The Rambles of Neil Monnery

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Archive for July, 2017

On Cherry Bakewell scented shower gel…

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Here at The Rambles of Neil Monnery sometimes we tackle frivolous subjects like progressive alliances, where the Lib Dems went wrong this time, how funny it was that Senator John McCain proper screwed President Trump and how Sol Campbell is not a sympathetic human being. Yet sometimes we go all important and this is one of those types of blog posts people, yes it is the review you were all waiting for and the world needs, an entry all about the Cherry Bakewell shower gel I purchased last week.

Yeah you are probably regretting clicking on this post already. I can feel it.

Well lets go back to the start, on Friday night we were doing the weekly food shop (yay – adulting) and my usual preferred shower gel wasn’t on offer. My heart sunk. Crestfallen would be a good word to use (a nod back to my Fubra days there) but as I stood there perusing the other available bottles, the other half chirped up and pointed out the Cherry Bakewell scented shower gel that was a few along from where I was looking. For one English pound I had to try it for you see, I loves me some Cherry Bakewells. Loves it.

Cherry Bakewell Shower Gel

Cherry Bakewell Shower Gel

So Saturday was the big day. I had a shower and poured some of the gel on to my exfoliating sponge (yes I have one of those – they are amazing) and lathered up before starting to wash myself with it and bloody hell, it really smells of cherry bakewells. If I didn’t know better, I’d have thought a nice six-pack of Mr. Kipling’s finest were waiting for me just outside of the shower awaiting me to take them down in a five-minute frenzy. Yet no pastries were waiting for me, just the scent of them smothering and cleansing my skin.

Once washed off though the smell doesn’t really stay on you at all. The cherry bakewell-ness of the shower gel is very much short-term. Still, it provides a swift reminder of how delicious cherry bakewells are and gives you the urge to go and buy yourself a pack. I managed to resist (for now) but as a novelty purchase it wasn’t the worst one I’ve ever made (I once had cola bottles scented hand soap and now have a bubblegum scented one) but if you are hoping to use it and spend the day wandering around the office making everyone crave some of Mr. Kipling’s finest, you’ll need to come up with another idea I’m afraid.

I’ll get back to pointless politics type stuff soon I’m sure…

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July 31st, 2017 at 11:45 am

Posted in Random Stuff

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On Senator John McCain’s stone cold revenge on President Trump…

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The dramatic scenes on the Senate floor in the early hours of this morning are ones that Democrats and all those that believe in health care will play over and over again on YouTube. With a majority of just two, the Republicans could absorb the two rebels who had already made themselves known, Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. The Vice President was lurking in case of a tied vote to cast the deciding ballot. So it was all eyes on Senator John McCain whose vote had been on a knife-edge seemingly all day.

What happened next changed the course of the Trump presidency. That is not over-egging what happened last night. The fact that after yet another run at getting rid of Obamacare, the President was unable to get anything done. As the senator from Arizona strode in to vote, all eyes were on him. He outstretched his arm and then paused for what seemed like an entirely but was in reality barely two seconds before saying ‘No’ and putting his thumb down. It was over.

This wasn’t just about ObamaCare. This was also about stone cold revenge and a message to all that people have long memories. The President had been absolutely vile towards the former Republican Presidential nominee. You can not like someone and speak about it openly if you want to but actions also have consequences. Trump may have ascended to the top job in the land but McCain was still one of just 100 senators who have the power to hold him to account and subsequently scuttle his legislative agenda. With a majority of just two, you can’t afford to alienate people and this is where Trump’s lack of knowledge of politics comes to bite him in the butt.

In the business world if you don’t like someone you don’t necessarily have to deal with them. You can get your bricks from another supplier. You can get your concrete from another supplier. You can get your windows from another supplier and so on. In politics you have to deal with the same people for a finite amount of time until their term is up and they go for reelection. This means you have far less wriggle room and if you shaft someone, they will remember and wait until the time is right to put one back over on you.

Whether Senator McCain was thinking about this during proceedings this week, who knows? He was the deciding vote that kept this debate going throughout the week, dramatically flying back to vote for further discussions on the bill. Could he have simply been wanting to up the drama knowing all the while that the longer it continued, the more likely it was to succeed and Trump’s confidence would’ve grown, all the while knowing he was set to scuttle it? Makes for an interesting theory doesn’t it?

The long and short of it though is that McCain, along with his two Republican colleagues in the early hours of Friday morning voted to essentially torpedo what was arguably the top line of President Trump’s campaign.

