Tag Archives: politics

It’s time for charity to genuinely begin at home.

England, charity, great britain, syria, islam, religion, brazil, europe, afghanstan, india, pakistan, africa, calais, footballI know this might well offend some people but that’s too bad because this rant has been a long time coming. You see whilst I’m sure they’re having a horrific time and I have every sympathy with them, the truth is that I don’t care about Syrians, starving Africans or for that matter, any of the myriad of people suffering around the world.

What I do care about, and passionately, is what’s happening here, in my country.

I care about veterans being forced to live on the streets or not being given the help and support they desperately need. I care about the elderly having to be kept in hospital because there is nowhere else for them to go and be looked after. I care about people who work their bollocks off but are forced to use food banks because they have to pay fortunes in rent to private scumbag landlords because all the social housing is being handed to the lazy, the workshy and immigrants who contribute little or nothing to the pot but see nothing wrong in taking everything from it.

I care about people who feel fearful in their own homes because not only are the police being cut to the bone but the rights of criminals are seemingly more important than those of their victims. I care about those who can’t even get to see a doctor in A&E because the departments are swamped with people who in many cases, are only there because they can’t be arsed to wait to see their GP, and I care about people who are being forced to wait for life changing or even life saving operations because the NHS is swamped.

And those people I care about, and many more who endure hardships as a result of budget cuts and decisions driven by political correctness rather than common sense, are the people I want my taxes spent on. Not the inhabitants of some third world country who are either hell-bent on destroying themselves or who can’t be arsed to drag themselves out of the dark ages and be part of the human race yet are happy to keep taking our money whilst stabbing us in the back. Or worse still, simply migrate here and then set out to recreate the hell hole they came from because they so despise our way of life, at our expense naturally. Well fuck that and fuck them. It’s not right, it’s not fair and this one way street of compassion has gone on for far too long.

We as a nation have a duty of care to the people who built us, the people who have defended us, the people who protect us and the people who work hard to pay their taxes and do the right thing and the time has come to stop throwing money at the rest of the world and start putting that debt first. Or to put it another way, stop being the worlds whipping boys, take our country back from the self-serving hypocrites and start putting the great back into Great Britain.

Because if we don’t, if we carry on as we are, we are going to lose ourselves forever.

Rant over.

*I posted this rant on a private Facebook group on Friday and the response was huge. So much so in fact, that I posted it on my own page where it exploded.

Out of almost a thousand people who have commented on it, there was only one negative reference which proves to me that more and more people are becoming increasingly frustrated and angry at what is happening to our country.

But one other thing came though loud and clear and it was the fact that so many people said ‘at least someone has had the balls to say it’. For that, to me, underlines where and why it has all gone wrong. We have allowed this situation to develop purely because as citizens, we have fallen for the ‘he who shouts loudest gets heard’ process of government and as a consequence, we fail to stand up and say what we actually believe.

That in essence, is why I’ve transferred this rant to my blog. Because I for one am not going to fall into that trap any more. Not when there is so much at stake.

So please, if what I say strikes a chord then tell me. Be it by commenting or simply sharing. Likewise, if you disagree, feel free to let me know. It’s a free country, you have that right.

And despite the fanatics who wish otherwise, it will always remain so.

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

 

Paris: Why we must stand united. 

paris, islam, terroristIt would be folly to even suggest, let alone believe, that all Muslims are terrorists or that all British Muslims support terrorism. The facts obviously don’t support that and if you think they do, you should take a long hard look around. And then at yourself.

However, to deny that there is a  problem on our shores is not simply naive, but foolhardy. It’s only a matter of time before what happened in Paris last night is replicated here.

That’s why the time has surely come for the British government to stop pissing around and let the security services off the leash. If that means internment for those they are most concerned about, so be it. But equally, we need to be far more aggressive in the control of our borders and the removal of those who have no right to be here irrespective of where they have come from or what religion they follow.

Furthermore, we need to let those who want to settle here that if they want to be welcomed, it is they who need to adapt, not the other way round. That means accepting our customs, our laws and our way of life as the will of the majority. If you want to wear a Burkha, practice Sharia Law, treat women as second class citizens, consider rape is your right as a male, subject your poor children to beatings or even FGM or even drive on the right, there are plenty of places where you can go where those things are acceptable. They aren’t here.

That might not sit well with the liberal left, but that’s too bad. Will it take the slaughter of 120 in the West End before they admit that appeasement and an open border policy are fundamentally wrong? Or will it take another series of explosions on the underground before Cameron grows some balls and actually starts to lead from the front?

But most importantly, as a collective nation we have to stand together and defend the way of life we have in this green and pleasant land. That means Christian, Muslim, Jew, atheist, and even Klingon. ISIS want division and if we let them have it, not only do we let them win but this nation will never be the same again.

