Eclectic Blue

Old McDonnell

0 Comments 26 September 2016

Jeremy Corbyn’s thuggish close ally John McDonnell is in danger of making people feel sorry for ex Tory MP Esther McVeigh. By declaring in his usual manner than McVeigh deserved to be “lynched” – that’s hanged to you and me – and then refusing to apologise is unlikely to play out well with the electorate. It’s terrible politics and reflects very accurately what life is now like in Jeremy Corbyn’s rapidly imploding Labour Party.

McVeigh deserves no sympathy at all from voters and, indeed, her own voters in Liverpool turfed her out at the last election. She was Iain Duncan Smith’s deputy in the DWP in the last government, the woman who closed the Remploy factories, dumping 1500 disabled workers on the dole, and presided over the Bedroom Tax and PIP. In private, she may well be a lovely person who strokes kittens and kisses babies, but in politics she is a nasty piece of work. But she is not as nasty as John McDonnell.

No one should be surprised at McDonnell’s latest behaviour because he is, from all accounts, a seriously unpleasant individual. Read his 2003 comments about the IRA: “It’s about time we started honouring those people involved in the armed struggle. It was the bombs and bullets and sacrifice made by the likes of Bobby Sands that brought Britain to the negotiating table. The peace we have now is due to the action of the IRA,” he spoke of the role for “the ballot, the bullet and the bomb” and made “jokes” about kneecapping. McDonnell regretted “not assassinating Thatcher” (“it was a joke”, he later added) and then referred to his fellow Labour MPs as “fucking useless”. There are volumes more of this stuff. McDonnell, God help us, is the power behind Corbyn’s wobbly throne, the organ grinder to Corbyn’s monkey.

Make no mistake, McVeigh is a nasty piece of work too and was punished by voters at the ballot box. This is how democracy works. Unfortunately, for McDonnell and the nasty version of the Labour Party he now runs, this is what is going to happen to them as well.

The arguments about the direction of the Labour Party are now over. Corbyn’s re-election will now see the party career further to the far left margins of politics because that is the place where the majority of members and supporters now occupy. Labour, having now become a plaything of the affluent middle classes in the major cities, will become a far less attractive option for working class people, many of whom, like me, will have nowhere else to go.

McVeigh is clearly not a nice person given her actions within the last Tory government in which some Liberals had jobs. I am not sure she deserves to be lynched for it, though. Dressing it up as a mere expression of something else, or as McDonnell usually does when he says something unpleasant as a joke won’t wash. If this is what he is like in opposition, imagine what he might be like in government but imagine is all you can do since there is no chance he will ever make it that far.

Eclectic Blue

I don’t want to talk about it

0 Comments 25 September 2016

I might have profoundly disagreed with the 52% who voted to take Britain out of the EU but I am not stupid enough – honest! – to suggest that somehow they were wrong and that we should have a re-run until they vote the “right” way. And even though we have no idea what Brexit will look like, Brexit is coming. And it’s absolutely crucial that everyone is properly engaged in the debates and negotiations that are to come. This will shape our entire future. So, what does the Labour Party decide to do at its annual conference in Liverpool? It decides not to talk about it at all.

I read that it is the delegates who have decided that the most critical national debate of the decade is not worthy of their time. I am sure there are other vital topics to command their attention, but to ignore the vote to leave the EU and not even discuss it suggests a monumental dereliction of duty.

This, surely, gives a free run to the Conservatives to do whatever they like on the subject. This is how I see things panning out.

In early 2017, Theresa May will trigger article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which is effectively the starting pistol to negotiate both our exit from the EU and our future relations with it. She will have two years to complete the deal, so by 2019 we will know what life outside the EU will look like. I suspect the future will not look too good. May and her advisors will know better than anyone that they could be heading into the 2020 general election a year after Brexit, quite possibly with the economy tanking, trade tariffs imposed by the EU, the end of free movement with the introduction of visas to travel abroad and huge insecurity across the land. May will surely not allow this to happen.

If article 50 is triggered in, say, March 2017, I suspect May and her government will have set out a shopping list of demands in her negotiations which she hopes will explain, for the first time, what Brexit means. She has repeatedly said Brexit means Brexit without actually saying what it means, because she can’t. No one can. So she will call a general election and win with a landslide majority.

