Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Tories aren't just playing on Miliband's pitch, they are playing his game

George Osborne has been warning Tories 'not to play on Miliband's pitch' when it comes to the living standards battle being fought by Labour at the moment.
Yet his comments talking about how the Government 'needs to step in to create the rules of the market' sounds remarkably like Ed Miliband's conference speech.
Remember that? the speech labelled 'marxist', 'left wing' and something which would 'drag Britain back to the 1970s' according to the Prime Minister and his Chancellor.
Since then, the Tories have not only been forced on to the pitch but now are playing Labour's game.
The energy price freeze? A 'con' according to the Tories, but something they now have to find an answer to.
Now they are tackling pay day lenders like Wonga, finally listening to Labour MPs like Stella Creasy.
The masked even slipped from Jeremy Hunt on Question Time last Thursday when he said they were clearing up the mess left by the 'banking crisis' in 2008.
Funny, I thought they were clearing up Labour's mess.....
Miliband is being clever, some of the conference speech may well have been froth and bubble but most of it has resonated.
It's a source of anger to the Tories that people are listening to the opposition again when the economy is improving and people are not focusing on that.
Logically, Labour should be sinking now, a leader who isn't exactly battering Cameron as Blair did Major and with only a small amount of policy on the board with a Shadow Chancellor who will
forever be linked to the last Labour Government.
None of that will change between now and 2015 as Miliband simply cannot swing for the fence as hard as Blair did.
But Cameron is getting increasingly hamstrung by events, I have noticed in recent weeks the Conservative supporting papers are beginning to get very hostile, a reaction to Cameron waiving
through the Royal Charter on press regulation?
His appointment of Lynton Crosby could prove to be a mistake, the British people want a sense of fair play in their politics, if the Government get dirty then many may vote Labour in protest.
And the UKIP factor - I have previously called them the UK's Tea Party and the 'Farage Factor' is clear. Cameron is cutting the green 'crap' out of his Conservative Party and talking a lot about immigration and the EU, to tempt UKIP voters back.
Has the boat sailed though? I suspect for many 'older' Tory voters it has, many will vote for UKIP quite simply because its the Conservative Party they knew in the 80s.
And should Cameron waive through HS2, the line will go through the fields and back gardens of his core home counties vote, enough for many to vote UKIP I suspect.
Hope? Hell yes, despite Nick Harvey suggesting 2015 is already decided, Cameron could yet pull off victory if the economy gets better, inflation comes down and more money is in our pockets.
However he needs party unity, a warmer press than he is getting at the moment and to get off Miliband's pitch.
The Autumn Statement is a good chance to unveil a whole new ball game for Labour to match.....

Monday, 25 November 2013

Aussies take the lead but lose the moral high ground

Congratulations to the Australia, a deserved pasting of England was duly completed yesterday morning with a performance which should ensure this series will now be a real hum dinger.

However, if the next four tests are approached in the manner this one has been in terms of verbal sledging then it will be the worst series for many a year.

Australia's behaviour in this test match has been utterly deplorable, it's very difficult to celebrate 
Mitchell Johnson's return to form when every delivery was finished with a foul mouthed outburst at the batsmen.

Siddle, Watson and Bailey also need to look at their roles in creating a nasty atmosphere as do Anderson, Prior and Swann on the England side.

But those with the most to think about before Adelaide are Michael Clarke and David Warner.

Clarke's behaviour this week has been deplorable, firstly 'naming' England's team was the epitome of arrogance.

Call it what you will, great Aussie skippers never had to 'name' the opposition, they talked up how good their team would be.

Can you imagine Waugh or Ponting doing it? Nope, they settled for saying how McGrath was looking fired up in the nets, how Warney had a new 'secret' delivery and how the batsmen were looking forward to taking the English on.

I'd have had much more respect for Clarke if he stood there saying how much he was looking forward to seeing Johnson cause some problems, remind Cook how Harris had his number et al.

As for the Anderson altercation, I've no doubt Anderson is a gobby so and so but telling him to prepare for a broken arm, really?

Firstly Anderson is the number 11 batsman so having a dig is a bit pointless. Secondly, why dish out such threat when you one wicket away from massive victory? Surely more long term damage can be done by reminding Jimmy how much on top they were and how his batsmen let him down...

