Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Carbon Offset

Ok the message seems to have gotten through to most of us that we not only need to change the way we live to reduce global warming but also must do our bit to improve the environment. How else to contribute one's quota to a healthier environment than carbon offsetting. Of course in principle it is a good laudable idea. In reality most do not grasp the complexity of the scheme while others do not set much stock by its integrity.
I find this piece in The Guardian about the issue most apt and interesting.

Manchester United 1-Lille 0

Last night`s Champions League match between Manchester United and the French side Lille proved to be a good showpiece for the game. Well as far as i am concerned. It proved what i have always said to those who claim there is nothing worth appreciating in a bunch of overpaid millionaires chasing after a piece of inflated leather. The game of football is as good as any opera.It's of such dramatic richness even Shakespeare would be appreciative of. Every genre of comedy is well represented in the game. Not only the players are on stage, the coaching staff and the fans too take part in this interactive open air affair the Romans would have envied.

Take what happened last night in Lille. First the French team had a seemingly legal goal disallowed in the first half of the match. Then came the free kick towards the end of the game. Luis Saha was fouled just outside the Lille 18 yard box,the referee whistled for a foul and as the French were just building their defensive wall Ryan Giggs whipped the ball straight into the net without waiting for the go ahead by the referee. Goal disallowed? Er er no. Were the Lille players in place,ready to defend the kick? No. Did the referee signal the go-ahead? Er er No.Were the French players right to feel aggrieved ? Yes,naturally.
So aggrieved were they that their coaching team signalled to them to leave the pitch. Which they did. Alex Ferguson was mad at his players for milling outside the field with the French players. He even seemed to shove Gary Neville. According to him Lille should be dealt with seriously by EUFA. I beg to disagree with Ferguson on this. Yes there were missiles thrown at United players after this but missiles probably would have been thrown anyway without the Lille bench calling their players off the field. They were angry at what they perceived as poor officiating with regards to the disallowed goal and the dodgy goal by Giggs. So i dont see why Eufa need to take any special action against the club. Of course emotions were high but that to me was quite logical given the events. If anything it just added to the whole entertainment value.

There is going to be a lot of pressure and temptation on the new Eufa President Michel Platini to use this match as a warning of what to expect under his regime.I know the game needs some cleaning up but this is not the occasion to flex any muscle Michel

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

London Letter Bombs

What is going on ?.First it was the IRA,that was kind of sorted out by Tony who then got bored of not seeing Londoners bombed to bits so invited the Al-Queda and just as we seem to be getting used to losing leg and limb for daring to venture out we have some fellow/fellows(yet unknown)aiming to maim Londoners by mail.

A pattern is emerging in the episode. Seems someone or some people with a grudge against the Government and its policy(read seemingly unjustifiable,indirect taxation of car owners) have decided to take matters into their own hands.The first attack was on the offices of Capita. An outsourcing firm that handles the payments for the congestion charging scheme. We know the extension to the scheme is coming in less than a fortnight. Could this be a protest against the extension?

The DVLA in Swansea has also been sent one of these mail bombs. Surely some very very unhappy motorist has an axe to grind. Sending mails to these places would not bring any fruitful result. It only places ordinary pen-pushers going about their job in serious jeopardy.They do not make the decisoions in these places. Sooner the mail bomber realizes this the better.

Sol Kerzner:Cat That Got The Cream

To say that most expected the super Casino bid to be awarded to the Millennium Dome would be a waste of breath. A respected blogger even said on his blog early on that day just before the bid was announced that he was so sure the Phillip Anschutz led consortium had the contract in the bag and if it transpired otherwise then he was a Dutch man. He's probably changed his name to Van Wrong by now.Can't be that bad being Dutch though. At least he gets to eat some decent cheese and visit cafes and bars that serve something a wee stronger than your average latte here.If he is of that persuasion that is.

Anyhow, now the dust has settled over the issue a peculiar fact has emerged.The London bid was headed by the joint team of Phillip Anschutz and Sol Kerzner(pictured above with ex-model wife Heather. Kerzner is a household name in luxury resorts and hotels. Nothing extra ordinary in that. What is interesting is that Mr Kerzner was not putting all his eggs in the same basket. While being a part of the London bid , he also aligned himself with Manchester. The rest is
history. Depending on your point of view Kerzner is either risk averse therefore not a betting man or a seasoned chancer on top of his game. Was he simply hedging his bets by spreading the odds?

No matter what conclusion one comes to there is only one unassailable fact:Sol Kerzner is the cat that got the cream.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Levy Re-Arrest

It wasn`t so shocking the re-arrest of Lord Levy yesterday in connection with the cash-for peerage investigation.Yes it was not indeed. The Police investigators warned us they were making bold and fruitful steps in untangling the web under which the whole saga is buried and warned meddlers like David Blunket et al to keep their mouths shut, steer clear of the investigation and let the Police do the task they have been charged with the way they deemed fit.

One does not have to be Einstein to decipher what really happened here. I know one is presumed innocent until proven otherwise but ummm i can say without a doubt that the parties are guilty as suspected. Of course proving who said what to who,when and where would be a very tasking if not impossible job for the investigators.So if the trail of information can not be pieced together in a manner admissible in the courts where is the case? The Police probably found this out and are now changing tactics and toeing a different line of investigation:Obstructing and perverting the course of justice.

Something is clear though at this juncture-things may get nasty indeed. When Angus Mcneil the SNP parliamentarian first raised the issue early 2006 no one would have imagined it would still be raging on till today talk less of snowballing into something that could define and /or defile a political heritage. That of Tony Blair in particular and the other principal characters involved in the investigation. For if charges were brought,a custodial sentence couldnt be ruled out and if this were to happen then the Prime Minister`s position,more than ever before would be untenable. Even a pachydermatous character like Tony Blair would have no choice but to bow out under those circumstances. As it is,some might argue that the whole episode has vitiated the ofice of the Prime Minister.We have a situation where the incumbent Prime Minister is interviewed almost every other week (well) by the Police in connection with crime. I know Tony Blair likes to break records but to break his own record? Downing Street has to keep issuing statements to assure us that the Prime Minister was interviewed by the Police but not under caution. Fair enough.Hope it does not get to that.Or worse!

Is Lord Levy`s arrest the endgame or just another chapter in the unfolding saga we have to wait and see.

Congestion Charging Extension Countdown

Despite widespread disquiet with the extension of the Congestion Charging Scheme in central London Ken Livingstone forced the idea through and this month sees the scheme starting in a sizeable swathe of west London. For a couple of weeks red C signs have been springing up on newly included areas. I must confess its kind of weird to see those dreaded C signs on streets which they never were before. There are even talks of confused tourists paying the toll to drive on these roads even though the extension does not start until the 19th of this month.

I do not believe the extension to the scheme has anything to do with traffic calming or congestion. Just a cynical way of taxing the public. The Mayor saw the immediate revenue potential in widening the scheme and thought wise to take advantage and raise funds. With the emphasis on `immediate potential` because respected studies have shown that it is not financially beneficial in the long run to extend the scheme.

One wonders then why, if there is no considerable concrete benefit to traffic flow in these areas and the cost involved in the long run Livingstone still decided to go ahead with it.