England U19′s played Turkey tonight at AFC Telford United. Turkey played well but they had too many actors and towards the end of the game they got a bit aggressive resulting in a yellow card and chants of “off, off, off” on a few occasions. England played well too and ended up winning 1-0. As a little bonus, you can just see Mrs Sane in the centrefold picture in the match programme from the England -v- Finland U21 game in November last year.
Tag Archive for England
We’ve had a double-dose of England-bashing in the last couple of days with former Scottish rugby coach Jim Telfer declaring the English team arrogant and French journalist Jean Jaffe (probably spelt that wrong) said that the English are arrogant and think they’re the centre of the world.
BBC Radio Five Live phoned me up this morning asking if I would go on their morning show and “defend the English”. They bumped me even though I’d told them I was delaying going out to do the interview and then didn’t bother calling me back which was a bit rude! But BBC Radio WM called me at lunchtime and asked me if I’d do an interview on their show instead which I did.
The interview was so well received the producer called me afterwards to tell me that they’d had so much positive feedback, including one person who sent in a text saying that I should be in charge of the country because I talk a lot of common sense.
This is what the French journalist said:
I don’t think the French are very taken you know with Beckham’s brands. You know, I’ve never seen many ads with Beckham in France in magazines or on the Paris Metro. Apparently his wife was a bit snooty and she didn’t want to come to Paris, it was not good enough for her career. Most of the English people you think you are the centre of the world and that we have to care about what happens in your country and we have to love you English and I don’t say the British, the English.
I think I defended the English and represented the normal, tolerant side of English nationalism quite well. You can hear the interview on YouTube …
I took part in an Opinium opinion poll last night and unusually for them got an “ethnicity” question at the end. There was something a bit wrong with it though …
Needless to say I have expressed my disappointment to Opinium.
AFC Telford United hosted an England -v- Finland U19′s match last night at the New Buck’s Head. The whole family went along to watch England score a penalty with the last kick of the game to win 1-0.
There was some great play from these youngsters which makes me think there may be hope for the future of the English football team after all!
We were right on the centre line so we had a decent view throughout the game …
The all important penalty in the dying seconds of extra time …
Embarrassed at the thought of the world mocking the way we pander to medieval superstitious beliefs by banning shops from opening all day on Sunday in the name of a religion that only 10% of the population actively engage in, the British government relaxed Sunday Trading laws in England and Wales during the London Olympics. Now the debate is open on whether to tighten them back up again.
The last serious attempt to get Sunday Trading laws relaxed in England was back in 2006 when a group of companies, including the big supermarkets, petitioned the Secretary of State for Trade & Industry to relax them so they could open for more than 6 hours on a Sunday. The Secretary of State declined. The Secretary of State had no business making the decision because the Secretary of State was Alistair Darling, the MP for Edinburgh Central, whose own constituents don’t have to put up with the inconvenience of Sunday Trading restrictions because there aren’t any in Scotland.
Scotland is by far a more religious country than England yet they are sensible enough to realise that translating those minority religious views into restrictions on economic activity benefits nobody. It’s a shame that the politicians they inflict on us don’t share that same sensibility but when they’re messing up someone else’s country, I suppose they don’t really care. But if Scotland can dispense with Sunday Trading restrictions despite being a more religious country than England, why should we endure these ridiculous restrictions because of the irrational beliefs of a declining number of adherents of the state religion?
The economy is on the rocks at the moment and anything that can give it a boost should be welcomed. We need drastic tax cuts and people spending money to create jobs. The drastic tax cuts aren’t going to come under Labour or the Tories because all either of them know how to do is spend more and more of our money but abolishing Sunday Trading restrictions is just about compatible with today’s Tories, even if they have all but abandoned their conservative principles.
On average, those of us who still have jobs are working longer hours to pay for those that don’t, bailing out the €uro, Indian space missions, etc. so we have to do more things at the weekend. If we want to do our weekly shopping at 9pm on Sunday then why shouldn’t we be able to? If we need a pharmacy at 3 o’clock on Sunday morning, why should we have to drive 30 miles to find one of the increasingly small number of independent pharmacies that haven’t been snapped up by big chains that don’t have to comply with Sunday Trading restrictions? Why can we go for a bagel at McDonalds at 8 o’clock on Sunday morning but can’t go to Tesco’s and buy a packet of bagels to make our own? This ridiculous rule about observing the Jewish religious law of observing the Sabbath has no place in England in 2012 and it’s time to consign Sunday Trading restrictions to the history books they came out of.
Ed Miliband has broken with decades of tradition and spoken positively about English identity and even mentioning an English Parliament. Ok, he dismissed it out of hand because he says there isn’t support for one but he’s the first LibLabCon leader to follow UKIP’s lead and take the subject seriously.