For the sake of our future, all our future’s, we cannot and must not allow that to happen.

The rise of UKIP and the one fact people seem to be avoiding.

219c1-politicalcorrectness1It’s not often I’ll blog on the subject of politics because generally speaking, I’ve no real interest in debating my personal beliefs with other people.

However, as a Falklands veteran I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I’m a fan of Lady Thatcher nor that I hate the left with a passion. Nor have I hidden the fact that whilst I always voted Tory, that changed the day they took the shameful and ill thought out decision to scrap the Harrier and replace it with… well, nothing yet.

To many of course, my love of Mrs T marks me out as some kind of raving Nazi/homophobe/racist/rapist/child molester/tax evader/bigot* (*delete as appropriate) which is fine. This is after all a democracy despite what many seem to think and so we are all entitled to opinions. However, recently something has happened which has piqued my interest. It involves, not surprisingly, the rise of UKIP as a political force.

Now I’m sure you’ve read the papers and watched the news recently so you won’t need me to tell you what’s been going on and you will also have no doubt seen that the reaction from both left and right has been predictably rabid.

Yet to me, something fundamental is going on here. For when I watch the news and see members of the public being interviewed about why they have (or intend to) tick the UKIP box on the ballot sheet, they all seem to have one thing in common and it’s a thing no one seems to be noticing; they’re almost universally either middle aged or elderly.

Of course, the lunatic left make the argument that another thing these people have in common is that they’re almost all white and therefore, must be racist. An accusation which is not only laughable, but offensive for fairly obvious reasons. Indeed, some of the things I’ve seen written about the average UKIP voter borders on hysteria. One tweeter even told me in all seriousness that she believed that UKIP was underpinned by members of the EDL, the BNP and Combat 18. Madness.

However, by being so quick to wield the racism card (always their favoured weapon of suppression) against the very people who were building this country in the days when multiculturalism was barely even a word let alone a concept, what the loons fail to realise is that they are actually reinforcing the very reason why so many British citizens are embracing what Farage & Co are saying. And every time they attack those same people for being little Englanders, out of touch, old fashioned, homophobic, Islamophobic or anything else they care to throw out, they simply hammer another nail into their increasingly redundant argument because the simple truth is that the silent majority are sick and tired of being on put on the defensive whilst being forced to listen to lie after lie whilst watching their lifelong efforts being dismissed and their taxes squandered. Just as importantly, they are tired of sitting and watching whilst this once great nations history and traditions are being eroded and our inbred sense of tolerance and fair play abused.

Or to put it another way, UKIP have finally provided the platform for a long suppressed but increasingly discontented middle England to stir and cry enough is enough. And about bloody time too.

I don’t agree with everything UKIP stand for but I make no apology for the fact that I think they are a long overdue breath of fresh air to British politics and if, as seems likely, they’re going to give the established parties a kick up the arse if not a bloody nose, then they’ve got my vote.

Because if the political system in this country has been screaming out for one thing, it’s exactly that. 

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football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpool

My comedy novel, Wings of a Sparrow seems to be creating a bit of a buzz film wise which, given that it started out as a film script, is quite exciting.

Hopefully, I’ll have some news on that very soon as well as of another project which if anything, is even more exciting as it’s very close to being greenlit.

Speaking of which, my next movie is close to being announced and with We Still Kill The Old Way doing well, it certainly is an exciting times!

 

 

ukip, tory, labour, liberal left, politics, conservatives, cameron, millband, farage, EU, europe, football, soccer, hooligan, gang, uk film, britain, england, election

Stephen Lawrence – the question no one dare ask.

racism, racist, sex, brimson. stephen lawrence, england, police, football, soccer, hooligans, writing, author, screenwriting, theresa may

I awoke this morning to the news that Doreen Lawrence, mother of the murdered teenaged Stephen Lawrence, is to meet the Home Secretary today to receive assurance that the two (yes, two) inquiries currently underway will not be affected by fresh allegations that police officers secretly taped the chief prosecution witness at the time of the initial inquiry.

Now, let’s cut to the chase here. Yes, a teenager was murdered and like all murders, it was a terrible thing. But we are talking about something that happened 20 years ago and whilst there is no doubting that this particular murder became important for all kinds of reasons and proved to be the catalyst for much needed and long overdue change in the way the police operated, can it really be right that our Home Secretary drops everything to meet the victim’s mother simply because of accusations made on a TV programme?

Does she not have more important things to deal with? Like the fact that we have a war in all but name going on within our own borders at the moment? Or that the country is teetering on the edge of a civil explosion?

No one can, nor should, ever belittle the loss a mother feels at the death of her son but has the time for bending over backwards to appease the Lawrence family not now passed?

