- 22 Feb 19
Unlikely as it may seem, the best programme on television recently has been the final of the National Fish and Chip Awards. Plus the bizarre sight of Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell pontificating on Brexit.
During the recent final of the National Fish and Chip Awards on BBC2, three pairs of chippie wizards tussled for the title. In the end, father and son team David and Nick Miller from Haxby, Yorkshire, triumphed. No surprise to true Tykes. Haxby folk tell that fish fanciers flock from as far away as Folkstone to savour the secret tang of the Miller family formula.
But that’s not what did it for me.
‘Twas dad David’s insightful observation that you can parody the piquancy of almost any class of chow by dousing the dish in dollops of sauce. “But you can’t hide with fish and chips.” Indeed.
The Brexiteers based their case on blatant lies. If the British people had known the truth back in 2016, they’d have taken a different view. So the best way out of the agitated mess that Brexit has become would be to have another poll – a “People’s Vote.”
Good phrase, “People’s Vote”. Coined, I am told, by Tony Blair’s former spin-meister Alastair Campbell.
Raises the question of who voted last time. Androids?
And, winning a vote on the basis of opportunist blather and lies? That a good reason for rejecting the result? Now there’s a proposition with profound and intriguing implications.
Blair and Campbell have bounced back into front-line political controversy to lead denunciation of the Brexiteers’ dishonesty. Fair enough. I wouldn’t take Boris Johnston’s word for the time of day. But neither would I believe a syllable from the pouty lips of Campbell or Blair.
No need to detail the entire string of falsehoods concocted by the pair to spook the British people into supporting the war on Iraq which left hundreds of thousands dead and millions in misery in exile or refugee camps. Neither Blair nor Campbell gives any indication of giving a toss about the suffering their lies led to.
Low-lifes, the pair of them.
Campbell personally came up with the lie that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had the capacity to hit British targets in Cyprus with missiles at 15 minutes’ notice, and personally gave the “story” to the Evening Standard, which dutifully splashed it across the front page. The guy who did this now regularly pops up on current affairs programmes in both Ireland and Britain to pontificate on, for example, peace….
Having emerged from his counting house, Blair has decided that when he’s at it, he might as well put us right on Venezuela as well. The government in Caracas has forfeited legitimacy by its corruption and crackdown on democratic rights. Maduro is a dictator and has to go, Blair explains, in order to “restore democracy”.
Now where did we hear that before?
It’s always good to hear commonsense in a sitcom. Here’s Rob in the perfect end of the latest series of the flawless Catastrophe, delivering the oration at his mum’s graveside: “I heard about these babies – their spines are like corkscrews. But when they have these surgeries it’s beautiful. They can play hockey or rollerblade. I mean I wouldn’t have to do it at all if this government gave a rat’s ass about disabled kids. They’d be happy to just throw them out the window. I bet Mike Pence spends his Sundays throwing disabled kids out of windows. Looks like he would – that fucking microwave-apple-looking asshole motherfucker.”
By this stage everybody on earth, near enough, will have seen and marvelled at the Greatest Save Ever Made – by Gordon Banks from Pele in the 1970 World Cup. Close-range bullet-header diverted over.
The incident has been shown on repeat since the sad death of the former England goalie on February 13.
But the best save ever?
True, it doesn’t matter what part of a goalkeeper’s body is used to keep the ball out. The point is to stop it crossing the line. Banks’ save was “job done”.
But the more I look at it, the clearer it becomes that there was nothing deliberate about it. Banks flung himself down to the left into the path of Pele’s header. The ball hit his body and bounced up and over.
A moment of high drama and emotion at a key moment in a match of major significance. But the fact that Banks knew little or nothing about it surely deprives it of greatness. An outfield equivalent would be a cross from the by-line which eludes the players it is aimed at and curls neatly into the net at the near corner. Brilliant to watch, deserving of the outpouring joy in which the scorer will be engulfed. But a great goal?
That would be an entirely different thing.
Banks’ came across on-field and off as a decent, modest man. But his 1970 save cannot be numbered among the great feats of goalkeeping.
A couple of things readers might help me with. How does any version of Brexit threaten the Good Friday Agreement? I have re-read the Agreement trying to identify the requirement or clause or paragraph which it is suggested is now threatened. There’s nothing there. In the minds of many, the GFA has become Holy Writ, a document of unchallengeable transcendent truth. And, indeed, it does resemble the Bible in one important respect – that a considerable proportion of those who swear by it have never actually read it.