Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Forgive Colin, he made a mistake

MANY words have already been written about the actions of Sky News journalist Colin Brazier at the weekend.

For those who may have enjoyed the summer sunshine away from the 24 hours news cycle, Colin was at the scene (one of many) of the downed MH17 plane and came across luggage.

He reached in and picked up some items, before common sense came hurtling into his mind and brought him back into the real world.

Throughout, Colin was live on television, walking around an horrific scene, no doubt had a producer in his ear talking to him and his own mind's filter ensuring he only described what was suitable for an audience and
vetting some of the more ghoulish sights.

Then it happened, he came across the luggage, his cameraman films it, and for some reason only Colin knows he reaches in.

What he did was immensley disrespectful and wrong let me make that perfectly clear, but within 30 seconds he himself said 'We shouldn't be doing this...this is a mistake' and pulled away.

In a world where apologies have to be dragged out of people or done to avoid commercial loss (hello Luis Suarez), Colin's sense of taste metaphorically whacked him in the crotch hard.

Within hours the broadcaster had apologised and today Colin has penned an article for the Guardian, not one of the News International stable which part owns Sky, but an outside publication.

“At the weekend, I got things wrong. If there was someone to apologise to in person, I would.” he writes.

Pretty conclusive but in the court of human opinion that is Twitter, people are already criticising the apology including a well known former footballer....who once had to apologise himself for an 'error of judgement'.

When you watch television news, think about what that reporter sees and you don't, that man or woman has to go home with those images in their mind as Colin will.

There is no excuse, Colin has not sought to wriggle out of it, he got it wrong badly but apologised.

If you want to get angry, get angry at those who shot a plane full of innocent people out of the sky.

Get angry at a nation which invaded another with no remorse, get angry there is yet more conflict in the
Middle East.

Get angry millions die every year in poverty, get angry the rich are getting richer with tax loopholes and the

See? I don't see those responsible apologising for any of that...

Monday, 21 July 2014

Resign Alastair and become one of the greats

SOMETHING strange happened yesterday evening, I felt sorry for Alastair Cook.

Strange in the sense I have been a huge critic of the England captain since he emerged from the 5-0 Ashes whitewash not only stronger but seemingly in an unsackable position.

I despise the way he engineered Kevin Pietersen's forced retirement from the England team and his inability to take criticism, especially the 'something needs to be done' comment about Shane Warne.

However, looking at the broken man who trudged off Lords yesterday evening having again been exposed outside his off stump, I felt sorry for him.

Now he wouldn't want sympathy, no cricketer would, he just wants to rediscover the magic, hit a blisteringly huge hundred and lead England to victory.

But looking at Cook, I wonder whether he is destined to join the likes of Gower and Botham as great England players but average captains.

Captaincy does not sit well with some cricketers but does others and does lead to a slump in form however Cook is not out of form he is technically exposed.

Some have suggested a sabbatical from the England team while he goes back and gets runs for Essex and then returns as captain and opening batsman.

It just won't work for a number of reasons, primarily because Cook is not out of form he has a technical fault with his game.

But also the England captaincy cannot be done on a caretaker basis, if England are to succeed they need a regular full time captain – look at the mess when Vaughan was out injured.

Quite simply, England need Alastair Cook the opening batsman more than Alastair Cook the captain.

Cook has not become a bad player overnight just burdened by the captaincy and, I believe, the impending Pietersen book which reveals what really happened in Australia.

If England do go on to lose the second test today, Cook should be prepared to stand down as captain.

Free from the burden and attention I believe he is strong enough to come back from this slump and certainly get the 739 more needed for another record – England's highest run scorer in tests.

Cook is only 29 so should he rediscover the magic he could also be the first Englishman to 10,000 runs in tests.

Already the leading century maker for his country, Cook should sacrifice the captaincy in the pursuit of those records.

Some may say that is selfish, but every good 'Chef' knows when to change the recipe to make the dish better.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Clegg's 'axe to tax' comments are a cheap stunt

THE Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg wants his coalition partners to ditch the 'Bedroom Tax' otherwise he will scrap it in the 2015 Lib Dem manifesto.

That is despite his party voting for it every time it has come through the House of Commons.....

What has provoked this 'crisis of conscience' for the Deputy PM and his party, new DWP figures? A tale of woe from a constiuent or even politicians just admitting they are wrong.

Or is it the fact one opinion poll this week showed the Liberal Democrats on six per cent....that's SIX per cent.

From the heights of 2010 and 'I agree with Nick', the Liberal Democrats have fallen faster than Luis Suarez did into Chiellini's shoulder.

However, those of you hoping for the Liberal Democrats to stand up to the Conservatives and flex their muscles will be disappointed, this is nothing more than a cheap, vulgar and hypocritical stunt.

This is not the first time Clegg and his party have voiced their disproval, remember the Royal Mail?

Remember 'We stopped the Tories from introducing 16 'heartless' policies'?

Remember as well the Deputy Prime Minister was once heard telling the PM they had to stop agreeing as they would have nothing to disagree about in 2015.

Clegg knows the Liberal Democrats face the abyss in 2015, the protest votes have gone to UKIP, some have gone to the Greens or Labour, leaving them with not much to smile about.

He knows opposing it on the surface now and pledging to scrap it in the 2015 manifesto might tempt some voters back.

They shouldn't though and anyway the opposition have already pledged to scrap it should they be elected....

Truth be told if Nick Clegg is serious about wanting to scrap this he ought to threaten a confidence vote in
the House of Commons.

If the Lib Dems voted to scrap it along with Labour then there would be no confidence in the Government and potentially a snap election could be triggered.

Or interestingly, the Prime Minister, tired of the junior partners whinging could force a confidence vote himself.

Then the Liberal Democrats would be faced with a dilemma, vote to back it and probably lose the last of any credibility with the electorate, vote to scrap it and potentially face the electoral wilderness...

Mr Clegg, it's over to you!