Cheating Neanderthals

In the space of just a couple of weeks three articles appeared in the press devoted entirely to the subject of cheating. I should add as a point of clarification, that we are talking both sport and the company boardrooms; the inner citadels of the banking world and the committee rooms of parliament. In short, humans seem to be genetically programmed to lie and cheat if it means we can get one step ahead of our competitors.

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The BNP and Sport

This week the BNP were themselves a type of sport whereby the political class argued bitterly over whether to allow this nasty little fascist grouping to have prime time TV exposure or whether a blanket ban should starve them of publicity.

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LTA Mediocrity

Neil Harman writes in The Times (21/09/09) of the LTA, Mediocrity in leadership, mediocrity in playing strength, mediocrity in coaching, the first murmurs of a grassroots uprising.

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Football Old Farts

We've seen where it leads in the financial world. Light touch regulation, the catch phrase for the Blair/ Brown Labour administration for the past twelve years, has seen the so called Masters of the Universe plunder us mere mortals for all they could, and in the process very nearly bringing the entire rotten edifice crashing to the ground.

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Chelsea Child Poachers

The headlines say it all. Beware Child Poachers, screams the Daily Mail. The day before the same paper was content with the single word, Thieves!

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BLOODGATE

Bloodgate: A Sporting Tale for the 21st Century.

Here is a classic Shakespearean tale of the heroic but fatally flawed protagonist who is destined to fall from grace, set against the backdrop of turbulent and uncertain times.

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Press Report July 09

If July 2009 had a dialectical sporting theme it was that of sporting decency battling against the baser instincts of man; cheating, lying and grubby double dealing.

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Old School Tie, David Conn, Guardian, 8/07/09

A useful piece by David Conn in the Guardian shows how English cricket is still rooted in the public school mentality of the past two centuries. Seven of the current English Ashes squad can boast independent school status and the attempts of the ECB to widen the appeal of cricket are far from certain to succeed. Conn cites Graham Able, a trustee of the cricket Foundation, who as Master of Dulwich College in South London, can boast eight full grass cricket fields which is two more than exist for the whole borough of Southwark where only one state school can offer a grass cricket field for its students. This pattern is repeated across the country where under successive Tory and Labour Governments, schools have been allowed to sell off their playing fields in order to finance the small matter of their educational activities. Conn elaborates, In 2009, cricket, the sport with deep upper class traditions which gave us separate changing rooms for amateur gentlemen and professional players, still illustrates Britain's monumental class divide, between the lavish fields owned by public schools and the comparative threadbare landscape in which 93% of people are educated.

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Lord of the Rings, Andrew Anthony, The Observer, 19/07/09

This was not the first and it definitely will not be the last, but Andrew Anthony has produced a thought provoking assessment of Lord Sebastian Newbold Coe, Knight of the British Empire, twice Olympic 1,5000m winner, former Tory MP and advisor to William Hague, and current Chairman of the London Organising Committee of the 2012 Olympic Games.

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Cloud of Suspicion, The Guardian, 25/07/09, Anna Kessel

We all like fairytales. They brighten up the all too often grim business of life.

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Come On-Be A Sport-Linda Whitney, London Evening Standard, 2/07/09

It was a particularly dispiriting article that I'm sure had the opposite intention. Linda Whitney had set out to show how sport is growing as an industry and consequently so are the number and range of jobs involved in sport.

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Ecclestone, F1 and Hitler, Observer, 12/07/09, Catherine Bennett

Let me start off by saying I know nothing about F1 racing and its supposed attraction to millions of people world wide.

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Sport As The New Religion

The world is coming together. Not in some utopian sense that I imagined in my communist youth. Nor is it coming together willingly, enthusiastically or in any sense, in a planned way. But coming together it surely is albeit kicking and screaming like a child being forced to go to school for the first time. Still clinging on to the old myths and institutions of nation, religion and race, yet day by day at exponential rate, the world is becoming one entity. Hooray! The process may take another hundred years to solidify and maybe a few more centuries to fully mature but what are a few hundred years compared to the millennia that have already passed in the human story.

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Kelly is a true Brit.,Daily Mail, 21/06/09,Patrick Collins.

 

After decades of the incessant drip drip drip of Daily Mail little england bile, it was a wonderful surprise to cast my eye across Patrick Collins headline, Ignore this vile abuse, Kelly is a true Brit. And when I got round to reading the article it was every bit as cheering as the headline itself. The vile abuse that Collins refers to derived from a one Andrew Brons, a leading light in the British National Party, who we learn, chalked up nearly 10% of the vote in the Yorkshire and Humber Region, thus earning this arch racist Europhobe a lucrative seat as an MEP. We also learn from Collins that Brons is a former member of the openly neo Nazi National Socialist Movement. Remember that lot. We went to war against them sixty years ago under the supposed rationale of stopping Britain becoming part of the Nazi fascist empire. A little ironic then that just sixty years on, nearly a million British voters put their little cross next to a party that rather thinks that Hitler and his thugs were basically OK.

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Britain's Tennis Superbrats

 

This dispiriting article detailing the bullying culture on the junior tennis circuit would make an excellent appendix to Joe Humphries, Foul Play ( see book reviews ). Just to give you a flavour of the piece Pearson laments, We are at the Lawn Tennis Association junior tennis tour, where cheating and rows have become so commonplace that the former British No 1, Annabel Croft, has withdrawn her 15 year- old daughter from the tour and the former world No 5, Jo Durie, has said she wouldn't be surprised if someone was knifed at a tournament.

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Black and Blue: Paul Canoville, 2008, Headline Publishing

There are so many powerfully tragic angles to pursue in Paul Canoville's autobiographical, Black and Blue, it is hard to know where to start. The racism he experienced and eventually overcame as a professional footballer at Chelsea, the career ending injury he received at Reading, his drug addiction to crack-cocaine that he now hopefully has under control, the fight against cancer which is at least in remission, or the inner torment concerning the parental love that he always craved but never received and the eleven children he fathered with ten different women as a distorted form of compensation for the missing affection. Each of these are compelling stories in themselves. It's a rollercoaster of a journey with some truly uplifting chapters as Canoville reaches middle age, and if Paul can contain the cancer and the drugs there will hopefully be some more illuminating chapters to follow. The matter of fact way his story unfolds makes for compulsive reading and it would surely make an excellent addition to the school curriculum reading list either as literature, sociology or citizenship.

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