Recently, I’ve had a lot of people asking me to comment on issues relating to footballers and in particular, their morals.
This was of course, largely a result of the Carlos Tevez situation and his alleged refusal to get his overpaid but extremely talented arse off the Manchester City bench and actually do what he is paid shit-loads to do. But it’s continued thanks to the activities of… well, far too many of them.
Quite why anyone thinks I am qualified to comment on the morals of anyone is something of a mystery as my life has hardly been virtuous but hey, if they ask, I answer. It’s what I do.
For what it’s worth, I think that the vast majority of footballers are decent blokes who are lucky enough to be paid to do a job most blokes would do for nothing. Some of them are paid way too much money admittedly but that’s hardly their fault. Whilst one can argue at length about the issue of players wages, as it stands it is market forces that dictate what they get paid and so until that issue is finally resolved as it surely has to be soon, I say fill your boots!
However, there are also a few amongst their number who are not decent at all and can at best be described as chavs and at worst, as scum. There are certainly individuals who, were it not for the fact that they could play football, would be in prison. Probably for a long time.
This is hardly a shock. After all, football is the working class game and even in this day and age, many footballers come from backgrounds which can hardly be called affluent. So it is hardly surprising that some of them go off the rails when they suddenly find themselves swimming in money, living in expensive apartments and left to their own devices. What doesn’t help is that their clubs or agents are so quick to step in and clean up their mess and that to me is the real problem. It’s the fact that being a good footballer seems to provide a golden get-you-out-of-jail card. That’s not right.
No one should be above the rule of law but equally, no one who represents the game, be they player or manager, has the right to drag it into the papers for the wrong reasons and be able to escape punishment. Being a twat, stupid or just horny is no excuse and I don’t care if it’s drink driving, adultery, rape, murder or simply refusing to play, they are bringing football into disrepute and should be hammered by those who administer it.
Not least because it makes those who follow the game that funds these lifestyles look foolish to those who don’t.
It’s not often I write about politics but today, I have to make an exception.
Quite why this compulsion has hit at this particular time is unclear as the decision I’ve made and the reasons for it were made months ago but hey, my subconscious has decided that today is the day and so here we go.
I have never made any secret of the fact I have always voted Tory and am a huge fan of Lady Thatcher. My father led me along this road from an early age but it was reinforced when I joined the RAF (the military are traditionally right-wing) and set in stone when I headed south as part of the South Atlantic Task Force in 1982.
If anything, my anti-left resolve was hardened when Blair and his loathsome cronies came to power and set about their pre-planned destruction of the social (and as we later learned, economic) fabric of our country. A crime which is far more serious than the ongoing obsession with a so-called illegal war in Iraq yet which will similarly and tragically never result in any kind of justice being imposed upon those responsible.
Have no doubt, I was thrilled when Brown was ejected from number 10 and chuffed to bits that my vote contributed to his demise. I had high hopes for Cameron and even though he was forced to bring the Lib-Dems in, I was convinced that anything would be better than what we had been enduring. Yet as the weeks unfolded and the true extent of the damage Labour had inflicted on the country began to be exposed, I began to become concerned. And the more I heard, the more my unease grew.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually support many of the things the coalition are doing and whole heartedly back the cuts the government are making because at the end of the day, that’s my money being wasted by the NHS, the Civil Service and even the MOD (don’t get me started on that!). I also applaud the stance being taken over law and order and the growing calls to repeal elements of the human rights act. However, I certainly don’t support some of the cuts made to defence especially the destruction of the Harrier fleet which will surely rank as one of the most crazed military decisions of all time.
But there have been two particular issues which have enraged me since Dave came to power and combined, they have ensured that I will never vote Tory again.
The first is the issue of Europe. I’m English first, British second and European never. Whilst I understand the concept of a European state and accept that there are certain elements of it which are of huge benefit to the nation, there are other aspects which disgust me, others which terrify me. To me, it’s clear that the EU is a club which needs us far more than we need it and that alone is reason enough to leave. So where is my referendum? The one Dave repeatedly promised.
As each day passes, the clamour from the nation calls for it and whilst we are finally seeing noises that it might actually happen at some point, the stumbling block remains the construction of the actual question. But it shouldn’t, it should be a simple in or out question. If the people say we stay in, then fine. But if they say we want out, then it’s a total out.
Either way, it will be a democratic decision and those who voted contrary to the outcome will have to deal with it just as the country will have to deal with the consequences whatever they might be. But the fact remains, we want our say and we should be given it. The fact that we haven’t is a disgrace.
The second issue is the one which not only leaves me baffled, but furious. Indeed, even as I’m sitting here I can start to feel my blood boiling.
Britain is a wealthy country, of that there is little doubt. Yet at the moment we have, thanks to Blair and co’s mismanagement of our finances, a huge debt. As a consequence, the government have been forced to make massive cuts to public spending the majority of which, as I’ve already said, I support.
However, given the fact that we are in such a mess, why the bloody hell are we spending £8.1 billion a year on overseas aid (and that will increase to £11.4 billion in 2014. That’s a 34 per cent rise!)?
Cameron argues that it is essential to spend this money to maintain our status on the world stage and more importantly, that we have a moral duty to help those living what must be awful lives. But whilst I think the former is bollocks and do have some sympathy with the latter, surely as an elected government you also have an even greater moral duty to ensure that you don’t have kids in your own country who live in abject poverty or elderly men and women who, having spent the bulk of their lives paying into the system, are being forced to choose between eating and heating because their pensions are so low.
I wouldn’t mind so much if it made any sense. Call me old fashioned, but does a nation which spends £20 billion a year on defence and £1.25 billion
space programme really need £280 million from the British taxpayer? Would it not be better all round if someone were to give them a quick call and tell them to get their priorities right?
And did it not strike anyone at the Department for International Development as odd that many senior officials in Sierra Leone went on a huge spending spree shortly after they handed them a cheque for £1.2 million to aid ‘peacekeeping’ efforts?
I know I’m being flippant but sadly, those are two examples from a very long list of bizarre decisions and whilst the sums involved might not make much difference to the old age pension or child benefit, they would make a huge difference to organisations such as Childline, Cancer Research, Macmillan, the RNLI and even the RSPCA who as it stands, are essential charities almost wholly dependent on public donation. And I for one, would far rather my taxes went in that direction rather than risk them ending up in some African despots Swiss bank account or to countries who wish us nothing but harm in return.
Quite why Cameron and company cannot see that escapes me and that, in essence, is why I will never vote Tory again. Not because they are crap politicians or even dodgy characters, but because after years of Labour destruction and miss-management, they have failed to adhere to the fundamental rule of political life. That as a politician you are elected by the people to serve the people.
To do that, you have to listen to and act upon the will of the majority and the sad fact is that at the moment, at least when it comes to these two issues, they’re certainly not listening to me and plenty like me.