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Month: December 2011

Kauto Star wins a fifth King George VI

I think it is fair to say I’m not a huge Horse Racing guy. I work for a company who deals in Horse Racing but I keep the sport at an arms length but today I actually switched away from the football to watch the King George VI Stakes at Kempton Park for one reason and one reason only – Kauto Star.

This horse is something special but the past year hadn’t been impressive. Was he finished? Was it just nostalgia that was drawing the punters in? Could he go from being a great horse to a truly special horse? He won the race in 2006 and again in 2007, 2008 and 2009 before not making the grade last year. He also fell short in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. It looked like he might be done.

Then a few weeks back he won the Betfair Chase and looked very good in doing so and the punters flocked back. He went off today as 2nd favourite behind Long Run who left as Evens.

Over the next 18 fences Kauto Star would show us all that he wasn’t done as he won by a length and a half and jumped absolutely majestically. It was like watching Colin Jackson in his pomp. Every jump was perfect and every landing was crisp. Several times he jumped level with another horse but would land a length ahead just on the strength of his jumping ability.

I’m still not a Horse Racing fan but I am a sporting fan and when there is someone or in this case something special then I will tune in to watch. I can assure you that if Kauto Star is fit and runs in the Cheltenham Gold Cup I’ll be watching to see if he can win again in March.

The bookies don’t know what to price him at as he is as long as 7s and as short as 3s to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the time of writing.

Kauto Star. What a horse.

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Christmas Day in the Monnery Apartment

Well the calendar on my iPhone has ticked over to December 26 and Christmas Day is over for another year. So how did I spend the day?

I woke up around 8ish but that was far too early. Happily my body also realised this and thus I fell asleep once again and got up nearer 12. I had a Christmas Breakfast Curry as I usually do and this year it was a two horse race between King Prawn Masala and Chicken Jalfrezi and after a lengthy look at both it was the Chicken Jalfrezi that got the nod and that was breakfast.

The Goals on Sunday Christmas Special with Kammy and Ben Shepherd started the day off. The guests were Ian Wright and Robbie Keane. I must say that Sky have the two best football shows on the tellybox with Goals on Sunday and Soccer Saturday with Jeff and the boys.

Jeff and the Boys were on a bit later in the afternoon looking back on all their Christmas specials. The two best ones were clearly 2004 and the SeniorStars tournament. The big man Alan McInally really was good at that despite not winning. Also the Soccer Saturday Cup they did down in Southampton was fantastic. I would love it if they did that every year as that was an enjoyable watch.

Next I put my Turkey on. However it wasn’t what you’d call a traditional Christmas Dinner as all that I cooked was a Bernard Matthews Turkey Breast joint thing. No roasts, no stuffing, no veg, just that. One of my former housemates Carla would not be amused. She thought those turkey things were just awful but I’ve always kinda liked them. If she ever reads this I know she’ll be straight on my Facebook wall tutting.

Whilst that was cooking there was a special on England’s rise to #1 in the world of cricket with Ian Ward and Andrew Strauss. This was another good piece of TV. So far I hadn’t watched anything other than Sky Sports all day but I did flick over to Dave Ja Vu and caught the Top Gear Vietnam Special.

Not exactly sure how I spent the next couple of hours and it was today. Must have just potted around on the net or something. No TV rings a bell until Rocky started at Ten of which I saw an hour until Sky’s coverage of the Boxing Day Test started. Nice to have both Richie Benaud and Bill Lawry back in my life – if only for five days.

Now I’m eating Belgian Chocolates (because I have no cake of any description in the apartment – bad planning by me) and watching the cricket. The Packers v The Bears at on at 1:30 AM and I’ll no doubt see a bit of that. Somehow I’m ahead in my Fantasy NFL match-up despite an awful weekend so far. It’s a two week final and it looks likely that I’ll have a small lead going into next week.