The Senate had already voted not to repeal and replace ObamaCare but to repeal it and kick it into the weeds for two years was on the table, which would essentially allow the President to claim victory and take 15 million people out of health insurance next year with another 16 million by 2026 and up premiums by 20% according to a Congressional Budget Office report. It stunk and was all about ‘winning’ and not about doing anything that was good for people who need ObamaCare.

At the start of the week Senator McCain was vilified by the liberal media as the person who was ready to bring down ObamaCare. Before the week was out, he was the person who cast the deciding vote to keep it. As they say a week is a long time in politics and revenge is a dish served stone cold.

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July 28th, 2017 at 10:57 am

Posted in Politics

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On a (very) small example of why the British written media is a cesspool of lazy propaganda…

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Who would have thought that a footballers religious views would be noteworthy of a story? Well today four of our newspapers decided that it was. The Sun, the Daily Mirror, the Daily Express and the Daily Mail all wrote articles about how new Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku couldn’t accept a Man of the Match award because of his religion. You see the Belgian is a ‘devout Muslim’ and therefore ‘unable to pose with alcoholic gifts’.

Two things. Firstly, why would this ever be a news story of any interest to anyone let alone worth all four newspapers written specific articles on it. Maybe they know any story on Manchester United and football will get a few clicks, which is always good for advertising and those all important ad rates. Maybe they felt it was important to educate their readers on why this happened as many had been confused. Maybe they just thought it was time for someone to tell it how it is and make a noble point about religion and how it ruins everything. Or maybe, just maybe, they are lazy fuckwits who want to inflame religious tension. Who knows eh?

Secondly, one teeny tiny issue with the story. It is a load of bollocks. Lukaku is actually a devout Catholic. The Sun themselves actually wrote a story about it in 2014 when the striker went on a trip to Lourdes and posted about it on Instagram. The article entitled Luk-ing to God is still available for all to read on the world wide interweb. Anyone who has ever watched the front man score will have seen he does the Christian symbol of the cross when celebrating. So why on Earth did these newspapers all write inaccurate articles about his religious faith?

It is either a genuine case of someone informed a journalist inaccurately of what happened and a case of Chinese whispers spread like wild fire throughout the media covering the event and no-one thought about fact-checking. Either that or someone heard the story, thought it would play into the readership of said publications and they all ran with it thinking it would be a nice little story about religion and football that wouldn’t ever make them look like idiots.

At the time of writing the articles are still live on three of the four websites. The Sun have already removed it and 301ed the article with the new URL including the words ‘legal removal’ but the Daily Mirror, Daily Express and Daily Mail are all still happily living with their respective pieces even despite the quite scathing story in the Independent showing up the four newspapers for writing outright lies. This isn’t fake news because that term has been watered down and is now a punchline. This is just an outright lie that isn’t even a story if it were true but the lie interest some of the readers and further inflame religious tensions to a small degree.

I know this is only a tiny story and not really of any importance but it is a great example of how spreading a small lie can go unchecked unless more vigilant journalists and media publications call them out of it. The fact The Sun have already removed the offending piece says a lot. Unless people call bullshit when bullshit is spread then it leaves us in a state where the media can control the news and that is not somewhere we’d ever want to be.

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July 27th, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Posted in Football,Media

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On Caroline Lucas and her vision of a progressive alliance…

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Many things hacked me off during the 2017 General Election campaign but I suspect none of them come close to the anger I felt towards the intense and non-stop chatter about progressive alliances. Every single day I saw people talking about how best to work together between parties such as Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens. Instead of finding real ground to take it to the Tories though, activists, local and national parties found more that divided us than uniting us.

For this blog post I want to concentrate on Caroline Lucas. She is number one is my crosshairs for people who pissed me off on this front. The Green Party went into the campaign with one MP and one realistic target seat. That was Bristol West where they opened as odds against favourites to unseat the incumbent Labour MP. As the Labour momentum got going though this became a safe Labour hold and as her own seat was safe, the Green party had no potential to gain any extra seats, All they could realistically do was become a spoiler to help the Tories.

Coming into the debates she had a choice to make, either she wanted to get as many votes as possible for her party (which is a perfectly fair position to take for a leader of a political party) or know who her main political enemies were and go after them. She chose the former and that is all fine and dandy unless she was banging on about working together. Lets look at what she said on her own website after the 2015 General Election…

“The election results have served as a stark reminder that our political system is broken. The time for electoral reform is long overdue. Only proportional representation will deliver a parliament that is truly legitimate, and that better reflects the views of the people it’s meant to represent.”

