All entries for Sunday 06 May 2007

May 06, 2007

What's he up to?

Writing about web page

John Reid will stand down as Home Secretary within weeks and return to the backbenches.

Umm… Why?

United's title in doubt?

Man United just can’t win when it comes to goalkeepers. Ever since Peter Schmeichel retired, they’ve struggled to find a replacement. They’ve gone through some stinking keepers who’ve made utter howlers, but now they might have gone and made one themselves.

Several newspapers this morning claim that a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ existed between United and Everton, stating that if United sold Tim Howard to Everton, they wouldn’t play him against them this season.

The deal went through, and so apparently did the little agreement. Everton played their substitute goalkeeper and lost 4-2.

But the Premier League are now investigating, because such an agreement would break transfer rules, and could see either club fined, or even deducted points. United’s title hopes could be – possibly – broken by a cock-up.

Russell Brand wrote in the Guardian yesterday how the threat of legal action against West Ham was ludicrous. Relegation through the courts isn’t in the interest of any football club or supporter. The same is true of Championship winners too.

If I’m honest, it wouldn’t surprise me much if this story was correct. But did it make a big difference? Not really. Was anyone really hurt by it? Not really. Would it harm the game if the title was decided by some archaic rule? For sure.

Fine them, highlight it, make it clear that if it happens again there’ll be hell to pay. But don’t ruin the season because of some silly slip-up between two otherwise sensible clubs.

Clutching at Straws?

From today’s Sunday Times:

David Cameron would win a general election by 54 seats, based on voting patterns in last week’s local elections, according to a study published this weekend.

The world and his dog know that local elections are used as protest votes and are always worse for the Government than a general election.

There’s not much here for Tories to crow about.

Lib Dem Failure = Lib Dem Power

It’s a strange quirk of the electoral system in Britain nowadays that the Lib Dems can do fairly poorly at an election and come out of it with so much power. In both Wales and Scotland, they hold the keys to power for Labour and the SNP respectively. The only difference this time round is that they’re considering rejecting the easy option in both cases.

In Wales, leader Mike German, under a great deal of pressure from his members (a leadership election is more than likely) has to decide, perhaps within a week, whether to prop up an unpopular Labour administration headed by Rhodri Morgan. He seems keen, but he could be deposed before he has a chance to sign off on it.

In Scotland, Nicol Stephen has a similar decision to make for the Lib Dems, although they would at least be propping up the SNP, who are on the up themselves. Even then, the SNP would still need the Greens to form a majority. The Greens support independence. The Lib Dems do not, and it could be a deal breaker.

Even in Westminster, it’s an open secret that the Lib Dems could have to do a similar job for Gordon Brown (or Cameron) after the next election.

It’s almost becoming the case that the Lib Dems are the bland, faceless party of coalition. They don’t seem to be threatening to lead any coalition in the near – perhaps even distant – future. And when elections become closer between the top two parties, their share of the vote often collapses.

There’s something to be said for coalition governments. But when the Lib Dems are so predictably the partner in any coalition, is there any value in voting for them?


My view is that there’ll be another election in Edinburgh within the year. The SNP’s majority is so flaky they’ll struggle to govern. Hold a new election and they’ll probably do even better. In Wales, Labour and the Lib Dems are going to struggle to come to a deal. Many in the Labour party are dead against joining with Plaid, and the Tories are of course a complete no-no. It’s going to be iffy here too.


I (honestly) wrote this before reading Andrew Rawnsley in the Observer. He makes the exact same point.

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