So that was my Christmas Day. Some would say that sounds lonely and very weird but is really rather normal for me. I don’t think I’ve had a ‘traditional’ Christmas for a decade for so. That is just the way it is…

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Matthew Banks walks free from prison early

This has to be one of the more interesting cases I have seen in a while. A juror phones the court claiming to be ill thus leading to a postponement of a criminal case. All seems fine and dandy until it turns out that he was actually in London attending a show. Not so clever. He lied not once but twice to court officials about where he was before admitting to the judge what he had done on the Monday. He thought he’d get a fine. He got time. You can read the report on the BBC News website behind the link. The version in the Daily Mail was shall we say less newsy and more ‘aren’t the courts evil for sending a 19 year-old to a young offenders institute when there are terrorists and foreign pweople allowed to roam the streets’.

Matthew Banks was released early today because his due date for release was Boxing Day. Apparently no-one can be let out of jail on Boxing Day because – well – no-one has specified why not but it probably has to do with a national newspaper getting on the bandwagon. He admits that it was stupid to lie to the court but that he had received the ticket to the show ‘as a gift and didn’t want to let people down’.

Look I know we’ve all done stupid things in our lives but lying to a court is more than stupid. Although heck we had ITV1’s The Jury a few weeks back which seemed to show you can lie to a court and get away with it so who knows. He certainly deserved a legitimate punishment and not ‘just a fine’ – a long community service sentence would have suited me just fine as the kid no doubt will have learned his lesson just by being in the dock however the judge decided to send him down and I’m not sure the family have any legal rights to get the conviction overturned. He committed contempt of court and the judge had every legal right to send him down for a few days.

Apparently the kid had only just moved to university and his mother was dead against him doing jury duty. I don’t understand why this is the case. He’s 19 years of age and goes to university. He should have it in him to sit in a jury box and be part of a jury. I see no reason why he shouldn’t do it. Speaking to the Daily Mail his mother says that he hadn’t settled in well at university as though that is mitigating circumstances for his behaviour. Really? Really? REALLY?

Having a criminal record is going to impact his future career prospects and that is sad. All for just being stupid. However many other people have criminal records for being stupid, usually on an impulse. This wasn’t an impulsive choice. He thought that it didn’t matter if he was ill and that the trial would carry on regardless if he was there or not. That shows that he calculated this and believed he would get away with lying to a court. I just can’t see why anyone would ever think that was a good idea.

I feel he was dealt with harshly by the judge but not illegally. He did the crime and got a very tough sentence. The old adage of ‘if you can’t do the time then don’t do the crime’ is a good one. Young Matthew Banks knew what he was doing and he knew that contempt of court was a crime yet he decided to do it anyway.

You do have to feel for him on some level (and I do) but not egregiously so. Lying to a court is just not the done thing. He probably didn’t deserve to spend time behind bars but on the flip side a fine would have been far too lenient. If I were him I’d lick my wounds and get on with it. Sadly it looks like he and his mother have a different idea of how to move forward as they are planning a national petition to get his criminal record expunged despite him having admitted to a crime…

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The Budget and Debt Crisis Explained…

Here is the budget and debt crisis explained in plain English…

The Budget Crisis Explained in Plain English
The Budget Crisis Explained

The author makes a fairly valid point…

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Who wants to see a video of a monkey riding a dog?

After writing a 2,500+ word piece about banking and the future of the Euro yesterday, I think it’s time for a little wind down. Who wants to see a video of a monkey riding a dog?

If you answered ‘me’ then it’s your lucky day. If you answered ‘not me’ then I can only apologise.

How crazy is that?

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‘If Europe lets the Euro fail it wont stop there’ – The Banker Interview

I may have been quiet recently but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t very busy behind the scenes working on things for the blog (actually it means my PC is in the coldest room in the apartment and I haven’t felt like writing too much recently) however over the weekend I was granted an interview with a senior banker at a major bank who spoke to me on the condition of anonymity and we spoke about several issues firstly the Euro.

