Friday, November 30, 2007

England, Jerusalem and next year's World Cup Finals in Australia....

The British Rugby League national team has in the past, usually completed as 'Great Britain'. However, last month's 3 match series against New Zealand was the very last time that GB as a team will ever play. It has now been disbanded and all the home nations have gone their seperate ways. (If they should all get together again as a touring party in the future then they will be play as the RU boys do under the title of 'The Lions').

Next year, the Rugby League World Cup will be held in Australia, and England and Scotland will be competing as national teams, There is therefore a real opportunity to try to persuade the Rugby League authorities in Leeds that Jerusalem should be our anthem of choice, especially as it is traditional that before every Rugby League Grand Final (the sports equivalent to the FA Cup Final) it is traditional that before the match kicks off, a selected classical singer walks onto the pitch and sings Jerusalem. The whole crowd of 68.000 join in. I listened to this year's event on the radio - and the singing of the hymn was simply fantastic.

This is what the official Grand Final site said about the pre-match entertainment -

'In the final moments before the teams walk out, the award winning Yorkshire born Lesley Garrett will sing a special arrangement of the hymn Jerusalem - the traditional anthem of the Super League Grand Final. She regularly appears in both opera, in concert and on television and has won massive critical acclaim as a recording artist; she also has eleven solo CD to her credit.
And Lesley says she is already looking forward to performing a song which she believes is highly appropriate for a major sporting occasion: ‘Jerusalem for me is most associated with sport and music and the very best situation in which to sing it is in front of 65,500 people waiting for kick-off!” She added: “It’s a song I have sung for many years and I particularly love this arrangement with the drums because it gives it such extra power and excitement. “I am thrilled to be singing it for this special engage Super League Grand Final and I know just what an exciting and emotional day it will be for everyone!”

She could have mentioned that Jerusalem is a song associated exclusively with England, but never mind, the precedent is set. They play Jerusalem as a traditional curtain raiser to their most prestigious domestic occassion - so in theory, it cannot be much of a leap of the imagination to use the hymn as England's anthem for next year's world cup, can it?

Apparently, the RFL are deciding the team logistics right now.

This is my email to the RFL HQ.


I understand that now the final GB v NZ test match series has been played, the home nations are going their own seperate ways.
In future, England will have her own team, and be playing as such in next year's Rugby League World Cup. That's something I really support, but can you tell me, will we also be having our own anthem as well before each match?

A couple of months ago, I saw the Grand Final at Old Trafford between St Helens and Leeds - and was completely knocked out by the singing of 'Jerusalem' before the action started. It was fantastic. As everyone sang for all they were worth.... and I mean, 'everyone', I would suggest that Jerusalem would make a superb anthem for the England Rugby League team - not only is it a stirring and uplifting tune, but it also actually mentions England in the words - and so is more than appropriate to be our anthem.

And as was proved on Grand Final night, it is fantastically popular amongst the ordinary people of England.

PLEASE do not go the route of picking God Save the Queen - and copying the RU and Football teams - it is the UK anthem and so, has nothing to do with England - and you can bet your life that Scotland will be picking their own anthem rather than GSTQ.

Can you please let me know asap which song you intend to use for all future England National Rugby League team matches.


Alfred the OK.

Monday, November 26, 2007

James Purnell says 'No' to an English anthem...

James Purnell, the Culture Secretary for England was interviewed last Friday by Simon Mayo on BBC radio's FiveLive afternoon show, The Daily Mayo. I sent in an email, which Simon duly read out in toto (including the 'disenfranchised Englishman' bit). Below is the transcript - first the email, then the bumbling, inexcusably pathetic answer from James Purnell and the interjections from Simon Mayo.

Simon -

'Can you ask Mr Purnell when England is going to be allowed her own National Anthem?
God Save the Queen is not the English Anthem, it is the British one - England doesn't have one and it's about time we did. I suggest 'Jerusalem'.

Scotland and Wales have their own anthems - and it is plainly bizarre to hear the Welsh and the Scots booing 'God Save the Queen' as the anthems are played prior to England playing them in the 6 nations tournament.

