Monday, 22 July 2019


I heard this on the Sunday Service on Radio 4:

“In this troubled world…” 

Trouble underpins almost everything we hear now. Brexit, racism, anti-semitism, climate change, inequality. We relish “troubled” in the way we relish a seriously hot curry.

Well, I need irony and laughter not troubled. I don’t find Trump, Boris or Jezza funny. I need quirky stuff like the protesters outside the Brighton and Hove Greyhound Stadium – “Stop killing Greyhounds”,  “Racing is cruel” . To my surprise they were big, sturdy and rather menacing. I might have expected  thin, earnest spinsters and tearful poodle owners but these were heavies “hit him Tony while I give Charlie over there a smacking”.

I discovered subsequently that over 5,000 racing greyhounds are killed every year because they perform poorly. I wondered if we should do the same to executives in business…”we’ve had reports that the board of Carillion were killed yesterday for performance failures and now for the sport, Gary Richardson…

We have more protests currently than I can recall. As a teenager goofing off school – “Climate-change march sir” – is perfectly acceptable now - “OK Perkins, well cut along then”. But there are so many that their noise has become self-cancelling.

What we had instead last week was an orgy of excitement – Wimbledon…how could Federer lose? But he did after in a little under 5 hours. Can you imagine a five hour film?  The British Grand Prix…collisions, confusion and Hamilton strolls in first…strolls? Final lap was a Silverstone lap record.

How does sedate cricket compete? By becoming football. At full time, after 600 balls had been bowled both sides had scored the same number of runs. So they had a “Super Over” to decide who wins – each team represented by two players batting. Both score 15 so England win. Why… I thought  they tied?  No. They win, obviously, because they scored more boundaries. Men are weeping with joy, families dance in delight. Back stop, long stop, full stop. Rule Britannia. But it appears subsequently under rule 19.8 because the batsman had not crossed at a critical point the umpires awarded England one run too many. So New Zealand win then.

Well no. Because the celebrations had already started for an English victory and no one wanted to irritate Ben Stokes.

It was chaos. It was awful. And everyone loved it.

It was also (as it turns out) a lie. Which brings me I’m afraid to Boris and that kipper. He concocted a stupid story about an Isle of Man fishmonger (IOM is not in the EU or UK) being forced by EU regulations (wrong - UK regulations not EU) to post these kippers to the UK with pillows of ice. What cost. What bureaucracy. What bollocks.

The trouble is I can still remember this lie and kippers have stuck in my sceptical brain.
Prince Charles laughed when I described this over lunch. “Lying”  he said “is the strategy de jour…have some more sprouts”.

Fake news.  Lie. Bet you remember though.

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