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Day: June 3, 2013

Tonight I am disappointed in both Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats. Sad times.

Yesterday I went through the formalities of renewing my membership. Today I am disappointed. Oh the emotions of being a member of a political party. As you all will have heard this evening Mike Hancock MP has resigned the parliamentary party whip to concentrate on clearing his name against a civil action against him. He will continue as an independent MP. Which basically makes his resignation sound so see through it is as transparent as I am when someone tells me that they’ve made me a mushroom and fried egg sandwich and I’ve said ‘ooo that sounds lovely’ – it doesn’t. It really doesn’t.

In a letter to the Chief Whip Mike Hancock writes:

Following our meeting today I have decided to offer to temporarily withdraw from the parliamentary party in the Commons until the civil court case against me has been concluded.

I can assure you that I will continue to vigorously defend my position and that I completely refute the allegations made against me.

I’m doing this in the best interests of the party nationally and in Portsmouth and for my family.

I will continue to work hard for my constituents in Portsmouth as I have always done.

He says he is doing it in the best interests of the party nationally and in Portsmouth and for his family. Considering up until a few hours ago he certainly didn’t think this then it is relatively clear that in his meeting with the powers that be today he was pretty much strong armed into this position.

Now we know Mike Hancock faces a very serious civil action against him but remember the police and CPS have investigated and decided there was no case to answer. At this point the party decided not to do anything. Now a civil suit has been forthcoming they have been extremely proactive and decided they want to put him at arms length (at best) until the case against him has been concluded.

Now I am in no position to judge the merits of the court case and I won’t. However I believe strongly that the Lib Dems decision to act has been influenced by the lack of action on Lord Rennard. The Liberal Democrat peer is under investigation from both the Met Police and the party but nothing has happened as yet and I think the party are keen to be seen as proactive in these situations – just like most companies are. The difference in my eyes is the fact it is not a criminal investigation, it is a civil action. To me that is an important distinction as to how an employer or representative should be judged.

The Lib Dems have decided that they want to judge and instead of letting the matter unfold they want him out. Of course the door is open to him to return should the case against him be unproven, the chief whip said, ‘If, at the end of your case, your name is cleared then I would fully expect to have you back in the parliamentary party to play again your role in the Commons.’ However I wouldn’t be so sure that Mike would want to return having been told that essentially the party want rid of him. Lets be blunt here. I know I wouldn’t if I were in the same situation.

I don’t think the party should pre-judge anyone and that is the role of the courts. The fact of the matter is that Mike Hancock not having the parliamentary party whip will do nothing to help the MP concentrate on his case. If that were the case he’d have resigned as an MP. This is all a PR situation and shows that the party either do not believe Mike Hancock’s side of the story or were just looking for a way to get him as far away from them as possible. Either way it is either disappointing to me that they have decided to judge Mr Hancock or they have used this situation to get rid of who they perceived to be a problem.

Reading through Twitter this evening and most Lib Dems are practically rejoicing his departure. To call Mike Hancock a ‘colourful figure’ would be doing the term a disservice. Some just think he is a bit too out there, some think that there is no smoke without fire whilst others think that anyone with serious allegations over them should be gone until they have proved their innocence. Yeah the old ‘innocent until proven guilty’ line doesn’t apply in certain circumstances when it suits… *vomit*

The reason I’m disappointed is because of this last line. The party have decided that they either think he’ll lose and/or that he is more trouble than he is worth. So instead of doing nothing they want to be seen as being proactive. As of this moment the MP for Portsmouth South has not been found guilty in a criminal court (and the police and CPS have decided there is no case to answer) and has yet to face a civil court. When Chris Huhne was facing allegations (albeit of a less serious nature) he was not strong-armed into a resignation. Whilst the allegations against Mr Huhne were far less serious they did come with the possibility of prison and they were criminal charges. The civil action Mr Hancock is facing does not.

The Lib Dems want to be proactive. Great. However I fully believe in innocent until proven guilty and certainly that is the case when it comes to civil action. The differences between a civil suit and a criminal case cannot be understated. Anyone can bring a civil suit and no weight of evidence is needed to get the ball rolling whereas in a criminal case it should be different. If the party now have the motto that anyone facing any legal action either civil or criminal needs to be suspended/strongly encouraged to resign from the party until that situation is resolved then we are going down an extremely slippery slope.