More importantly, given the amount of money and time (both police and government) which has and is still being consumed by this particular case, not to mention the changes to policing which have already been brought about as a result of previous enquiries, should the family not be confident enough to know that whatever needs to be done is being done?

Or has this case, as many people increasingly suspect, now become more about retribution than it is about justice?

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For details of all my books and the latest news on current projects including the big screen adaptation of my novel Top Dog, please visit www.dougiebrimson.com 

English for English. It’s common sense!

england, english, language, dialogue, sport, football, soccer, racism, racist, NHS, hospital, police, brimson, hooligans, ebooks, kindle, amazon, itunesI was going to write a long rant this morning about a subject which over this last year, has become an increasing source of not just irritation, but actual anger.

However, the more I talk about this particular issue with other people the more I realise that this is one of those rants which is becoming increasingly universal. Indeed, once you get to the end of this blog my guess is that you will at worst have a degree of empathy with the point, at best simply say ‘about effing time someone said that!’

So with that in mind, here we go.

If you walk into any government building or have any kind of contact with a major commercial organisation, you will be informed at some point that any or all information is available in a variety of languages. Indeed, in the case of somewhere like a hospital, council office or police station, there will be posters and leaflets imparting that knowledge pretty much everywhere.

This is of course, how it should be -after all, we live in a multi-cultural society- however, it is a fact that any nation is defined by various things one of which is its language. Therein lies my problem.

You see I am and will always regard myself as English. Not British, not European, English, And last time I looked, I live in England and the language of my homeland is English which just happens to be the most widely spoken and understood language on the planet.

So with that in mind, if I contact an organisation of any description which is based in England and find myself dealing with an individual who can barely speak my language let alone impart the often complex knowledge I require, why am I made to feel like either an idiot or a racist if I ask to speak to someone I can actually understand? Or for that matter, who understands me? Isn’t that a perfectly fair and reasonable request?

Of course it bloody well is!

Yet too many organisations seem quite happy to place people in customer facing positions who, whilst they might be perfectly competent in most respects, are clearly unable to carry out their function correctly simply because of their inability to communicate. That isn’t good enough, not in this day and age. However, the only way things will ever change is if we, as both taxpayers and consumers, start to demand it and on a regular basis.

So do it!

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritanceThis will be my last blog before Christmas and so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy holiday and a brilliant New Year.

I’m not normally one for the festive season but I’m really looking forward to this one not least because it will herald in 2013 which for all kinds of reasons, is already shaping up to be a quite amazing year.

So to all those I have met, worked or had dealings with in 2012, especially those who are involved in new or ongoing projects, please take some time to relax, have fun and recharge your batteries because I don’t know about you, I’m planning on next year being the really big one and if you can’t keep up, you may well miss out!

And don’t forget, if you are lucky enough to receive an eReader as a gift on the 25th, you can download all of my books for around about £10.00 and that includes my latest, Wings of a Sparrow which is currently receiving great reviews and is already the subject of movie talk!

Enjoy!

Everything you wanted to know about being the ex football hooligan author Dougie Brimson (but were afraid to ask)

football, soccer, books, brimson. hooligans, violence, coin thrower, matt haig, manchester city, manchester united, violence, racism, amazon, itunes, ibooks, writer, author, self-publishing

As I sit here, pondering my navel and doing pretty much anything I can to avoid actually writing, I often stumble across things which not only make me laugh, but strike a chord. One of the most recent items to achieve this double whammy was a blog I read today entitled ‘Everything you wanted to know about being an author (but were afraid to ask).

The reason this caused such mirth in Brimson Towers was because only this morning I received not one, but two emails asking me about that very thing. Now in both cases, given that Matt Haig, the author of said blog, is a far better and more accomplished writer than I will ever be and had pretty much said everything I would have said and more anyway, I simply passed on the link and wished the individual well.

However, as I mulled it over whilst standing in line at Tesco’s an hour or so ago (I’d had an urge for pie. Seriously) I decided that if I was going to accurately apply this excellent list to my own writing life and process, it would need a tweak or two.

So what follows is a bastardised version of the list in question. I have included the original in italics for reasons which will become obvious and hope that Mr Haig will accept my apology for brutalising his excellent efforts which, if you would like to read them, can be found here: 

1.     We live on toast. And cereal. And caffeine. And wine. But mainly toast.   Since I am banned from eating bread due to my lard arse frames dislike of wheat and rarely drink alcohol of any description, I only survive at all thanks to a daily plate of eggs and bacon, this being supplemented by a ready supply of Bourbons. On reflection, this could explain my aforementioned lard arsed frame.

