Usually the weeks go by out here in the countryside when I have nothing more serious to think about than where to put certain plants in the garden or what to put on my shopping list. Now, suddenly, in the last ten days or so, three things have arisen in the news about which I have really had to think deeply - and in all cases I am undecided about my view. So I present them all to you, dear readers. If you feel like commenting on any one of them (or all if you have that much time) then you may help me to make up my mind on these issues - and my goodness me I would value your opinion far more than that of the so-called celebrities, who seem called upon to give their opinion about these things.
The Wayne Rooney swear-word!
For anyone (maybe in the US) who doesn't know about this (I can't believe there is anyone in the UK who doesn't know as it has been plastered over the papers for days) - after scoring three goals in fairly rapid succession this talented but rather troubled player turned to the cameras and shouted f***!!! Shock! Horror! Outrage! The general opinion seems to be that he was presenting a bad image to young people who idolise him and encouraging them to do the same when they played football. I think I agreed until early last week, when someone wrote a letter to the Times saying something along the lines that tempers got raised, the crowd whipped everything up into a frenzy and that he should be forgiven because it was this same heightened excitement which had caused him to be such a talented player in the first place. I see that now he has avoided the three match ban which was threatened - he has apologised - and as Simon Barnes rightly points out in the Times - if every player who swears (and the f word seems to be the least offensive) is sent off there will be nobody left on the pitch by half time.
So - what do you think? Should he have received a ban? Should we condemn him?
I honestly don't know the answer.
The AV Referendum
There is a long article in the Times on this today. I have read the Government circular on it and I have read the article. There is a list of "celebrities" who support a change to AV - and again I ask - do I really need to take my view from so-called "celebrities" like Tony Robinson, Eddie Izzard and Billy Bragg? I really have no idea whether I would like the change or not. It does really seem to me that the "first past the post" idea is the better (in spite of recent prosecutions for fiddling expenses) and if we had AV then might not a really unsuitable candidate get in? In any case I suspect that the turn out for the referendum will be very low with most people not being bothered. Are you in favour of AV?
The Grand National
On Saturday the weather was so hot that the horses dehydrated and at the end the jockey jumped off Ballabriggs, the winner, and walked into the Winners' Enclosre so that the horse could be showered with buckets of cold water to rehydrate him. The jockey has been banned for excessive use of the whip in the last few furlongs as he pressed the horse to stay in front. And during the race two horses, Ornais and Dooney's Gate died as they jumped. Is this any different from getting a thrill from bull-fighting? Simon Barnes today says that this year's race will be the last one he watches as he can no longer cope with the idea of horses dying for entertainment. He says he is not making an objection - he is just walking away. So now I need to think about my view on that. Is it a race that should continue? If not then is Simon Barnes right to just walk away or should he stand up and be counted?
Tough decisions to make on a Monday morning - but they are all things that are troubling me at the moment and - as we all know - a trouble shared is a trouble halved.