SHE ADDED: “But we must move forward today. While the campaign for electoral reform gathers momentum, THOSE OF US WANTING TO SEE A FAIRER, MORE COMPASSIONATE AND PROGRESSIVE POLITICS MUST FIND NEW WAYS OF WORKING TOGETHER, A NEW WAY TO DO POLITICS – AND PUT THAT INTO PRACTICE NOW.

“Unless we break free of tribal politics and work together to fight austerity, and promote crucial, common-sense climate policies, we’re faced with an incredibly bleak political future. For the sake of all those who’ll suffer most at the hands of the Tories, we must rethink our relations and recognise the importance of our common ground.

“That should include shared platforms and case-by-case electoral pacts, to build a strong progressive alliance to challenge the Tories over the next five years. Clearly in Wales and Scotland, where there are PR elections for the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament, this doesn’t apply, but where First Past the Post continues to distort election results, it should surely be considered.”

I have left in her own emphasis.

During this campaign she tweeted this:

During the debates she went after the Lib Dems hard on tuition fees. Arguably going after the party more than any other apart from UKIP. She knows that her party’s vote won’t come from the Tories and with the Corbyn momentum kicking in during the final three weeks of the campaign, the best way to get more Green votes was to hit the Lib Dems hard. Heck hitting the Lib Dems hard may not have converted some soft LDs to Green but may have converted them to Labour or convinced them to stay at home. Smart if she wanted to damage the Lib Dems but not smart if her number one priority was to stop another Conservative government.

She doesn’t want to end tribal politics because if she did then she wouldn’t have campaigned in the manner that she did. It was seemingly mere lip-service to the idea of progressive politics. If only say 10% of the population would consider voting for you and you are fighting with the Lib Dems and Labour for those voters, do you curl up and let those voters choose freely which way to go or do you fight tooth and nail for them? You do the latter.

This is a great example of why a progressive alliance in our parliamentary system just doesn’t work. The voters have shown us that they don’t like coalition politics and are at the stage where they want something more black and white. Good and bad if you like. Right or wrong. It won’t always be that way and as a member and firm believer that the radical centre is the best place politically, I have to believe that.

Yet today people are happy to vote for Jeremy Corbyn even if they don’t agree with his top line Brexit policies because he is the most likely to stop the Tories and as it stands the majority of the electorate identify as Tory or Anti-Tory. This means they’ll vote for the Tories or whoever is most likely to stop them. Even if that means by proxy getting more Tory MPs because they don’t look at the local situation.

The progressive alliance can only work when everyone is genuinely willing to work together. If they are all fighting over the same voters then it was always a fallacy and the way Caroline Lucas acted throughout the 2017 General Election campaign showed us all that progressive alliances are great in theory but in reality it had zero chance of succeeding and the amount of column inches and talking head minutes were dedicated to it was all one giant waste of time.

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.

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July 26th, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Posted in Politics

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On living with a jealous cat…

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One month ago today I made the big move to move in with my girlfriend. Had you told me I’d be doing such a thing a year ago, I’d be calling you loopy and calling the men (or women – I’m all about equality) in straitjackets to come and take you away. Yet here we are. This blog post isn’t about that part of the equation. One month in and everything is going great in that regard. This blog post is about the second part of the equation. I didn’t just move in with her, I also moved in with her cat and that part is still on a learning curve.

I first met the cat several months ago now and whenever I was here before I moved in, she had showed no jealously towards me apart from one stay where she just seemed in a permanent sulk with the situation. Apparently one night I went to take a phone call and the moment I left the room, she opened up for belly rubs and started purring away and was happy as larry. She was fine the next time I came down and then of course I moved in.

Since then she’s been generally fine but has clear moments where she is super jealous and seemingly unsure about where she fits in with the new dynamic. As I work from home, I am around the cat a lot of the time whereas my partner goes off to work during the day. When it is just us two here, the cat is far more willing to be around me. She enjoys the attention but more than that, she is clearly a homebody cat who just likes to be near people. She doesn’t like to be on them per se butsleeping with a human in the room is often her preferred choice.