I put it to the banker that despite the people in the UK clearly not giving two hoots about the Euro and in fact deep down wanting it to fail that if the Eurozone goes down like Boris Johnson is predicting then it will be trouble for all of us. His first terse response was quite simple, ‘start stashing all your cash in your mattress. If it goes in an uncontrolled fashion, we are all buggered‘. Not exactly the heart-warming way to start a conversation but he thinks it is clear that the future of the Euro as a viable currency is linked to the stability of the financial sector across the Globe.

Next I asked him about the recent downgrading of French banks and whether that makes him and his bank more uneasy about the situation, ‘The downgrade is becoming irrelevant – all that impacts is funding the credit rating agencies are essentially morally bankrupt – no idea why the world listens to them. We are a great example. We have more capital, more funding, more liquidity, more cash than we did when we were a AAA bank – and yet we are now barely AA. The rules have changed and the rating agencies are acting like they think no one has noticed.

So credit ratings are not as important as the media are leading us to believe. His bank is clearly in a far better financial state than it was in 2007 when the banking crisis started but because of a lack of confidence in the bank they are facing the consequences. Liquidity is everything at the moment as we saw when Lehman Brothers collapsed. Speaking of Lehman Brothers…

The parallel to draw for me is the unintended consequences – when we let Lehman fail, we thought we were letting the market know that there was no one too big to fail. What governments still don’t seem to realise is that the markets are not in their control, and that they will continue to seek the weakest link. If Europe lets the Euro fail it won’t stop there and just because we are outside the Euro, (it) doesn’t mean we won’t suffer the full impact of (the) unintended consequences. I really don’t know how we stop this circle – but essentially the markets are saying they want risk free investment – that is ok, but they need to accept that risk free returns aren’t very exciting. So our share price is what 25p? So we are being punished for carrying too much risk, but if we dont create income, dont create returns – they sell our stock anyway – so (we are) damned if we do, damned if we don’t.’

It seemed to me that he was getting at confidence being the primary reason for the collapse and not in fact any other factors, ‘am I right in hypothesising that everything seems to be linked to confidence. No-one has any and because of that nothing good can happen‘ I muse. ‘absolutely – cant stress that enough‘ comes the reply. So it is clear to him that it all comes down to how governments around the World deal with the crisis.

On how and what governments do he says thus, ‘It is why everyone needs to be so careful – actions can create confidence, but markets need to be confident that actions will be carried out. So when some faceless beaureacrat says something contradictory – no matter how low level they are, market jumps on it as evidence that actions wont be completed‘. Talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words. David Cameron has spoken what the people of the UK want to hear and we have seen that in a six point bounce in the polls over the weekend. The British people are in general not Euro-loving folk but even more so they don’t want our money being thrown at the Euro-zone trying to save it. However one thing the majority of people in Great Britain do not have is a grasp of the upper echelons of economics and how the Euro-zone impacts not only those in it but also those around it and the state of the financial markets around the Globe.

We again drift back to Lehman Brothers and the whole ‘too big to fail’ issue when I say about the only reason the bank when down was because of a lack of liquidity, ‘Yep – for banks liquidity is everything – everything. What does it matter if I have AAA mortgages that mature in 20 years if I have to pay back the money tomorrow? I won’t be about in 20 years to collect on the AAA mortgages. if I don’t make that payment tomorrow and in the good old days, everyone knew that XXX bank would still be here in 20 years, so lend money for that long now, tell me a bank that you would be shocked by if it went bust? So when governments are out there saying no bank is too big too fail… well if that is true, why should I lend them money?’

So I offer up the ideal that everyone now only wants safe investments, ‘Yep – which is fine, but people dont seem to see the link – I have a 25 year mortgage with Barclay’s. if Barclay’s can’t guarantee they will have funding for that long, why would they give me a mortgage for that long? So a mortgage becomes a ten year loan, who can afford to pay off their mortgage over 10 years? So home prices collapse…and I mean really collapse. So everyone owes so much more – is that the banks fault or your fault? And if we are saying it is the banks fault, then don’t complain when they say to the next customer – we need a 40% – 50% deposit and if they do that (then) house prices collapse… (it’s a) vicious circle‘.

