Sunday, 24 January 2010

It all adds up.....

This interview in today's Independent is a welcome piece of common sense from Charlton's very own Chairman Richard Murray.

At a time when many in the private sector are taking pay cuts as an alternative to losing their jobs, there seems to have been a deafening silence from the professional footballing fraternity. Instead the only noise is the rumour mill humming with speculation as to which of a whole host of clubs is likely to next go into administration. Portsmouth, Norwich, Crystal Palace, Charlton themselves perhaps?

The root of the problem in my mind is in the Premiership where wage inflation has reached ridiculous levels, fuelled by TV - and notably Sky - income. It would be one thing if clubs were actually making huge profits on the back of Sky's largesse but the opposite seems to be the case. Manchester United, not so much a football team more a global brand, struggle to service debts approaching £1/2bn. Talk is, come the summer, they may have to offload playing assets like Rooney or Vidic. And if Manchester United are struggling, what hope is there for the rest of the league.

Mr Murray, it seems, has the only solution.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Party Political Broadcast

Yesterday saw the conclusion of the trial of two brothers, accused of grievous bodily harm on 9 and 11 year old brothers. Society has now dispensed justice and the pair will be detained indefinitely. If nothing else at least due process has been served. Just how long the two will actually be kept is a matter of conjecture. The two boys who murdered Jamie Bulger were judged to have been rehabilitated and released on a life licence after 8 years in 2001. Perhaps a similar pattern will be followed here.
The press has been full of the parallels between this and the Jamie Bulger case. Another (predictable) one followed yesterday when politicians began a war of words. Conflict broke out when David Cameron suggested that the Edlington case was evidence of a broken society. The words echoed many of those spoken by Tony Blair in 1993 so the Conservative can point to a noble tradition of political interference and point-scoring.
Like many with an election looming, the alternatives to this misfiring and listless Labour Government need to be taken seriously. And this week the Tory's policy on education seemed to be taking us in a new and potentially exciting direction. But yesterday's statement seems to me to be misjudged. Take this teasing section for example:

Do we have a problem with some aspects of what’s going on in childhood? Do we have a problem with our care system? Yes, we do. So let us say to that head teacher: you do what you think is right for discipline and order in your school; that we say to that police officer, social worker, teacher, probation officer: we’re going to judge you on the results you achieve not endlessly second guess the processes you follow

I am asking myself what those words really mean. Taken at face value there is something of the means justifying the ends about them. More worryingly if I was a police officer or teacher I might be saying: well, good, the state is not going to second guess what is or is not a proper intervention. But to what extent will the state support an individual intervention to restore discipline if it is challenged in the courts. How precise will the government be about what is legitimate process and what is not.

Mr Cameron needs to be put on the spot and asked to explain word by word what that statement means. He'll certainly need to if he wants my vote.