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Day: March 3, 2013

Aaron Ramsey. I just don’t get the it…?

Look let me start with this. I’m not football scout. I’m just a guy who watches a lot of football and enjoys the game. We all have opinions on players and sometimes we go out on a limb against the vocal majority. For example I always thought Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi could be a success in the old division one but the vocal majority of Pompey fans thought he was just too short. They wanted old man Dave Beasant back in the team and eventually that is how it went down. I thought the reason we conceded so many goals had to do with the fact our defence stunk – in fact we conceded goals at the same clip when Beasant was between the sticks but that is facts that go against the perceived wisdom.

However every so often I look at a player and I just do not see what a manager sees in them and one of those is Aaron Ramsey. Arsenal are on the tellybox a lot and Ramsey seems to play a lot and yet every single time I watch him I see a technically solid player who takes too many touches and always turns back instead of barreling forward. He doesn’t have that killer pass in him but he does slow everything down and if you slow everything down when you play for a team which are at their very best when building up a head of steam then you have an issue.

He has played at the right side of a front three and yet he can’t cross a ball for toffee nor can he beat a man one on one. Today at Spurs twice he had the ball running at Spurs in a counter attack and both times instead of passing it in an attacking fashion or taking on the man he was running at he turned around and regrouped allowing the defence to get back in place.

Now I know Santi Carzola also often slows things down but he has the quality and the eye to pick a killer pass that would actually create a chance – and of course he chips in with a few goals. Ramsey today went put clean through in the inside right channel and you never fancied him to even hit the target. He dragged the chance wide (although a corner was given) but the initial shot was going wide anyway.

Ramsey doesn’t have it. If Abou Diaby is fit then surely he has to play in midfield every single time. He can tackle, has strength and has the eye for a wonderful pass. I was watching El Clasico yesterday and even Pete playing in that midfield position played more good attacking passes than Aaron Ramsey did today – and Ramsey is considered as a genuine midfielder – Pepe most certainly is not.

It wasn’t just today that got to me about Aaron Ramsey. He just doesn’t seem to have it to play at the very highest level in this team. Maybe he would be a fine player in a team that didn’t play in the style that Arsenal do but Arsenal are only really good when they build up a head of steam and play one or two touch football. Ramsey plays three or four touch football and slows the game so much that it leads to other players getting frustrated and not being able to play at the speed that they want to play at.

Look I’m sure he’s a lovely chap and a very good footballer but he doesn’t suit this Arsenal side and the fact he keeps getting the nod shows that either Arsene Wenger has a weakness for him or has no-one else that he trusts in these roles – which says a lot about what he thinks about the likes of Tomáš Rosický, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Abou Diaby. If Arsenal are going to be successful then Aaron Ramsey needs to be benched.

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Zadok Day leaves the Lib Dems but makes a very interesting observation on his way out of the door

Here’s a theory I’ve been working on: political parties are cults. They should be clubs for the like-minded, but instead become repulsive repositories that make the people inside more similar, not less, and farther away from the general public, not closer. They encourage closed minds, adoration of party leaders, disbelief of crimes committed, putting the good of the cult above the good of other people – in this case the country! Look at the way canvassers go from door to door, inquiring about votes, the currency of the cult, rather than ideology. We don’t want to change the minds of the electorate, we want them to support our particular cult getting into power instead of that other one, and ideally joining the cult and helping spread the membership..

writes Zadok Day as he blogs his departure from the Lib Dems here.

Now I should put it out there right now. I like Zadok and believe our politics are pretty well aligned so I more times than not will be on his side in any political discussion. His decision to leave the party is disappointing but it is understandable. I think we all reach the stage where we just struggle with banging our heads against a brick wall and wonder what the point of it all is. Sometimes time away from the front line will re-energise people and the fire can burn once more but sometimes it doesn’t.

Now to to his point about political parties being cults. It is an interesting and astute observation. Do political parties try to educate people into their ethos and values or do they just try to get people to vote for them? Sometimes I look at people in various political parties and don’t see them as people I’d expect to represent that parties ethos and values. Hence why so many people defect from one party to another – they do so for various reasons but councillors often defect for political reasons and not for reasons surrounding values. People defect for personal reasons that they do not like someone else in the party. Many have left the Lib Dems not because of the coalition (although many, many have) but they have left because they simply don’t like Nick Clegg, or don’t like David Laws, or don’t like Chris Huhne etc…

One thing I will say I disagree with Zadok on though is that unlike a cult – there is no slavish love of the leader. Nick Clegg is not someone who everyone likes even – heck many don’t even respect him but stay in the party because they see themselves as the true Lib Dems and they’ll be there even after Nick leaves.

However I have felt at times personally that if you have a different PoV to the majority then you are looked down upon and not engaged in conversation. Look at one of the most passionate things that many Lib Dems back at the moment on the ‘No More Page 3’ campaign. Now whilst they aren’t asking for legal reasons to ban Page 3 they are singling out one publication whereas other publications do exactly the same but are being ignored. It also seems wrong to me that one section of society can decide that they are the spokespeople for that section of society despite never being voted in. Some women may (and clearly do) want to sell topless pictures of themselves.

On to canvassing. It is a brilliant point that we don’t speak to people about their ideologies and values but we ask about who they vote for. Surely we should be finding out what people stand for and what they believe in. If we can understand that then we can better understand the electorate. I have said for eons that I think more people are broadly liberal in their views than vote Liberal Democrat. The issue is then do people not vote for the Lib Dems because they don’t see the point or because they don’t believe that the Lib Dems stand for liberals?

I have found in my time that the more you actually talk to someone about ideologies and values the more they come around to thinking liberally. Talking about votes and policy does the job short-term but the more you speak to someone about what they stand for and what liberalism is then I genuinely have found the more that people will think of themselves as liberal. Now converting this into votes is of course important if the Lib Dems are ever going to have the power to get their liberal ideologies into more people’s lives but maybe here upon lies yet another problem – are the Lib Dems really the natural home for liberals?

You’d like to think so but it isn’t that simple any more. Now the other major parties certainly can’t claim to be liberal – Iraq war, 42 days detention with no charges, a distrust of foreigners and the EU, secret courts etc.. are all things other parties have done or wanted to do. The Lib Dems have clearly done some good on this front but have they strayed away from ideology? That is a question for another day but it is probably a legitimate one.

I would love to live in a world where the liberals ran the show. However just as important is having more people broadly seeing themselves as liberals. With so many people these days migrating towards extremism and genuinely not having a liberal attitude to fellow human beings who may want to live and work in this country then it concerns me greatly. The liberal viewpoint sounds ideological but it is the ideology that I buy into.

It is a sad day that Zadok has decided to leave but I understand his PoV and even if he isn’t a member I hope he still engages with people with his liberal ideologies. The more liberal a society is then the better and happier I think it will be – and that – not votes – should be our number one aim.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.