Mr Purnell is the culture secretary for England - he should start to champion our country by promoting our culture. Our own unique national anthem would be a start'.
Alfie the OK,
disenfranchised Englishman.

PURNELL: "I'm proud of being English, and I'm proud to be British....... And I think you can be both at the same time.... And I think ... if we start to go down this sort of seperatist route, we'd really regret it in 10 or 20 years time...... You know, this is a fantastic country and I think trying to set ourselves one against the other would only make us weaker"....

MAYO: "Yes but, it's not nessecarily seperatist, just to say England could have its own song the way the Scots and the Welsh have"....

PURNELL: "Well, we've got Baddiel and Skinner haven't we?...... And, ermmm, got fantastic songs that err... errrr... err... err.... at err, rugby.... at err football - but I.... I.... I just think, you know... that there is a sort of mood about, which is that, errr..... somehow England is missing out......
England is a fantastic country, we're doing brilliantly well, when I talk to Euro"....

MAYO: "Brilliantly well at what?"

PURNELL: "Just generally. When I talk to European colleagues or talk to people, you know, talk to Democrats in America and they..... You know, are extremely impressed by what we've done.... So I think we should be proud of our country, I think we should be clear that we can be English, British, Scottish, Welsh, errrrr, Northern Irish at the same time and there's a multiple, you know, you can be Northern Irish and British and be proud of both at the same time and that's something we should all be able to feel."

MAYO: "And European, chuck it all in"..........


So there you have it. Pathetic Purnell, the Culture Secretary for England says that to give England our own national anthem will endanger the union by going down some 'seperatist route'. But apparently, the Scots and Welsh having their own anthems does not endanger anything. So presumably, in Purnell-world, the very act of Scots and Welsh fans booing 'God Save the Queen' to the hilt at Murrayfield and the Millennium Stadium, must mean the union is being strengthened with every gob-glottal vented.

Not for us a national song that defines our identity. Not for us a stirring theme to bind our country with common goals and collective purpose. No, Purnell says we have Baddiel & Skinner, and footy & rugby songs to fall back on - as a sort of 'Anthem-Lite'....

And so, just to get things straight in my mind - Purnell rules out 'Jerusalem' because it's the work of the Devil - but Baddiel & Skinner doing a 'Derek and Clive' pastiche or footy fans singing 'Posh Spice takes it up the arse', and 'The Referee's a bastard' is perfectly fine for our national singy-songy........

Purnell says it's OK to be proud of being English - just as long as you keep quiet about it...... And this from the man tasked to promote English Culture. Pathetic.

If you want to hear it yourself, go here and wind onto 1:20:03 for the question and blathering answer from a national disgrace.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Comment on The Scotsman's week-long 'special' on the West Lothian Question.

The Scotsman has been doing a week long special on the West Lothian Question

Sir -

Do you know what? I am getting heartily sick and fed up with the blue sky thinking going on by the Scottish Establishment - apparently for our benefit.

Scots Labour MP, Ian Davidson suggests a return to English regionalism. Posh Scot Rifkind, after oooh, at least 10 minutes cogitation emerges from the toilet with his little piece of 'back of the envelope' to declare "Grand Committees in our time"... Scottish Prime Minister, Gordon Brown gives us one of his sickly smiles and pretends to go deaf - or, as in this week's PMQs gives a completely inaccurate answer when asked about the Barnett Formula....

Hey, all you bods at The Scotsman, all you 'worried of Dundee' readers, all you 'concerned for your jobs Scottish politicians' why not campaign for a referendum to be held in England about OUR constitutional future. Why not ask US what we would like, for a change?

The answer to the English Question will not be found on Malcolm Rifkind's toilet seat, it will not be found behind Gordon Brown's faux smiles, it will not be found in Ian Davidson's selfish streak, it will not be found by a Scots media suggestion of 'Rifkind Lite' - it will only be found by actually asking the population of England what they want.

And talking about The Scotsman. Tell me Mr Editor, during your week long 'special' on analysing the West Lothian Question, did you once, even once go down, south of the border to actually ask the people of England what they actually would like - or have you been too busy canvassing opinion from worried Scottish MPs to be bothered?

