Friday, 21 June 2013

Forrest is not a paedophile, he is a deluded fool

LET ME make this clear, Jeremy Forrest is a deluded fool who prayed on the affection of a student, abused a position of trust and thought everything would be OK.

But a paedophile? No, that is very dangerous talk from the Crown Prosecution Service who were desperate to secure a conviction for this high profile case.

Did Forrest have lewd images on his phone/camera/computer? No
Did Forrest have previous convictions/cautions for indecency against a minor? No

It's clear from the comments of the girl today that she loves him and the 'affair' was two ways, she was attracted to him, he to her.

Many teenage girls I went to school with fancied one teacher or another, but then again us lads fancied one particular teacher as well, I will spare her any mention but I think she knew!.

In a position of authority and with the criminal checks done on all aspiring teachers, Forrest should have known that no good would ever come from beginning a relationship with a then 14 year old.

Whatever his feelings, he ought to have closed the matter down immediately and if necessary spoken to the headteacher to make him aware of the issue.

The defence said he was a 'good teacher who succumbed to temptation' – sorry, Forrest was the
responsible one here, he should have known better.

Another issue was the fact he is married! Surely a man of Forrest's seeming intellect could have computed what he was doing was wrong on any number of levels?

The girl clearly responded to Forrest and may have led him into the relationship – this is not the story of evil teacher luring a pupil for sex.

It is a love story, girl fancies boy and hope their 'love' will overcome the social and legal difficulties it created.

Clearly from hearing the evidence, Forrest was a very popular teacher who connected with his students on a number of levels and inspired them to achieve.

There is nothing wrong with a teacher blogging, befriending his pupils, chatting to them outside class – it's when it goes to the next level that problems arise.

That has been blown to bits now, he will never hold a teaching post again, the girl and her family will be whispered about for years to come.

Love is supposed to conquer all, but as this case shows, it can be a pretty destructive weapon as well.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Warner AND the Aussie management have all had too much to drink!

QUESTION – You are a member of the Australia management in England four weeks before the Ashes.

Your opening batsman has punched an English rival in an Aussie-themed pub, he looks remorseful after you ban him for one game – what would you do next?

Would you a) pack his bags, put him on the first flight home vowing he will never play cricket for Australia again or b) accept his remorse, make him apologise, hand him a massive fine and warn him he is living on
borrowed time?

Either one is acceptable really, perhaps b) attracts less headlines and maybe gets your opening batsman to think long and hard about what he wants.

Instead the Australian management chose secret option c) completely knacker their chances in the Ashes with the weirdest punishment ever handed out.

David Warner has been banned from playing for Australia until the first test match of the Ashes on July 10, yes he has been fined but he will be a cricketer not allowed to play cricket while his mates can.

Now I understand he will probably be dropped for the first test as a result but consider this – Chris Rogers, the only other opener who could be consider as Phil Hughes is so badly out of nick, was dismissed TWICE
in one day for Middlesex against Yorkshire yesterday.

If his run continues and the Aussie selectors stick with Hughes at three you could have Warner walking out to the middle for the first ball of the Ashes having not played cricket for over a month!

In effect, this 'punishment' is the Australian selectors offering to start their innings at 0 for 1 and putting pressure on an already brittle batting line up.

Michael Clarke and coach Micky Arthur appear to be hell-bent on enforcing the law on this squad. Easy when you are respected like Waugh and Ponting were, harder when most of the dressing room don't like
you Michael.

Either way, the Aussies appear to be on the backfoot in the lead up to the Ashes series, it will be Captain Cook's job to keep them there.

Cloudy morning July 10, bit of green to the Trent Bridge pitch – win the toss and hand the ball to Anderson and Broad skipper!

Friday, 7 June 2013

Heard it all before Ivan, sorry I don't believe the 'hype'

ARSENAL fans are getting very excited after Ivan Gazidis was quoted in a number of national newspapers saying the club basically had quite a lot of cash to hand now.

Add to that the rumours stating the club had met the release clause for Marouane Fellani, were interested in Gonzalo Higuain and potentially had the cash to get Wayne Rooney and you could forgive us Gooners for getting rather giddy!

But we have been here before, a couple of transfer windows back a lot was made of the fact Arsene had the cash to splash but he didn't do anything

And I can't help but think Ivan, a man I don't particularly care for, spoke to journalists in a bid to secure an easier day on Monday at the Q and A session.

Talk a good game for the weekend and fend off some of the criticism he is bound to get, some Tweeps will brand me one of the WOB's (Wenger Out Brigade), I am an Arsenal fan who wants the best – celebrating fourth place in my opinion is vulgar.

I don't suspect anything will happen on any transfer matter this summer and the club will continue to meander along under the stewardship of a man whose best days are behind him.

In the pursuit of success, Man U went for a manager on a long contract, Mourinho was enticed back to Chelsea and Man City sacked a bloke who won their first PL title just 12 months before.

And Arsenal? Talk of a new contract for a man who has won nothing for eight years and not only that presided over a season which saw them dumped out of competitions by Bradford City and the basket case of a club that is Blackburn Rovers.

I won't forget the job he has done for Arsenal, I don't believe we would still be in the Premier League had he not come in.

Long ago I argued the case for him announcing before the last home game he would be leaving and then getting the ovation and respect he deserves before the game, ala Fergie's departure.

