There are TV shows and there are TV shows. Once in a blue moon, you are privileged to watch greatness, more often you’re treated to something you’ve all but forgotten about pretty well before it’s finished. Yes, Minister and its successor Yes, Prime Minister undoubtedly fall within the former group.
For all its high comedy, there was a strong element of truth to the show. The main characters, whilst exaggerated for dramatic purposes, nonetheless had the ring of believability to them. And the writing was so good, some of it is etched on my mind and has, indeed, influenced the way I have thought and the way I have written. Take the brilliant episode when Jim Hacker, the minister for administrative affairs, actually becomes PM. This section is particularly brilliant:
Bernard Woolley: [Discussing possible reasons for the Prime Minister’s early retirement] Minister, I’ve heard something quite different.
James Hacker: What?
Bernard Woolley: That there is £1 million worth of diamonds from South Africa in a Downing Street safe, but of course it’s only a rumour.
James Hacker: Is that true?
Bernard Woolley: Oh, yes.
James Hacker: So, there ARE all those diamonds in Downing Street!
Bernard Woolley: Are there?
James Hacker: You just said there were.
Bernard Woolley: No, I didn’t.
James Hacker: Yes, you did! You said you’d heard this rumour, I said is it true, you said yes!
Bernard Woolley: I said yes, it was true that it was a rumour.
James Hacker: You said you heard it was true!
Bernard Woolley: No, I said it was true that I heard it!
Annie Hacker: I’m sorry to cut into this important discussion, but do you believe it?
James Hacker: I believe I heard it. Oh, about the diamonds. No.
Annie Hacker: Is it impossible?
James Hacker: No, but it’s never been officially denied. First rule in politics: never believe anything until it’s officially denied.
Two things stand out for me. The classic misunderstanding about a rumour and the first rule of politics. Rumours range from pure guesswork and speculation to evidence based suggestions. And in life, never mind just politics, you never believe anything until it’s been officially denied. Both are certainly relevant to football.
Take Bristol Rovers. Please. Anyone. For months, rumours have been out there about various takeovers and/or investment coming in. A few weeks ago, Radio Bristol’s Geoff Twentyman interviewed Rovers president Wael Al Qadi about all the rumour and speculation and all we got was slippery evasion. I’m sorry to say that because Wael has been a perfect gentleman every time I have met him. But I’d be lying if he came across as open and straightforward. He didn’t.
My royal reader will know that I have fallen out of love with my club. It’s been a long process, for sure, and this season I decided to stop going altogether. A large part of the reason for not going was to take the negativity out of my life. Under the chaotic and vindictive ownership of Nick Higgs, I lost the passion. Under the Al Qadi family, I started to see the heart being ripped out of the club as much loved and hugely respected, and above all, hugely talented people stepping aside. Whilst others saw a more professional outlook at the club, I saw little or no evidence. I decided a long time ago that Bristol Rovers would be a far better place without the current owners.
I have no hard evidence that anything is going to change in BS7. Rumours abound like they have always abounded. I no longer follow forums so I expect there are even more rumours on those. Who to believe? Nothing has been denied yet, so it could be true, but then maybe nothing has been denied because there is nothing to deny.
What if it’s all true and there are people out there who want to buy the club? I can’t believe the Jordanians will go without getting their money back, so what’s the deal, say, with the ground? Is the UWE project back on and if it is, will Rovers own it or be tenants? And who will ask the supporters, who remain, the last time I looked, the owners of the club’s spirit? No one did when Higgs took over, no one did when the Al Qadis arrived.
Quite rightly, no one will give a toss about whether I go to more games or not, but, hey, this is my blog and if meaningful change occurs, who knows what might happen. I have put an awful lot of hate behind me in the last year and I look at the world through brighter, fresher eyes right now. I’m happy enough being away from the club the way things are, but never say never.