Friday, August 29, 2008

It's the economics, stupid!

The fact that so many of Hillary Clinton's supporters are reported as being so bitter that they are considering voting for the other side astounds me. In fact, if she is genuine, the woman who appeared in the McCain ad claiming as much might just as well walk around with a big hat on that says "I am a moron!"

What are these people on? And more importantly, what is their actual engagement with politics? Even with America's useless, shallow news coverage, they must have got an inkling that government is about such minor things as policy, rather than wholly about the genitalia of the participants.

And of course when it all comes down it actually is the economy, stupid. Or rather economics, stupid. Everything flows from the green river. Even the big social and ethical issues are based on economics. An example : People are less inclined to have abortions if they are wealthy enough to afford their children. Even drug addicts are less of a problem if they can afford their drugs, rarher than steal to buy them.

I simply cannot understand how 'political' people can chop and change so capriciously between ideological extremes, seemingly on a whim. And of course, this doesn't only apply to Hillary's women (so I can't be accused of stereotyping women as capricious and whimsical, as if I ever would). Elections are decided by those who show up, but more specifically by 'swing' voters - essentially those that have little engagament or are too stupid to understand the real issues. How scary is that?

Friday, August 22, 2008

today : The Glorious and the Inglorious

The past couple of weeks has seen the creation of many new sporting heroes. Here in Britain, several people, previously little or even unheard of have, by dint of winning Olympic medals, catapulted themselves into the public consciousness. I guess nobody is more famous in the world right now than Usain Bolt. And I imagine he will not be paying full price for trainers anytime soon. Michael Phelps will probably end up very very rich through endorsements and the like.

Sport is made up of moments. Rebecca Adlington's expression of joy and disbelief when she won the 400m freestyle gold. Bolt dancing the last 20 metres of the 100 and still smashing the world record and Michael Phelps touching a thousandth of a second ahead to win his eighth gold. Their glory will be remembered, and it shall remember them.

It's ironic then that Don Fox died today. Rugby League is a parochial little sport, confined to a small number of Northern English towns and followed mostly during one match per season - The Challenge Cup Final at Wembley. Don Fox was a giant of the game. Record try scorer for his clubs, a stalwart of the international side and generally revered as one of the best players of his generation. Yet he will be remembered for one inglorious moment. With his team trailing 11-10 in the last second of a Challenge Cup Final, Fox - already named man of the match - lined up a simple conversion in front of the posts. It was the kind of kick that he would pop over without a second thought week in week out. Yet nerves got the better of him and he skewed the ball wide of the posts, losing the cup for his team.

Matched with an iconic snatch of commentary: "He's a poor lad!", Fox went down as one of the sport's (and British Sports') most famous moments; the epitome of the last minute miss.

Which is kind of cruel. Because even criminals have a shot at redemption.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Another interval

Time for another short break whilst I go into hospital for an operation.