For example as I’m writing this, she is curled up asleep on my bed next to my desk. The meower followed me in here after I made a sandwich and once she realised I was settling down to do some stuff on the PC, walked over to my bed happily enough, jumped up and curled up there. She often does this during the day. Yet when my partner comes home from work she often looks either confused or sad and won’t sit with us in the evening. Recently she has been moving closer by sleeping on the footstool but if we are both on the sofa, she’ll just look at us.

Last night the other half was watching Game of Thrones and I’m not a fan. So I came to my PC to watch Around the Horn and PTI online and the cat jumped up to sit on the sofa with the girlfriend to have licks and cuddles (she is a very licky cat). In our one month of living together she has yet to jump up of her own free will if we are both on the sofa and settled down. Once or twice she has jumped up and jumped down again pretty quickly. We’ve also picked her up a few times and put her on the sofa with us but she’s quickly jumped back down and just sat there on the floor staring at us.

Before I moved in, she would regularly sleep with us on the sofa, not between us but on the arm or on the far end. Since I’ve been around permanently though, this has yet to happen. She clearly has some jealously issues and it is sad to see as she has absolutely nothing to be jealous about. I won’t go as far to say that she is the centre of our world but we both consider the cat as a massive part of our little family.

This morning though we had a little breakthrough. After hanging the laundry on the line (I’m so domesticated) the cat came in and sat on the footstool opposite me where my feet where. After a couple of fake jumps to join me on the sofa, she walked along my outstretched leg and sat on my lap for around ten minutes whilst having strokes and purring away. She didn’t settle but did go to sleep next to me on the sofa. This is the first time since moving in that she’s sat on my lap or come and curled up next to me on the sofa (she has done it on the bed many times). It might not seem like a big deal but I sat there quietly smiling to myself.

In time she’ll learn that she has nothing to be jealous of with me being around 24/7. Life will be better for her not because I’m all that but because she’ll have far more human company as I’m around during the day and that my partner won’t be spending as much time away from her, so she’ll also be about more, thus giving the cat far more stability and that is something we are both sure will make her happier.

If you are in a similar situation and a cat is jealous of a new partner, I’m afraid I don’t think that there is a quick fix. Just spend time around the cat and if he/she wants attention then give it to them on their terms. I usually feed her in the evening whereas the girlfriend feeds her in the mornings, so she’s learning that I’m not just an interloper impinging on her world, I’m also the provider of food and therefore am worthwhile to her in some capacity. This is a good one as if cats think you are giving them something, they are more likely to at least tolerate you.

As you’ve read a blog post about her, here is a picture of the cat from yesterday evening and you can follow Misha’s adventures on her own Instagram page.

misha jealous cat boyfriend

Misha wanting her dinner

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July 25th, 2017 at 11:32 am

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On Vince Cable’s tweet about Jeremy Corbyn’s student debt ‘promise’…

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Oh Vince. Vince, Vince, Vince. Why? Why? Why?

So as some will have noted over the past few days, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has backtracked from his promise that he would deal with student debt. The issue is he never promised anything. He just said that he hoped he’d be able to deal with it. If anyone took it as meaning that he would cancel student debt along with scraping tuition fees then that is on them, not on him.

It was super smart politically. By saying that he hoped to deal with the issue surrounding student debt, he would firm up the support of young people, not just those going to university but also those in their 20s and 30s who still have student loan repayments to pay back. The fact he didn’t throw about the word promise and is saying it is an aspiration means he has plausible deniability. He can honestly say he never promised anything and people were free to interpret his words as they saw fit.

Most people looking at it without any political bias would say it was at best misleading but it most certainly was never a lie. I was talking to a Corbynista the other day about it and I called Corbyn super smart for how he worded what he said and not making it is clear that it wasn’t a policy but a goal. The Corbynista wouldn’t take that as praise but just went on about how it was everyone else’s fault if they thought it was a promise and that everyone bar Corbyn and his supporters are basically dumb. This is the world we now live it. Frustrating as fuck.

Anyway on to the new leader of the Lib Dems response. Vince tweeted on Sunday the following:

I just hung my head. Labour have never backtracked because they were just way smarter than the Lib Dems in 2010. How any Lib Dem can say they didn’t know what they were doing when campaigning on tuition fees in 2010 is beyond me. Yes I know of the nuance was how it wasn’t a Lib Dem majority government and that is a really important distinction but not many people will see that important difference. They saw the pledge, they saw the fact 28 Lib Dems voted for increasing fees and that is quite simply that.