Not looking great is it? Next I move steer the conversation towards politics as Labour with their ‘Bankers Bonus Tax’ and plethora of other ideas that essentially shifts all the blame on to the bankers and the banking sector for the past few years of instability is a bugbear of mine. The senior banker tells me quite bluntly, ‘If all the bad is laid at our feet, then all the good from the twenty years previous should be on us as well‘. You have to say he makes a pretty good point. The banking sector was the driving force behind the boom from the mid 90s through to 2007. The World’s economy now has the financial sector at heart and not manufacturing however back away from the narrative and return again to the banker…

If you think of the politicians who said they had beaten boom and bust – nonsense. We (just) had a long time without it and people dont seem to know how to respond we live in a society where we want everything now – that is a general issue – and so we want all our problems solved now – sometimes solutions take time because we create a solution today and it hasn’t worked by tomorrow doesn’t mean it has failed‘.

One thing is clear throughout this interview and that is one of frustration. Now frustration directed at the banks but with how they are being portrayed both by politicians and by the media. ‘Bankers’ has become a buzz word both in the rooms of the media and in the hallows of parliament. The people of the UK think that the bankers caused the mess and should pay to get us out of this mess but the issue is clearly they aren’t being allowed to do what they have to do. The problem is that the financial sector is linked too closely to the government and when the government keep talking about how bad things are and how much worse it could get all it does it dent confidence.

Speaking with regards to the Euro Accord that we didn’t sign up to last week I made it clear that my fear is that it isn’t legally binding. Countries can walk away from this deal if they think it will help them. In times of crisis we all know people will protect themselves first and foremost and will screw over anyone else as long as they are safe. ‘That is fair – (it) needs to be made into a treaty – and if Britain is on the outside of that so be it. I am a great believer in the single market, but everything beyond that is a stupid political stretch. There was never a need for a single currency – unless you do full economic union it was destined to create the pressures we are seeing in bad times. Europe has always had a democratic deficit, you can’t hide that behind an economic union‘.

I put forward my case on the single currency being a vanity project from certain areas of Europe and I think it is fair to say he agreed, ‘I think European leaders have a single Europe as a vanity project – they see a single Europe as the ultimate outcome and the single currency was a way of helping deliver it. There is a psychological element that I don’t know that Britain gets – our country was never invaded, many of theirs were. A single peaceful Europe is a great goal particularly if you were on the receiving end

It is clear we are speaking the same language as we both think the ultimate goal was to create a ‘United States of Europe’ but the feasibility of this was always far too flung to work. Would a Frenchman be happy to be led by a German? Would a British leader of a united Europe speak for the people of Greece? There is too much distinct water under the bridge for that to happen. The United States works because it is a new country without that rich history. The people of New Mexico and of New York are very different but they don’t have centuries of hate underneath them. Also they speak the same language. I know many American citizens only speak Soanish but that is different to the tens of languages spoken throughout Europe.

I ask how he thought the people of Britain would react to having a German leader? ‘We are all humans – Britain … German… it is just a label. How could a women ever be led by a man…it is just a label. If I can tell you how I can make your life better, and you believe me, you would let me lead, it wouldn’t matter if I was man, woman, child, German, Spaniard… but you would have to believe me and (the) media in Britain would certainly make it very, very hard for anyone other than a Britain… but then if you had told an Englishman in 1966 that an Italian or a Swede would manage England footie team they would have laughed, so who knows.’