2.     By the time our book comes out, it feels like a childhood memory. But more distant.   As an author who is intent on spewing out ebooks on a scarily regular basis until such time as readers finally suss out that I am a talentless hack (a fact I am already well aware of), I am no longer hindered by the agonising time it takes publishers take to get books from emailed file to the shelves of Waterstones. Hence, when a book is released into the marketplace, or as I prefer to call it, Amazon, it is still scarily fresh in the memory.

3.     Our daily word-count was approximately three thousand words higher before the arrival of Facebook and Twitter.   Absolutely true. Indeed, there is a whole heap of irony to be found in the fact that whilst the world wide web provides the engine for what passes as my writing career, it also does all it can to slam it into reverse on an almost minute by minute basis. Proof of which can be found by looking at my Twitter and Facebook timelines.

4.     At parties someone will always say, ‘So have you written anything I’d have heard of?’ Or, ‘How are the books going?’ Both questions end in awkward silence.   Again, absolutely true although the reality is that I rarely get invited to parties. In fact for rarely, substitute never. I suspect people assume I will turn up, get pissed and wreck the place. This being as far from the truth as you could possibly get.

5.     If we were number two in the bestseller charts, the only book we would ever be thinking about is the one selling more.   Partially true. Well OK, mostly true. Although in some instances, I do look at who is languishing below me and mutter a contented ‘take that you fucker’ to myself.

6.     We never know if the book we are writing is the right one until we have written it. And even then we are not sure.   In my case, I know it’s the right one because I ask my readers in advance and they tell me what they want. That’s the joy of being a digital author who actually talks to the people who buys his books.

7.     It is harder to make friends after you become a writer than it was before. But way easier to make enemies.   True and very true.

8.     People think you are automatically a bit weird. (Or is that just me?)   No, it’s not just you. Although in my defence, I am actually a bit weird.

9.     We need editors ‘like a fat kid needs cake’ – to quote that sensitive literary soul, 50 Cent.   This is golden rule number 5 in Doug’s golden rule book of writing. It is so, so true.

10.    The best day is when we get to see our book cover. Unless we don’ t like the book cover in which case it is the worst day.   Being a digital author, my publishers involve me in developing covers from day one and often I have the final say so this isn’t the case for me. My best day is usually when I write ‘the end’ and the worst is when I realise that it usually isn’t.

11.    ‘Royalty statement’ is Latin for disappointment.   Thanks to the web, I see my sales figures on an almost daily basis. Sometimes they are orgasmic, other times I want to kill myself.

12.    We get stomach pains every time another writer wins something. (We have continual stomach pains).   Not only have I never won anything, I’ve never even been nominated. Come to that, I’ve never even been invited to anything where any author won anything. My stomach pains are entirely due to my Bourbon intake.

13.    We all want to be Hemingway, minus the suicide part.   I’m quite happy being me.

14.    We would probably all be writing poems, if people actually bought poems.   If I could earn a living writing football chants or perhaps greeting cards for lads, I’d be happy with that. Who wouldn’t?

15.    We spend a lot of our time going on five hour train journeys to events where eight people turn up (and only three of them buy the book).     The only events I get invited to involve court or family and generally speaking, I tend to avoid both of them like the plague anyway.

16.    We chose not to choose life. We chose something else.   This is true. It’s called solitude.

17.    We are generally quite bad at dancing.   Untrue. I have the moves! Or at least I did before my back gave out.

18.    In most cases, the person we don’t like more than any other just happens to be another writer. But then, the person we admire most is one too.   This is true. Although in my case it is more to do with personality than the nature of their output.

19.    We may have our name on the front of a book but we always feel slightly outside the publishing industry, looking in. Like Keats at that metaphorical sweet-shop.   Despite my apparent success, I am firmly on the outside of the publishing industry and always have been. I fear that is unlikely to ever change.

20. If we were a neurotic wreck before we were published – and we were – we remain one afterwards. Our brain chemistry doesn’t fundamentally change.   This is absolutely true although my insecurities tend to be more about my other efforts at writing than about my books. Screenplays are terror inducing.

21. If we get good reviews, we want good sales. If we get good sales, we want good reviews.   I want both. Is that too much to ask?

22. We are happy for five whole minutes after a book is sent off. Then we realise all the mistakes we made.   True. Although thanks to the magic that is the eBook, we can if need be, continually edit!

23. We start off wanting to be published. We get published. Then we want a nice review. We get a nice review. Then we want an award. We get an award. Then we want a film deal. We get a film deal. Then we want a film to be made. And so on. For ever. (We are never happy).   Well as previously discussed, I know I’ll never earn an award although I have had a movie and plenty of film deals. Another première would be nice though as I wasn’t actually invited to the first one… (long story)

24. If someone reads our work midway through the writing process we need them to faint in awe or it goes in the bin.   People are constantly reading my work at every stage from one-line idea to final manuscript. As a consequence, if they are happy, I am happy. If they’re not, I listen to what they say and change things until they are. They are legends!

