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Day: April 4, 2017

On Jeremy Corbyn’s continued obliviousness to the issue that matters most to most of us…

Jeremy Corbyn has been one of the political heavyweights of the past 18 months. He came from left field to sweep to power as the leader of the Labour party and then followed that up by winning a second leadership contest. He was entrenched as the man in place to take it to the Conservative Party and lead the voice of the opposition. He had it all but chose to stumble and after a while the media are starting to notice.

Take today for example. Corbyn made a speech and it didn’t even get a soundbite on the lunchtime news. All it got were some pictures and the presenter talking over them saying he made said speech. Going to the Guardian I see that the speech was about putting the NHS and education at the heart of Labour’s local election campaigns and here’s the thing, they aren’t issues that are moving the needle right now.

I am pretty sure that the Labour party have said we have x amount of days to save the NHS on multiple occasions in my lifetime alone. Yet despite Ed Miliband putting that at the heart of his campaign in 2015, he lost.

Now as I’ve believed for quite a while now, the whole identity of politics is changing. People are less likely to identify themselves as ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ or ‘socialist’ etc. and more ‘Pro-EU’ or ‘Anti-EU’ – that is the battleground that politics is currently being waged on. People care about what is going to happen next regarding Brexit and how it will affect their lives and the future of their children. That is what people are worried about and not what is going on with the NHS or in education.

I’m not saying if this is right or wrong but that is just how it is at this juncture. On the EU and Brexit you need to have a cohesive and identifiable position. The Lib Dems are clearly lobbing all their Easter eggs in the pro-EU basket. UKIP and the Tories have a tonne of chocolate covered products too and they are all in baskets labelled ‘Anti-EU’ and then we get to the Labour Party. They say that the will of the people has to be served but that they’ll fight the Tories at every stage to get the best deal for the people of the United Kingdom. Yet these words ring hollow as they’ve not fought yet and instead laid down and let the Tories tickle their tummies.

This breathtaking arrogance hasn’t gone unnoticed. The polling data has long seen Jeremy Corbyn’s numbers go down and the Labour party despite being in opposition being 15%+ down in Westminster voting intentions. At this stage in the last parliament Ed Miliband had a sizeable lead in the polls. It only ebbed away when people started to look closer at him and his team and struggled to see them leading the country.

At this stage of the parliament with a government having to deal with a line-ball issue that is splitting the country in half, the opposition should be flying high. They aren’t and the reason for that isn’t Jeremy Corbyn per se but a lack of direction and that certainly comes from the top. His position on the EU has never been a strong one. He kinda likes some portions of the EU but not others and deep down no-one really knows where he stands and if he doesn’t have a strong position on the most important issue this generation will ever face, then no amounts of excellent policies on the NHS or education will cut through (not that we have any evidence he has any of these anyway).

Article 50 has been triggered. The lead of the Pro-EU lobby is clearly Tim Farron and Nick Clegg. Most people in the street will agree that at least they know where the Lib Dems stand on this and will either like what they are hearing from them or hate it. At least they know. When it comes to Labour and Jeremy Corbyn people just don’t know and that is a scary place to be for the Labour party.

Until Jeremy Corbyn and Labour have that clear (and believable) position on what should happen next regarding our future dealings with the EU then they will struggle. Talk about the NHS and education all you want. It sounds great and is vitally important but at this moment in time nothing compares to the short, medium and long-term future than these Article 50 talks and the public know it. Until Labour stand for something on this, they’ll continue to drift towards being an afterthought…

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On the Fratton Yankees…(2017 edition)

It is that time of year, the time of year where I write a blog post about my fantasy baseball team that not even ten people will read. It is lucky I don’t worry too much about my readership numbers for blog posts like this isn’t it…?

So I’m back with my Fratton Yankees. I still have not won this darn league despite having a fantastic squad. I’ve made the playoffs four straight years but haven’t been victorious at the end. Last year I was the overall #1 seed by a considerable margin but tripped over in the playoffs. The year before I was the overall #2 seed but tripped over face first into a BBQ in the playoffs. I got a shellacking and a half.

As per usual we get to keep 12 major league players and four minor league players. We will then draft 12 extra major leaguers along with four more minor leaguers in the draft.

I kept:

Buster Posey – C
Daniel Murphy – 2B
Manny Machado – SS/3B
Josh Donaldson – 3B
George Springer – OF
Kyle Schwarber – OF
Miguel Sano – 3B/OF
Billy Hamilton – OF
Yasiel Puig – OF
Yu Darvish – SP
Roberto Osuna – RP
Aroldis Chapman – RP

I had one real decision in the major league portion of the draft. Yasiel Puig has all the talent in the world but hasn’t put it together for two straight years yet I didn’t want to give up on his talent. This meant I kept him over Kenta Maeda, a starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. I’m still not sure if I made the right decision there as I really liked Maeda but that is how I rolled.

In the minor league portion I kept Joey Gallo, Lucas Giolito, Kevin Maitan and Lazaro Armenteros. Gallo is the power hitting 3B/OF of the Rangers who has issues actually hitting the ball (when he makes contact it goes a long long way), Giolito is the #1 SP prospect in the game but his stock seems to be falling. Maitan is a young SS prospect who was the #1 international prospect last year and Armenteros is a complete unknown but has been called the Cuban Bryce Harper so I rolled the dice.

In the draft itself (major league portion) I took Albert Pujols first to fill my hole at 1B and then went 11 straight pitchers. DeSciafini, Wainwright, Zimmermann, Lynn, Uehara, Rondon, Volquez, Liriano, Sabathia, Kazmir and Stephenson. My first pitcher is already injured and might need TJ surgery so is very possible to miss the whole season and neither Kazimr nor Stephenson broke camp with jobs in the starting rotation. Not exactly ideal that…

In the minor league portion I added Padres SP prospects Quantrill and Morejon. Former #1 overall pick Mark Appel came next followed by Mets SP prospect Szapecki. So another four pitchers. Overall that meant I made 16 picks in the draft and only took one hitter (Pujols) and he was my first pick.

Since the draft I have made one big trade though. Miguel Sano has gone for a haul of four players. A deal I couldn’t really say no to. I got Tyler Skaggs and Alex Cobb to bolster my rotation. Young SP prospect Michael Kopech who throws 105 MPH and is the #2 SP prospect according to Jon Sickels and also got Luis Robert, an unknown who was the best young player in Cuba last year and was described by one scout as the best baseball player on the planet. The type of hype I all too often buy into. Also the type of player I like to own the rights to just to see what happens.

The season started yesterday and to replace DeSciafini and Osuna (both on the DL) I brought in Alex Gordon to give me a spare bat on the bench and Sergio Romo, who’ll be setting up for the Dodgers this season.

Is this the year I finally win this league (its been going since the 2006 season) or is this another year of disappointment? I know one thing, no-one really cares but I can tell you this, I will grimly be participating all season long with the goal to not only win but to create a dynasty…

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.