CATEGORY: Open POLEMICS
Ping Pong for Peace & Rollnets for Refugees
Playing Table Tennis at the Za’atari Refugee Camp 4th – 6th April 2018. I have been following the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Development Program for some years online. Over the past twenty years they have done some amazing projects in Nepal, Guinea Bisseau, Afghanistan, El Salvador and many other places that have suffered natural disasters or been destroyed by war. In 2017, the ITTF became the first international federation of any sport to develop a national association in all 226 countries in the world. A great achievement indeed.
Don’t worry my Liberal friends. President Donald Trump was the best outcome possible… really
Yes that’s what the headline says, and no I am not looking for attention. This election was about the American people versus American politics, and the people won. Don’t get me wrong. This is going to be the ultimate in Pyrrhic victories. The people who are going to suffer the most will be Trumps voters when they realise that they have been sold the biggest bill of goods in American political history.
Angela Eagle – A Bit Part in A Very British Coup
On the 24th of June 2016 I finally woke up in a foreign country. I had lived and worked in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for twenty-eight years, up until that morning. In all those years it had never felt like an alien place but on that Friday all of a sudden it did. The Brexit vote had come and gone and it seemed to me that more than half of the country had just told me to pack my bags. It felt very personal.
Brighton Table Tennis – A club of Sanctuary
First there was Anh. In January 2015 I was introduced to Anh, a Vietnamese 16 year old in foster care in Brighton. He was a victim of trafficking, from Vietnam in the back of a lorry from China. His journey had taken a year and he arrived in November 2014. The Virtual School for Children in Care asked if Brighton Table Tennis Club could provide some 1 to 1 Table Tennis and English tuition for Anh. I had no idea that this was the beginning of something big, of which we are both the front line and just the start.
Twenty-First Century Feminism
I am a feminist. Am I a wild, radical extremist who demands men to be eradicated from planet earth? Occasionally. What about International Men’s Day? a male comrade of mine recently exclaimed. ‘Why are women entitled to an entire day celebrating their existence and men aren’t? Oh the anguished tears of oppression. And in case you’re wondering, international men’s day actually falls on the other 364 days of the year.
Thank you dear someone
I’ve been down trodden neglected and I’ve been cast aside
Left on the platform as the train of life passed so quickly by
Invisible to the many, by the few I was never seen
But I saw a great life possible, because someone believed in me
I Saw the TV show a life I could never grasp
Advertisements in magazines told me I was not enough.
Too small too dark too fat too thin, too old too young to compete
But I realised that didn’t matter when someone believed in me
Syria – Puppets and warmongers exposed
Contrary to what the mainstream media would have us believe, Jeremy Corbyn’s first few months in charge of the Labour Party has been a resounding success and some of the seeds that he is presently sowing may well, if nurtured, yield handsome fruit in the years to come. Of course, the media has done its absolute best to undermine the man with subtle and not so subtle barbs of every conceivable nature; to his character, to his principles, even to his dress code and how low he bows. At every opportunity they have tried to belittle and demean him. He’s been lambasted as a coward, a communist and completely out of touch.
Why Jeremy Corbyn’s election could spell disaster for the Labour Party
If you posed the headline above as a question, most people would probably reply with the assumption that Corbyn is considered unelectable and Labour would be equally unelectable with him at the helm. But that’s not the disaster that I am talking about. Single elections are rarely that important in the long run. The Tories were eviscerated in 1997 but eventually they profited from Labour’s move to the right (or centre, as Blairites like to say). In 2010 the Liberals won enough seats to enter government for the first time in 100 years (or first time ever if you refuse to draw a line connecting the Whigs and the Lib Dems). Five years later, that decision has turned them into an electoral irrelevance. A situation that seems set to last for the foreseeable future.
Nuclear Contamination – Another Atrocity Hidden In the Small Print
Apparently today at the Labour Conference, Jeremy Corbyn was defeated in his effort to ban nuclear trident weapons. The reason so I read, is because unions say it will threaten jobs. Now I understand that these are difficult times – no one wants to lose there job, particularly in the midst of an on going global recession. But when your job is building nuclear weapons, common sense and the greater good must prevail.
