More on police behaviour

When my sons arrived home recently they told me harrowing stories of the anti-student-fees demonstration a week or so back in London that they attended. The Guardian today features some footage taken by a student involved. A large number of protesters were on their way home at the end of the protest and peacefully leaving but a line of riot police plus occasional charges from horses forced them back into an ever smaller space against another line of police who were not letting them move, and pushing them back towards the skirmishes they were moving away from. The tactic seemed pointless and counterproductive and of course dangerous and provocative. Have a look at this video. You can hear many of the students (not all of them) asking the policemen most politely why they are doing what they are doing, and other innocent questions such as ‘where would you like me to move to?’. Its at

Nick Clegg and Liberal democrats

Tonight, people on Twitter seem to be saying, marks the death of this political party and it seems in a way quite undeniable. Many here in the UK voted for them, feeling that New Labour had lost its way but not willing to vote for the conservatives which have always been seen as the nasty party, whose policies generally seem to make life tougher and less interesting for most of us (while certain sectors do very well). Those of us who did vote for the Libdems hoped, probably against our better judgement, that they were an enlightened, left-leaning, genuinely different party. However it seems that the politician’s will to power has triumphed over those ideals which we were rather hoping they would reintroduce into politics in the UK. I’m not sure about all the pros and cons of the new rise in higher education fees – it may turn out not nearly as bad as it looks – though the prinicple of it is pretty bad (lets’ get the younger generation to pay for the debts that we ran up through capitalistic greed etc.) But regardless of how this turns out, there is a huge sense of betrayal of the LibDems – or at least its leadership. I suspect they will never, ever get votes in any number again. I hope suited Mr Clegg enjoys the head rush of power while it lasts because it will never come his way again.

I like FIFA

I know very little about football but I do remember watching the 1966 World Cup as a ten year old with my mum’s family in Germany with grumpy men in a smoking sitting room.
Our recent world cup bid team seemed to show sour grapes about FIFAs decisions to place the next world cups in unlikely places, and a failure of imagination. It seems to my ignorant gaze that FIFA are using football to achieve certain political and cultural objectives. It could do Russia a lot of good to have to prepare for the world cup in 2018. If they relax their visa requirements, they could see an influx of visitors for the time of the competition but doing completely unrelated things. It could even include me on a quick trip to Leningrad. Likewise a world cup in Qatar, as the leader of their bid said, it could play a small part in breaking down western ignorance and predjudce about the middle east. These seem really good reasons to award these two countries the competition rather than keeping it with the same old club.
My goodness, I can’t believe I’ve just written about football.