Of course the football decisions weren’t put to a vote and I’m sure had it been then neither Sven or Fabio would ever have got the job (although bizarrely I think Martin O’Neill was the nations choice when Fabio got the job so who knows. I say that people are becoming more intolerant and he jumps in, ‘for some reason despite things getting better and better, we live in more fear – if you want to blog about something, ask why we think things are worse, when they are actually better than ever we live longer, in better quality, than we ever have. Life is so much easier than it has ever been and yet we look for the negative in pretty much everything and ignore the good – even immigration – we look at it as a negative – yet every person who wants to immigrate to your country is sending the biggest compliment they can – they like the way of life so much, the opportunities offered so much they are willing to leave home behind yet all we see is – they want our benefits…

This is a huge issue I have. I am very much pro-immigration as I believe we have the rights to live and work where we see fit. Yes the media are right and there are some people who come to this country for the wrong reason however those people are not in the majority and they are a very small minority. What gives me more of a right to live in the UK compared to others who weren’t born in this country? In my opinion not a lot. However all I ever read in the newspapers is how awful immigration is and going back to two earlier points it once again shows how the media have an impact on what happens – they are causing trouble with immigration because they only ever report the negative aspects of it and also how when times get tricky people look out for themselves a whole lot more than they did before. The Polish community were welcomed when they first came over here to do all the jobs we didn’t want but now times are hard the general consensus is that they are ‘coming over here nicking all our jobs’ whereas the truth is they came over here to do all the jobs we didn’t want to do.

So to sum up it seems pretty clear that this Prime Minister has an issue that is nagging away and jawing at him daily. He has to weigh up the feelings of the people he represents with those of doing the right thing for the economy. The people he represents do not have the full facts laid out in front of them therefore they cannot make a totally informed decision. However they also want immediate results and they are influenced heavily by the media who are at best xenophobic to the extreme when it comes to Europe on a political level.

I don’t vote for a person or a political party to do what I want them to do. I vote for them as I think they will make the best choices for me on my behalf. I am not well informed on every issue (I’m not well informed on many issues) but these people are. We elect them to be informed and make the right decisions for the people they represent. David Cameron used the veto which may or may not have been the right decision, that I do not know. What I do know is our economy is bound to that of the Euro and the single market. If one or both goes then the ripples of discontent around the Globe will turn into earthquakes and tsunamis in the financial sector and that will effect us all.

What it would mean is basically cash is king and those with it will be fine. Those without it will be left floundering as credit for any reason will become nearly impossible to get. Saving the Euro and the single market is not about bailing out Europe but it is about saving ourselves. The collapse of either would doom the less well off for generations to come. The Tories traditionally wouldn’t mind that but the concious of them would surely not want to see the gap between the haves and have nots increase to record levels surely?

It is all rather worrying that a Prime Minister might put his own electability ahead of the future of the people he represents. I know it must be hard to marry the two voices in his head from opposite directions as to what is more important, doing what is right and doing what the people want. Sometimes these two voices are polar opposite but he has been elected to represent the people of the UK and not to speak for them. There is a succinct difference.

No-one said being Prime Minister was ever going to be easy…

I thank the banker for his time and he heads off to a gym for a workout. I head off to a chip shop for some dinner. We live very different lives on more than one level so it seems…

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Joan Richardson of The SEO Co is back again…

A couple of months ago I was contacted by Joan Richardson of The SEO Co trying to help me get my website higher in Google. I laughed so much I wrote a blog about it An SEO linkbuilding masterclass – well nearly… but it seems as though ripping her e-mail to shreds wasn’t enough for Joan as she’s back again sending me the same e-mail two months later…

Joan Richardson The SEOCO
Back for more Joan...?

I’m gutted my back-links and number of pages indexed haven’t changed in two months. You would have thought that maybe with the 20,000+ plus hits on my piece about not being allowed to have a wank in the University of St Andrews Library toilets would have at least garnered me one more back-link but alas apparently it didn’t.

Sometimes I look at people in the linkbuilding industry and just cry. Having been there at one point (and having a 20-25% success rate on links) I know how to get a reply and this company really don’t. So instead of getting any business they just get another sarcastic blog post from me. Well I suppose all publicity is good publicity…

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It’s not just us who are racist…

This afternoon I went on to YouTube to watch the final session highlights of the wonderful Australia v New Zealand test match that ended in Hobart overnight. I did watch it live but wanted to see it again. I found a good video showing the last five minutes and the two overturned decisions. The video is embedded below;

However after my happiness of finding a good edit I saw the most popular comment underneath the video which is uploaded below:

Aussie Racism...

