Saturday, 28 March 2009

Mail aggression

The Daily Mail leads today with the front page headline 'THIS COUNTRY OF ANGER AND FEAR'. And whose fault is that? Could it be the most influential paper in the UK, which constantly preaches anger, fear and hate towards anything it doesn't understand? I can't tell if, with this headline, they're proudly boasting of their legacy or if they've succumbed to their own propaganda. Most likely, the latter.

It sickens me. If I had one altruistic wish, right up there with world peace and an end to global hunger would be the abolition of The Mail, The Express and their ilk. They are systematically ruining this country, and gleefully smiling at the ashes that remain.

I feel dirty.

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Friday, 20 March 2009

West Indies, fans robbed by bad light, Duckworth-Lewis

Someone, somewhere, needs to work out the Duckworth-Lewis rule and explain it to people before using it.

The West Indies are the latest team to lose out as a result of confusion, having accepted the offer to go off for bad light, thinking they were ahead of the rate. It turned out they weren't, and England won by one run. Completely unfair on the Windies, of course, who weren't even being naïve but were operating under a different set of rules.

Another game ruined.

The bigger question for me, though, is why they went off in the first place. 27 needed to win from 22 balls? 3 wickets left? Game on. It'd have to be pitch black to call that one off in my mind. And for the sake of 3 1/2 overs, you really do think they could have played on in the supposed gloom.

Officials need to either think up a simpler alternative to the Duckworth-Lewis system or explain it to teams more clearly, and umpires really need to think about what constitutes sufficient bad light to end a day's play. A cricket match shouldn't end abruptly because it's a little murky.

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Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Eurodivision: Georgia fails to learn from its mistakes

Thank God for faceless men in suits: if it wasn't for organisers at the Eurovision Song Contest, Georgia could be sparking another war with Russia.

Their song for 2009, We Don't Wanna Put In - an unsubtle reference to Vladimir Putin - has been ruled unacceptable for the competition because no entries will be permitted with "lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political or similar nature". Strange, that, because I seem to remember a slightly political entry last year called Peace Will Come. The entrant? Georgia.

Clearly the worry is that given last year's events in Eastern Europe, letting Georgia slag off the Ruskis - in their own country - in one of the (tragically) biggest European soirees of the year isn't great thinking, and so the song has been forcibly withdrawn.

Probably for the best.

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Wednesday, 4 March 2009

BBC's Misleading Headline of the Week (ish)

Not really misleading as such, but the story is a massive disappointment after the headline 'DURKAN WARNS OF 'ZOMBIE MINISTER''.

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Monday, 2 March 2009

University Challenged

Well, it's happened: Corpus Christi Oxford have been stripped of their University Challenge title for fielding an ileligible contestant. Much has been said of Gail Trimble's consistently astounding performances for the team (except the final, when she was a bit shit until the last 10 minutes), and how much of a letdown it must be for her, but I feel sorry for everyone involved. And yes, I do think stripping them of the title is a mistake.

For a start, naughty boy Sam Kay was a student when the tournament began, only being ineligible for the final three matches of the competition. Clearly it's unfair that the team fielded a non-student, but I don't think Corpus Christi were at any great advantage - Kay was working as a graduate trainee for PricewaterhouseCoopers, not Stephen Fry's personal biographer. Or something. He was a student when he began - that should be enough. It's just not fair for the rest of the team to lose their title because of what is essentially a technicality.

And yes, I do believe it is a technicality. Gail Trimble is 26. Mature students are positively encouraged to participate. What, then, does it matter if a contestant has ceased to be a student some way during the competition? Clearly I'm not saying anyone should be allowed to enter and we should turn a blind eye to non-students representing a university, but in such a circumstance as this, I think common sense should prevail.

Secondly, he thought he was eligble. He didn't deliberately cheat; he made a mistake that really did nobody any harm.

And most importantly of all, Manchester University - the runners-up who have now been awarded the title - didn't even want it to be this way. They are sensible enough to realise the situation for what it is. In Manchester team captain Matthew Yeo's words, the Corpus Christi side were "deserving and worthy champions". He added: "We hope any decision does not detract from what was a thrilling final won by a truly tremendous team." Well said.

An ineligible player doesn't make the whole competition a farce - giving away the title does. And this decision won't help Manchester one bit, either. A student there - 22-year-old Cori Bromfeld - told the BBC that "to win in this way does take away some of the achievement. People in the future will say that we only won because the other team cheated." Exactly - whereas now, they'll be remembered as brave finalists who lost to an incredible team (and were 70-0 up at one point). OK, so it's more likely they won't be remembered much at all, but in University Challenge circles at least, they'd have a better reputation without the title.

But it is Corpus Christi who have ultimately lost out. A shame. Maybe Gail Trimble might take up that Nuts photo opportunity after all.

(In other news, the world plunges deeper into economic armageddon. Ah well.)

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