As we have said before, May will call an election for two main reasons. One will be to buy time – an extra two years – to enable the electorate to get used to a post-EU world and the other will be the current state of the official opposition. Today’s opinion polls show the Tories 15% ahead Labour and that’s before the boundary changes which will hurt Labour still further. It would be madness for May not to strike with the polls looking so good for her and so bad for Labour and one thing May isn’t is mad. She is not the imagined “safe pair of hands” either which is another reason she will surely go to the country next year.

Britain really does need the best deal possible from the negotiations because we will be massively affected in terms of almost every aspect of our lives. But the Labour Party has decided not to bother to debate it.

I doubt that this unbelievably stupid decision has anything to do with the hapless and hopeless re-elected Labour ‘leader’ Corbyn, who is probably still basking in his success, being cheered to the rafters after making speeches to people who already agree with him. Some half-witted conference arrangements committee will have made a recommendation to delegates, before they went out for an evening of the far more important business of partying and boozing (why else does anyone go to a conference?). “All in favour say aye,” said the chairperson. “That’s carried. We won’t even talk about Britain leaving the EU with all the implications that will have for working people. We’ll now adjourn for lunch. Mine’s a few pints of Boston’s Old Thumper.”

“How can we even take the Labour Party seriously?” May will ask on a party political broadcast early next May. “Your Conservative government has been working hard since you voted to leave the EU. Our manifesto tells you openly and honestly what we hope to gain from leaving the EU, things that will benefit working people up and down the country. You can vote for me to fight for your interests, or you can vote for the opposition who couldn’t even spare the time to talk about it at their conference last September. We gave you the referendum. Now give us the chance to finish the job. You can trust us.”

I couldn’t trust any Tory government, least of all this one, to do anything that was in the interests of working people and I do not believe, for one moment, that Theresa May’s priority will be the “ordinary working people” she keeps banging on about. She will seek assurances and deals for those who do best under a Tory government, like the bankers who wrecked the world economy in 2008, not protections for those who still suffer the effects.

It is absolutely vital that May and the Conservatives are held to account by a forensic opposition. However, it seems this opposition doesn’t even want to talk about it. Another step towards irrelevance for the people’s party. Shame on Labour.

Eclectic Blue

The gene pool

0 Comments 25 September 2016

I was very pleased to read that the Olympic cyclists Jason Kenny and Laura Trott were married yesterday. They seem such a grounded couple given that they are also global superstars, two of the greatest cyclists who ever lived. I was surprised to read that some media outlets said they had “married in secret”. No, they married in private. They didn’t bother to tell the media and why the hell should they?

If they had married in secret, we would never have seen the joyous wedding photographs, nor read quotes from the happy couple. I reckon some parts of the media – guess which parts? – were not told about the wedding in advance.

At least I hope they married in private and didn’t sell the story to one of the gossip magazines like Hello because that just invites trouble. Expose your private life for money and other media operators will say, with some justification, that you are fair game for oppressive coverage. You live by the sword and die by it.

I doubt that I shall ever have any dealings with Mr and Mrs Kenny in the future but I am very excited by what the future might bring and not just for them. Can you imagine the combined gene pool that they possess? Two of the greatest cyclists who ever lived – what could their offspring achieve? I know it doesn’t always work like that, but it’s an alarming prospect for a future Olympics.

Eclectic Blue

He ain’t heavy…

0 Comments 24 September 2016

Having lost my parents, my stepfather, my only uncle and – decades ago – my grandparents, one of whom died before I was even born, life might be a lonely place. I’m not lonely, of course, thanks to my partner, my children, who aren’t children anymore, her family, my father’s widow and my two brothers and a surprisingly wide group of friends. My day job reminds me that I am very much one of the lucky ones. There are a lot of people who have nothing.

One of my brothers, Noel, came to see us last night. It was a fleeting visit but it was wonderful for all that. I seldom see him because he lives in Vancouver. It will probably be years until I see him again. The feeling as I dropped him off at the bus station in Bristol today was far more powerful in terms of upset than seeing him arrive yesterday was of great joy. Saying goodbye is just so sad.

Gradually, with family dying at frequent intervals, I began to treasure them even more. The longing to be near everyone has become more of a need than a longing. I was reckless and careless with some family members years ago, not visiting them as often as I should have done, taking for granted the thought they would always be there. And suddenly, with the passing of my father in 2011, with whom I had finally, belatedly, established the father/son relationship I had never known but always dreamed about, it was taken away from me. With that positively came the negativity. I missed all that growing up.