Oh boy. My heart sunk. The fact that the commenter used the word moral when he meant morale annoyed me a little bit but the open racism makes me want to puke. The young cricketer in question is a fine left handed prospect and he deserves no stick just because of his skin colour. All this comment did was to remind me that racism exists all over the world and the belief that we are all equal certainly isn’t an overwhelming narrative that the rest of the world lives by. The other thing that crushed me was how many people agreed with it as it has the most thumbs up of any comment.

Racism is all over and it makes me sad.

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Does V for Veto equate to V for Victory?

So I was up early this morning. Way too early for my liking. I flick through my iPhone in bed and see on twitter that big news was coming down that we had used our powers of veto and not signed up to a new treaty that it was hoped would save the Eurozone. The reasons we have used our veto seem pretty clear. The deal would actually harm the UK but strengthen Europe.

As the UK is not in the Euro our viewpoint was always going to be different from the French and the Germans who are busy forcing through urgent changes. Germany want it to safe the Eurozone and the French (Sarkozy) want it because they (he) want to save their (his) jobs. Having David Cameron be the public bad guy works out great for Sarkozy as whatever happens he can point to it in presidential race which will go down well with the natives.

However despite this should the Eurozone fail it will hit us hard so we can’t be flippant. David Cameron is pretty centralist as Europe goes and he did discuss the situation with his Deputy and his Chancellor. So it wasn’t a unilateral decision and the Lib Dems were involved. This though has of course stirred the twitterari as they are a) happy that their party was involved but b) unhappy they were involved. Being a Lib Dem and having some actual influence is a hard thing for party members as we are used to railing against the man. Now we talk and debate with the man and that just isn’t as much fun.

I saw a City of London analyst on Sky News this AM say that 37% of the World’s financial sector business outside of the Far East and the US is done in London. Is is by far the busiest hub of non Far East and US financial business and this is despite the UK not being in the Eurozone so any changes to conditions in the City of London would have a huge effect. Remember this treaty wasn’t about the EU as a whole but about the financial sector aspect of the EU. We still have a voice at the EU table although now it’s more than likely they’ll be bloc voting of the ‘in’s’ and ‘out’s’ of their accord.

Next though is the question of whether or not this accord is legally binding? From all I’ve read and seen on the news this AM it seemingly will not be (but that of course isn’t known yet either way). If it isn’t then what is to stop one or more of the countries floating the rules to get more business? Not a lot. If 23 countries are all playing happy families then good times but all it takes is for one or two to take their ball back and play the game their own way for political reasons and the house of cards topples to the floor again.

Do I trust all of the leaders of Europe to play nice for ever and ever? No. Do I feel that they can play nice for a year or two? Of that I’m even unsure. The Euro crisis is spreading like a wildfire and today three of the top French banks have had their credit rating dropped. As it currently stands the UK is feeling the pinch but the wildfire is being doused by the English Channel. Had we gone all in to try to save the Eurozone without ensuring our financial sector survived then that would have been reckless.

I know there are far more clever people out there who know what they are talking about. I’m just a relatively ill-informed bystander but from what I’ve read the veto probably had to be used. The French were desperate to have everything their own way. The Eurozone needed the UK more than the UK needed the Eurozone but they needed the UK to give a lot more than it was going to get.

The Eurozone needs to survive. Of that there is little doubt. However was their proposed treaty definitely going to save the Eurozone? No. Would it have enhanced its chances of survival? Probably? Enough that it was worth us risking our place as the hub of the financial sector outside of the Far East and the US? I think not but that is something that will be debated for years.

I have long been a proponent of a stronger and united Europe but not at all costs. The UK would not have entered this treaty on a level playing field. It came to the table in a strong bargaining position and were unable to get what they wanted but they were also unwilling to give up what was desired. So it was stalemate and now we are outside the tent pissing in instead of the preferred position of being inside and pissing out. It’s not ideal but considering the options and the Eurozone wildfire it might be the best of a bad situation.