He deserves our gratitude, respect and adoration for ensuring the Arsenal remained part of the footballing elite.

But under him now, we will go nowhere.....prove me wrong Arsene and Ivan, make a statement this summer and put us back in the game.

I will not only admit I was wrong but I will be proud to do so!

When 'good' lobbying becomes 'bad'

IT HAS been interesting to think about lobbying in the past 24 hours, watching Panorama last night and seeing what Patrick Mercer allegedly got up to was rather embarrassing.

But then you take a look at the front of the Pershore Observer this week and my story about Harriett Baldwin, Pershore's MP, who has become one of the first MPs to declare all her meetings with so-called 'lobbyists'.

For me that shows that lobbying is not only good but essential to our democracy, it's how its done which is the toxic problem.

Banning it altogether means nothing will ever get done and our MPs will sit in a bubble in Westminster and not know what is going on in the real world.

But paying for access or questions to be asked in our Parliament though is wrong, our MPs are accountable to all, not to just those with the deepest pockets.

If I own a business in Bromsgrove and can see my firm growing hugely despite 'red-tape' restrictions, why shouldn't I contact my MP to see if he/she can raise the matter?

But I would do that by inviting him/her to my business or asking to see them at a surgery, not by offering them a fee to be a consultant!

If my MP then ignores me or looks like he/she can't be bothered, well then come election day perhaps my cross goes elsewhere.

MPs have to learn that the more honest they are, the better the electorate will think of them. I can;t speak for the people of Newark and how they feel about Mr Mercer, I don't know the area.

But as a journalist covering the Pershore area, I can only applaud Mrs Baldwin for actions, she has got nothing to hide and as she says 'sunlight is the best disinfectant'.

I'd rather a busy MP who did meet groups to learn more about their work and any potential benefit for the local area than one whose sole purpose was to further themselves solely.

This is not a scandal about lobbying, this is a scandal on how a necessary process like lobbying can be abused for personal gain.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Press hasn't been gagged over Downing Street 'affair'....

It's an affair which has 'stunned' people in Downing Street and could have huge repercussions for our Prime Minister David Cameron.

So much so that the Mail on Sunday quoted the line that Mr Cameron ‘immediately realised the importance of the story'.

The Mail also added: “David Cameron holds crisis talks at Downing Street after being told of the alleged affair which has potentially significant political implications for him.”

Yet amid all the rumours there were demands for the names and accusations Downing Street and Mr Cameron had told the Mail on Sunday not to run something.

Rubbish, do you really think a Conservative-leaning newspaper would have run this unless they knew the damage it could do to Mr Cameron who is hardly their friend at the moment.

The simple truth is the Mail on Sunday ran as much as it could do by law, there is no junction or super-injuction preventing the MoS spilling the beans but other legal reasons.

As I tried to state last night, newspapers are governed by a variety of laws and restrictions and cases like this show how responsible the industry can be.

The names of the two rumoured to be involved are rather widely found now on the internet and social media.

I would imagine the Mail's lawyers are working on a way around the legal restrictions as I write this as a result.

Even though this is a personal blog, I abide by the laws covering my profession so I won't reveal the names.

But if the rumours are true and they are indeed the two people involved, our Prime Minister will have a huge headache.

Arrogant England need to get back to earth quick

SO after the test series joy comes one day pain as England lose the series to New Zealand with one match still left on the fixture list.

Truth be told this has been coming since the winter when Cook’s men went to New Zealand, fresh from beating India and expecting a nice easy two months thrashing the Black Caps.

They forgot one of the top rules of professional sport, beware of the underdog! New Zealand may be low in the rankings for test and one day cricket, doesn’t make em rubbish!

New Zealand stood toe to toe with England in their homeland and nearly embarrassed them in the final test match.

They may not have got the job done in NZ or in the tests here but my word have they embarrassed England in the past 72 hours.

Friday was bad enough but today England were shown up with bat, ball and in the field by a team who had a plan – if Cook’s team had a plan they clearly read it upside down!

The Kiwis have cottoned on that Anderson and Bresnan are dangers with the new ball, but after that it’s a bit of a buffet on offer and boy did they fill their plates.

Dernbach is not good enough for ODI cricket, too much variation, all of which has been figured out while Woakes is a fish out of water – horribly exposed.

England could do with Anderson having a new ball partner, like Graham Onions or perhaps even a Chris Wright from Warwickshire then unleash the bounce of Broad, the seam of Bresnan and the spin of Swann.

Batting wise England need a rethink, Cook should open, Trott should be at three but the rest of the personnel need looking at. It’s too late for the Champions Trophy, England have already named their 15 but
long term Ashley Giles needs to ask some searching questions.

Bell as a opener for me has a failed – Root would be a better option in ODI’s with Bell coming in at five behind Pietersen and in front of Bairstow and Buttler.

Morgan has done very little in England ODI colours for me, like Dernbach he could do with being relegated to t20 duties for a while.

But what is more worrying is England’s reliance still on a formula when they bowl, thou shall not bowl a spinner until the 12/13th over!

New Zealand not that keen on spin, why not throw Swann the ball for a couple of overs at the start of the innings, hold Anderson or Bresnan back a while?

What is clear is on this form, England will once again disappoint in a cricket tournament they are hosting, thank god there isn’t an official song like 1999.......