Labour has been struggling in England in recent years, despite a revival thanks to the ineptitude of the ConDems and has been navel gazing for some time trying to figure why the country they milked for over a decade to buy votes in Scotland and Wales might not be so keen on voting for them. It has recently occurred to them that describing English people as “a race not worth saving” and suggesting that people describing themselves as English is worrying and is about race, not culture unlike Britishness might be a contributing factor to their unpopularity.
While Ed Miliband is now apparently comfortable with us describing ourselves as English (as long as we say we’re British as well) he isn’t happy with the idea of an English Parliament. He says that an English Parliament means more politicians and that there isn’t support for an English Parliament so instead we should make do with more powers for local authorities.
Where to start? The “more politicians” myth is as good a place as any. There are 650 British MPs, 117 of which are elected in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland where they have less than half the workload of an MP elected in England because their devolved representatives have more responsibility in their constituencies than they do. If an English Parliament takes away most of the British Parliament’s work, why on earth would we keep all 650 British MPs? The number of British MPs could easily be halved and it’s a pretty damning indictment of the British political class that the thought of reducing their number doesn’t even cross their minds.
As for there being no support for an English Parliament – what he means is there is no support for an English Parliament in his own party. An Ipsos Mori/British Futures poll in January found that 52% want an English Parliament. An ICM/Power 2010 poll last year found that 68% want an English Parliament. A YouGov/Jury Team poll in 2009 found that 58% want an English Parliament. A Populus/The Times poll in 2009 found that 41% want an English Parliament. An ICM/Telegraph poll in 2007 found that 45% want an English Parliament or to ban MPs not elected in England from voting on English matters. An ICM/CEP poll in 2007 found that 67% want an English Parliament. A YouGov/Sunday Times poll in 2007 found that 72% want an English Parliament. There are more but that’s enough to make the point – all of them show a majority in favour of an English Parliament.
His suggestion that giving local authorities in England more power would be equivalent to the Scottish Parliament or Welsh Assembly is frankly insulting. A town council could never compete with a national government and it certainly couldn’t represent the local population and businesses on the internationals stage. It’s a ridiculous suggestion and a half baked idea motivated by political greed, not a desire to do what’s right by the English.
There is a misguided belief in “Britain” amongst the political classes, a belief that below the surface there is a common British identity that unites us all and will stave off the forces of celtic nationalism. Their obsession with celtic nationalism and indifference to English nationalism will come back to bite them in the arse but that’s a different topic.
I’ve just got back from a fortnight’s holiday – the first week was spent in Somerset and the second week in Ceredigion (or Cardiganshire as it used to be called). There was an abundance of English flags in Somerset (Burnham-on-Sea to be exact) but not to the exclusion of the British flag, just a lot more St George’s Crosses than the butchers apron. Wales was different though (at least the part of Wales we stayed in) – the only British flag I saw was, ironically, outside the Welsh Assembly building in Aberystwyth where it occupied one of the “other” flag poles to the side of the Welsh flag, the other “other” pole sporting the ring of stars logo of the EU.
Flags aren’t the only symbol of nationhood and cultural independence of course and this is where the Welsh have the English at an advantage: the Welsh language. People in the street, in cafés and shops spoke Welsh to each other. Not just old people who grew up in a time when Welsh communities were often isolated and the Welsh language survived simply because they weren’t exposed to English, it was people my age and most importantly, young people. Welsh kids sitting in cafés with their family quite easily swapped and changed between English and Welsh depending on who they were talking to without hesitation and they are the ones who will decide what the de facto first language of Wales is in a decade or so.
Road signs are an indication of the change in the status of the Welsh language. Dual-language signs were permitted in 1965, a national roll-out started in 1972 and until relatively recently they have generally been in the form of English road signs with Welsh translations. The opposite is now true in most of Wales – the road signs are in Welsh with English translations. English speakers are accommodated alongside Welsh rather than the other way round such as you might find in arab countries where the latinised version place names are included underneath the arabic.
English being the lingua franca of international trade and diplomacy has many advantages on the world stage but at home it takes away one of the most obvious things that unites a people and sets them apart from their neighbours. If England had a unique language of its own in everyday use – pockets of Old English speakers, perhaps, that could be used as a starting point – then the English identity would be a lot stronger than it is now and we wouldn’t be facing problems such as the threat from Britification and the public’s willingness to accept institutional discrimination as the price of the union.
