Sunday, 25 May 2014

Labour won on Thursday, just not well enough

Reading the newspapers and watching the news since Thursday, you would have been forgiven for thinking UKIP had broken all kinds of political records and the Conservatives had made gain after gain.

I’m afraid the truth for the likes of the Murdoch media and those who resent Ed Miliband is Labour won, well in some areas but failed to really go big in others.
The analogy I draw is Labour scored a century on a flat batting wicket but were bowled for 102 when a double hundred could and should have been possible.

But the headlines since Friday morning are frankly bizarre, Labour’s ‘nightmare night’ (they gained 300+ seats) and UKIP’s ‘earthquake’ (gained 150 seats and NO councils).
Those pale in comparison to the analysis offered which says UKIP will deny Labour election victory and will ‘eat into Labour’s core vote’.

Early on Thursday evening, Sunderland was used as the example of how Labour’s core vote was drifting to UKIP. That’s an area where, when all was said and done, Labour recorded 47 per cent of the vote….
The TRUTH is the UKIP threat is very real, very evident but it will impact on Labour AND the Conservatives.

Take a look at Essex on Thursday and Friday, many seats where David Cameron normally doesn’t need to worry about the Tory vote.
By 9am on Friday, Basildon’s Conservative leader had gone claiming his Prime Minister ‘didn’t get it’.

Both Labour and Conservatives need more seats to form a Government next year, but if there core vote is being taken by UKIP, a hung parliament again should be a very real possibility.
That’s why Labour’s performance should not be dismissed, the party gained councils in Croydon, Crawley, Redbridge and Cambridge and virtually wiped out any opposition in Islington and Manchester.

Yes not enough to win power, but a clear sign the party is recovering votes, look at the areas where Labour topped the poll, if this translates next year then Ed Miliband is Prime Minister.
The biggest anomaly at the moment is how will UKIP do next year, all the statistics suggest a good local and Euro performance is usually watered down come General Election.

Britain entered the unknown in 2010, no opinion poll can tell you the result of 2015, but one thing is sure, it’s better to be winning and topping the poll than struggling in second….

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

RIP Stephen, thank you for the memories

IN LIFE we have always needed people willing to go the extra mile, to wonder what is over the horizon and, most importantly, to make a difference.

Had we not had people like that, humans would still be stuck in caves - Stephen Sutton was one who made a difference.

At 19 and having being diagnosed with terminal cancer, it would have been very easy for him to lash out at the unfairness of such a horrid illness, go 'off the rails' and spend his final weeks and months fighting the injustice of it all.

I dare say there was probably anger within him that his journey in life would not reach many more stations on the route, it would be natural.

But Stephen chose to fight in one of the most unique, beautiful and memorable ways I can think of, he chose to raise cash for the Teenage Cancer Trust to help teens long after he had passed on.

It was an ambitious target of £ got the memo saying ambitious though and his fight and spirit and overall outlook saw Stephen raise in excess of £3MILLION!

Throughout he was both funny, engaging and at times brutally honest about cancer, all of which made people like me want to hear more.

I hope Stephen's efforts will of course lead us closer to ridding the world of this brutal illness or at least slow it down to keep loved ones with us much longer

But Stephen should be a role model for younger people, make a difference and life your lives to the fullest.

Too often young people are demonised by society when in truth there are many who are making a difference from a young age.

To Stephen's parents, family and friends I send my heartfelt condolences. I hope in time once this pain has lessened, the memories of a fantastic person will sustain you in your darkest memories.

RIP Stephen, you may only have been here for a relatively short time but the world was a better place for you being in it

Monday, 12 May 2014

Blue Moon rises to see off the Reds revival

So there you are, the end to yet another Premier League season, Manchester City triumph, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Everton and Spurs are booking the plane tickets for a Euro excursion while the trapdoor closed on the heads of Cardiff, Fulham and Norwich.

It's been an enthralling, captivating, surprising and dramatic season in the top flight, Manchester United's manager didn't get the six years he was promised and Crystal Palace and Sunderland went from doomed to mid-table comfort.

It was the year of the sack as everyone seemed to change their manager - some did well (Crystal Palace) while others left it too late (Norwich) or changed too many times (Fulham).

Ultimately it was a season where the best team overall won the top trophy. Manchester City have been consistent, threatening and capable of stunning runs of form and deserve their honour.