Aspiration. Goal. Hope. Promise. One of those four words has a completely different connotation to the other three. A promise if broken hurts whereas an aspiration, a goal or a hope that doesn’t materialise disappoints but you don’t feel anywhere near as used or mislead or lied to as you do when someone breaks a promise.

As much as I hate it, sometimes politics isn’t about honesty but about smoke and mirrors. In elections when you are trying to court a particular vote but can’t get a costed policy out there, the best thing to do is hint but stop short of saying that is what you’ll do. That means if you fall short, the hurt the voter experiences will be minor. This is why the Lib Dems should’ve scrapped the tuition fees pledge before the 2010 General Election. Nick Clegg wanted to do so as we all know. Senior activists disagreed and conference voted to keep it in 2009. I often wonder how things would’ve turned out had that vote gone differently.

Going back to Corbyn though, that is the difference. He cleverly made/allowed people to think if he won that he’d cancel student debt when it was never a Labour policy, just essentially an idea that he had if he won and money was no object. The Lib Dems put it in black and white that they would not vote to raise tuition fees. That is politics folks and to claim Labour have backtracked and to call on Jeremy Corbyn to apologise is lazy and just won’t wash with the electorate.

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July 24th, 2017 at 2:58 pm

On why assisted dying/suicide is a human rights and liberal issue the Lib Dems should take up…

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This is back in the news as Noel Conway is challenging the 1961 Suicide Act that by stopping his right to die in a dignified manner breeches his human rights. It is an extremely emotive issue for many. MPs debated it just two years ago and the eight Lib Dem Members of Parliament split three ways with three voting for the bill, three against and two sat on the fence.

Back then it was Alistair Carmichael, John Pugh and Norman Lamb who supported the bill. The latter even commenting during the debate that he had changed his mind in recent years. The paragraph that sticks out is below:

I have changed my mind on this issue. I used to oppose change, but I am now very clear in my mind that reform is necessary. We are all shaped by the conversations we have and by our own personal experiences, sometimes within our own families. Talking to people who are terminally ill has forced me to think about the principles at stake and led me to change my mind. I came to this view through one man in particular, Douglas Harding, who, for six years, has lived with terminal cancer, and is now very close to the end. When I hear him argue the case to me about his right to decide when to end his life as he faces the closing stages of a terminal illness, I find it impossible to reject that right. When I ask myself what I would want in those circumstances whether I would want that right, I am very clear in my mind that I would. I do not know whether I would exercise it, but I would absolutely want it for myself. How can I then deny it to others?

It is one of those rare occasions when I am on the opposite side of the aisle to Nick Clegg who voted against the bill. At Conference in 2014 he found that he was in the minority within the party during a Q&A session. A show of hands showed that the majority of Lib Dem members in that room believed that a change in the law was necessary. “I am personally quite sceptical about the ability to capture what is a very, very delicate decision about when you endorse, under the law, the taking of someone’s life” said the then Deputy Minister at the time.

For me though I don’t see it as a tough decision and I think Norman Lamb hit the nail on the head. It is all about rights and if someone is in a position where they want to end their own life but need help, they should have that opportunity. This isn’t about state sanctioned murder but about not criminalising doctors or loved ones for bringing an end to pain.

I have it on record with my mum and my partner that should I ever be in a position where I have zero quality of life, I do not want to live. This is of course a very narrow interpretation that only takes into account two scenarios where I wouldn’t be able to clearly communicate my wishes, firstly locked in syndrome, which would be hell on Earth in my opinion and the other is where I lose so many of my faculties that I do not know who I am or who anyone is around me. For me that isn’t life but existing and again for me, that isn’t life.

This is of course just one persons opinion – mine – but shouldn’t I be able to control whether or not I live or die in such a scenario? If I want the freedom to end my life if I didn’t think it was worth living then how could I ever have the position where I don’t think another person has that same right?

The issue of coercion is a real one and I can fully see that is a potential problem to making this law. If assisted dying/suicide was decriminalised then scrupulous people could get vulnerable people to agree to end their life for a variety of reasons from freeing them of a burden to financial gain. This is where the whole issue hits the rocks as many will argue that if it could be used by people against the wishes of the person then it should be avoided at all costs. This is why safety checks should be put in place and that is plausible albeit difficult.

As liberals we should fight for individual choice in life and in this instance death. I find it hard to constitute that people couldn’t comprehend of a scenario where they see themselves diagnosed with a terminal illness, which is only only to get worse, more painful for them and more painful for their loved ones watching them in pain and slipping away and not want to end the pain for all. For you see dying slowly and painfully whilst watching your loved ones go through this with you must be nearly as bad (or even more so) than going through it yourself.