Canada came into the equation, but it could have been anywhere a long way away. My dad left for Canada in the 1960s and that’s where his second and third sons were born and now live. Apart from infrequent visits, I hardly ever saw them and even when I did my head was so fucked up with the confusion of it all, I wanted to be somewhere else. But even if I had wanted to spend more time with my relatives who lived in Canada and the Netherlands, where my uncle lived, I couldn’t have, firstly through financial reasons and secondly because my uncle didn’t want to know his sister’s son anymore than he wanted anything to do with his sister.

Such a short time with Noel, it will feel like and probably be an age until we meet again, or my brother Vaughan for that matter, and as I drove back up the motorway I didn’t really want to do anything except hide away from the rest of the world. I am very lucky to have a partner who allows me to do that. I could have gone to the football, but I didn’t want to wear a painted smile because I knew that once I said goodbye after the game, I would feel horrendously guilty for having enjoyed myself when really I wanted the world to open up and swallow me whole.

Goodbyes are more awful than hellos are good, that’s a simple truth. I don’t wish that my brother hadn’t come to see us – that would just be plain silly – but I wish him leaving didn’t make me feel so bad.

Like I say, I am the lucky one because I am not alone and I am not feeling sorry for myself, either. But being near the people I love means more to me than anything on earth and that’s why I am so down tonight. It seems all the happy pills in the world can’t make you happy. Just a little less depressed.

Eclectic Blue

It’s behind you

0 Comments 24 September 2016

There’s only one issue to discuss today. Everyone is talking about it, there are front page stories in the red tops and it’s all over the TV news. Yes, Pippa Middleton’s iCloud may have been hacked.

I am no great fan of the royal family, although I have a modicum of empathy with the younger members, like William and Harry, who seem to have made an effort to learn about how ordinary people live their lives. The whole institution of the royal family – and I use the word institution advisedly – is something I can barely understand in the modern age, but most people like it so I won’t be prioritising calls for it to be abolished, not today anyway. But Pippa Middleton? Why on earth should I be interested in her personal life?

I know that she is the sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, former known as Kate Middleton,and that, according to Wikipedia (so it must be true), she is currently employed on a part-time basis by her parents in a business called Party Pieces, whatever that is. I can barely contain my excitement learning about this. I thought she was only famous for her posterior.

I am sorry to refer to Pippa’s arse but this has, apparently, been a critical part of the press pack’s journalism since Kate met Bill. She is the only person on earth with an arse, from what I can tell, which came as a surprise to me when I made a bathroom visit this morning, and it is very shapely. Well, I never.

To the best of my knowledge, the tabloids rarely feature stories of, or indeed print photos of, say, Prince William’s arse, but to be fair I am not a reader of the Sun or Hello, so I could be wrong. I know there used to be a competition called rear of the year. Perhaps William has won it. I am a little out of touch with these things.

It is not clear from reports that Pippa’s arse features in these iCloud hacks. The Sun, for some strange reason, was the main media outlet to be offered the photos and, I guess, in the public interest, no doubt, they will print them. Especially if they can make a few bob in the process!

Poor Pippa. Having enjoyed the best private education money can buy, the best she can hope for in life is to work part time for her family firm and to have her posterior dissected by the readers of tabloid newspapers.

The ultimate celebrity. Related to someone who married someone famous and revered for the way part of her looks.

Britain today, eh?

Eclectic Blue

The B Team

0 Comments 23 September 2016

Holding my hands up, I did feel that initially there was something to be said for the FA’s suggestion that Premier League ‘B’ clubs should be allowed to compete in the lower leagues of the English Football League (EFL). Then, I thought about it and concluded what a barking mad idea it was. And to my astonishment the man who presides over the Premier League, which is doing more damage to English football than anything else, one Richard Scudamore, said that B teams won’t work in the English structure. With friends like him…

So, presumably unless Rupert Murdoch comes along and offers several billion quid extra neither change will occur. But the news got even better. Scottish teams – that is to say Celtic and Rangers – will not be joining the EFL on the not altogether surprising grounds that they are Scottish.

If people really did think the introduction of B teams into the EFL was a good idea, then they will surely have changed their minds after seeing the absolute fiasco of this year’s Checkatrade Trophy, formerly the Paint Pot Trophy, a tournament that has been severely wounded, possibly terminally, by the imposition of B teams from the Premier League and the Championship including the likes of Reading. Football supporters are notoriously unwilling to complain about anything, no matter how damaging it is, so it was surprising that many of them made a spontaneous decision to ignore this year’s competition. Despite there being no organised opposition, the EFL will surely not repeat this crass error especially that the entire tournament has been ruined this season, regardless of who wins it because it was not a genuine tournament.

