Friday, January 16, 2009

Of Fergie and Herbert Chapman

By any count of trophies, Alex Ferguson is the greatest manager there's ever been in British football. He's won them consistently over 30 years, too. Someone keeps his Wikipedia entry very tidy, omitting all reference to the Magnier saga or Jason's Old Trafford dealings.

IMHO he's up there with the very best and is probably the best. But you can't use the massive trophy count to put him head and shoulders above the others. Footy was very different in times past. Three things changed it and made it easier for richer clubs to stay at the top for long periods.

Until the maximum wage was lifted in 1961, no player in England could earn more than £20 a week. If you were getting £20 a week at, say, Ipswich in 1960, why move to a bigger club where you might not get a regular game and you'd be on the same money ? Unless the club wanted to sell, local heros tended to stay put in those days. A young Aaron Ramsey or Theo Walcott might have spent their whole careers with one club. Carlos Tevez is unhappy enough as it is about sitting on the United bench - despite all that cash. A 1960 equivalent would never have swapped a guaranteed first team place to be one of a squad for the same pay - and after all, you can only have so many forwards in a team.

That's not to say that transfer fees didn't make a difference - but the club had to want to sell. Lots of transfers today are basically forced sales.

Another difference was retention of registration. Until the 1995 Bosman ruling the club had your registration even if you were out of contract. To sign you, another club had to stump up. Turnover of players is much higher since Bosman - before, a player who wanted to leave might kick his heels when his contract ended, if his club got stroppy. These days he'd be a free agent - so transfers tend to happen when the player's still got a couple of years left on the contract.

Last, the footy TV cash and the marketing cash. Sky wasn't around in those days - the clubs earned what came in at the gate on matchdays unless they had a wealthy sponsor, and the mega-rich of those days didn't watch a lot of footy.

So a great manager way back when could (with the right club) disband an ageing team of stars and wield the chequebook, but not to anywhere near the same effect as today. Rebuilding was a slower process (and I'm aware that Ferguson has a fine record in bringing on new talent at United).

Mind, Herbert Chapman sounds a bit of a cunning old fox himself. What would El Tel, 'arry and Cloughie make of his teetotal transfer dealings ?

We arrived at the hotel half-an-hour early. Chapman immediately went into the lounge bar. He called the waiter, placed two pound notes in his hand and said: "George, this is Mr Wall, my assistant. He will drink whisky and dry ginger. I will drink gin and tonic. We shall be joined by guests. They will drink whatever they like. See that our guests are given double of everything, but Mr Wall's whisky and dry ginger will contain no whisky, and my gin and tonic will contain no gin."

The inebriated guests were then beaten down on the transfer price !

UPDATE - James Hamilton has more (and better-written, and better-researched) - on Herbert Chapman.

PS - three home wins in a row ! The Baggies may be bottom, but there are only six points between bottom and ninth ! Surely United and Chelsea will be nervously glancing over their shoulders ...

Dumb Britain Part 3,492 - Diversity Edition

"The pastor of Zion Baptist Church has expressed his disappointment after vandals daubed anti-semitic graffiti on the church wall."

(h-t Harry)

West Country Woes

Just as HMG tax flights in the name of the environment, before approving another Heathrow runway, the same contradictions apply in the lower tiers of government.

Swindon Borough Council are a bit strapped for cash. Diversity consultants and anti-racist outreach 5-a-day smoking cessation co-ordinators don't come cheap, you know.

So how can they save money ? Believe it or not, one of the proposals is to scrap the Groundwell Park and Ride - a boon to those of us who approach the Celestial City from the north and don't fancy the Magic roundabout plus the hefty town centre parking fees.

At the other end of the A419 another of the notorious Johnson clan once again finds himself in front of a beak. But it was this little-noted report from last year that struck me :

SIX members of the notorious Johnson family that stole metals worth more than £300,000 were today ordered to repay just one pound each after police found they had no assets to their names. Ten of the Johnson gang, from Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, were jailed for 38 years last year for a string of raids on business premises. A financial investigation hearing today was told that one of the conspirators, Charlie Lee, 39, profited by over £137,000.

But Bristol Crown Court heard that Lee, of Cleeve Prior, Evesham, who is in custody, had no cash or property, so a judge was forced to make an order for the nominal seizure of one pound. He will have to serve one day's imprisonment, on top of his original sentence of five-and-a-half-years, if he fails to come up with the coin.Click here!