I’ve always believed in individual freedom and I think assisted dying/suicide comes under that umbrella. I would love the Liberal Democrats to look into this once more. In 2004 at Spring Conference the party promised to, ‘introduce legislation that would legalise assisted dying for patients with a terminal or severe, incurable and progressive physical illness‘ but nothing happened. In 2012 a motion brought by Chris Davies MEP at Party Conference was passed which reaffirmed our support for a change in the law on assisted dying. Still nothing has happened.

This is an issue of human rights and liberalism. One I think the party should seriously take up and not just pay lip service to…

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.

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July 18th, 2017 at 2:27 pm

Posted in Politics

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On Sol Campbell’s hopes of becoming a manager in English football…

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Stepping away from politics, I read an interesting piece in The Guardian today entitled Sol Campbell: ‘I’m prepared to go to a non-league club and just get a win bonus’. The former Spurs, Arsenal and Portsmouth defender is looking to get on to the managerial ladder but has been disappointed that teams aren’t banging on his door to get his attention.

Campbell of course is black and this is part of the story. However a bigger part of the story is he is Sol Campbell. ‘When Sol, walked up, to lift the FA Cup, I was there, I was there…‘ chant Pompey supporters. I count myself among them. That day in 2008 is still as surreal now as it was then. A Portsmouth captain walking up the famous Wembley steps to lift the FA Cup. So I have quite a bit of time for the former England defender. Yet his history does provide clues as to why he isn’t in demand with respect to a managerial position.

First of all he has walked out of clubs before when things were not to his liking. He left Spurs for Arsenal on a Bosman deal. This was of course entirely within his rights and I can still recall when it happened. Everyone expected the press conference to be about Richard Wright’s signing but over walked Campbell with Arsene Wenger. The way it was handled though seemed pretty poor.

He then got his release from Arsenal on a free because he wanted to play abroad, only to turn up at Fratton Park. Look I know Portsea Island is technically an island off the English mainland but I don’t think that it what Arsenal envisioned when they let him out of his contract. It is hard to forget that he signed a five-year deal with Notts County in 2009, only to walk out after one game.

So this has to factor into the minds of perspective employers to some degree. Campbell also has a history of getting involved in issues outside of football for which he should be lauded in my opinion but is something Chairmen will be wary about. Not only do they think it might put off some of their supporters but they will question whether he is totally committed to football.

Remember, Campbell did put his name forward to be the Conservative candidate for the London Mayoral elections in 2016. In 2015, he refused to rule out running in what was then the safe London seat of Kensington in the General Election. The 42 year-old also came out for Brexit primarily because it would limit the amount of foreign players in the English football league. The fact the EU Referendum was about far more than that seemed to pass him by. This means that any potential employer would surely question whether Campbell wants to dedicate himself long-term to the game or if he has other ambitions in life.

If you read the piece though you’ll start to get a sense of why clubs outside of the top tier haven’t offered him even an interview yet. Seemingly he hasn’t applied for any job. The former England international, who has had no managerial experience is waiting for clubs to approach him. It takes quite some arrogance to expect potential employers to come to you when you have no experience for the potential job. This is a key paragraph:

I’ve spoken to a couple of agents to help get the word out that I’m available but so far there’s only been tentative inquiries

Some clubs may be thinking: ‘We don’t want to talk to Sol because of his history,’ but that’s what an interview is for – meet the person and get to know what he’s actually like. If I don’t impress you in an interview then fine, but at least give me that chance. That’s all I want; to talk to a chairman or owner about my philosophy and what I can do for their team. I’m a winner. I love to build. I’ve got great ideas. I’ve got the passion. I’m very diligent, and if given a chance I’ll work my rear end off to be a success.

Surely you have to apply for a job before getting an invitation for an interview?

Then we have to look at another quote later in the piece:

I’ve got to the stage where I don’t want to keep banging the same drum. I’m a doer and I just want to do it. Whatever attitudes, prejudices, stereotypical ideas that are in front of me, I will break them. But the only way I can break them is by getting a job, and if I need to start in the gutter, I will start in the gutter and work my way up. Money isn’t an issue.