The EFL clubs don’t want mid season breaks either, which again is fair enough. The whole point of these breaks is to ensure international players don’t get worn out before international competitions and as few of the England team come from League one, at least at the moment, why should we care if lower league foreign internationals playing in the EFL are blowing out of their arses come the summer?

One change that may go ahead is the idea of increasing the number of EFL clubs to 80 in order to move to four divisions of 20 teams. The idea, I understand, is to reduce fixure congestion. Fair enough, but I suggest clubs will need to see how much income they will lose in the event this happens – what will fans say about paying the same for a season ticket for four less games? And in order to introduce the new system in one go as many as seven Championship clubs might be relegated in one go. That would make for exciting times!

We shouldn’t be against change per se because change doesn’t always mean bad news. B teams and the two Glasgow giants undermining the English League was always a step too far and it’s not going to happen. Perhaps other stuff will, including perhaps regionalisation, but the authorities would do well to listen to fans. Not listening has made a right mess of the Checkatrade Trophy, hasn’t it?

Eclectic Blue

Live from the Man Cave – it’s the extended Friday Music Shuffle (23/9)

0 Comments 23 September 2016

Sunny skies over the village, a beautiful autumn morning.

What will the Friday morning music shuffle bring forth? Who cares, you might add? Well, me:

1. Adelante by Sash. No, not Slash. Sash, the DJ chap.

2. Don’t Just Do Something by Spiritualized. From the magnificent Let It Come Down long player. Beautiful.

3. Aja by Steely Dan. Nudging Pet Sounds as the best album ever, here’s Aja with some of the best songs and players on the planet.

4. Brand New Cadillac by the Clash. From the truly great London Calling, more Strummer magic.

5. Theme from the Avengers by Johnny Dankworth. No, really!

6. You’re My Starship (Urbanstar mix) by Dazz Band. Play it loud, very loud.

7. Laughing by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. “I thought I met a man who said he knew a man who knew what was going on. I was mistaken.” Four Way Street such a great live record. Here’s Croz.

8. New Year’s Dub by Musique vs U2. One of U2’s great early tunes all discofied.

9. The Ascent of Man by REM. From the not-all-that-great-contractual-necessity live album.

10. Lipstick on his Collar by Caro Emerald. A touch of class, here.

11. Castles Made of Sand by Jimi Hendrix Experience. Of course, it’s just great.

12. Don’t Think Twice (It’s Alright) by Albert Hammond Jnr. The Strokes’ axeman and son of Albert ‘It never rains in Southern California’ Hammond comes up with a sumptuous Dylan cover.

13. Alternate Title (Randy Scouse Git) by the Monkees. Classic Dolenz who heard Randy Scouse Git during an episode of Till Death Us Depart.

14. Can’t Wait Too Long by the Beach Boys. Mmm.

15. Bobby Fame by Talc. From the marvellous Sit Down Think, here comes Steely Dan meeting the Bonzo Dog Band.

16. Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead. I love you, Thom. Real man love.

17. Moody River by John Fogerty. Yes, the old Pat Boone song from Fogerty’s Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again.

18. Some Girls by Madonna. MDNA was the album, Madge reinventing herself yet again. Brilliant.

19. Be Mine by REM. Much better than the live song earlier, this is from New Adventures in Hi Fi. Peter Buck’s guitar is great on this, as usual.

20. Arthur’s Theme (The best that you can do) by Christopher Cross. Not his greatest, but I love old Chris’s silky voice.

21. Motel Blues by Loudon Wainwright III. Good old boy, classic stuff.

22. Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) by Marvin Gaye. What’s Going On? Some of the best music ever, that’s all.

23. Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey by Paul and Linda McCartney. 1971 from the Ram album.

24. On A Plain by Nirvana. Nevermind, 25 years old this week. Still sounds so fresh!

25. Pretend by Nat King Cole. And to finish this extended play, the voice of Nat King Cole.

That’s all folks!

Eclectic Blue

Never the twain

0 Comments 23 September 2016

We all know that sometime tomorrow Jeremy Corbyn will be re-elected Labour leader. In the words of Captain Sensible, I’m glad it’s all over. It’s not the end of the world as we know it, as Michael Stipe would have put it, but it’s the end of any possibility of us seeing a Labour government for both the foreseeable and unforeseeable future. What we have seen is a clash between two very distinct and irreconcilable philosophies. Never the twain shall meet.