25. We are a little bit lonely.   True. Thankfully, despite coming from a large family, I have always been a bit of a loner and my favourite company is er… me. That has stood me in good stead over the years.

26. Bad reviews are always taken personally. Always.   Totally and absolutely true.

27. Writing a novel is like a relationship. During the early stages every other possibility looks incredibly attractive. But commitment pays off.   True. And since manuscripts, like screenplays, are always females, occasionally, when you get to the end, you’re glad to see the back of her.

28. We rarely write in coffee shops.   True. Instead we watch and listen and use the fact that we are writers as an excuse for loitering. Or is that just me?

29. Writing is heaven. Re-writing is hell.   Oh god yes.

30. We are rubbish at other jobs. And DIY. And most other things too.   I was an engineer in a previous life so I can do pretty much anything. The biggest problem I have is getting myself motivated to actually do it whatever it is that needs doing.

31. We say the wrong things at parties.   I refer the honourable reader to the answer I gave some moments ago. I don’t get invited…

32. The definition of discomfort is the moment after your mother reads your semi-autobiographical novel.   Substitute ‘mother’ with ‘daughter’ and you’re about right.

33. There is no praise more treasured than that of an author you worship.   I wouldn’t know about this. It’s never happened.

34. The best book we have ever written is the one we are about to write.   It better be!

35. The best ideas we have are the ones that arrive accidentally.   True. In fact the idea for my next book actually arrived thanks to an accident. I was in hospital with my wife who had broken her arm when the plot came to me!

36. There is no email in the world nicer to receive than the one from a reader who has been moved by your work.   Oh yes. Thankfully, I have had many of those over the years and each and every one is valued.

37. We know, in our heart of hearts, that we have the very best job in the world.   The truest of all truths. On which note, thanks to everyone who has downloaded my new book Wings of a Sparrow. Feedback and reviews have thus far been brilliant which makes all the effort and late nights worthwhile.

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritanceWork is progressing on getting more media exposure although many publications are reluctant to give reviews to eBooks and of course, as many of you know, I am banned from certain magazines and TV shows on account of my criticism of them in the past. The only thing I can ever see changing that would be if a book becoming too popular to ignore and since Wings of a Sparrow is a hooligan free zone, it provides possibly the best opportunity for that to happen so could I once again be cheeky and ask you all to keep spreading the word because the more people who know about it –and buy it- the better.

One other thing which would help is of course, the film version and I am still working hard to make that happen. The stumbling block at the moment is the financing although we are making progress with that so fingers crossed. I’m also in tentative talks about a new movie based on my previous novel, Top Dog which would be quite awesome!

And finally, on the subject of Top Dog, work on the third book in the Billy Evans trilogy is progressing nicely. It’s much darker and more violent than the first two books but the plot line is quite possibly the best I’ve ever come up with. I’m aiming for a publication date in the spring and will release more details closer to that point.

Laters…

Why we will never see an end to racism in the UK.

racism, john terry, bigot, football, soccer, serbia, sex, scum, Kick racism out of footballThe other evening, whilst taking part in a late-night radio debate on the disgraceful scenes in Serbia, I was asked if I thought we would ever see an end to racism in the UK. My answer was an instant and resounding no. I then added that my thinking was based on the simple fact that we had never had a free and open debate on the issues of racism, immigration and multiculturalism in our country and more importantly, would never be allowed to have one.

When asked why not, I made the point that in my opinion it was because the powers that be were afraid of the answers the vast majority of the population would provide. I was cut off almost instantly. As proof of my point, that’s as conclusive as it gets.

Now let me quote something to you. It’s lengthy, but bare with it.

Racism and multiculturalism have become two of the key issues affecting the way we live but by allowing the anti-racist and politically driven lobby groups to occupy the moral high ground, we [as a society] have become terrified of openly questioning anything relating to race for fear that we will be labelled as racist. A fear that is especially prevalent amongst the white Anglo-Saxon and Christian communities who lest we forget, actually form the majority of the population.

As a consequence, they [the liberal-left and the anti-racist groups] have been allowed to get away with things that they really should not be allowed to get away with. We may laugh at the stupidity of banning piggy banks or replacing the seven dwarves with the seven gnomes but in their own way, each act of petty political correctness drives the wedge between the various ethnic groups ever deeper.

More importantly, by suppressing a much needed and long overdue debate about the impact these issues have on us all, we as a nation are clearly storing up huge problems. If only because ignorance breeds fear and fear breeds resentment which could, potentially, play right into the hands of extreme political groups. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that the implications of that would stretch far wider than the turnstile or the playing field.