As for Warner, well his whole attitude is appalling. Someone needs to remind him he's won nothing yet.

He is a brilliantly destructive batsman, I'd rather him keep his mouth shut, score a barrow load of runs, win a few Ashes series then if he wants to give it then fine.

I don't oppose sledging, it's called TEST cricket for a reason but it needs to be an examination of technique and ability not personal stuff.

Warner is like Hayden in his temperament and approach, difference is Hayden won everything there was to win.

It could be a classic series to remember, both sides have a duty to remember that. Play hard but play fair and have a few beers afterwards!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Ashes Preview

The greatest show in cricket kicks off on Wednesday evening only months after England nearly won a test match in the dark at the Oval in what we call Summer.

Well now, in what our comrades Down Under call Summer, the old rivals prepare to square up yet again.

Many have had their say on these back to back series, being done to rejig the timetable to ensure England never finish an Ashes tour to Australia and go straight into preparations for the Cricket World Cup.

But like it or not, this is the pinnacle of cricketing entertainment outside of India v Pakistan as both teams want to win and win well.

All of the talk from the Australians is designed to throw England off their game and crumble under pressure.

Michael Clarke knows his best 11 cannot beat England’s best 11 without the aid of some tricks of the trade.

Thing is Pup, it might have worked with previous England teams but this one knows how to win and win very well indeed.

All of the batting collapses in recent battles between the two sides have come from the men in green and gold. Yes England struggled to make many runs this summer but on true Aussie wickets expect England’s batsmen to sell their wickets for very high prices indeed.

The Aussies have won one test in 2013, they need to win at least two and pray for rain in the next six or seven weeks to have any chance of reclaiming the Ashes.

It’s why the psychology began early, but England seem to be meeting it head on especially Pietersen who hilariously accepted that yes he did have an ego so what?

Stuart Broad has virtually given every Australian a licence to come and sledge him after he didn’t
walk at Trent Bridge.

Meanwhile Cook sits silently by, the epitome of cool and knows seven weeks of ‘dull, unimaginative captaincy’ (copyright SK Warne) will win England the Ashes outright on Australian soil once again.

The pace of the series will once again be set at the Gabba, England should simply aim to win as many sessions as they can on day 1, 2 and 3.

If they do that they could be in a strong position at a weekend and who knows 1-0 could be a real possibility.

Brisbane should hold happy memories for the tourists as should Melbourne and Sydney with only Perth looking like a banana skin for this team.

Prediction -  it all depends on the first test but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Captain Cook and his crew return from their voyage with another 3-0 under their belts....

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Ignore the experts and support the team!

SO tonight is Arsenal's 'biggest test of the season' when we welcome Liverpool to the Emirates.

That's just four days after the last 'biggest test of the season' against Chelsea and a fortnight after a similar 'biggest test of the season' when we played Dortmund in the Champions League.

Yes that's right Arsenal are being tested more than teenagers facing their GCSE's at the moment and if you believe the 'experts' have failed miserably.

Hmmm, sadly the experts are wrong. Failure would have been a mauling by Dortmund of 0-3, 0-4 proportions - it was 1-1 for 82 minutes.

And there's no doubt Tuesday was disappointing but Chelsea's squad was worth around £200million, Arsenal's was only worth as much as was because Ozil was on the bench!

Let's be honest, which Gooner expected us to be top of the league on November 1? Anyone? I doubt even the most ardent Arsenal fan expected what we have witnessed this season.

It's been fun but the notion we were a) going to walk the league and b) beat our 'title rivals' regularly is a complete fallacy.

Everyone will beat everyone this year, Fergie leaving United, Mancini leaving Man City and Mourinho coming back to Chelsea has made the Premier League a complete unknown quantity this season.

We might win some big clashes, lose other but newsflash - SO WILL EVERYONE ELSE!

We have been top four regulars since the dawn of time...I noticed Liverpool don't get 'biggest test' headlines each week and they are doing pretty well this season!

I was Wenger's harshest critic for the past two years but the signing of Ozil, the return of Flamini and the mentality change which appears to have happened has won me back.

Win, lose or draw today -just back the team ahead of a week full of fixtures we love, big teams, big stadiums and hopefully some big results.

It's not a test, this is football. COME ON ARSENAL!