Nick Clegg has now spoken:

I regret that last night it proved to be impossible to find a way forward as a group of 27 on European treaty change.

I have said for months that it would be best to avoid arcane debates about treaty change altogether and if we had to proceed down that road, it would be best to do so in a way that did not create divisions in Europe

The demands Britain made for safeguards, on which the Coalition Government was united, were modest and reasonable. They were safeguards for the single market, not just the UK.

There were no demands of repatriation of powers from the EU to Britain and no demands for a unilateral carve-out of UK financial services.

What we sought to ensure was to maintain a level playing field in financial services and the single market as a whole. This would have retained the UK’s ability to take tougher, not looser, regulatory action to sort out our banking system.

As a lifelong pro-European, I will continue to argue within Government and with our European partners that where changes now occur, it is essential that the integrity of our open European single market is kept intact and that we work together on the long term problems of competitiveness within the EU on which millions of people’s jobs depend.

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and the Thorpe Bay Billy No Mates survive!

Who could have seen this coming six weeks ago? The Thorpe Bay Billy No Mates looked like toast. After a stunning first week massacre of the Goat belief was high in the camp but then a run of only one win from six led to a 2-5 record and the only hope of making the playoffs was to win out.

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Well that makes you in the majority – a heavy majority.

The Thorpe Bay Billy No Mates are my fantasy NFL team in the ESPN league ‘Twitter Tw@ats’. My draft was awful in retrospect. Javhid Best got concussion and is out for the year. Ryan Grant just never got going. Chad Ochocinco never made it into Tom Brady’s good books and Austin Collie got nothing from whoever was playing under center for the Colts as it wasn’t Peyton Manning. So basically both my starting RB and WR stunk and the dream was over.

Or was it?

People said I had given up. So I decided to really stan the waiver wire and see what could be done. Plaxico Burress was on my bench and he came in. I still had both Tom Brady and Philip Rivers in my QB/Offensive Player positions and had two great Tight Ends in Antonio Gates and Aaron Hernandez although they both faced injury issues in the middle of the year. I picked up Reggie Bush who started to play great and I was cobbling together wins.

In week eight the first win of the six needed came – 98-65 over Scotter Steelers. Thanks in large to a 28 point performance by the Lions Defense. It was a start but before I could dream of the promised land I needed to at least get to .500. The next week I came against a team who would eventually be good enough for the playoffs in Grant Holt’s Moustache and triumphed 123-96 thanks to a breakout day from Julio Jones as well as Reggie Bush’s coming out party. Next week the Portsmouth Pirates went down 93-69 and it was on.

Then came week 11 and near disaster. A 79-77 win over Pompey Giants and that match-up was still in doubt heading into Monday Night Football. He led by 11 and had the Chiefs QB. I had Tom Brady. I was without a doubt the underdog by Tyler Palko’s stinky night led to him only getting three points and Tom Brady amassed 16. A skin of the teeth victory and now two wins and I was in.

The Yorkshire Pudding’s put up a great fight in week 12 only to go down 98-91 and then we come to this week. I was down by 12 heading into Monday Night Football. My oppo the Malicious Penguins had the Chargers D which scared me. I still had Philip Rivers (who had been a bust in all honesty all year) and Antonio Gates still to go. I thought the Chargers D against the stinky Jags O would score real points so I thought Rivers would have to remember he was Philip freaking Rivers and go to the vertical passing game. Oh boy did he.

Rivers threw for three scores and over 275 yards for 23 points and a 103-88 result ended the regular season. From fighting for last place I have made the playoffs and a two-week match-up against the 10-3 MileHigh Orangesquash who have been as dominant as any fantasy NFL team I have seen. Still my boys have been on a roll and I hope to make it interested. I need to see my players play at the top of their game. We’ll see how they do but whatever happens my slogan for weeks on my Tuesday morning twitter feed and in my Tuesday morning e-mail to the other Neil (the fitter, more athletic, more important businessman type one) has been ‘and the Thorpe Bay Billy No Mates…’ with the e-mail just saying ‘…survive!’

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