However, racism is an issue which not only should be talked about it is one which we must talk about. Dialogue is after all, the only way we, as a society will ever understand things and we have to do that if we are ever to be rid of this most shameful of scourges. That will only happen when we are brave enough to allow everyone to have their say and more importantly, listen to what is being said. Tragically, even though we live in a supposedly free society, I cannot ever see that happening. Indeed, there is something to be said for the idea that if Enoch Powell achieved one thing with his infamous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, it was to suppress forever any chance of anyone having a free and open debate about either immigration or race in Britain.

Ironically, the area of society that has done more than any other to combat racism in Britain is football. In recent weeks I have witnessed racist abuse being hurled by blacks, whites and Asians in shops, pubs and even at a motorway service station yet I can count on three fingers the number of racist incidents I have encountered inside a stadium in this country since I began writing in 1996 and two of those have been at non-league games. And I’m not alone. Even Thierry Henry has been quoted as saying that he has not heard any racist abuse inside a stadium since he came to play in this country yet still we routinely hear football being slaughtered. Why? Surely the fact that on the rare occasions an incident of football related racial abuse takes place here in England it is roundly and swiftly condemned by all parties is proof of how serious this issue has been taken. Similarly, the fury with which we react to abuse targeted at English players abroad must indicate how far we have come as well as how far others lag behind.

I’m not saying that we should sit on our laurels, but we shouldn’t be so self critical either. As fans, we should be proud that for the most part, the only colour we care about is the colour of the shirt and we should celebrate the fact that people come from all over the world to play the game here free of the abuse and intimidation seen all too often in Spain, Italy, Germany and most of Eastern Europe. We should also be thrilled that so many black players represent us at international level but equally, we should enjoy a smug smile of satisfaction that these days we don’t even really notice. All we actually see is eleven proud Englishmen and that in itself says everything to me.

That’s an extract from Kicking Off which I wrote in 2004 and to me, it’s sadly still as relevant now as it was back then. However, if there is a silver lining to the horrific events in Serbia this week it has been to highlight just how far we as a nation have come in the drive to defeat racism and as I wrote in the piece, no section of society has fought more valiantly than football. Although let’s be honest, as the John Terry affair has proven, whilst the fans continue to do their bit there is much to be said for the idea that football’s administration needs to up its game not least with an ounce to two of consistency.

But there is still much work to be done and the great game can’t do everything, nor should it even try. For sure as we saw only too clearly this summer, sport can be a fantastic unifying force but if we are ever to see a resolution to the cancer of racism in our nation and legitimately sit upon the moral high ground where we so richly deserve to be, it can only happen if we, as individuals, can freely and honestly discuss all of the issues associated with it.

The last I heard, this is a free country. So why can’t we?

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fart, sex, love, anal, "bodily functions" penguins, vibrators
The Art of Fart – still a bargain!

Just a quick note to let you know that Amazon have now price matched most of my titles with iTunes so that the bulk, including The Art of Fart, are now just 99p. The only exceptions are The Crew which is free and Top Dog and Billy’s Log which will set you back £1.99.

So if you’re missing a book, now is as good a time as any!

Why now more than ever, we must all show pride in the Poppy.

poppy appeal 2012This blog was written two years ago. Sadly, in light of recent events involving allegations made that some of our major supermarkets and motorway service station operators have banned veterans from selling poppy’s on their premises, it is more relevant now than it was when I wrote it. The fact that I have to even think that let alone write it is a shameful reflection of what is being allowed to go on in this once great country. 

I am, it is fair to say, something of a patriot. Indeed, I am as proud an Englishman as it is possible to be and certainly follow that old mantra, English first, British second and European never.

To some of course, this will immediately label me as some kind of racist xenophobe but to be blunt, I don’t care. I’m too old, too set in my ways and have been through far too many mills to give a shit about what anyone else might think of me and as such, have neither the inclination, desire nor as far as I’m concerned, need to justify myself to anyone else. Take me as I am, or don’t take me at all. Simple as that.

I write the above for one very simple reason. You see as I wrote in my last blog, I have passed the point where I’m going to pull my punches and if something gets me fired up, then I’m going after it with all guns blazing and write what I actually think. This is one of those times.

In little under a month, it will be Remembrance Sunday and like the vast majority of the nation, I’ll be taking the time to pay my respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. In actual fact, as a veteran of the Falklands War I will once again be taking part in the parade past the Cenotaph in London as part of the South Atlantic medal contingent and am proud as punch to be doing so.

Now the build up to November 11th is always a poignant time for the British as there can barely be a family in the country who have not been touched either directly or indirectly by war either past or present. However it is especially so for those of us who have been lucky enough to serve in the military because to everyone who has done time in uniform the fallen and the injured were, are and always will be our comrades. There but for the grace of god and all that.

