“It was either the North Koreans, or it was the Martians.”


I love the Chinese spokesman’s comment that the sinking of a South Korean Navy frigate with the loss of 46 sailors was merely was unfortunate. Imagine if Taiwan did the same. We’d have a huge issue.

I’ve been in North Korea and forget the soldiers at the DMZ. Most are kids in one-fits all uniforms, under nourished and unskilled. Time for China to get some credibility and South Korea should blow over North Korea. It will fall surprisingly easily, like a house of cards and it should be done before North Korea goes properly nuclear.

China’s main worry is the flood of refugees North but in reality the Koreans will mainly flood south and South Korea is going to need a lot of help, financial and logistical to fix this one. Germany took years to fully integrate East Germany after years of neglect. But North Korea is far more desperate, uneducated and impoverished and South Korea doesn’t have the reserves to invest. But its about time this human stain was cleansed.

More here

2009/2010

I won’t go into too much detail. Its surprising how apathetic you can become about the Premier League when your team isn’t in it. I maybe saw 40% less games than in previous seasons but while it was an interesting and closer season than usual, the quality was slightly lower even if the competition was equally intense.

The review below is brief and I have worked off realistic pre-season expectations only.

Excellent seasons

Fulham – Solid finish and great cup run. 
Bolton – Terrible team but stayed up fairly easily in the end. 
Stoke – Solid if ugly team and good finish.
Everton – Started badly but 8th place is their usual spot. 
Spurs – Harry will hopefully have bankrupted the club but they played as well as their players could. 
Chelsea – Won the double. With Essien back, they maybe be ageing but will still be there or there abouts. I predicted 1st so wohoo.
Blackburn – Terrible but effective team like their manager. 
Birmingham – Great run and top 10 finish. Never saw that. 

Good seasons

Man United – that United team is middling for United. Did very well with the injuries, average players and lack of goalscorers. 
Man City – Not bad considering their summer expenditure was mixed. 
Villa – What do they want? 6th is about right. Just lacking that glint of quality.  
Arsenal – A lot of injuries and a lack of goalscorer again hinders Wenger. He must take some blame there.  
Wolves – Stayed up. 

Ok seasons

Portsmouth – Played well under Grant 
Burnley – Poor team but enjoyed it. 
Wigan – Poor season but stayed up. 

Poor seasons

West Ham – Unfortunate for Zola but the squad is better than 17th.
Hull – Poor. Everything.
Sunderland – Spent a lot of money on a decent squad and the season wilted badly in the middle.
Liverpool – Need a new boss. Club has stalled but were better than the season showed. With a decent second striker and some better tactical substitutions, they would have just been top 4. 

Classy Family

The father of the Chelsea and former England captain John Terry has pleaded guilty to dealing cocaine.

Edward Terry, 56, from Chafford Hundred, Essex, appeared before Basildon magistrates and admitted a charge of supplying the Class A drug.

The court was told he supplied it to an undercover newspaper reporter in a winebar in Chafford Hundred, in 2009.

Not much to disagree with there

The title is linked to the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition agreement which while must be taken with a pinch of salt etc, looks nothing anyone wouldn’t agree with. So I guess we’ll see how long it lasts and whether any real change comes out of it. The country can’t be run on equity and lies forever. 

Closer than we thought

This report highlights what I suspect. We have developed science, societies, wonderful forms of information and physical transportation and yet, despite extensively fieldwork into the habits of of our closest relatives, we still act like them! Base emotions overwhelm in times of strife or war clouding our decisions with rage and envy. While it should be moderated and controlled, like any issue, it needs to be recognised before we can really move on.

Sums up F1

Lap one: They all get away well, and Seb Vettel tries his best to get past team-mate Mark Webber, but the Aussie defends his position well in the first corner. Lewis Hamilton still third, and Fernando Alonso fourth. It’s Red Bull’s race to lose now.

 

Election Quandry

So we have a hung Parliament according to the votes and unless the Lib Democrats hook up in coalition with the Conservatives, we’ll have a minority government for the first time since 1974 and/or longer depending on your definition. We might actually see some real politics right now and find out what the politicians are made of.

Nick Clegg is in a tough position. He has stated the biggest party must form the government and that is the Conservatives. But for important reasons, David Cameron cannot offer the same tasters as Gordon Brown. Labour will offer a referendum on electoral reform, essentially putting Propositional Representation on the table. While Labour would still be a smaller party than the Conservatives under PR, their position is far more aligned to the Liberal Democrats and accommodation would be simpler. Potentially this could keep a Labour-Lib Dem coalition in power forever. However Clegg knows he will be viewed as a hypocrite and making a farce of Lib Dems democratic principals if he gets into bed with the defeated Labour party to keep them in power.

Cameron knows all this and therefore couldn’t possibly offer it despite the present system of first-past-the-post actively discriminating against his party. Its a step he could never take. Also power sharing with Nick Clegg would entail offering some Cabinet seats to his party, an arrangement which pushes out Conservative ministers-to-be and could lead to policy divisions.

Gordon Brown actually comes out of this fairly well. He is keen to carry on, despite the voters decision. His party wasn’t third despite the tiredness, increasing  corruption, terrible campaign gaffs and recession and he is still the PM until this is decided. I would recommend he smiles but its too hideous to think of.

So Brown can sit in the background, waiting it out. If Cameron enters as a minority government, the future could be perilous. We’ll see what he is made of, trying to hold together a party riven with divisions over Europe and immigration and with more convoluted ties and old school links to keep happy. His policy movement will be highly restricted. He will have to work with smaller parties just to get legislation through, though he does have policy allies in the Ulster Unionists and the Liberal Democrats on some issues. But passing this legislation would require bargaining and compromise. Big public sectors could trigger strikes and with a chaotic Parliament, an immediate sight of a failing government, unable to act would open up the floor to anyone with a view. Cameron has spent the last years trying to restrict open debate in the party. Any sign of crisis and the mic will be open to all comers. And they will come.