Articles

Credit where it’s due

In Uncategorized on April 25, 2011 by grahamharrowell

What made me drop my newspaper and head for the PC with a determined drive to blog?

Was it Clegg suddenly saying that the Tories were not telling the truth and deceiving people? If this fact has suddenly come to him as a revelation then he is clearly not fit to be in government. If, however, this is not an epiphany and he knew it all the time and has only just decided for convenience to admit it, then he’s not fit to be in government. Either way he’s not fit to be in government.

Or was it Cameron? Dear old Man of the People Dave, ever intent on saving public money has created 117 new peers since he got his hands on the reins of power. This, despite promising in writing before the election (remind me, who else breaks election promises?) that he’d cut the number to between 600 and 650 saving £12m a year. Well the savings will have to come from somewhere else, so watch out if you work in the public sector, or become old, sick or poor. Presumably giving his rich chums’ kids internships in Whitehall wasn’t enough to pay them off so he puts the parents in the Lords. Interestingly, he defends the move by saying it’s needed to redress the balance in the Lords where Labour have a majority. So, Dave, the numbers in parliament are supposed to be balanced, are they? So what’s all this nonsense about first past the post and the need for a majority government? Surely you should be calling for a vote in favour of proportional representation and then just have a coalition every time. No it wasn’t that either.

No, it was David Flatman who is a front-rower. Fair play to him he admits that “I seldom have time to consider much but the three inches in front of my face” but the piece under his by-line in the Independent is a cheek. He has the effrontery to claim that he’s come up with the idea of “summer rugby”

The caption under the accompanying photo says “With my plan, fixtures would begin not long after New Year and end not long before Christmas”. Your plan? Come on Dave!

Summer Rugby has existed for years. Along with payments for players, yellow and red cards, the sin bin, video referees, leagues with promotion and relegation, diversity and just about everything else the Rugby League did it first. Flatman, of course, will not mention its name. Not that there is a formal prohibiton any more, it’s just that Union culture still treats the better game as an outcast. Union does its bit for diversity by preserving things like line outs to ensure a place in the team for the unnaturally tall and those scrums that go on for ages for the unnaturally broad. (There was one scrum on a televised game this weekend that took ages to resolve. The crowd became restless.)

Flatman raises the issue just a week after the amateurs in Rugby League considered a move to the summer. It’s alright for those who can earn a living at the game. Not only can they get an improvement in their workplace conditions (warmer and drier), but they can eliminate competition from better players from the Southern Hemisphere whilst (as Flatman does) talking of “synchronising” the seasons. What it doesn’t take into account is the much greater number, the vast majority, who play rugby (of either code) for pleasure. These are the real stalwarts of the game. They turn out whatever the weather at their own expense and give of their best whilst holding down another job. Many also enjoy their sport so much that they play cricket all summer. I don’t suppose Dave is suggesting winter cricket, so that we synchronise with the season in Australia, is he?

No doubt Dave has also been pressed to float this possibility by the Union bosses. Last week there was an article about the top clubs’ finances. Since the professionalisation of the great amateur game agreat deal of money has flowed into the players’ pockets. If you have good players, you win games. If you win games, you get to the top of the league. If you get to the top, you attract paying spectators and sponsors – as in association football. Well, we all know that it doesn’t work like that. Ask any of the FA clubs who are in financial difficulties. Only those with rich (usually foreign) sugar daddy can bankroll their clubs.

With a couple of notable exceptions who are just in the black the top flight RU clubs in England appear to be deeply in debt. One is, I seem to recall, £6M in th red. A lot of that money is yours and mine. The last creditor to get paid is the tax man. It’s also usually the taxman who gets it in the ear when, having decided enough is enough, HMRC apply for a winding up order to prevent further abuse as a line of interest free credit.

So Dave Flatman and his chums now want to tap into the income streams of Rugby League and of Cricket to finance their own inflated salaries. That’s business, I suppose. It all stopped being sport, in the Corinthian sense, a long time ago. But please Dave, don’t try and claim it as your idea. Give credit where credit is due. Acknowledge that once again Rugby league was ahead of you and got it right, and while your at it get rid of thos line outs.

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One Response to “Credit where it’s due”

  1. Calm down, dear (as they say in Parliament)

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