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Day: March 4, 2012

Now Rubens Barrichello has left F1 who do I root for?

The Formula One season starts in a fortnight – well just under a fortnight and I have a big problem. No the problem won’t be whether I watch on the BBC or Sky Sports (I’ll be watching on Sky Sports as Martin Brundle and Ted Kravitz are huge deciding factors for me) but my problem is who will I be rooting for this season?

I have followed the sport for what the best part on 20+ years now and I have followed and rooted for just two drivers. Ayrton Senna and Rubens Barrichello. Now though neither of them are competing following Williams decision to dumb Barrichello for Bruno Senna a couple of months ago. I am still smarting from this and now I need to work out what I’ll do next.

First things first I’ll suddenly have more than a passing interest in IndyCar following Rubens’ move to the series. I think the races are live on Sky Sports and are generally on Sunday evenings so I’ll probably catch more than the odd race now to see just how well Rubinho is doing. However F1 is more my thing so do I pick another driver or just enjoy the race?

I can’t support Lewis as I just think he is too aggressive and never seems humble. He thinks he is always in the right when he often isn’t and has had it relatively easy in the sport having been with McLaren since the age of 11. Both Senna and Barrichello had to fight for everything they got and I respect that and Lewis doesn’t have that string to his bow. So he is out and Jenson Button despite clearly being a great guy I always have ITV’s coverage of when they had F1 in my mind and that Jenson Button/Lewis Hamilton love-in that they had going. I just can’t shake it.

Logically Bruno Senna would be my choice being the next Brazilian in line but he was chosen over my boy Rubens and I can’t do that. So now I’m looking down the list of drivers and finding it difficult to find a driver that I both like and truly respect. I quite like the mellowed out version of Michael Schumacher and wouldn’t mind him and Mercedes doing well just to shake things up but can I openly root for him? I don’t think so. The obvious answer is Mark Webber. Great guy and has worked his way up but would he just be a stop-gap chjoice as his career is surely coming to an end?

As much as it pains me I think I’m just going to have to enjoy the racing and see where the mood takes me. I don’t think I can openly root for anyone. No-one really takes my eye as it were. I think I’m just going to root for a close hard fought season amd for one of the young drivers in GP2 and/or GP3 to come through and show me some personality who I can get behind in the future. Both those series will be live on Sky Sports F1 HD for the record.

So Rubens has gone and I don’t feel that there is anyone adequate to replace him in my F1 loving heart. I have a horrible feeling this might happen with Portsmouth Football Club sooner rather than later too. Oh well. Here’s to a great year of racing and maybe a Rubens return in 2013? Well I can but hope…

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AVB sacked – the end of an error

It has been a fair while since I was last paid to put my thoughts on football into prose but heck its my blog so my rules. The sacking of Andres Villas-Boas today by Chelsea was coming but it still doesn’t mean that it was the right thing to do.

For the third manager in a row the players basically got the manager the sack. The nucleus of the side was built by Jose Mourinho in his three year tenure as manager of the club. The squad has never really evolved yet alone gone under any sense of surgery in the past five years and this has been the problem.

A great team in 2007 will not equate to a great team in 2012. Players have come in but have they been bought by the manager or bought for the manager? The signing of Andrei Shevchenko was the beginning of the end of the Mourinho tenure in the top job at Stamford Bridge and the owner Roman Abramovich still hasn’t learnt from that mistake.

AVB might not have been the right person for the job but I see very little different between the AVB of today and the AVB who was appointed in the summer. He wasn’t allowed to bring in his own players to play his style and instead had players bought for him. That doesn’t work. We’ve seen it before and we’ll see it again. Managers need at least a say and in reality need the final say who comes in pr out of a club. Having another person make these decisions will only lead to issues.

The protégé of Jose Mourinhi might well still become a truly great manager but he was walking into a situation where he was set up to fail last summer. He can walk away with his head held high and a ginormous pay-off safe in the knowledge that he will get other top jobs.

They say that the England job is a poisoned chalice but maybe the Chelsea one is even worse. Who would take the Chelsea job now? Not many as no big name coach or manager will walk into a situation where their is an ageing squad with a large power base knowing that they don;t have final say over the future of the club?

If Abramovich was willing to let his manager have carte blanche over his playing staff then he might be able to tempt the Special One back but that is a huge if. If he won’t relinquish that type of power then he will only get a second-tier manager no matter what he pays. Top managers will get a good salary anywhere but walking into a situation where they are set up to fail, that isn’t for most.

Chelsea either had to give AVB total power or not hire him. They were the only ways in which they could be successful. Sadly for them they erred big time and now a season without Champions League football is a distinct possibility and if that happens will Roman get bored with his toy?

If he does then the future of Chelsea Football Club could be very bleak indeed.

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So a Labour candidate says I am a Tory and Tweedledum. I do love negative politics….

Kevin versus three Tories; the contest in Westborough exclaims the latest headlines on Julian Ware-Lane’s blog. The blog is largely considered to be one of the very best in Southend – certainly when you are talking about local politics. So it disappoints me when you see such a biased and misleading (at best) headline. Some would even go as far to say that it is a flat out lie.