Shock horror, token Englishman found on BBC Questiontime panel.....

Wait a mo, stand easy everyone - it's not as disasterous as first thought because the token Englishman was none other than English-hating New Labour-loving scribe, David Aaronovitch..... so that's OK then.

As tonight's edition came from Glasgow in Scotland, the rest of the panel were of course, all Scottish.

David Steel - Grey haired has-been, Scottish LibDems man in grey.
Trout-pouter Wendy Alexander - Scottish Labour leader and sister to Wee Duggie, the world's worst election organiser.
Annabel Goldie - leader of the Scottish Tories and Scotland's very own Claire Rayner agony aunt.
Nicola Sturgeon - chippily bolshy Scottish deputy leader of the SNP and chair of the Alex Salmond fan club.

As per usual, the thorny question of the 'West Lothian Question' was aired. As per usual, most of the Scots on the panel (apart from the chippy bint) agreed that because of England's vast bulkyness, we shouldn't get a Parliament of our own because it will bugger the union to death - forever. As per usual, not one of those miserable power-mad ruminating tossers suggested that the people of England should be allowed the opportunity to decide what we bloody well want. And then the discussion went all Barnett - Goldie proclaimed that Northern Ireland got the most, then London, then Scotland.... interesting use of a Province, a City and a Country there Annabel in order to somehow illustrate your pathetic point of no value or accuracy. But never mind, Bumbleby didn't bother to take you up on it. Lord Steel likened England's current predicament to Scotland of years ago - and being bullied by English, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs into accepting legislation.... Yeah, but Dave, baby - that was when Great Britain was ruled by a Unitary Authority, wasn't it? Bumbleby remained silent.

And as for Aaronovitch? well he just said there was no appetite in England for self determination. According to Dave, it was all a right wing media plot....

On second thoughts, I don't think Aaronovitch is an Englishman after all..... Maybe he's trying to redefine himself as a plastic Scotsman?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Sick as a parrot

This image was composed by my eldest Son, John. He is at the moment travelling the world - and is currently in Shanghai. It is a self portrait and he entered it in a competition last year which was all about trying to show your passion about football. He got into the last 6 - but did not win. To me, it perfectly sums up the hopes, the highs - but mostly the lows of yer average England footy fan.

Last night's disaster at Wembley was an utter disgrace. McClaren, the uninspiring plodder has gone - along with a cheque for 2.5 million quid in his back pocket. Thanks for nothing, Stevie.

And then, this morning the living dead - the board of the FA, staggered out from their blue-blazered comfort zone to face the media music. Old, pale, out-of-touch, arrogant and complacent..... but most of all, a complete failure by any of those damned white-haired tossers to do the decent thing and fail on their own swords. It was they who appointed a journeyman coach to the position of England manager - it is they who sacked them this morning. Their judgement is now therefore as flawed as McClaren's tactics - and by definition, they should all go right now also.

I am old enough to remember how Brian Clough was overlooked for England coach because he was too gobby. I also remember how Bob Paisley, the most successful English coach of all time wasn't even considered - not because of his ability to manage the national side was in doubt, no, it was because his cloth capped image wasn't quite what the blue blazered brigade felt comfortable with.

Ever since Walter Winterbottom's appointment in the late '50's, the FA have always favoured yesmen and arse-lickers as coach. I hope now that things will change..... but I doubt it.

But one thing's for sure, the England team simply do not deserve the fantastic support they get from the English public. They are, without doubt, the most loyal supporters in the world, and it really is about time, the God-awful FA started to treat them with some sort of respect.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Blackburn Outrage - a prediction.

My prediction - 'The Blackburn Outrage' will replace 'The West Lothian Question' as the discussion of choice. Why? Because the WLQ does not clearly demostrate the inbuilt fiscal unfairness of the current settlement - the 'Blackburn Outrage' clearly does....

A Government Of All The Sychophants....

