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‘Tis Fifty Years Since

If you peruse Radio 2’s schedule for today you will find an unusual item at 14.50.

World Cup ’66 Live.

(If you listen to Radio 2 you may also have heard the trailers for this being aired hourly since about the end of April – or does it just seem like that?)

Guys. I know it’s been fifty years and your only major trophy win is not likely to be repeated any time soon. But it’s not as if it hasn’t been mentioned at all in the interim.

Don’t you think it’s maybe time you got over it?

After today might we possibly have a moratorium on the whole business? Please?

What?

Thought not.

What is Occurring, Terence?

The title of this post is, of course, taken from the TV series Minder, George Cole‘s signature role.

It is however the only appropriate phrase with which to greet the latest news from the soap opera that British politics has become. Yea, verily; Angela Leadsom – it seems only two seconds after anyone first came to hear of her – has abandoned her attempt to become Prime Minister.

So, not only is the architect of the catastrophe, Mr Irreponsible, quitting, his main nemesis been shown up for the buffoon he is and betrayed, his assassin defeated, and one of the last two standing has weaselled out (which is entirely in keeping with the way she weaselled in.)

Who leaned on her? Is Angela Leadsom really so thin-skinned that she cannot take criticism of a statement she made – on tape – to a journalist? Why has she suddenly decided she is no longer the person most suited to run the country? She seemed confident enough about her abilities a week or so ago.

This is the sound of the Tory party closing ranks, partly to presume upon Labour’s disarray, partly because it is just what Tories do. They can be ruthless in cleaving to what they see as their advantage. Its members may feel cheated of their chance to give their input but I suspect the Tory grandees have never been too keen on democracy – even democracy within the party – and may always have been looking for a way to engineer the result they wanted.

But…. To look at it another way it is actually a coup d’état. The Government has been removed and will be replaced with another, another that is liable to propel the UK even further rightwards, make it even more divided, even less fair, even more prepared to kowtow to the barons of the Press and their agenda, even less likely to address the concerns of those whose votes were suborned in order to enable it, even more likely to eviscerate – and even dismantle – the NHS and the BBC.

She may possibly have been the lesser of two evils but if the answer is Theresa May what the hell was the question?

And note, the wider electorate has been totally excluded from all this. I very much doubt there will be a General Election to sanction the change of government and due to the Fixed Parliament Act our new Prime Minister will have four years to do more or less as she wills. Her government’s majority of 12 in the House of Commons will not see serious inroads, unless there are by-elections. Tories, without the bee of the EU in their bonnets, won’t want to upset the apple cart.

On a happier note, congratulations to Andy Murray on winning Wimbledon for a second time. A thoroughly professional, accomplished performance.

Dumbarton 2-3 Raith Rovers

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 16/4/16.

It started well. It finished; well…..

Pity about the bit in between. And the injury to big Christian Nade is a blow as we’ve only looked a team this season after he joined us.

I watched this courtesy of BBC Alba of course and things were looking okay at half time. Tom Walsh had even hit a good cross!

What happened in the second half though? We totally fell out of it even before Nade’s injury. Jamie Ewings didn’t have much of a hope with any of the three goals; a poorish kick-out led to one of them but the defence should still not have let Raith through so easily. They seemed to just walk through for two of the three, the other coming from a not deep enough clearance by Fraser Wright.

Despite never having hit a decent cross before this game Tom Walsh ended this with two assists, and doesn’t Steven Saunders love a goal against Raith? Too little too late of course.

We really need something from Saturday now but a draw against St Mirren might not be good enough. We don’t want to be relying on Rangers and Raith even if Queen of the South do the needful.

I note that with Rangers and Hibs progressing to this year’s final East Fife’s record of being the only team outwith the top division to win the Scottish Cup has now been lost. And wouldn’t it be just the thing if Hibs finally win the thing again after totally horsing up the league? (Or Hibsing it as now seems to be the parlance.)

Mind you it’d be a laugh to see them navigating a European campaign from the second tier.

Then again maybe not.

Reelin’ In the Years 120: Blake’s 7 Theme

For Gareth Thomas, the titular star of late 1970s and early 80s SF BBC TV series Blake’s 7; even if he did once profess not to like SF as a genre and claimed he’d never watched an episode.

Gareth Daniel Thomas: 12/2/1945 – 13/4/2016. So it goes.

The Night Manager

I’ve been watching the BBC’s adaptation of John le Carré’s The Night Manager on Sunday evenings.

It has been very well done indeed – even if it does often feel like an extended audition by leading actor Tom Hiddleston for the role of James Bond.

I had my doubts about the “showing off the wares scene” in last week’s episode (20/3/16). The explosions were much more like hydrocarbons igniting rather than ordnance going off. (The napalm would look like that of course, but not the others.) There was also Roper’s mistress floating about in skimpy clothing despite complaining she felt threatened by being the only woman in an army camp. Cover up then, missus.