I have no comment to make on any of my opponents. I don’t know any of them. Therefore I feel like it is unwise and uncalled for to make any comment on them or their politics. However Julian has decided that despite having never met me he feels in a position where he can make a comment on me and my politics. I suspect this is solely because I am a Liberal Democrat and because at a national level the Lib Dems are in a coalition with the Conservatives that must equate to the two parties and everyone in both parties being exactly the same.

Yeah Peter Bone and Nadine Dorries have the same political ideologies as Mike Hancock and Sir Bob Russell. Give me a break. Had the Lib Dems gone into a coalition with Labour would all Lib Dems suddenly be Labour now? Just because of a decision based on numbers of MPs the Lib Dems have shifted to the right whereas had the numbers been slightly different they would have all shifted to the left.

Seriously how pathetic and lazy is that thought process? I mean honestly. Are we so blinkered that we believe there can only be two viewpoints, the right and the left and those who are in the centre must secretly be one or the other? Do Labour and the Conservatives deep down detest the Liberals for being a genuine alternative and disrupting the political ping-pong that means one of those two parties will always have power and when the public gets annoyed with one they go straight back to the other and vice versa.

He says about me, ‘Neil Monnery, who has recently announced his candidature, is the Liberal Democrat’s choice. Neil is Tweedledum to the Conservatives Tweedledee, to paraphrase Graham Longley from the last General Election’.

I don’t know the quote to which he refers but to intimate that I look and act like the Conservative candidate is probably inaccurate unless the Conservative candidate is a closet liberal. If that is the case then I probably do act like him. I doubt I look like him. Since I wrote that sentence I have googled the Conservative candidate and I don’t look like him. Therefore Julian’s assertion is well wide of the mark.

The sad thing is this is generally accepted in politics. Write something inaccurate and people will bitch and moan and then write something inaccurate back. I wrote that I was going to run solely a positive campaign. I will concentrate on what I believe and what I believe I can bring to the people of Westborough and in turn the people of Southend as a whole. That is something I will do. I won’t attempt to scare people into voting for me.

I won’t be composing statements such as, ‘This leaves Kevin Robinson as the only sensible alternative (to the three ‘Conservative’ candidates)’. I won’t be doing this because that is old school politics and a form of politics that I detest. I stand on my own two feet as I firmly believe the other candidates will and should do.

There are at least four candidates in the ward. The defending independent and the three major parties have all selected a candidate and plan to run in the ward. I hope that the electorate in Westborough choose to listen to what everyone has to say and vote for the person they want. Whether that person is me or not. I won’t tell someone who has deep rooted right-wing values that I’m the person for them because I’m not. I won’t tell someone who has deep rooted left-wing values that I’m the right person for them because quite simply I’m not.

I am the classic liberal in every sense. I believe in equality for all. I don’t just represent one supposed ‘class’ of society. I think when all is said and done we are all equal and deserve the same basics in life. What we decide to do with that is up to us – we are all individual but we all deserve that same basics, to have good health care, a good level of education, to feel safe, to live in a clean environment etc…

That is my philosophy pure and simple.

To write that the Labour candidate is the only sensible alternative (to the Conservatives) is a lie. It is a political lie but it is a lie. There is a Conservative candidate, there is a Labour candidate, there is a Lib Dem candidate and there in an independent candidate. All four of these people are different and no doubt have different views on life, the world and more importantly in terms of this election local politics and what is best for Westborough and Southend as a whole.

So all I’d say is not believe spin from anyone when they come to talking about people they do not know on any level. This is the old way of politics and is the way that has led the public to disliking politicians and politics as a whole. Write about you and your party and your colleagues. Don’t talk about things and people that you do not know. That is flat out dumb.

If Julian believes that misleading his readership is the right thing to do then so be it. If he thinks that bending the truth to a vast degree is the best way to support his fellow Labour candidate in the ward then so be it. I believe in telling the truth and talking about things that I know. I know where I stand in the political spectrum. I know my thoughts on politics at both a local or national level. I don’t know what the other candidates think therefore I don’t write or talk about it.

When it comes down to it I hope people back me if they believe in me and my politics. I hope they vote for whoever they vote for because they believe in that person and not because they were scared into it or that they are the best of a bad bunch. In May they’ll be at least four different people standing on four individual platforms in Westborough and all I sincerely hope is that the winner is the person that the majority of people truly believe is the best person to represent them, whether that is Dr Marimuthu Velmurugan, Kevin Robinson, Neil Austin or myself (or anyone else who stands). I just hope people vote for who they want based on what they can do – not because of what other people say the other candidates say or do.

Politics doesn’t have to be full of murky waters and mistruths and misleading statements. It can be open and honest. I do believe this and even if I lose in May I will continue to push for more openness and honesty within politics. Without moving to positive politics, the trust in politics and politicians by the general public will only continue to go down.

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