(That's Gordon's 'GOATS' to you and me)

Watching Allistair Darling doing a passable impression of a 'dead man dead', yesterday, it sort of struck me just what a group of talentless losers Gordon Brown's Cabinet actually are. Far from being the much heralded 'Government of all the Talents' - they are little more than a gang of remedial no-opinioned school boys, hanging on every growly-voweled word and control-freaked diktat of the Great Leader. Darling, Balls, Cooper, Miliband and the rest would more at home in short pants and reading the Beano rather than delving into government boxes..... None of them has a decent original thought between them.

Aside from the LostCDGate scandal, the list of woes has an air of calamitous government about it. Who knows, someone might just invent a new word for the English (sorry, British) language that will sort of define a complete balls up on a monumental scale. "Oh dear, you appear to have made an utter Brown of that, haven't you?"

Brown's dithering fingerprints are all over the Northern Rock debacle. Last week, super-special, Brown-appointed security expert Sir Alan West dramatically changes his mind in the space of half an hour and a brief 'chat' with his Boss over the question of how long terror suspects should be detained prior to charges being brought. Apparently, his proclaimation that he didn't believe in detention of more than 28 days was a 'misquote' - even though he said it live on Radio 4.

At the weekend, Foreign Secretary David Miliband's big new speech on Europe got the red pen treatment from Gordon Brown. Rather embarrassingly, it was only altered after the Foreign Office had circulated the original to the country's news agencies. Last week, Jacqui Smith, our chunky Home Secretary and part-time Rugby League prop forward, stood at the Despatch Box and told us about the 20,000 illegal immigrant security guards working for the state. Apparently, the reason why she didn't tell us about it in July was because she wanted to work out what to do about it first.(And she managed to say all that with a straight face!)

This Summer's Surrey Foot and Mouth outbreak was tracked down to a leaking underground pipe from a Government research laboratory. The pipe was due to be replaced a couple of years previously, but budget cuts from Brown's Treasury to government agency Defra meant that the pipe was left to corrode, fracture and contaminate....

The north of England floods, occurring just days after Brown's coronation, was a complete balls up. The Prime Minister had barely appointed his new team of special regional ministers for England, yet Caroline Flint the minister responsible for the flooded area did nothing for over 2 weeks. Only when the great God Gordon cruised into town in his big flashy 4 be 4, dodging the beached sofas and flat-pack flotsam did Flint show her brassy boat.

Gordon, ever the prudent fool - especially where northern English folk are concerned, pledged a pathetic 14 million quid for 'relief'. Caroline Flint, standing a respectful 5 paces behind, swooned in adoration. The guy from Hull council rolled his eyes and complained that the damage ran into many hundreds of millions of pounds - and that 14 crappy million was not even loose change.....

Then there was Immigration Minister, Liam Byrne's performance on 'The Daily Politics' last week. Anchorman, Andrew Neil first pulled all his legs off, then his wings, then stamped him into the concrete. Byrne could not, would not admit to official figures of immigration published by his very own department. Byrne could not, would not admit to anything, full stop. He blathered and said "errrr" a lot. After 10 minutes of relentless questioning, Byrne's excuse for not knowing anything much about immigration was because he had left his folder at the office.

He knew the figures all right - the only problem was that he couldn't actually say anything of note, just in case a member of the Gordiban was in the wings, taking notes.

Brown's performance at the Despatch Box since he took over from Blair has been woeful. His body language, his shaking fists, his forced insincere gurning grins, his inability to tell a decent joke, his crap excuses for not knowing his facts ("The honourable gentleman forgets that I have only been in the job for 5 days") - and the complete inability to give Cameron any kind of body swerve is embarrassing to watch. - Second only to the passive reaction of Speaker Fat-Man Mick Martin as he allows Brown to ignore answering the same question asked 4 times in a row. ...

There is really no doubt about it, Brown is a political sociopath. A man devoid of any human interaction and warmth. He trusts no one - certainly enough to allow him or her to make a decision. Gordon doesn't do delegation or sincerity. He tries so hard to act the part of the conviction politician, but that is failing also - if you look closely, you can see the trowelled-on make-up is running...

All this was confirmed on Sunday night with the first part of the TV trilogy 'The Blair Years' on BBC 1.

