Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Is sport news? Follow the money

IIt's a strange irony that a sport with several national champions, an olympic champion and a world champion doesn't make the UK news, when a sport with no champions at all is all over the place!
of course I'm referring to the women's Tour of Britain bike race and the er...premiership football. im a great fan of cycling and I know that it has risen massively in the ranks of spectator sports over the past few years. There was indeed histeria whaen the Tour de France started here in England, followed by similar hysteria over our Olympic efforts. sadly it seems to go unnoticed by our UK media when these poor underpaid waifs who have trained themselves down to a wafer in order to compete hit the road. Under paid and under recognised, in fact it took a silver surfer in a mobility scooter [LINK] kamikazeing across in front of the race to get it in the news at all. Staggeringly my attention was drawn to our Britain is Great PR campaign [LINK] orecently, said to bring in £500 million to the good old GB. Did I miss something the most recent advert they could think of in sporting terms was tired old Bertie (David) Beckham the has been footballer. Meanwhile our symbol of Olympic greatness Lizzie Armitstead
was grimacing her way through the torrents of rain to try and steal the Tour from the eventually triumphant Dutch world champ, Marianne Vos. What more modern, athletic and technological combination could you possible think of than a cyclist and her bikes. Wake up GB, if you want to be seen as in the forefront of greatness get your champions on the news and promote them across the globe.

Cold War is not over! Did it ever end? A Grudge...

One should never carry a grudge because it will eat away at you and you will never be free of it. Suffice to say I have not succeeded in following this adage. So Simon Murden, yes even after all this time I remember your name, here it is. I believed I was right then and I still believe it now the Cold War never ended! I was in the final year of my first degree, undergraduate International Relations at University of Plymouth. I was quite cocky, I had never scored less than 68 in an essay and was expecting a first. There was unfortunately a staff reshuffle and I locked horns with a new lecturer. During lectures we politely sparred, or so I thought. It was there that I posited my theory that although historians had written of the end of the Cold War I did not believe it. He knew more than me of course and laughed off my rationale but in my essays he marked me down. And humiliatingly not on what I had written but on my presentation.  None of my lecturers ever questioned or used presentation as a reason to criticise my work during my entire degree. I missed a first by 2 per cent this led me to attend UCL and achieve my masters in Russian Studies. So why do I believe the Cold War never ended and what evidence do I put forward?
Well firstly, Russia still has nuclear weapons in a state of readiness.
This is a fact little mentioned in modern reporting.  Secondly, the psychological struggle over Russia's energy grip on Europe, versus the West's economic stranglehold on Russia has never diminished. Thirdly, Russia has never fully integrated into the 'European' family of clubs , Council of Europe, NATO, etc. Last but not least the other more sinister element of the psychological 'Cold War', espionage is alive and well. If anything it is worse than ever before. See: US Spies Russian Spies

Putin is pushing the West incessantly over the Ukrainian situation. So far the 'faux' response from NATO has had little effect on Russia, they continue to push and they continue to test. What exactly is our response, well similar to the Cold War period, brinksmanship and games. Limited sanctions that have little or no effect, political intervention again with little effect and military posturing. Well look out Europe, Putin is not running scared, you're going to have to do better than that! The Cold War is not over - watch this space! Well Simon?