Tag: Morality


Football – and the winner is ……. money and the lust for fame.

Well, the England v Germany game was tragic of course. But it wasn’t because:

  • the England team lost
  • they played not only badly but moronically, with an idiotic rush upfield of the whole defence as if it were the last few minutes of the game, thus allowing the Germans to score more or less at will
  • they repeated a few minutes later EXACTLY the same error as described above
  • the Germans scored a goal straight from the kick-off, which BBC commentators said they had never before seen in an international match
  • many of the players seemed “tired”, though this didn’t seem to trouble other players of the Premier League who were playing for other countries
  • the English players mostly plodded about like sleepy elephants compared to the racing panthers of Germany (resisting the temptation to say ‘panzers’)
  • the 5 million quid manager didn’t seem to have a clue; playing people out of position in a 4-4-2 formation that NOBODY else uses
  • there were no specialist wingers; quite useful for getting behind the defence and lobbing in crosses, a strategy that seems as foreign to the manager as he is himself
  • the same person was clearly unable to motivate and organise his players; as he speaks a different language this is not all that surprising – NO OTHER NATIONAL TEAM has a foreign manager, but we have to be different
  • the manager – with three goals needed in 15 minutes  brought on Emile Heskey as our ‘last hope’,  no doubt a worthy person but with a very poor goal-scoring record
  • the forward with the best goal-scoring record of all the English team (Crouch) hardly got a look-in
  • the players were clearly disorganised and uninspired
  • there seemed to be little real leadership on or off the field, with rumblings of discontent in the camp
  • for all of the above the FA is paying this hopeless manager nearly £20,000 per working day of the year

No, all the above is or was silly – or perhaps a better word is “pathetic”. The real tragedy concerns the goal that wasn’t.

The Goal that wasn't ....

Of course, this was every bit as silly as the rest of it, FIFA looking completely ridiculous by its refusal to contemplate the use of technology to enhance “fairness” (a concept I am quite keen on but which seems a bit out of fashion generally). It seems that some of the vastly-paid and expensively-hotelled world-ranging FIFA executives think that technology would “reduce the drama”. I am seriously hoping that Argentina “do a Lampard” on Germany in the Friday game so that the idiocy of this policy will be rubbed in, especially to the (rather sadly) gloating Germans.

But we STILL haven’t got to the tragic bit, which is that the Germans missed a chance to be remembered for ever as the team that owned up to a goal. Neuer, the German goalkeeper, has said that when the ball rebounded from the bar and went in (as it clearly did) he at once reached behind, grabbed it and hoofed it upfield “so that the referee wouldn’t think it had gone in.” which of course (being blind) he didn’t.

In other words, Neuer KNEW it wasn’t a goal but didn’t say so. With this action he joined the serial cheats, divers, “get-an-opposing-player-sent-off” and Maradona “Hand-of-God” players who will do anything to win. These are people to whom the concept of sportsmanship, fairness, honesty and “doing the right stuff” are alien.

In the case of Maradona, the ability of humans to reach the peaks of irony was once again illustrated when before the World Cup started he made a plea for “fair play”. I am unaware that he has ever apologised for his own cheating, but of course it is much easier to urge other people to behave in a certain way than to do it yourself.

Anyway, I do not claim the English would have done any different; we’ll never know. Just as we’ll never know what the score of this match WOULD have been HAD the goal been given. What we DO know is that we’ll be thinking for the next forty years about how silly and unjust this was just as the Germans have been whinging on for the same length of time about 1966. It could and should have been so different. HAD the Germans gone at once to the ref and said: “It was a goal”, they would have been moral heroes for the rest of footballing history rather than remembered (by me at least) as just another bunch of cheats.

The tragedy of course is that a TREMENDOUS OPPORTUNITY was lost to make a pitch for honesty, fairness, sportsmanship and decency. What an example that would have been to everyone, especially our kids! And WHAT A CHANCE to dump for ever and ever the image of football as a cheats’ activity dominated by the false Gods of money and fame as well as the stereo-typed image that some idiotic Brits have of Germans as unfeeling Nazis.

No, their instinct was NOT to admit the goal and to benefit from an unfair error. Sad … for the next 40 years we’ll be talking about the unfairness rather than what a wonderful gesture they made.