The crew were jailed last year after pleading guilty to conspiracy to burgle or steal from businesses in Thames Valley, Warwickshire, the Midlands and Gloucestershire.

Another member Danny O'Loughlin, 32, was ruled to have made over £126,000 from the enterprise, where valuable metals like titanium were exported to China and India for recycling. O'Loughlin, also of Cleeve Prior, also had no 'realisable assets' - such as a house or car - and was also told to pay back a pound. Chad Johnson, of St Pauls Road, Cheltenham was deemed to have made £25,000 from his part metals thefts, but was also told to come up with his pound.

Francis Laird, defending, said: "There are members of his family in court who have agreed to meet the sum."

Sonny Johnson, 24, of Welwyn Court, Gloucester, sentenced to two years for conspiracy to steal, will again have to find a pound to satisfy the court, despite owning £8,400. Lee Johnson, 21, who made £38,000 from the raids which garnered the gang more than £365,000 over a three-month period, will also repay just one pound. Prosecutor Simon Burns said the money could simply be handed over after the hearing 'to save enormous red tape'. Christopher Keylock, 39, of Green Meadow, Bamfurlong, Cheltenham, benefited to the tune of £33,000 and also handed over his pound. Stephen Ford, 39, who owes £8,400 actually had some assets worth £3,000 and has been given 56 days to pay that sum, or serve 2.5 months in default. Ford, of Withington, Cheltenham was sentenced to two years and six months after admitting conspiracy to steal. Stephen Davis, 27, and Sean Lillis, 28, who only joined the scheme at the very end of its life in June 2006, where not deemed to have made any profit at all and owe nothing. A final conspirator Jamie Lake, 22, sentenced to two years, had his case adjourned until later this month.

The law really is a charade in such a case. I would be amazed if there was a single person in court who truly believed that Sonny Johnson, or people like Danny O'Loughlin (who not only pulled off the metals thefts, but was involved in robberies to the value of £80 million) had no assets.

Ten years or more back a family from the Cleeve Prior travellers site (I forget the name) earned a living knocking on old ladies doors, pointing out the broken slate or the chimney in need of repointing, and then ripping them off for tens of thousands of pounds. When the police and courts caught up with them one of the ringleaders had over £400,000 in building society accounts - which by the time the Asset Recovery boys caught up had diminished to about £100,000. Still a lot of money to lose, though.

It would appear from the poverty of these guys that the relevant 'lessons have been learned'. If only our Criminal 'Justice' system could say the same !

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"Run you cowards ! Kuffar! Run you kuff! Allahu Akbar!"

"Police attack Gaza demonstration in London.

Riot police trap protestors in Hyde Park underpass."

So (according to Socialist Unity - the stopwar site has been hacked, by the Zionist Entity no doubt) sayeth the Stop The War Coalition, or whatever they're now called. George Galloway was apparently most upset.

Doesn't look like that from this video, of Her Majesty's Finest retreating from a band of doubtless peace-loving sons of the Prophet the Saturday before last.

How quickly history moves. Before 9/11 and despite the Rushdie affair, radical Islamists in the UK were a curio, presented as a comedy act by people like Louis Theroux and Jon Ronson.

So I drove Omar into town by a route that avoided Soho. We passed a poster advertising the Spice Girls' debut album.

"Such a very stupid thing," mumbled Omar. "Spicy Girls."

"What will become of the Spice Girls when Britain is transformed into an Islamic nation?" I asked.

"They will be arrested immediately," he replied. "They will not even be existing in an Islamic state. OK. We can go on. Turn right at the lights."

Even after 9/11 and 7/7 there was a police escort for people carrying banners saying 'Butcher those who insult Islam'.

Now we seem to have moved into a new phase.

(hat-tip - Beer n Sandwiches and the Pub Philosopher)

UPDATE - via JuliaM, this police blog (with more video) on the demo a week later.

As usual we had been told that our role was to facilitate the lawful demonstration and that we were effectively 'community Policing' unless the situation changed and things became violent. Crucially, we were told that despite the fact that nearly every march relating to the Gaza/Israel situation had experienced violence, this was not sufficient evidence to suggest that THIS march would become violent. As such, because the senior officers are so afraid of offending the wrong people, we were NOT in possession of riot helmets or shields which were left on the carriers, although we all were in our protective gear and coveralls under the yellow jackets. We were wearing our normal everyday beat helmets and to say some were not happy about that would be a slight understatement.
You won't be too amazed to learn that it doesn't end well.

