Anybody actually care for Ashya?

There is a little boy in a hospital somewhere in Spain who has been taken away from his family.  The claim that the family of Ashya King have broken any laws is spurious at best.  We need laws to protect and guide but within those laws we have the right to choose whatever way we think is best to raise children.  I feel this family should be left alone to do their best for their son that they feel they can do.  We all see examples of parenting that we might not agree with but unless parents are mistreating their children, causing them harm, then the authorities should not intervene.  It appears the parents of Ashya King were simply desperately trying to make something happen to get their son better.

However, the most disturbing thing about this whole debacle is the whorish appetite for information by the media and, ultimately, from us, the British public.  What business is it of ours to know the details of the health of a little boy or the outcome of his tragic parents’ legal hearings?  This is a family at the height of torment and all our media can do is turn it into a Hollywood manhunt and show-trial.  I wish we could just leave them be and give their family and friends space and freedom to give them all the support they need.

Nobody seems to be thinking about the little boy left on his own in all of this.


Manchester City: Financial Unfair Play

I thought we were moving into an era of ‘financial fair play’?

How can any football club be allowed to go after more players when they have just reported annual losses of £51,000,000!?

On the morning that the Independent report that Manchester City are narrowly avoiding being banned from next year’s Champions League for their dodgy finances the BBC report that they are on the pull for two Porto players, one of whom is worth £35,000,000.  I’m sure most clubs are just as bad in their own proportionate way but it really is unfair for the few clubs who balance the books.

Pellegrini seems to be doing a great job where others have fallen short but surely any silverware won by Manchester City is bought with money and not achieved through ability and application.

While I’m at it can I just vent about everyone referring to Manchester City as just ‘City’?  If you didn’t notice Cardiff, Hull, Stoke, Swansea and Norwich also happen to be City clubs and also happen to play in the same league.

Storm brewing for the Lords

I read this morning on the BBC that Lords clock in and out of the Houses of Parliament for short periods just to claim the £300 daily expenses rate.

The culprit is a certain, before unknown to us plebs, Lord Hanningfield.  He explained what happens when questioned about his own expenses.  I bet he’s popular in the House of Lords bar at the moment!  In July he claimed £5,700 for attending parliament but never voted or took part in any committees.

He justifies this by saying, according to the BBC, he spent half of the £300 daily fee on expenses and so did not really make any profit.  Eh!?

Since when is £2,850 extra bonus income not profit?

Some rough maths:

£2,850 per month x 12 months = £34,000 per year for extra ‘expenses’

According to there was an average of 484 attendees in the House of Lords last year.

£34,000 x 484 = £16,456,000 = lots of wasted money gone to rich people = angry public 

Lord Hanningfield with an expensive looking dog


Veterans trump Aids victims

It was in the news today that Graham Norton and his production team have been told off for wearing black ribbons in support of World Aids Day.  The reason for this is that, according to BBC editorial guidelines, “The BBC must remain independent and distanced from government initiatives, campaigners, charities and their agendas.”  Fair point.  I can understand that while a particular campaign may seem very worthwhile and uncontroversial it is almost impossible to know where to draw the line.

However there is an exception to this…the Royal British Legion’s annual poppy appeal which raises money for war veterans and is supported by every public BBC figure on all its domestic channels leading up to Remembrance Day.  Surely the Royal British Legion is a charity and surely it’s poppy appeal is part of its agenda?  I have done a quick google search but cannot see any comment on this from the BBC.

I understand that the poppy appeal is supported nationwide, almost without exception, but it does make you wonder whether the BBC allowing, and even insisting, the appeal is supported is part of some wider agenda.  It was also revealed today that the BBC led Comic Relief have invested donations in weapons manufacturer BAE Systems.  I wouldn’t want to draw conspiracy theory type conclusions from all this but it does make me sad that as a society we support war related charities and companies so easily whilst the causes that will not bring about money and power for the ‘powers that be’ are pushed down.

True Medal Count?

A few times during the Olympics our ever enthusiastic BBC TV and radio presenters commented that we were on top of the medals table when you consider the number of medals we won in proportion to the size of the country.  I noticed Hungary were doing well, and that New Zealand had a handful of medals, and I knew that their populations were significantly smaller than that from which Team GB sourced its talent from.  I couldn’t help myself, the statistics obsessed nerd within got the better of me and I did some number crunching and worked out how many golds and how many medals overall other countries would have won proportionally if they had the same population as the UK.

Number of Golds Won

1.   USA  –  46
2.   China  –  38
3.   GB  –  29
4.   Russia  –  24

Number of Golds Won Proportionally

1.   Grenada  –  593
2.   Bahamas  –  176
3.   Jamaica  –  92
11. GB  –  29
25. Russia  –  10
28. USA  –  9
48. China  –  2

Total Medals Won

1.   USA  –  104
2.   China  –  87
3.   Russia  –  84
4.   GB  –  65

Total Medals Won Proportionally 

1.   Grenada  –  593
2.   Jamaica  –  276
3.   Trinidad & Tobago  –  189
10. Montenegro  –  100
23. GB  –  65
33. Russia  –  37
49. USA  –  21
74. China  –  4

So, a lot of countries in reality did even better than the wonderful Team GB.  That’s not a bad thing, just nice to know that there must be a lot of very satisfied sports fans out there from other nations!  If you want to know how other countries fared let me know and I’ll happily divulge more numbers.

However, there were six countries with bigger populations than the UK who didn’t manage a single medal between them. They are Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Philippines, Vietnam and Congo and together they have double the population of the United States.  I think this is sobering and should remind us that for a vast percentage of the world’s population there are not the resources to put into enjoying the Olympics.  As the celebrations die down we need to remember that there are things in this world that should take a higher priority than sport.

Wounded children

Clever, clever Israel getting busy whilst the world is distracted by Libya and Japan.  This story not even in the top-6 BBC news items this morning.

Gaza Strip:  Israel launches air strikes

Also, with all the other news going on I seem to have missed the UN Resolution stating that Israel can carry out indiscriminate air strikes on children.  Clumsy me.

Apologies for being emotive and sarcastic.