After the Circus left Town
After the trials and tribulations that the leaders of the three main political parties have had to endure over the last few months, there are some who are worried about their immediate future. There is no need to worry, I think they will be ok.
Oh how do you do, young Willy McBride
Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside
And rest for a while in the warm summer sun
I’ve been walking all day, and I’m nearly done
Ping Pong and learned helplessness
I have written before how table tennis involves you being just a few feet away from your opponent. This means that body language is far more telling in this game that it would be in many others. These days, whenever I face a player who regularly beats me, I push that to one side and concentrate on winning the game at hand. However, I often come across players whom I regularly beat. Sometimes they shrug their shoulders as if to say, ‘here we go again’, resigned to the fact that they are not going to win. Of course, this mentality virtually guarantees that they will lose again.
Success versus winning in sport
I have been meaning to write about the sporting concept of ‘winning’ for a while. However, as I tried to establish some concrete approach to this, ‘a unified theory of winning things’ if you will, it became clear that instead of winning I was actually thinking about ‘success’. Winning is often beyond us, whereas ‘success’ is always a possibility.
Rape and War – A Marriage Made in Hell
May 2014 saw a number of activists, celebrities and politicians gather in London for a Global Summit. The organizers of this event were the International Campaign to stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict. The campaign has worked tirelessly to highlight the use of rape as a weapon of war. It has specifically targeted conflicts in Burma, Haiti, Congo, Colombia and Kenya where the use of rape as a weapon of war is well documented.
British Values and ‘The Other’
MacDonald’s has recently returned to one of it’s recurring UK marketing campaigns. ‘The taste of America’. This might seem somewhat odd as McDonalds is already a quintessentially American food outlet. It makes the majority of it’s profits from burgers, an American invention. As a symbol of its home country, McDonalds is right up there with Coke and Harley Davidson. Nevertheless, the burger chain has become such an ingrained part of the UK cultural landscape that McDonalds can introduce ‘The taste of America’ without anyone batting an eyelid.
Gary Barlow raises taxing matters
If you ever find yourself engaged in a discussion with a journalist, any critique of their profession will inevitably involve a declaration of their independence. All journalists believe themselves to be clear-headed, rational, and probably more cynical than the average person. Above all, they cherish their independence of thought. Irrespective of whom they work for, journalists pride themselves on writing, whatever they want. This, of course, is downright weird. In a world where everybody else goes to work and does specific things required to earn a wage, journalists apparently take money in return for writing, ‘whatever they want’.
International Football – A note about soccer and success
I have found myself growing increasingly frustrated and disinterested in club soccer because of a conviction that it’s a sport ultimately decided by money. Nevertheless I still find the big international competitions fascinating. It turns out that at club level, statistics seem to indicate that football is indeed, decided by budget. There is a strong statistical correlation between a club’s wage bill and its final league position. Over the last decade, teams across Europe, have only deviated by plus or minus 2 places from their wage bill.
Why Ping Pong has Soul
While recently watching a very powerful and moving documentary made by Clark Carlisle, Chairman of the PFA and ex top flight professional Footballer, ‘Football’s Secret Suicide’, it struck me just how different the world of football is from the world I am part of, Table Tennis.Young footballers are being hot-housed at youth academies with no back up plan for life, if and when they become one of the 99% that don’t make it. Increasingly you hear of stories of depressed, bankrupt, alcoholic, gambling Premier League Football stars and ex-stars who can’t cope with the drop off in terms of money, fame and status after a short lived £100,000 a week career.
Footballers wage Problem
Something must be done about the amount of money footballer’s earn. In 1981, Bryan Robson became the first £1,000-a-week footballer. People were outraged. Now, the average salary for a top flight player in England is around £100,000. A week, remember. Whilst all of us are feeling the squeeze, looking to save money and avoid finding ourselves in another economic crisis, Wayne Rooney is on approximately 250k-a-week, adding up to 12 million pounds a year for you non-mathematicians. No wonder Manchester United are in debt! My question is, isn’t it time to introduce a wage cap to stop these footballers from earning obscene amounts of money?