How many L1, L2 or non-league owners would like to be referred to as ‘the gutter’ do you think? I’m hypothesising not too many. Sol Campbell’s problem in getting a job isn’t because of institutional racism. I think it is clear that the sport does have issues to address on that front, significant ones at that. With regards to Campbell though, it is much more of a Sol Campbell issue. Is he serious about football? Is he ready to not walk out if things don’t go his way? Does he really think the lower leagues are a gutter? These are all far more important questions to lower league owners than the colour of his skin.

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Written by neilmonnery

July 17th, 2017 at 5:43 pm

Posted in Football

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On whether Tim Farron’s ‘decided to quit before the GE’ confession adds up…

with one comment

I’m not a cynical person by nature. Wait no, that is a lie. I’m extremely cynical and when bleary eyed this morning I sat there on the sofa and saw the news that Tim Farron had decided to quit before the General Election, I was caught up in mixed emotions. First of all I was tired (that had nothing to do with the news, I was just tired) then I was kinda pissed off and then I started wondering whether it was actually true.

I’ll tell you why I have some issues with the truth of this confession. First of all, the timing. If he had decided to quit a month or so before polling day then surely he then walks away swiftly after the result is known. He doesn’t wait until the Grenfell Tower Fire and squeezes out the news in a very hastefully arranged press announcement. That doesn’t add up at all. Either he’s a pretty awful man and wanted to wait for a tragedy to happen so he could sneak out his news or he had no plans to quit that day. Fair to say that I don’t think he’s a pretty awful man so I’ll go for option B on that one.

The timing of his resignation hasn’t had enough scrutiny within the party. It was fucking repulsive. Repugnant if you will. How dare at a time of such an incident do the party allow their leader to publicly resign and take some of the focus away from the real news that day. We all get angry when governments try and sneak out bad news on days when it might be buried and we did that. The party should be ashamed.

So what other things could have changed Tim Farron’s mind after the General Election result? Could the fact Nick Clegg lost his seat have played a part? The former leader and Deputy Prime Minister went out in the great Corbynista wave where all Lib Dems in Labour facing seats got swept aside as voters flocked to the Labour party. Was he the reason Tim decided to leave or possibly stay on?

Time heals all wounds to some degree and while it is fair to say many people will never forgive the former MP for Sheffield Hallam, it is also not untrue to say his toxicity had been slowly receding. He had found a second wind as the European spokesman for the party in this post EU Referendum world in which we live and those who are firmly opposed to Brexit seemingly had a very positive opinion of him. Did Farron see the writing on the wall that the membership (and maybe the electorate) actually preferred Clegg to him and therefore wanted to go and when Clegg went down, Farron saw he had a clearer path to staying on?

Who knows (well at least one person does but that person is not me) but it is certainly something worth thinking about. If Tim Farron had decided to quit weeks in advance of the General Election then the obvious point to resign would be the morning after. Instead he came out and praised the fact we had increased our representation in parliament by 50% compared to the 2015 debacle. So something must have changed and the obvious thing to point at and question is the fact Nick Clegg wasn’t an MP any more.

If we take him at his word though that he decided to walk away in the early days of the campaign then that doesn’t paint him in a good light either. Had he left a fortnight into the campaign, it would have allowed the party a month to put someone else in the spotlight and interim leader. Logically that would have been Nick Clegg but it obviously may not have been. It could have been Norman Lamb.

If a change had happened though it should be done like a band-aid. You pull it off quickly, deal with the stinging and then get on with it. I have written about Tim’s performances in the media during the campaign and they were mixed. Couple of stinkers but also a couple of good ones. He was certainly far better than the Prime Minister (although I admit, that is a pretty low bar) but maybe the damage had already been done.

The party had all the momentum early but it ground to a halt when talking about the gay sex issue and it was something we all knew was going to be something the party (and Tim) had to nip in the bud. The fact they (and he) did not just knee-capped the campaign and when the decision to move away from hope and towards scare tactics happened, it was game set and match for the party to ever hit the 30-40 MP mark that some (maybe many) thought was possible on April 18 when the General Election was called. Was Farron damaged goods or was the party? That is a great question.

When he only just held on to his seat despite the usual boost that party leaders get, that says a lot. Norman Lamb managed to hold on in North Norfolk despite facing real Brexit related challenges. Tom Brake held off the Tories yet again in Carshalton & Wallington. Stephen Lloyd was able to wrestle back Eastbourne despite it being a leave area. Tim Farron is (and I still say is) a very popular constituency MP but he nearly lost. This has to be down in some degree to his performance as leader of the party.