What has happened with Labour is what has happened with politics all over Europe but with one very big difference. In Greece and Spain, for example, the traditional left of centre parties have been usurped and even crushed by brand new political parties of the hard left. In the former, PASOK has been obliterated by SYRIZA which is more a coalition of the hard left than a single party. PASOK, which was in government as recently as 2011, achieved barely more than 6% of the national vote in the second election of 2015, winning just 17 seats. This represented a small improvement on the first election where the figures were 4% and 13 seats. In other words, nowhere. Podemos, a new Spanish hard left party is now the third biggest party in the country in terms of popular support and they’ve only been going for two and a bit years. In Britain, instead of forming new hard left parties, hard left supporters have joined Labour, creating a problem for which there is no hope of finding a solution.

It would be too simplistic to say that the Labour Party is now divided into two distinct parts which is to say those mainstream supporters, the foot soldiers, who have been there all along and a hard left rump which has joined since 2015. There have always been a broad range of opinions and philosophies but in the end we have usually managed, often through compromise, to put forward policies on which we can all campaign. The status quo no longer exists.

My experience is that a very large proportion, a majority indeed, of new members are University-educated members of the affluent middle classes who live in the big cities. Far less of the new blood has been recruited in Labour’s working class heartlands. Some of the new members were members and supporters in the dim and distant past before Labour became electable again in the 1990s. They left in the Blair years, rejecting New Labour’s achievements such as the minimum wage, rescuing the NHS, the Human Rights Act, Sure Start and all the rest of it. Others were inspired to become active in politics by the simple, homespun rhetoric from the 1980s resurrected by Jeremy Corbyn, dressed up as a “new kind of politics”. That it was no such thing is beside the point. For many people, having experienced the slippery spin of modern politics this appeared to be something worth fighting for. Here was an elderly man who was prepared to say it like it was. The antithesis of the modern politician. Put the pre 2015 Labour Party together with the post 2015 version and it didn’t work. It never could and it never will.

Where Labour could once come to agreement through debate and compromise, Labour is now two parties in one. You cannot square the circle where a large number of members support an independent nuclear deterrent and the rest support a pacifist, a pacifist who also supported the IRA when they were murdering innocent people, who regards islamic fascists as “friends” and a man who has tolerated and arguably by his inertia encouraged the most disgraceful campaign of bullying and abuse in recent political memory. I consider myself to be to the left of centre left, if that makes any sense, but I cannot honestly say that I would vote for a Labour Party led by the likes of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell which includes as members the likes of far left union wrecker Mark Serwotka and anti-Semites like Ken Livingstone. I am someone who left the Labour Party because of the Iraq invasion of 2003 and didn’t rejoin until 2015. I am not some Tory/Blair lite socialist or a Red Tory as the posh boy Corbynistas try to paint anyone who doesn’t worship at the altar of the great leader.

I didn’t actively support Owen Smith in his doomed but courageous campaign to defeat Corbyn but I voted for him as a far less damaging candidate than Corbyn, hardly a glowing endorsement there. I see no one in the parliamentary party who offers the Labour any real hope of rescuing its descent into political oblivion so the future for Labour is Corbyn and that’s no future at all.

Labour needs a swing bigger than Tony Blair achieved in 1997 to win a parliamentary majority of one seat and, with Scotland lost, probably forever, to the centrist, arguably right of centre, SNP. Labour in England and Wales must improve dramatically. It’s not going to happen, is it?

Many of those who have joined Labour since last year do not need a Labour government. They quite fancy one, but it wouldn’t make any real difference to their lives, so they can put their weight behind the “pure” candidate who will not win. To them, socialist purity matters far more than the poor, the old, the sick, the disabled, the low paid and everyone else politics has left behind.

In the end, winning elections does matter because you cannot improve the lives of working people without power. Tomorrow, Labour members will have consigned Labour to years of opposition, assuming it survives at all, which is by no means a given. And when Corbyn addresses his adoring cult following, the Champagne corks will be popping at Tory HQ because their preferred candidate will be back in place.

Eclectic Blue

Grunt and groan

0 Comments 22 September 2016

I am not sure if it is all that much of a surprise to learn that that the England cricket captain Alastair Cook is less well known to young people than WWE wrestlers. I don’t think there’s anything new about it, either. I am pretty sure that, at least among the working classes (like me), when I was growing up professional wrestling was of far more interest. Everyone knew who Mick McManus and Jackie ‘Mr TV’ Pallo were, but not everyone knew who was batting at number five for the England team.

My own interest in cricket has declined over the years. Where I could usually identify the entire England team from their photos, there are plenty I would not recognise if they turned up in my local pub. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if Cook walked into my local, the vast majority of people would not have a clue who he was.

