Aussie Ball Tampering: Symbolic of a larger malaise?

Australia, like every nation, has enmeshed itself in an intricate web of self-deceits, half-truths and outright lies. And that is no surprise given that modern ‘European’ society in Australia was founded on one gigantic lie- that the Australian landmass was empty of human settlement when the first European invaders arrived. The very contrary was in fact true. Australia was, prior to the European invasion, the home to some one hundred Aboriginal nations, each with their own language, culture and administrative systems. In fact, taken collectively, the indigenous peoples of Australia represented humanity’s longest continuous civilisation, dating back thirty thousand years or more. Furthermore, the sophistication of this civilisation in terms of cooperation and collective land management was a philosophical concept so advanced that Europeans today are still struggling to grasp its implications. So radical was their concept of collective ownership that Karl Marx was moved to describe it as ‘primitive communism’, the primitive aspect referring only too their low level of technological advancement rather than the communal philosophy itself.

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Success versus winning in sport

I have been meaning to write about the sporting concept of 'winning' for a while. However, as I tried to establish some concrete approach to this, 'a unified theory of winning things' if you will, it became clear that instead of winning I was actually thinking about 'success'.


Winning is often beyond us, whereas Success is always a possibility. My father is a good example of this. A fierce competitor, in his youth (and beyond his youth) he played football and developed a reputation as a determined and tricky winger, relentlessly pressuring the opposing full-backs. He played until his early forties when his body told him that getting slide tackled a few dozen times every Sunday was no longer sensible. So he took up tennis and for the next 40 years he cultivated a reputation at club level as a dogged baseliner, chasing down balls that many younger men would leave. Now in his 80s, tennis is beyond him. However, even now, at his local senior pitch-and-putt club events, he is there to win, if he can. He's even been known to instigate the odd steward's enquiry if he loses. Success for my father involves competing as hard as he can for as long as he can.

Last Updated ( Monday, 21 May 2018 18:31 )

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Sochi Winter Olympics.

With the Winter Olympics looming up in the calendar, I've been trying to sort out some contradictory thoughts on Russia. It's not easy. But there again, it never was. Pre 1914 there is a rough consensus that Russia was an imperial power with an autocratic feudal system of government governing over a vast, backward hinterland but with a rapidly expanding capitalist economy in the metropolitan centres of Moscow and St Petersburg. Then came two revolutions right on top of each other. Things got really messy then. A war-mongering liberal democratic government quickly being supplanted by a Marxist revolutionary government. But was it Marxist? Yes, if you adhere to the Leninist version of Marxism but no, if you regard, as some theorists do, that November 1917 was more of a putsch rather than a genuine socialist advance. You can't cheat history, argued some classical Marxists. Every major nation must pass through a capitalist phase of history and it would be impossible to build socialism on the foundations of Russian economic and cultural backwardness. The Leninist faction vehemently disagreed and for a while, roughly seventy years, they held sway.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 May 2018 18:28 )

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Chelsea and AVB: The Wrong Project

Andre Villas-Boas, freshly departed Chelsea manager, kept repeating, like a religious mantra, that he was working on a project and needed more time. To be very cynical I suspect his real project was not so much to revamp an aging Chelsea side, but to model himself as the next Jose Mourinho, complete with multi-million pound sponsorship deals and a host of top football clubs tripping over themselves for the services of the Special One Mark Two. If football was his real passion why not stay at Porto and create a whole new era of Portuguese footballing success rather than just one fruitful season?

Last Updated ( Saturday, 26 May 2018 13:29 )

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Channel 4 Dispatches: How to buy a Football Club 18/7/11

A few months ago Matthew Syed was waxing lyrical in The Times about football being the beautiful game. I wasn't convinced then and I'm even less convinced now having watched Channel 4's Dispatches which outlined the shadowy world of shady businessmen buying and selling English football clubs in order to make a quick buck, often asset stripping the club in the process. One of the key protagonists in this sordid tale was a certain Mr Bryan Robson of Man United fame, who at least was honest enough to admit that football was no longer a game but purely a business. And what a dirty business at that. Coming close on the heals of the FIFA corruption exposures, how Mr Syed can still romanticise about the beautiful game beggars belief. Still he is employed by a certain Mr Murdoch, sponsor of Sky TV's English Premier League, so I guess it pays to keep up the pretence if you want to keep in with the boss.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 26 May 2018 17:14 )

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