Maybe had he quit in early May then the party would have been able to wrestle back some of that momentum. I don’t think any party leader should not want to carry on with the job certainly relatively early on in the campaign. Look at Paul Nuttall for example. I do think Tim gave everything but if your heart isn’t deep down in it then people can see that.

I have serious doubts as to whether Tim decided to quit two weeks into the campaign. The timeline just doesn’t fit with how he acted post June 8. If he’s speaking the truth and he knew he was going post General Election and still quit in the Grenfell Tower aftermath then that is not a good look and not a good legacy to leave. People talk about things leaving a bad taste in the mouth, if that is how it went down then bloody hell, that looks terrible.

Lastly he said that his job was to save the party and that it still exists and is moving forward. Well it does still exist but whether it is moving forward is still very much up in the air. The country is clearly veering towards two-party politics once again (more so than two years ago) due to the fact so many LD/Con battles have seen the party move into third behind Labour. Depressingly I don’t see any real recovery unless Brexit is an utter disaster.

Until Jeremy Corbyn gets his chance then the country will want to see what he can do. The next General Election (whenever it will be) will surely see more of a Labour surge and due to the lack of tactical voting prowess of many voters, that will lead to even fewer Lib Dem MPs.

The future’s bright, The future’s orange says a popular advertising slogan. For the Lib Dems though this does not feel accurate at the moment.

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.

Written by neilmonnery

July 14th, 2017 at 9:11 am

Posted in Politics

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On the women’s lacrosse world cup that started in Guildford yesterday…

without comments

I get many press releases come in through the e-mail address associated with this blog and I rarely do much with them. However once in a while I see something which I think would be interesting to use and comment on. One of those things happened this morning when I got a press release about the women’s lacrosse world cup. This event got underway yesterday and I like to think that I have my finger on the pulse of sport but I hadn’t even come across one single murmur on this event and it is going on right here in the UK, Guildford to be precise.

In the notes section English Lacrosse state that, ‘English Lacrosse drives participation of the sport in England. Lacrosse has experienced unprecedented growth over the last five years with now over 30,000 people picking up a stick and playing the game each year. With the 2017 FIL Rathbones Women’s World Cup taking place in England, the exposure and interest in our game has never been greater.

My knowledge of lacrosse is minimal but I know former Penn State running back Evan Royster played the sport and I’m pretty sure Chris Hogan of the Super Bowl winning New England Patriots did as well, also at Penn State.

Below is the press release and here is the playing schedule, so if you are in the area and fancy watching some top level sporting action then get down to Guildford’s Surrey Sports Park at some point over the next ten days…

The FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup kicked off today at Guildford’s Surrey Sports Park, with tournament hosts England facing off against Wales.

England got their 2017 FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup campaign off to a winning start with a 12-6 victory over home nation rivals Wales.

A strong all-round display spearheaded by England captain and game MVP, Laura Merrifield, saw the hosts home after a tight first-half.

Princess Anne, who has been the patron of English Lacrosse for more than 20 years, attended the opening ceremony yesterday, marking the start of the largest women’s sporting event in the UK during 2017.

Twenty five nations will play a total of 97 games of lacrosse over the course of the tournament, building to the showpiece final on Saturday 22nd July.

A 2,500 seat stadium has been created around the main pitch at Surrey Sport Park. A total of 17,000 tickets have been sold for the event, reflecting the worldwide growth in popularity of the sport.

Mark Coups, CEO, English Lacrosse, commented: “What a fantastic way to kick of FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup. Whether you’re an avid follower of the sport, or a new-comer, we encourage everyone to get involved and join in the fun. We look forward to welcoming fans and players from all around the world to Surrey, for what is set to be a thrilling tournament.”

Philip Howell, Chief Executive of investment management firm, Rathbones, commented: “2017 is shaping up to be a watershed year for women in sports, with events such as the Cricket World Cup, Rugby World Cup, and FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup set to boost interest in women’s sports. It’s our hope that the Rathbones World Cup will inspire existing and prospective lacrosse players to pick up a stick and get involved. We at Rathbones are very passionate about the opportunities and values that sport provides, such as team work, commitment and resilience. We are proud of our collaboration with English Lacrosse and Lacrosse Scotland over the past 6 years and look forward to a brilliant world cup.

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Written by neilmonnery

July 13th, 2017 at 10:40 am

Posted in Other Sport

Tagged with