Part of the decline in the public recognition factor of cricketers is of course down to the fact the sport is no longer on terrestrial TV. In the 2000s, even my partner knew who Freddie Flintoff, Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen were because they were on telly all the time. In 2016, with TV audiences as low as five figures at times, there are people being called up to play international cricket whose names I don’t know, never mind that I wouldn’t recognise them in the first place. Someone called James Vince was called up to the national side this summer, as did Jake Ball. I had never heard of either of them and I subscribe to the Dirty Digger’s cable channels. If someone like me doesn’t have a clue about the emerging stars of cricket, what price the casual audience and the youngsters with a million other interests to think about?

The authorities are aware of the issue and are thinking what to do about it. But my money is on them doing nothing useful at all.

One remedy is the introduction of another T20 competition, to be played between eight teams (Franchises? City teams? Existing counties?) on the lines of the Australian Big Bash or the IPL. Okay, fair enough: if it is done properly so that ALL areas of the country are incorporated – and how do you do that with just eight teams? – it might just work. But the big questions are these: would it be affordable to young people and which TV channel would it be on? If it was on Sky, as all other live cricket is, then what’s the point? You would be merely providing extra televised cricket for the people who already subscribe to Sky. Perhaps a few more people might subscribe, but not millions like would happen if it was on peak time BBC.

Another issue is the very set up of cricket as it is. Local cricket is thriving in some areas and collapsing in others. In my area, our club has to compete with two clubs who field nine teams between them every week. We have had to go down from two teams to one and to enter a new limited over competition instead of the usual format. This is happening everywhere and within a decade local cricket will consist of the very big clubs playing each other every week and the small clubs will die a death. Youngsters will end up watching WWE instead.

Cricket, thanks to Sky, is swimming with money but participation in the game is plummeting. I do not expect the game to return to terrestrial TV because money matters more to the authorities than developing and spreading the game.

Much wrestling is on the pay TV channels and young people, with a multitude of alternative media to view and participate in, are going with the muscle men than the staid old cricketers.

If I know the cricket authorities as I think I do, they will stay with the money and to hell with the best interests of the game. No one reflects the establishment like they do and expanding the game to working class kids will be of no interest to them when Rupert Murdoch comes along waving a big fat cheque.

Eclectic Blue

Power cut

0 Comments 21 September 2016

‘Karmaaaaaaaaaa’, tweeted president Wael Al Qadi last night, as Bristol Rovers came from behind to inflict a late defeat on Swindon Town at the County Ground, in a replay of last month’s abandoned game. The’Karmaaaaaaaaaa’ to which Wael referred was because the host club had decided to charge many supporters – and all Gasheads – the full whack for tickets, with no refunds after the abandoned game or discounts for the rearranged game. And according to Swindon Town chairman Lee Power, do you know whose fault it was? It was God’s fault.

“What happened on Saturday afternoon was an act of God and beyond the club’s control”, said Mr Power, somewhat unconvincingly. My first thought was this: what was God thinking about? There are places all over the world that desperately need water and what does God do? He dumps it all on Swindon in one go. I hope Mr Power issues a banning order to God because this sort of behaviour is unacceptable in modern football.

I had seen Mr Power’s interview a little earlier on BBC’s Points West show when he was interviewed by the excellent Ali Durden. I cannot recall the exact words Mr Power used about ripping-off Gasheads by making them pay twice to see the same game, but it ran something like this: “Thanks to God, we’ve got extra costs for this game. God doesn’t seem to want to cough up, even though it’s all his fault, so I am going to make Bristol Rovers fans pay twice. I’m not picking them out. The same would apply to any team called Bristol Rovers who visited Swindon.”

The ‘Karmaaaaaaaaaa’ to which Wael joyously referred took a long time to come, with Rovers trailing for much of the game, but with mere minutes remaining a Matty Taylor penalty and an own goal by God turned misery into joy. I made the last bit up about God, but maybe, just maybe there was a little divine intervention.

Swindon’s actions, which were opposed by their trust and many supporters, will hardly endear them to Gasheads and they can look forward to a colourful welcome when they visit the Memorial Stadium next January as they battle to stay in League One. It soils their reputation and not just with Gasheads who have known just what Swindon have been like for many years. It spreads throughout football and reputations stick.

Karma, Mr Power, is a bitch. I am not sure I wish Swindon any luck for the future but I suspect they will need a lot of it with him as chairman.

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