A lot was made about Pellegrini when he arrived, particularly he had not won the league and 'blew £200million' at Real Madrid to finish second to Barcelona.

The fact that Barca won the title that year with a RECORD La Liga points total seemed not to concern the scribes and opinion makers.....

The Chilean has united a squad full of egos and honed them into a potent outfit, a team capable of going even further next season. It's a season though where Yaya Toure and Aguero must have competent understudies as both world class players have been playing through the pain at times this year.

As for Liverpool, this season has not been a 'failure' despite what Alan Hansen said. Ask any Liverpool fan if going from seventh to second and within two points of a title is failure and I suspect you might get a rather sarcastic response!

Liverpool's only mistake this season was naiveity - Brendan Rodgers told his team to go for it against Chelsea when he should have played tactically, got a point and moved on.

But Liverpool's approach was understandable, they thrashed Everton 4-0, Arsenal 5-1 and beat Man City 3-2 by 'going for it' so why change?

Perhaps if the same happened next year, we may see a new more cautious Liverpool but if I was an Anfield regular I wouldn't be sad at the conclusion, I would be looking ahead to next season.

It's been a season to remember again, congratulations to Manchester City!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Snooker needs a

I HAVE to say, I'm really enjoying the dafabet World Snooker Championships this year.

Wonderfully entertaining and engrossing, the snooker has kept my attention these last few nights. 

However, I can't help thinking snooker is missing a trick with regards the gruelling and at times, unfair, schedule.

Ronnie O'Sullivan finished his semi-final on Friday night after demolishing Barry Hawkins. The pair had the afternoon session on Saturday but it wasn't needed.

Meanwhile. Mark Selby had a fight to the death semi final with Neil Robertson which ended after 10pm on Saturday night.

After speaking to the BBC and the written media, Selby probably didn't leave until almost midnight.

So at 2.30pm on Sunday, O'Sullivan was without question was more fresher than Selby.

Is that right for the final of a sporting showcase? For me no. Both finalists ought to start equal in score and energy levels.

Barry Hearn has made many improvements in recent years to attract viewers and sponsors. So why not try a rest day?

Have the semi finals both reach a conclusion on a Friday leaving both finalists a clear day to rest and prepare to ensure the final is won by talent alone.

While the professionals rest, a Peoples Saturday could be held with exhibition matches and a celebration of snooker.

So when the final starts on the Sunday, both players are in the best condition and the Crucible crowd can settle down for a classic 

No other sport has such a tight schedule before its final. Surely snooker fans would consider a break of a different kind?

Thursday, 1 May 2014


20 years ago I cried, cried tears for a man I never knew, spoke to or had even seen in the flesh.

I cried when Ayrton Senna lost his life behind the wheel of a Formula One car, a car which he was particularly adept at driving fast while handling it with a silky smooth touch.

I was 12 years old, I knew of Niki Lauda’s accident, of Jim Clark’s death and had seen some big accidents, but the drivers always bounced up and out.

When Roland Ratzenberger lost his life the day before, my 12 yr old brain was sad yes but knew the drivers, led by Senna would pay him a fitting tribute the following day. How wrong was I?

May 1, 1994 was when us youngsters fully understood the danger of F1 and our fathers and grandfathers looked on knowingly, they’d been there.

In the era before Breaking News took hold, I remember the BBC coverage of the San Marino grand prix, the excited and irrepressible Murray Walker and the safe hands of Steve Rider.

Both knew Senna, to hear Murray’s voice go from his fizzy pop ‘anything can happen’ bounce to a slow, morose and at times emotional tone fully conveyed this wasn’t just a run of the mill accident.

And Rider went from the host back to a news journalist, conveying what was known and not speculation.

All of the time there was still, farcically a grand prix taking place! I can’t remember who won the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix and maybe no one else can either.

20 years on and F1 is more safer and no fan young or old has had to revisit that day, Schumacher had a huge accident at Silverstone in 1999 and only had a broken leg.

Cars go upside down, tyres puncture at high speeds, accidents still happen but this generation still go home at the end of the race.

Senna’s legacy is the fact that all F1 drivers still step into those machines, still go for that overtake, still push for that vital hundredth of a second off their lap time.

They do so with the fear, the fear it could be the last time they do, only when the fear becomes too much is it time to hang up the helmet

That’s something Ayrton Senna never got the chance to do. Thank you for the memories Ayrton, may you continue to rest in peace