Indian Exam Papers

Download samples from here. Year XII is apparently GCSE age.

You Can See How Wars Start ...

Scribbles observes manifestations of original sin. Kitchen Wars.

Monday, January 12, 2009

He said "Jehovah" !

(Hastily edited after a correspondent informed me that council firewalls were classifying the post as 'hate speech' !)

I was hoping to ignore the Prince Harry brouhaha, but as it was the main story on BBC news yesterday, occupied most of John Pienaar's 2 hr R5 'politics' programme and was the phone-in topic on R5 this morning ... a few points :

a) this was another Murdoch press-sourced story. The Dirty Digger, now a Dirty Yank, has never got over his lack of honours and social acceptance for his services to soft porn and the general coarsening (parental advisory) of British life over the last 30 years. His papers are as a result republican. If Prince Philip really had the power that Al Fayed thinks he has, Murdoch would long ago have been at the bottom of Sydney Harbour in a concrete overcoat.

b) '****' is about as racist as 'Brit'. It's a nickname, a diminutive. A year or so back my daughter and I were looking at a globe, and I was showing her all those fascinating countries northwest of Tibet and west of China.

"All the countries round there end in -stan, because that means country in Persian, which is what their languages are based on. There's Uzbekistan, the country of the Uzbeks, where the Uzbeks live, Turkmenistan, where the Turkmen live, Kirghistan, where the Kirghiz live, Kazakhstan, where the Kazakhs live, Tajikistan, where the Tajiks live, Afghanistan, where the Afghans live - and Pakistan, where the Pakistanis live !"

It's true that, unlike the preceding countries, Pakistan isn't named for one ethnic group but (by this guy) for many geographical regions (Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir, Sindh, Turkharistan, Afghanistan, BaluchistaN) - but I bet the BBC don't know that - I'm sure I didn't.

"It means the land of the Paks- the spiritually pure and clean. It symbolizes the religious beliefs and ethnical stocks of our people; and it stands for all the territorial constituents of our original Fatherland. It has no other origin and no other meaning; and it does not admit of any other interpretation"

c) why's it considered to be racist, then ? Because white people use it. Given that any nicknames /diminutives for ethnic minorities will at some time be used by some bad white chap in an assault - and at that point will be used to classify the assault as a hate crime (aren't ALL assaults hate crimes ?), it therefore follows that white people who do not wish to be considered racist can have no nicknames or diminutives for people of another race. Not allowed.

Indeed, it's best if they allow others to tell them what the acceptable form of words is. Remember that the use of 'coloured', fifty years ago considered more genteel and polite than 'black', was presented at the Lawrence tribunal as evidence pointing towards an officer's racism. The poor chap just hadn't kept up. Didn't read the Guardian or New Society.

So - no nicknames, no diminutives, no spontaneous descriptive creation - all things the Brits are rather partial to. Instead, use the words you're told to - and when they change, you change your language.

This only applies to whites addressing non-whites or possibly Jews. A google of "Welsh Windbag" produces 4,000 references, nearly all to Neil Kinnock - but nobody is likely to be prosecuted for incitement to racial hatred. Laban calls Charles Kennedy the Great Chieftain of the Pudding Race - an obviously disparaging reference to his ethnic origins (as well as his resemblance to a pudding that's been well laced with Glenlivet) yet the post survives. No, it's a non-white - or at least non-British thing.

It works inversely too. Kanye West can rap about the n-word as much as he likes, but the BBC don't mind. The killers of Christopher Yates can shout "We have killed the white man. That will teach an Englishman to interfere in P*** business" but the judge doesn't call them racist.

d) I forget which linguist, probably all of them, said that you can control thought by controlling language, and make some ideas literally unthinkable for lack of words. Let's just ask the question - what are the equivalent words, nicknames, diminutives that an Asian or Afro-Caribbean would use to describe whites ? Gora ? Cracker ? I don't know, the BBC and Guardian certainly won't tell us. Anyone out there know ? As we've seen, they don't in themselves have to be insulting. What are the magical words which make an attack a racist one ? The ones that the courts and BBC will present as indubitable proof of anti-white racism ?

You see. The words (officially) do not exist. It's easy to 'prove' a racist element to an assault or murder by whites. Evidence that any one of a few words was used is sufficient. The prosecutor seeking to prove a racist asaault ON a white person has no such handy shortcut (btw, I'd be interested to know what Christopher Yates killers actually said - and in what language). No wonder non-white racism has such a low profile - there are no words to describe it or identify it, so how can it exist ?