That’s also why the poppy has such a special significance for us. For the mere sight of a person wearing one indicates their support not only those who have served and given, but for those who continue to serve. Just as importantly of course, buying a poppy puts money into the amazing charities that support those suffering as a result of injury. Be it physical or mental.

Equally, it is the reason why we get so angry when we see stories about poppy sellers being harassed in the street or of groups planning to burn poppies as some kind of protest. For the poppy isn’t a flag or any kind of political or religious symbol and it most certainly is not any kind of celebration of war, it is a symbol of gratitude. Indeed, if you are anti-war (as most right-thinking people are) then the white poppy is an excellent way of signifying that.

But whilst I readily accept that anyone has the right not to wear a poppy if they so wish -the notion of free speech being at the very heart of our democracy which so many fought and gave to defend- what I do not and will not accept is the defacing or abuse of something which signifies so much. Because to do so is at best disrespectful, at worst incitement. It’s certainly provocative.

The irony is of course, that the scum who do such things can only do so thanks to the freedom those who made the ultimate sacrifice have provided for them. Yet of course they are too stupid to understand that. Instead, they simply take the piss and hide behind the law and the freedom which they seemingly so despise  And worst of all, we allow them to do it. In some cases, they are even protected by the police whilst committing this most cowardly of acts because in this free country of ours, they have the ‘right’ to protest.

Well fuck that. What about the rights of the old boys who want to sell poppies as a way of paying homage to their former colleagues but who are spat at or abused when they try to do so? Why are they not being afforded the same kind of protection as they seek to go about their lawful business as the bastards who support those who seek to harm us are seemingly handed on a daily basis?

More importantly, what about the rights of the lads whose bodies still lie strewn and unburied across the Somme or Ypres? Or the poor souls who never made it off the beaches of Normandy? What about those who lie at the bottom of the South Atlantic or who lost their lives in Iraq or Afghanistan? They aren’t just names on a memorial, they are heroes. And this country owes them a damn sight more than simply standing by and watching as the vermin who we have somehow allowed to infest our society disrespect their memory.

For that is what they are doing, disrespecting. Yet at the same time they have the gall to demand that ‘we’ respect their opinions, their beliefs, their way of life whilst showing none toward ours in return. The hypocrisy is staggering and if it wasn’t so tragic, it would laughable. But not only must it stop, it must be stopped fast.

Now I absolutely acknowledge that what we are talking about is a tiny minority of a minority but I seem to remember another minority stepping out of line not so long ago and the law of the land going all out to stop them and exercise control over pretty much everything they did. Something it succeeded with great efficiency and stunningly quickly. Yes, I know it might be trite to bring football into this but as a precedent, the war waged against hooliganism isn’t actually a bad one. So in the same way as laws were rushed through to seize passports from suspected offenders and impose banning orders on those convicted of football related offences, given that this problem seems to be increasing each year why haven’t laws been rushed through to afford the poppy -and for that matter, our flag- the status of a national sacred symbol with the result that if you desecrate it, you can expect the full force of the law to come down hard upon you?

I for one would wholeheartedly support such a law and with the poppy such a source of pride and importance to so many and the flag now more a symbol of unity than hate thanks to it’s long overdue rescue from the right-wing, I can’t imagine many people would be against it. So why not?

After all, we can’t make people wear the poppy and nor should we even try. We can’t even make people respect it. But we should certainly not sit back and let anyone disrespect what it means. For to do so dishonours the memory of those who made this great nation what it is.

However, until such time as those who are supposed to reflect the opinions of the majority see sense, let me put on record one simple fact. Burn a poppy or abuse a veteran trying to sell them in my presence, you’re fucked.

That’s a fact.

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The Crew continues it’s quite astonishing run at #1 on the free sports book download charts and is now well into it’s second year at the top! It’s also been receiving some great reviews which is always heartening (and if you haven’t left one, why not?).

If you use iTunes to download books, you might be interested to know that with the release of Wings of a Sparrow approaching, we’ve slashed the prices of all my books with most, including The Art of Fart now just 99p! The Crew and Everywhere We Go are still free so just click on the following link to download all or any! iTunes

Hopefully Amazon will follow suit fairly quickly as they operate a price matching policy however, you can let them know about the lower price by clicking on the relevant link on the page of the relevant book.

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Hillsborough. The ugly truth everyone is avoiding.

Liverpool, 96, justice, Hillsborough

Out of respect for the families, I had no intention of commenting on the issue of Hillsborough primarily because everything I’ve had to say has been said in print many times.

However, having received a number of mails about it over the last 24 hours I’ve had a read back over some of the things I’ve written over the years some of which, it’s fair to say, have attracted a degree of criticism. Albeit primarily from people who have no concept of what it was like to be a travelling fan in the mid-80’s.

