It has been a good weekend for international rugby union. The two top-ranked teams in the world took hammerings, New Zealand losing badly to Australia and Wales losing equally badly to a makeshift England team. In Argentina, South Africa played well to beat the Pumas and lift the Southern Hemisphere league title. Refereeing throughout was good and although there was some argument about the sending off of New Zealander Scott Barret, the general opinion was that the referee was justified in doing so.
For me, the only blot on my rugby watching weekend came with the BBC presentation of highlights from the England v Wales game. The match itself was a good one – for England supporters at any rate – but it was spoiled for me by the raucously unsporting nature of the crowd and by the lady commentating.
I don’t know who the lassie was but presume she must have been a prominent player of the ladies’ game, now retired and acting as a pundit. She seemed to know her stuff, but she didn’t stop talking for one moment. Yes, viewers need to know what is going on but we also need the odd break to appreciate the rugby. The great Scottish rugby commentator Bill Maclaren was a real expert. He knew exactly when to speak and when to remain quiet. Let’s hope this lady develops a similar style with experience, but personally I wish that for the moment at least, Aunty Beeb would forget political correctness and use her at ladies’ matches rather than matches like that of yesterday. I know that sounds sexist but it is not meant that way at all. She will learn faster if she is commentating on her own form of the sport.
As for the Twickenham crowd; they used to be renowned as fair-minded and sporting but over recent years, the baying and the booing has predominated. Yes we can switch off the sound, but I feel that Twickenham now ranks with the cricket citadel of Edgbaston as mere homes for yobbery.
For all that, it was an excellent helping of international rugby and bodes well for the forthcoming World Cup in Japan. There is so little to choose between the top half dozen teams that it promises to be a real humdinger of a tournament. I can’t imagine that crowds there will be anything but polite, fair-minded and sporting either.
But this being Monday, it is a question of coming back to the ‘real world.’
Last week, the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell put Labourites into a spin by hinting at a pact with the Scottish Nationalists in order to put Corbyn into No 10. What a furore that caused. Imagine it – the Poison Dwarf allied to an avowed Marxist. There would be civil war in no time.
I ranted last a few days ago about Blow-waved Boris allowing Scotland to go their own way and I still feel that would be the best solution. There are fifty-nine MPs from North of the border in the Commons and that is probably fifty odd too many.
But why you may ask would the possibility of a pact with the SNP put Labourites into a spin. Well it would in one fell swoop demolish Labour’s credentials as a Unionist movement. It certainly infuriated their Scottish members.
The Edinburgh MP, Ian Murray said McDonnell’s ‘utterly irresponsible comments betray our party’s international values.’
And so they do. Until the arrival of Corbyn and his clique, Labour was implacably opposed to the SNP. In fact, Terrible Tony’s government introduced a Scottish Parliament largely as a means of dousing the flames of nationalism and keeping the SNP at a distance.
In the same vein, the Scottish Labour Party campaigned ferociously against the cause of independence in the 2014 referendum, their stance epitomised on the eve of polling by Gordon Brown’s passionate defence of the union.
“What we have built by sacrificing and sharing, let no narrow nationalism split asunder,” he thundered and he won his point.
But Corbyn just isn’t like that. A puerile revolutionary devoid of patriotism, he instinctively shares the SNP’s anti-British agenda. Let’s remember that this is a man who failed to sing the National Anthem on his first appearance as Opposition leader and has stood in tribute to dead IRA terrorists. He supports terrorism around the world too, so does anybody but a few fellow fanatics like McDonnel really want him to lead the nation?
And just like Labour, the SNP is riddled with hypocrisy.
The Nationalists whitter on about the wishes of the Scottish people but refuse to accept the 2014 result, which was meant to be a ‘once-in-a-generation decision.’ They blether and moan for independence from the English, but still want to be ruled by Brussels. That surely does not make sense. Why would any sensible Scot wish to remain in the EU single market but want to leave the far more valuable UK market?
In fact the more I ponder on it, the more I feel that neither the Labour leadership nor that of the SNP have a clue as to what they are doing.
God help us all if somehow their proposed new association brings them into power and puts Corbyn into No 10. Zimbabwe under Emmerson D. Mnangagwa would probably be a safer and saner place to live.
Going back to the thorny matter of sexism for a moment, it seems that the barmy Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas wants to pick a cross-party alternative government made up entirely of women. This cabal of Amazons would fight to avoid Brexit and keep Britain in the EU. Her reasoning for this blatant sexism is that ‘women are more likely to agree to a consensus than men.’
I presume the voters from wherever-she-comes-from must have faith in Ms Lucas, but she really does come out with some childish nonsense at times. In any other field of endeavour, she would probably be carted away to rest in a padded cell – or at best, a darkened room.