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Jose Mourinho returns to Chelsea and personally I’m delighted.

Look. I’m no Chelsea fan. My loyalties are firmly with another team in blue currently plying their trade in League 2 but I love football and the Premier League has been missing something over the past couple of years. With the loss of Sir Alex to retirement the league needed a figurehead manager and who better than Jose Mourinho?

The one thing I want to say about Jose Mourinho is he has produced two of the most exciting teams I have seen in the past decade. His first Chelsea team with Robben and Duff marauding down the flanks, Drogba all powerful up top and the midfield power and pace of Essien and Lampard coupled with a steely determination and resolution of never being beaten until the final moment made them one of the most exciting teams the Premier League have seen.

In the 2011/2012 season he put together a Real Madrid team who scored goals for fun and beat possibly the greatest club side of this generation in Barcelona to the La Liga title. Yet again the team was full of strong players and strong characters and in the end it was the strong personalities in that dressing room that led to Real Madrid falling short of their goals.

That won’t be a problem at Stamford Bridge. His job at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan can all be said to have been fantastic successes. His legacy at Real Madrid is mixed but when you consider how great that Barcelona team were/are then he did a fine job in my eyes.

I’m positive Jose’s return to galvanise the club and also add some much needed spice to the Premier League. The nucleus is there to be a great team but they still need to be more secure defensively and they need a great striker. Whether that person is Fernando Torres or not we’ll see but when you consider that the kid Lukaku did great on loan at West Brom last year then he must be an option. You’d assume the Jose has the money and freedom to spend it on who he deems necessary and whoever that is I’m excited to see.

Whatever happens it will spice up the season. In a way it is a shame that he can’t go head-to-head with Sir Alex one final time and that Man City have sacked Roberto Mancini as that would have been fireworks. Still we have one of the most polarising and provocative figures in the game back in the Premier League and I for one can’t wait.

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There is only one thing more boring than fantasy sports – telling others about your fantasy team

Oh boy…

Many years ago I kept a journal and one of my ‘friends’ who read the journal decided one day to tell me exactly what she thought of me. She basically said my journal entries were dull and therefore had an opinion that I was just too boring to know. Nice of her. Her main issue was the fact I wrote a fair bit about my fantasy baseball teams. Well she left my life many years ago but fantasy baseball did not. I am still involved in a fantasy baseball league that I have been involved in since 2005 – the same league. Personally I think it is a better hobby than getting into online betting and certainly a lot cheaper too but ho hum.

So we are now well into the fantasy season and it is Week 10. I have won seven match-ups, drawn once and lost once. I am currently the #3 seed and surprising a fair few people with the strength of my squad. I was tipped to be outside the top six this season by the league but I’m hanging in there.

My strength has been a solid and deep starting rotation. Yu Darvish and Jordan Zimmermann are true aces and I expected them to be as such. I had some trade interest in both but I swatted it away. Beyond them I had CJ Wilson and AJ Griffin left over from last year. I have since added a rejuvenated Ubaldo Jiménez and John Lackey. My seventh SP though is reigning NL Cy Young winner RA Dickey whom I recently traded for despite not exactly being a big fan of the player.

The reason I traded for him was because I had a log jam. At 3B I had a strong Aramis Ramirez and I had picked up Josh Donaldson who was having a career year. However the bigger problem was I had Manny Machado in my minor league system and I had to promote him. So I managed to trade Aramis Ramirez away for RA Dickey to open up 3B for Manny Machado, who is fast becoming one of the best players in Major League Baseball.

My hitting is middle of the pack with Buster Posey holding down the catchers spot and then Ryan Howard at first. Chase Utley is my 2B but is currently injured so Freddy Galvis is starting and at short Derek Jeter is down so Alexei Ramirez is starting. At 3B is the aforementioned Machado. In the OF I’m weak with Dexter Fowler, Colby Rasmus and Brett Gardner stumbling along but I have Yasiel Puig and Billy Hamilton sitting in the minors for next year and when you throw in Miguel Sano is there as well then I have three legit impact bats ready for 2014 and beyond.

Finally I am currently sitting at four closers with Aroldis Chapman, Rafael Soriano, Glen Perkins and even K-Rod closing games. So there we have it. This is why the 2013 incarnation of the Fratton Yankees are doing better than anticipated and this is why I got called dull and boring by a girl what eight or nine years ago. I wonder what she is up to these days…

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