So let me say one thing, I stand by every single word and my conclusion remains the same. Because however you look at it, the ultimate responsibility for Hillsborough lies not with the thin blue line, the government or even Kelvin McKenzie, it lies with those of us who followed the game back then.

Specifically, everyone who ever threw a punch at a game, charged across a terrace, invaded a pitch, smashed up a high street or yes, who steamed a gate because they didn’t have a ticket.

It was the fault of the fans who laid waste to Europe whilst following England or their club in the 80’s, who caused the tragedy at Heysel or who were involved in any one of the countless football related deaths which had happened in previous years. Because they, we, are the reason why football pitches were surrounded by horrific steel fences and the reason why, on April 15th 1989, the police had become so jaundiced against football fans that they couldn’t or wouldn’t recognise the difference between crushing and fighting.

Yes, there were clearly huge flaws in the police operation and it is about time that those responsible were held to account and that the families gain the justice that they have so valiantly fought for. But those of us who either played our part in dragging the game down to that point or who simply sat back and watched while others did it are equally guilty.

And we should all feel slightly ashamed of ourselves today. I know I do.

RIP the 96.

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The real Olympic legacy?

oral sex, anal sex, football, sportOK, I’ll admit it. I’ve been consumed by Olympic fever. Not just because of the fantastic spectacle the games are providing (and I think the Paralympics are going to be just as amazing) but because of the impact they are having on the nation.

We’re ‘up’ again. Everyone’s having a great time, everyone’s happy and everyone is actually talking to each other. I love that, love it.

And as someone on Radio 5 said the other day, that should be the true legacy of these games. The fact that Great Britain has stopped being consumed by anger and distrust and has suddenly remembered how to be kind, helpful and friendly again. Oh that it continues. Indeed, I think we should all as individuals take it upon ourselves to ensure it does.

We can’t moan about people being grumpy bastards when we’re acting no better ourselves and as my wonderful old nan used to say, manners cost nothing.

Of course the great hope is that the games will leave all kinds of legacies on the country ranging from a swell in Patriotism (please god!!!) to increased participation in sport (amen to that!) but there is one legacy increasing numbers of people are hoping for and that relates to football.

For decades now the great game has been untouchable at the pinnacle of British sport. It’s the great spectacle, the great passion, the great love. The result being that it has achieved a level of importance which is totally out of kilter with reality. The status afforded to those involved coupled with the money some of them are being paid brings new meaning to the word ridiculous.

At some point that has to stop, or be stopped. After all, all of the money swilling through the trough that is football ultimately comes from our pockets. Be it in gate receipts, TV subscriptions or any one of a million ways the game uses to part us from our cash. Too much of that goes out of the game into the tax-avoiding bank accounts of players who aren’t actually worth a tenth of what they get paid and agents who are little more than villains.

But we all know that. We’ve always known that.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my football and I have a great deal of admiration for those who play it (even if I think as individuals, some of them are lacking in pretty much everything) but comparatively speaking, the great game is lacking way behind in all kinds of things. Perspective and morals being just two.

Yet because it is ‘the great game’ we not only continue to stand idly by while these things go on but we actually grant those at the centre of this scandal elitist status within our population. And with that status secure, there has never been any need let alone desire to reform.

Now, thanks to the Olympics, that may finally change because football’s position at the top of the sporting tree isn’t so secure anymore.

The atmosphere, so long one of the major USP’s for football, has been matched if not surpassed at pretty much every Olympic event and better still, it’s been devoid of any hatred. The TV coverage has been unsurpassed, customer service exemplary and best of all, the desire for tickets to attend even previously unheard of sports has bordered on fanatical.

But most importantly of all, to see sportsmen and women competing for the joy of competing as opposed to being consumed by anger and greed has been a revelation. Answer me this. Who would you rather have dinner with? Ashley Cole or Sir Chris Hoy? I rest my case.

So if the Olympics leave one legacy behind, it’s the hope that people finally accept that there is an alternative to football in terms of spectacle and that there are other sports out there which can be as, if not more exciting than the great game. And those sports all without exception, provide value for money to those who go to watch them live.

That’s my hope. Not least because it might finally give football the long overdue reality check it so desperately needs.

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The Art of Fart – Bargain!

My new comedy novel Wings of a Sparrow is currently being rewritten ahead of release (standard practice sadly) but should be ready to download fairly soon.

The tale of a football fan who inherits his local rivals, it’s best described as Brewsters Millions meets Fever Pitch and has been great fun to write to I hope you’re going to enjoy it.

Indeed, thanks to everyone for what’s going on book wise at the moment but for those who don’t know, I’m currently dominating the football book download charts of both Amazon and iTunes with books at #1 on both free and paid charts. On top of that, of the top 36 soccer books on iTunes, 8 are my titles.

However you look at it, whatever I’m doing, is working!

Thanks folks.