I thought that the change in British agent Burr from a man (in the book) to a woman worked well enough except for the scene where she revealed the reason for her determination to bring arms dealer Richard Roper to justice.

What really failed to convince me though was the implication that any British – or US – Government agency, no matter how detached from MI6 and the CIA they’re supposed to be, would give even the merest fraction of a toss about arms dealing. Listening to the news sometimes it seems it’s practically a national duty (“to protect jobs”) to flog the instruments of death to any and every sane or crazed head of state/despot/warlord – legally or otherwise.

Dumbarton 1-1 Falkirk

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 12/3/16.

We wuz robbed!

This is the perennial cry of the frustrated Scottish football fan but I haven’t used it here before as far as I recall.

I wasn’t at the game but of course caught it via the medium of BBC Alba. Twice we had the ball in the net only to have the goal chalked off for offside. Both times the TV replay showed that nobody in a Dumbarton shirt capable of interfering with play was in an offside positon. In the case of the first not only was Christian Nade not beyond the last defender he wasn’t beyond the ball either.

Falkirk started more brightly and we had Jamie Ewings to thank for a magnificent one-handed save to keep us level early on. Falkirk continued to look threatening but didn’t really force another save. I thought we looked pretty comfortable for the rest of the half.

The second followed the same pattern until the penalty. Harsh? Maybe, what can you do with your hands when you’re falling over? I’d have shouted for it at the other end though. The sending-off may be the letter of the law but it was undoubtedly harsh.

It seemed to spur us on though. I thought after the second “offside” goal we were going to get nothing but the boys kept plugging away. No doubt about our penalty, Danny Rogers totally cleaned Nade out. He might have been sent off for it as well as his knees got Nade in the back.

I wasn’t confident of scoring it as it was Danny Rogers in goal and he had a good penalty saving record when he was with us last season but Garry Fleming did the business.

At kick-off I’d have taken the point but this result better not be the one that means we miss 8th place by a point or two…..

Dumbarton 3-1 Alloa Athletic

SPFL Tier2, The Rock, 8/3/16.

A welcome win and Christian Nade scored a hat-trick!

Had this game gone on last week I had thought of travelling through but of course it was postponed. Domestic circumtances this week precluded a trip to the west.

Slight fly in the ointment was Jon Routledge’s red card. But he was out for the Hibs game and didn’t get back in the team for Saturday’s debacle at Livingston.

Let’s hope the team that showed up against Hibs rather than the (same strating) side who misfired at Livi is the one that turns uo against Falkirk on Saturday tea-time. Yes, it’s a BBC Alba kick-off time.

Gravitational Waves

Not only Astronomy Picture of the Day and the Daily Galaxy but also the BBC News majored today on the first detection of gravitational waves.

I first heard of such waves while I was still at University back in the long ago when a Physics Prof at Glasgow University came along to the Alchemists’ Club (as the post-grad Chemists association was called) to tell us all about his research, so it’s been a long time coming.

The discovery is a major confirmation of Einstein’s general theory of relativity certainly but can it really be the opening of a new window onto the universe akin to Galileo’s pointing of a telescope at Jupiter as the TV news had it? Given that the signals are so hard to detect as a result of the disturbances to matter being so small surely the technique cannot become as routine as results from electromagnetic instruments are?

Terry Wogan

I can just about remember when Terry Wogan wasn’t a fixture of British public life but that memory was fading. In recent years he had himself receded a little from the public eye, retiring from his braekfast show and from commentating on the Eurovision Song Contest but he still popped up with an intermittent weekly radio show on Radio 2 and the annual Children in Need telethons (all in a good cause certainly but usually so laced with embarassing performances that I found it difficult to watch so I hadn’t done so for years.)

Despite his failure to appear on last year’s Children in Need in November due to illness – a warning sign as it turned out – it was still a shock to wake up to the news today that he had died.

I also noticed there were retrospective clip shows from his thrice-weekly 80s chat show on in the afternoon in the run-up to Christmas 2015. Maybe there was a hint there too.

I wasn’t one of his listeners in the 60s – or indeed in the 70s – but in later life I found his breakfast radio show congenial listening in the short interval between being woken by the alarm clock and actually getting out of bed. Perhaps it took reaching a certain age to appreciate his charms.

He always seemd perfectly genial – a great trick to pull off in the early morning – but by all accounts this was simply him; there was apparently no difference between his public and private persona.

The world feels diminished by his death. I fervently hope it doesn’t turn out he had feet of clay (as others of his vintage had) but if all that has been said of him is true there may be no need to fear.

Michael Terence “Terry” Wogan; 3/8/1938 – 31/1/2016. So it goes.

William McIlvanney Again

I noticed that Radio 2’s news on Saturday evening referred to William McIlvanney as a crime writer. That is a gross over-simplification. Laidlaw, The Papers of Tony Veitch and Strange Loyalties may have featured a detective but they were primarily novels. And there were seven more novels to add the account, as well as his poetry and journalism.

This link is to his obituary in the Guardian.

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