Monday, 11 April 2011

Three dilemmas in ten days.

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.


Tom Stephenson said...

A: F*** Wayne Rooney.

B: F*** all politicians.

C F*** the Grand National.

I hope that's been of some help, Weaver.

Elizabeth said...

I do not know what AV is!
I fear that F*** has become as common as 'damn' and has lost much of its punch.

I think the commentator above does have a point.....

Heather said...

I'll try to keep it in a nutshell Pat.
Wayne Rooney might be a young man who swears all the time, so a celebratory f*** meant nothing to him, and he didn't actually swear at anyone. A ticking off - yes, but a ban, no.
AV - no. Everything is getting more complicated by the day and changing our voting system will just make it more so.
Grand National - I haven't watched since I first saw it on TV many years ago when 3 or 4 horses had to be destroyed. If the jockey hadn't urged his horse on he would have been in trouble from the trainer and owner. A case of damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. The race, like many other events, is at the mercy of our almost unpredictable weather conditions.
Hope this helps - it's in a rather large nutshell!

steven said...

i'm a man u fan, having grown up in stretford i have little choice. i wish it were possible for people to express themselves by some means other than f bombs but it's so much a part of the currency of aspects of our culture now that it almost seems like it should have been ignored . . . . . animals shouldn't die for sport or entertainment. the course needs adjustment. steven

MorningAJ said...

I've already posted my views on the National on my blog so I'll say no more on it.

I saw the film of Wayne Rooney and it's my opinion that he knew exactly what he was doing and deliberately turned to the camera to do it. I think it's time little wastrels like him were put back in their place - and not lauded and paid millions just because they can kick a ball.

On AV, I think it's about time we changed because the first past the post system has resulted in our current total mess. At least with the revised system we wouldn't have ended up with a government that nobody voted for.

(Of course I could have said I agree with Tom - which would have been more succinct)

sleepinl8 said...

When you say AV, is this meaning audio visual?

mrsnesbitt said...

The Grand National - agree to walk away from it all. bravo to the journalist for speaking his mind, indeed.

maryelizabethroche said...

Good Lord...everyone should be allowed to let loose a f### every now and's just another word to me!!

Rachel Phillips said...

When I first scanned your blog entry today I thought there was something seriously wrong, like a health scare in the family. I wouldn't lose any sleep over Rooney swearing, it is all a bit of a storm in a teacup and we needn't cry if Man U suffer because of him missing a couple of games. McEnroe used to swear to the cameras lots. Nothing to worry about. Just the press love to get something to make a big splash about when nobody buys newspapers much these days.

AV is no good to anybody so don't vote for it.

The grand ational is one horse race of many similar. It is the one that you watch once a year.

Jeannette StG said...

what are the rules? Ban for F-kind of words? seems easy to go by the rules, no matter who it is:)
In the US we don't know what the AV referendum is.
Using a whip on an animal is in my opinion abuse Period

Cloudia said...

Gosh your account of the Grand National took me back to a horse race I heard broadcast in Jamaica years ago. One of the horses died and I thought Kingston a back- water due to the animal mistreatment. In animal loving ENGLAND?

As for sportfolk swearing? Our baseball players regularly spit voluptuously on the field and in TV camera close-ups.

It's considered part of the game's culture....

Warm Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral



Robin Mac said...

I live in Australia, where we have had preferential voting (which I assume is what the AV is you are talking about), and I would much prefer to keep that than go to first past the post. However, you can still end up with a hung parliament like we have now, with a few independents holding the balance of power. I still feel you get a better representation from our system of voting, but of couse, that is what I am used to.
I can't bear the thought of having to put horses down, just because of entertainment.
Don't know about the football. Cheers.

BT said...

Hi Weaver, sorry I've been absent so long. Once the weather gets better I'm in the garden - no time for computers! Wayne Rooney is a stupid boy and needs to grow up but all this fuss over a commonly used word is just plain silly.

In Ireland we have the first past the post and they mostly end up with coalitions. I think AV would be better than the current system in the UK where a good politician sometimes doesn't get a seat because he's in the 'wrong' area.

Jim and I were discussing the Grand National and it just doesn't seem right to have a 'sport' where animals die anymore. We should be more civilized today, surely? Either the race needs to be once round the track or the fences need reducing in size. I for one won't watch it any more if nothing changes to make it safer.

Dinesh chandra said...

Great post. I like the view.
may god I born here in next life if I got.


Dinesh Chandra

Crafty Green Poet said...

The Scottish Parliament has a new form of voting (I think its a mixture of AV and first past the post). Last time rounsd it caused huge amounts of confusion. i do think it can be a good thing though as it can make the politicians reflect the constituencies more closely.

Crafty Green Poet said...

as for horse racing, I think its cruel and always have done. Gentle hores riding is fine as is ploughing with horses, but the racing, no

Peter Goulding said...

1) Premier League football has destroyed live football in England and around the world. Hence, I have no opinion on Rooney.
2) With your current, somewhat primitive system, a party can get 40% of the vote and win no seats, whereas a party who wins 10% of the vote can win 70 seats.
3) Funny how one of the jockeys at Aintree is still in a coma, yet people are only talking about the horses

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for the comments. Had to laugh at Tom's - maybe he is right!
Well, as far as the f word goes, nobody seems to mind it much. I must say that my generation tend not to swear - but these days it seems that swearing is a matter of course - so I must accept that.

You all seem agreed that the Grand National is cruel - but there is big money in it and so we shall not see much in the way of change. Peter points out that one of the jockeys is in a coma (this, I would point out, is an induced coma) and also, Peter, the jockey knew the risk and chose to ride - the horses have no choice.

Regarding AV I am none the wiser as your opinions seem to be divided between fors and againsts.

But anyhow, thanks for joining in.

Dominic Rivron said...

I don't think these dilemmas are particularly tough.

Rooney: All sports people under pressure swear. A miked-up cox in the University Boat Race, as his boat pulled ahead, was clearly heard to shout "OK lads it's time to f*** 'em!" No-one commented then or since to my knowledge. And if it's OK in the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, it should be OK in any sporting event.

The Rooney thing is all sensationalised, moralising media froth. These guys will slag off a footballer for swearing one day and tap your phone the next.

A.V. : N.O. First past the post please. It's like the horse who comes first in the Grand National (see below) being stripped of its trophy because it didn't come in 50% of the field ahead of the second placed horse. And it's not even proportional representation - it's a fudge. It's expensive. It's said that the referendum plus changing the system would cost £250m. Did the LibDems really make spending £250m on fudged electoral reform a condition of their coalition with the conservatives when they think we should make such drastic cuts to public expenditure? Yes, they did.

Grand National: Horse racing is not entitled to the gravitas with which it is often discussed. This race suggests there should be more stringent safeguards to prevent cruelty to the animals involved.