Oh, and as for 1966, let’s lay this ghost to rest. There was NEVER ANY QUESTION that it wasn’t a goal. The referee and linesman on that day BOTH said it was a goal and it is obvious from the reaction of the players that it was a goal, even if in those times the cameras were not as sophisticated as today’s and cannot definitively PROVE it was a goal. I am afraid this 1966: “It wasn’t a goal – we wuz robbed.” stuff is a bit like the urban myth: “The German army was stabbed in the back by politicians.” that Hitler exploited after WWI.

Well, for me the World Cup has lost some sheen; it is all so silly, nationalistic and rife with unsportsmanship. All that one lives with (one is used it these days), but the missed opportunity to make a moral stand is one I deeply regret.

I hope it is clear that this has NOTHING TO DO with my being English. Had our boys done the same I would have been just as sad, even more so, as – perhaps stupidly – I would like to think we are made of better stuff. However, football is not cricket and even cricket is often not cricket today either.

By Chris Snuggs

Morality and Trading Relations

Morning Perkins ….

Perkins? I know that look … what’s up?

Whitehall Ministry

Well Sir, it’s this Gulagov case, Sir.

Oh, you mean that child abuse thing …

Well, that seems an inadequate description, Sir.

Now come on Perkins. You know that these things happen down there in the underclass.

But this is more than the usual knocking-about of wives and kids that goes on Sir.

But it doesn’t do to over-sentimentalize things, Perkins.

I’m sorry, Sir, but do you actually know the details?

Details? Good God, man! I’m far too preoccupied with the broad sweep of politics to worry about details!

But it seems this tyrannical father actually starved several of his kids to death …

Goodness me, and there were we thinking New Labour had abolished poverty.

And there were apparently three other kids locked up in perpetuity; one of them subjected to horrendous torture ….

Locked up? What had they done?

They apparently answered back, Sir?

Answered back?

Yes, Sir …. and there’s more ….

There usually is with you Perkins.

Those who weren’t starved to death or locked up were subjected to a life of deprivation, misinformation and misery, Sir.

You mean they were British voters? (just a joke, Perkins …)

It’s not a laughing matter Sir. They had no access to proper food or health provision.

Sounds pretty normal for the mob to me, Perkins …

And then they were brainwashed; they could only see and hear what their father wanted them to see … they have no idea what is going on in the outside world, Sir ….

But the mob have always lived like that, Perkins – they do read “The Daily Mail” after all …

But you haven’t heard the worst, Sir!

Oh dear …

Last week two of the kids ran away. They managed to climb across the fence into the grounds of a major company on a neighbouring industrial estate. But a guard caught them and took them back to the tyrannical father, even though they were crying, emaciated and showed signs of malnutrition and harsh punishment ….

Goodness Perkins …. this does sound bad.

I’ve been investigating, Sir, and it seems that it is this has happened before and it is company’s policy to hand the kids back instead of trying to help them.

Well, one can’t interfere in private family matters, Perkins …. come on, let’s have a cup of tea and get on with the preparations for the election …

But I found out more, Sir …

Oh Dear, Perkins …. all right, tell me the worst!

Well Sir, it was all very well concealed, but I discovered that this large company that handed back the cruelly-treated children is the government’s largest supplier of cheap, rubbishy goods ……

Perkins! For goodness sake! They are NOT cheap and rubbishy … cheap perhaps …

So you KNOW about this company, Sir?

Of course Perkins …. as you said, they are our main supplier.

But they connive with child abuse, Sir …

Look Perkins, if we were to have a crisis of conscience over every single case of abuse we’d hardly be able to import anything, except from Canada, Switzerland, Germany and Sweden, and have you seen their prices?

But it’s not moral, Sir …

We try to avoid using this word in politics, Perkins. We would be on a sticky wicket on thin ice if we didn’t ….

But back in 1994 Robin Cook said that the new Labour Government would have an ethical policy on abuse …

Perkins, let me explain the difference between heady, overblown, post-election rhetoric and the real world of pragmatism … besides, Robin Cook died …..

So our pragmatism outweighs our morality?

Well, doing it the other way would only mean shooting ourselves in the wallet, Perkins ….

But it’s very sad, Sir!

Indeed, Perkins, but not for us, and that’s the main thing after all …. come on – put the kettle on ….

[For Gulagova family read North Korea; for large trading company read China, Ed.]

By Chris Snuggs

Difficult Choices ….

Our doughty mole has unearthed more secret transcriptions from the Ministry ….

