English Table Tennis Snuggles up to Dirty Oil

 Yesterday I was innocently surfing the English Schools Table Tennis Website when I was most surprised to learn that a new sponsor by the name of Heritage Oil is now sponsoring one of ESTTA’s premier events. I assumed that In an age when many companies and public institutions are starting to disinvest from fossil fuels, an organisation like ESSTA would have nothing to do with global oil. It seems however that ESTTA is heading in entirely the opposite direction. My curiosity was further tweeked as I did a little more surfing, and low and behold it transpires that Table Tennis England, the governing body of table tennis, is also in bed with Heritage Oil. Now while I fully appreciate that relatively small organisations like Table Tennis England and The English ESTTA are desperate for corporate sponsors, I couldn’t help but wonder at the wisdom of such a move. After all, just today there was a major article in The Observer 21/6/15 which unambiguously pointed out that our planet is facing another planet wide extinction moment, only this time it is not by meteorite or volcano but by our very own human activity. And burning fossil fuels for energy is at the very heart of this extinction threat .Surely an organisation such as ESTTA, based as it is entirely in schools, would show a little more discretion as to who it accepted money from. But the story gets a whole lot more nasty once one digs a little deeper.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 21 June 2015 18:26 )

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FIFA: Corruption is in its DNA

Some years ago, I had the unsettling experience of listening to a radical Scottish academic outline his thesis on democracy. Selection by lot rather than ‘democratic election’ was the way forward. Elections, explained the good professor, always favoured the better situated, the most articulate and of course the most wealthy. I didn’t take a position either way at the time, but there was no doubt that his subversive thesis had lodged itself somewhere in my muddled consciousness. the more I thought about it the more it rang true. Even my own experience seemed to bear out its validity. Whenever there were trade union elections I always won the day, not because my ideas were necessarily superior to my opponents, but rather that I was a little more articulate in expressing my ideas. I could play the crowd in a way that my worthy opponents could not. And in the bigger world of global politics it transpires that every US President that has ever been elected had a bigger war chest than his opponent. Money talks, it seems, every damned time. Armed with this indisputable evidence, it seems that elections, just like the good professor has argued, were not nearly as democratic as the establishment would have us believe.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 14 June 2015 16:26 )

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LTA Incompetence

Attacking the LTA during the Wimbledon fortnight is almost as much fun as the tennis itself. It’s near on impossible to resist. Faced with all that privilege and middle class, self satisfied smugness oozing from our TV screens, no self respecting journalist or self styled blogger should remain silent. I’ve just re-read my own blog on the LTA entitled, LTA Mediocrity’, written nearly two years ago, and to be honest I wouldn’t change a single word. In the past two years nothing has changed.

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FIFA – The Wrong Type of Globalisation.

Twenty years ago the anti-globalisation movement blasted onto the world stage with all the right motives and a whole new generation of young idealists, conservationists and trade unionists at the helm. Credit to them. Then along came 9/11 and the embryonic movement lost its bearings. Who was the main enemy now, rapacious global corporations or the feudal, obscurantist backlash? History rarely moves in a straight line.

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Another Black History Month Comes and Goes.

The merits or otherwise of a Black History Month have been well rehearsed over the years. In a perfect world, black history would be celebrated and debated every day of every month of every year and there would be no need for a specific black history month. When you consider that ‘people of colour’ account for four out of every five people on our planet, it seems only natural that black history should be at the very heart of the human story. That it is not, says everything about the lingering racism and colonial mentality within European society, even within the so-called respected, liberal media and academia. Until such time as the poisonous boil of racial superiority is finally lanced from the human psyche, there will still be a pressing need for events like BHM, and when one considers the marginal status of black people in the higher echelons of our sporting hierarchies, the need to highlight the social inequities surrounding questions of race and colour is as strong as ever.

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