for that long anyway) and this is how it all ties neatly in a bow. People who have lamented the fact that Edward Davey was promoted to cabinet are mostly people that have rallied and seen prejudices for their whole life. They have seen it so much that even when there is none they still see it. Just like Kevin Blackistone did regarding Floyd Mayweather and Jeremy Lin.
We are all influenced by what has gone on in our lives. That is only natural and that is the way it will always be. I have suffered relatively little prejudice in my life and therefore I often speak without any chips on my shoulder and any scars to bear. Some people who have scars to bear and a significant life time of fighting against prejudice whether it be because of their ethnic background, their gender, their supposed ‘class’ or whatever will always have that with them.
I have not heard one peep out of any of the Lib Dem female MPs to say that they believed they were overlooked because their productive organs are on the inside and not on the outside. They might feel it but I haven’t got that sense. It just seems to me that a lot of people are seeing something that isn’t really there and that is causing more heartache than it really should.
I was at a local Lib Dem meeting the other day and one person spent the whole meeting talking about gay and lesbian issues. He is gay and has felt prejudice because of that. So that is his biggest issue that he wants to help sort out and that is fine. We are all influenced and all our actions are related to our past. That is just how it is. We are all influenced and/or prejudiced about many many things and the sooner we accept that then we can try and move on and try to see things for how they really are and not because of how we think they are.