The Ministry

Hello Perkins! Let’s get to it!

Get to what, Sir?

Perkins – there’s a mini-crisis …..

There usually is, Sir …..

We have a stark, difficult choice ahead of us.

Oh, Dear, Sir – not again.

Yes, Perkins. I know that choice is not something we prefer to face, but there it is.

But why has it come to this, Sir?

Cuts, Perkins – The IMF are about to be called in so the PM – I mean the Chancellor – has been forced to make some cuts.

Oh Dear, Sir. But how does this affect us?

Well, you know those consultants that were called in?

You mean those on £100,000 a day plus bonus, Sir?

Yes, that’s them! By Jove don’t you admire this dynamic synergy between public and private, Perkins!!

Well ….

Anyway, after weeks of in-depth research they’ve narrowed it down for us to a clear choice, which certainly saves us some head-banging, I must say.

And this choice is ……?

Well, we either buy more flak jackets for the men on front-line duty in Iraq or we pay the MOD mandarins a bonus.

Oh Dear so – but surely it’s a no-brainer?

What do you mean, Perkins?

Well, we must protect our men, Sir!

Perkins, sometimes I worry about you …….

By Chris Snuggs

Laughing Latins

Mr Sepp Blatter demonstrating how a foot may be placed in a mouth!

John Terry

Sepp Blatter, or Blabber as he is more affectionately known, is never at a loss for words, and generally good entertainment value.  However, this week he surpassed himself with a pontification of pretty unsurpassing silliness about the moral values of South-Western Europe.

For those who do not follow the minutiae of British football, John Terry, Captain of the English football team, was unfortunate enough to have his name dragged through the media in connection with his adultery, or as some alleged, serial adultery. Now the question of whether it is anyone else’s business what the Captain of England does in his “private”  life is an interesting one, but  I am today more concerned with Blabber’s response, and two things struck me about it in particular.

Here’s a quote from a piece in the UK newspaper The Guardian.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has claimed that in some countries, John Terry would have been applauded rather than sacked as national team captain for having an alleged affair.

First of all, I am puzzled as to why Blabber feels he can elect himself as spokesperson for the whole of “latin” Europe? He is a football functionary, not a moralist. I must say that had I been latin I would have found his remarks offensive. As an Italian lady was quoted as saying: “If my husband slept with my sister I would not find it in the least amusing or applaudworthy.”

Secondly, let us suppose – for the sake of argument – he was right to say that

Sepp Blatter, FIFA

latins would have applauded Terry’s behaviour.  This would mean that the vast majority of European Catholics were totally and utterly hypocritical. After all, “Christians”, nominal or otherwise, still go in vast numbers to churches for weddings, baptisms and funerals, don’t they? Here in Bavaria, whenever you pass someone in the street you say “Gruss Gott.” Is Blabber really saying that all these people just take the easy bits of Christianity and laugh at the tricky stuff, like adultery, rich people and eyes of needles, treating their neighbour as thy brother and so on?

And that IS in effect what he said. Insults don’t come a lot grosser, do they? In fact, this was a DOUBLE WHAMMY. First he insulted all of Catholic Europe and simultaneously he insulted all the Anglo-Saxons by describing the furore over Terry’s philanderings as “Anglo-Saxon in nature”. And of course, the term “Anglo-Saxon” is one of fairly strong abuse, especially among the French elite.  This by the way has always amused me, since most of the Germans started off as Saxons, and the Germans are very PC, whereas the British certainly are not PC, even if half of us originally CAME from Saxony!

As for adultery, well, let’s be clear, it isn’t “good”, is it? OK, “There but for the grace of God go I.” , “Let no man cast the first stone”, “Forgive and Forget” and so on, but for society it isn’t really desirable that people should treat their marriage vows as casually as Blabber seems to think half of Europe does, is it?

In Britain for a start (but we are not alone)  there is the lowest level of marriages for over 100 years and very high levels of divorce, This isn’t “good” for society, is it? And of course, I’m thinking especially of the children involved.

And when you marry, you make vows. Do these now mean nothing to people like Blabber, who thinks that Catholic latin Europe would laugh at Terry’s adultery?

Well, people in positions of power and responsibility should reflect more before they speak, because many lesser mortals may make the mistake of giving their remarks a credibility they do not deserve.

And of course, the Captain of England is a role model, and – possibly unfairly – not only on the field.

By Chris Snuggs