As I've said before, I'm extremely uneasy about the whole hate crimes concept. But given where we are, I'd like some racial equality when it comes to the definition of such. Give me.

Political Understatement of the Last Four Decades

"Ceartainly education has not become the great leveller that many people, including me, believed it would be"

Professional bleeding-heart Martin Narey on the Today programme, responding to the Naughtie suggestion that 'the revamping of education in the Seventies has failed to to what it claimed it would do'. Naughtie can't quite bring himself to say the word 'comprehensive'.

He also suggested that 'we need to make sure that children from deprived backgrounds go to the best schools'. Well, Martin, if all of them go there they won't be the best schools any more. At the extreme, take ASBO Community College, serving the giant Chavbury Estate, and move all the kids to fee-paying St Goody Two-Shoes, while St Goody's get to go to the comp. They'll miss the great sports facilities but they'll still get impressive results, while the teachers wonder if they've died and gone to heaven, bar a few noble souls who miss the challenge.

Back at St Goody's staff turnover will have dramatically accelerated, the Apple Macs will be vanishing from the computer suites, and results will be up - but nowhere near ASBO's, which has suddenly got a waiting list.

A better idea would be to take the brightest and most hardworking kids (not always the same population) into the best schools. How can we find them ? I wouldn't allow the primary heads to nominate the kids - the scope for corruption (by well-off parents) would be immense. Tell you what - how about an exam ?

(A sad little note from the Wikipedia entry on grammar schools :

In July 1958 the Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell formally abandoned the Tripartite system, calling for "grammar-school education for all". The party's fiercest opponent of the Grammar school was Gaitskell's protégé, Anthony Crosland.

Hugh Gaitskell was educated at Winchester and Oxford.
Anthony Crosland was educated at Highgate School and Oxford.

God protect the working class from their upper-class defenders !)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Now That's What I Call A Vespa

Did the Mods of the 60s and their pale imitators of the 80s know about this ?

The AMCA Troupes Aeról Portées Mle. 56 is a M20 75 mm recoilless rifle mounted on an Italian Vespa scooter used by the French Airborne Forces in Algeria and Indochina. Produced by ACMA, a licensed assembler of Vespas in France, it mounted an M20, a U.S.-made light anti-armor cannon which could be fired from the shoulder but still penetrate armour 100 mm thick. The recoil is counteracted by venting propellant gases out the rear of the weapon which eliminated the need for a mechanical recoil system or heavy mounts, which enabled the weapon to be fired within the Vespa frame. The weapon, ammo (attached to the side) and crew were dropped via parachute into action and the weapon could even be fired on the move.

I'm impressed. Any weaponry mounted on a BSA or Matchless of the period would have been subject to the frequent maintenance needs of the bike. A mean machine indeed. But the French ended by leaving both Indochina and Algeria.

"A People Who've Lost Their Land ..."

Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain, talking to today's BBC 'Sunday' programme on why the MCB won't be asking Hamas to recognise the right to exist of the state of Israel :

"you see, it is they who have been dispossessed, I've not been dispossessed, it's the Palestinians who have been dispossessed - if they want to recognise Israel it must be a matter for them, I can't tell them - a people who've lost their land - this is what you should be doing"

Now I can sympathise with any people who've lost their land. Here are some pictures of :

"Birmingham grieves for Gaza"

"Manchester protests against Gaza killing"

"Preston protests against Gaza killing"

(and FWIW, I like many others am extremely uneasy about Israel's actions in Gaza. Disproportionate seems the only word. Not in terms of aims - it seems reasonable to want to stop people lobbing rockets at you, and the disparity between the arms of Hamas and those of the IDF isn't because Hamas are nice guys. Give Hamas IDF weaponry and they'd happily lob much bigger stuff into Israel and kill as many Jews as they could. I'm pleased Dimona is a decent (though not massive - Israel's a small country) distance from Gaza.

It's the tactics - destroying a several-storey building containing fifteen or twenty people to kill one occupant, for example, bad hat though he may be. How many dead non-fighters was that worth, exactly, and how do you do the maths ? However you do it, I think the answer should have been a lower one. I'm also perturbed by reports that an early target was domestic gas and electricity supply. How does that stop rocket launches ?)

(comments off for the usual reasons)