Blair was interviewed about his relationship with Brown. He sat there, 'doing' sincerity like only Tone can do, resplendent in his newly rediscovered Bambie-esque persona, trying his very 'hardest' to defend the Heath Robinson hard-wire that is the world of Brown - but in spite of his very best efforts, the control freakery of the puppet master from number 11 just shone through.

Machiavellian, borgian, iagoian, uriah-heepien, hissing-sydian - Brown was all of these and more. A man absolutely obsessed with being head cohoanie of Great Britain Limited. The schemer of schemers, the man who told Blair "When the fuck are you going to fuck off out of here, so I can have the job?" was at the centre of virtually every Blair initiative. Most government decisions of the time seemed to revolve around whether Gordon would free up the cash - and when 'stuff happened' Brown always seemed to be able to be somewhere else as Blair got roasted......

Well, it's all coming home to roost now. There is nowhere to run and hide for Gordon. The shit has hit the plastic English football fan - and what's more, it's sticking. That's the trouble with assembling a team of yes-people around you, Gordon - they are selected on the premise that they will be docile sheep rather than talented decision makers - and when things go tits up, they cannot cope.

But can you? Or will you continue to rely on your 'Government of all the sycophants' - the 'GOATS' to manage things?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Scotland on Sunday.....

The Scotland on Sunday has an article about the increasingly irritated English here.

'Five years ago only pointy-headed nerds knew about the West Lothian Question and "asymmetrical devolution". Today, the man on the Clapham omnibus probably still doesn't know or even care where West Lothian is - but he does want to know why Scots are being offered "free" university education, prescriptions and care for the elderly when he still has to pay'......

(not sure why "free" has been marked so, though).

Anyway, they mentioned the Part of the Union? video -

One increasingly popular post on YouTube by a group called Justice For England makes green-eyed statements about the poor funding received by England compared with the "free" health care, tuition fees and other handouts from the Scottish Parliament. Let's see if SNP Finance Secretary John Swinney feels quite so flush when he delivers his budget this week.

The Justice For England video is accompanied by the Strawbs' track Part Of The Union, even though it was written about trade union disputes rather than the state of the UK. But perhaps the song's warning to be "wise to the lies of the company spies" is a reminder of the need to clear up the myths surrounding the Scottish question.

There they go with that "free" thing again....and what about that 'green-eyed statements' reference as well? We are not green-eyed. Mega pissed-off, yes - but not green-eyed.

Beowulf reassigned....

BBC publicity blurb from Radio FiveLive on an interview with Ray Winstone, who plays the lead in the forthcoming film, Beowulf.

"A touch of Hollywood this week, Ray Winstone talks about playing a Viking in his new role as Beowulf, and why he doesn't mind them invading his beloved West Ham.......

I listened to the interview - what is really, really pathetically depressing is what the great over-actor himself had to say about his role. Winstone confirmed the BBC's 'mistaken' belief that Beowulf was a Viking hero - then went on at length about how much 'Viking' is in the average West Ham suppoerter.

Imagine, spending God knows how many months making a film - and being totally ignorant of the origins of the story. What's more, I bet the 'cockerney-cliche' has been travelling the world telling everyone who will listen that Beowulf is a Viking legend....

For the benefit of the BBC, Ray Winstone, Angelina Jolie and anyone else interested, Beowulf was an Anglo Saxon hero in an Anglo Saxon epic poem originated and recited during the golden age of the Anglo Saxon world.

In my book, that makes him an English cultural icon. Geddit?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Fighting for England.

A paucity of posts over the last couple of weeks from yours truly can only mean one of two things. I've either won the lottery and am now posting you from my penthouse suite in Aspen, Colorado - or, I have been fighting for England with some new 'fighting for England' projects.

Well I haven't won the lottery, so that must mean I am up to my neck in new projects designed to keep embarrassing the Brownster and trying to bring down the entire rotten edifice of Britishness.....

I have, of course had some help along the way, my kids and my wife have gone above and beyond the call of duty - but some celebs are also giving their talents to the cause of Englishness....

Including these two guys (although they don't actually know it yet).....

Well I would walk 500 miles, and a I would walk 500 more just to be, tra la, la, la la, la la, la, la, la, la, at your dooor-uhhhhh-uhhh.