Tuesday, 8 May 2007

A weekend off!

After a busy but worthwhile end to the local election campaign, I took my first weekend off since before Christmas and headed down to Wales for a weekend of long walks, fresh air, great local food and rugby league! A very good friend of mine is a lifelong Leeds Rhinos fan and so I ended up watching all three games on Sunday of the Super League competition at the Millennium Stadium, culminating in a thrilling Leeds v Bradford derby. Although I am not as passionate about rugby as I am about football I do like going to watch it, not least because the behaviour of the fans and players alike is so different to football. We had several Bradford fans sitting in front of us, and when Leeds won, albeit under controversial circumstances, there was none of the fighting or verbal abuse you'd expect at a football match - just a simple "well done mate" and a handshake. It was great fun.

But whilst I have been away there has been a lot going on:
  • John Reid's decision to leave the Home Office: in my view it is a shame that John Reid has put his own personal politics above sorting out the Home Office which he himself described as not fit for purpose. So another Home Secretary leaves the Department and yet crime continues to rise, immigration policy is still a mess, drugs continue to blight communities and the prisons are bursting at the seams. So much for Labour's commitment to be tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime.
  • Nicolas Sarkozy wins the French Presidential Election: I think that the most amazing thing about the French election is that the turnout was an incredible 85%, making democracy the biggest winner. The UK General Election in 2005 only had a 61% turnout, and last week's local elections, despite being vitally important, are likely to only have seen a turnout of around 37%.
  • The second incredible thing about the French election result is Tony Blair's YouTube message of congratulation in both French and English! Why?? Yes, it is important to wish a new premier the best of luck, but why broadcast it? Could someone be about to embark on a lecture tour...?
  • And then there was the issue of the top and bottom of the Premiership finally being resolved. In my view, Chelsea ruined their chance to win the Premiership a few weeks ago when they only drew with Bolton but it just goes to show that big bucks don't always win football games. And finally I took no comfort over Spurs' win last night against Charlton, which saw Charlton relegated to the Championship. Charlton run excellent grassroot schemes across Kent for young boys to keep them off the streets and interested in sport and hope that the financial cost of relegation to the club doesn't affect these extremely worthy projects.

Now the long weekend is over so it is back to business as usual, and with the expected resignation of Tony Blair what a week it will be...

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