Wales, like Scotland, has been lost by the British. The symbols of British cultural imperialism that you see in England just don’t exist in the celtic nations. The companies and political parties investing in Britishness are limiting themselves to an increasingly narrow section of English society who still believe in Britain. Support for English devolution is consistently falling just shy of the 70% mark whilst support for English independence has jumped to 36% in a Comres poll published in July this year. A TNS-BMRB opinion poll published in June this year showed that support for Scottish independence has risen to 37% (51% in people under 24) and in Wales the most recent opinion poll I can find is 2007 which shows support for independence at just 12%. Support for devolution in Scotland was 70% in a 2009 Populus poll, the Welsh referendum on extending devolution this year was 64.5% and the last poll I’ve seen in England was 67%. Support for devolution in England is higher than in Wales and almost as high as Scotland. But the independence figure is the one that is most interesting – almost as many English people support English independence as Scots do for Scotland (and significantly more than support Welsh independence) but the rate at which support for independence is increasing in England far outstrips any increase in support that Scotland has ever seen.
Companies have already realised that Britain is a toxic brand in Scotland and Wales which is why you will rarely find anything overtly British in shops and supermarkets outside of England. The same goes for political parties – there is not a single -England arm of any UK political party but they all have -Scotland and -Wales arms. Charities and non-profit organisations are the same – there is an Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age UK; there is a British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland, BMA Wales and plain old “the BMA” for England. What they have failed to notice is the increasing irrelevance and even opposition to “Brand Britain” in England and that will cost them dearly in the very near future.
The union could still have a place in our future, albeit in a significantly different form to the current union but it will only survive the next few years if it is reconfigured on the basis of fairness, equality and respect for all the people of these four nations. There is a small (and I mean small – a couple of years at the most) window of opportunity for the British to save their union but they will need to put their imperial past behind them and start thinking the unthinkable: most of “Britain” isn’t British any more.
A report by Carol Voderman for the British government says that almost half of English children are leaving school at 16 without managing a C or better in their maths GCSE’s and they should all study maths until they are 18.
The report also says that 300,000 16 year old English students leave school every year without a good enough understanding of maths to function in everyday life.
Firstly, the motivation for commissioning this report: the British government intends to force English children to stay at school until they are 18 by 2013. The report gives the “evidence” required to justify the requirement to send your children to school for another two years. There will be more reports like this as 2013 gets closer to show that the British government are doing the “right thing”.
Secondly, the reason why English kids are getting such poor results: inadequate funding and a lack of grammar schools. The British government spends significantly less on education in England than the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish. I’ve not heard any mention of problems with numeracy in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland so presumably the extra funding they get from English taxes has resulted in a better education.
I’ll concentrate more on the lack of a functioning grammar school system as I’ve done the funding thing to death on this blog over the years. It’s an indisputable fact that some people are thinkers and some people are doers. Some people’s brains are wired for academic education and some are wired for vocational education. The two tier education system that we used to have with grammar schools catered for this difference by filtering out the children that were capable of an academic education and sending them to grammar schools and sending those that weren’t capable of a purely (or primarily) academic education to comprehensive schools where they could get a well-rounded education.
There is no shame in the grammar school system – you get the type of education you need, rather than everyone getting the same type of education regardless of suitability. It’s not surprising that half of all English children are leaving school without a C in their maths GCSE’s, some kids are just never going to get algebra, geometry, statistics, etc. They need a vocation education with education by practical example rather than pure theory. When the national grammar school system was in place, it gave opportunities to many academically gifted children from deprived backgrounds who would otherwise have seen their talent wasted.
Now back to the motivation for commissioning this report: building the back story for the increase in the school leaving age in England in two years time. When this first came up I questioned how it would work and who would pay for it …
Will boarding schools be required to provide married quarters for childhood sweathearts who decide to get married at 16 or will the minimum age for getting married be increased to make sure you don’t end up with married couples spending double Science arguing about who’s cooking the dinner when they get home from school and why they have to have the mother-in-law round for Sunday dinner that weekend? What about couples who decide to start a family at 16? It’s perfectly legal – will schools start providing crêche facilities? Who will pay for them? Will 16 year old girls be entitled to maternity leave from school? What about the benefits that will be paid out to these people who have a family at 16 but can’t work because they have to go to school until they’re 18? Ok, so most 16 year old parents would rather laze around on benefits rather than get a job but not all of them do. Upping the age you can get married to 18 won’t work either. You need your parents consent to get married at 16 or 17 in England now but there’s nothing to stop you going to Scotland and getting married at 16 without your parents permission because the law is different there.
Add to that the question of what will happen to families moving between England and Scotland or England and Wales. Will a Scottish or Welsh 16 year old who has already left school at home moving to England be required to re-enter school? Will 16 year old English kids be able to move to Scotland or Wales and leave the education system entirely without qualifications and without completing their basic education? Will English kids be able to go straight from secondary school in England to university in Scotland or Wales, bypassing sixth form/college or will they have to study for another two years (at whose expense?) before they can go to university? Will Scottish and Welsh kids be able to go to university in England two years earlier than their English counterparts?
I have tried to put these questions to the British Department of English Education but the contact page on their website is broken. I’ll let you know if I get an answer!
Here are some pictures and video’s from today’s St George’s Day celebration in Telford Town Centre and Telford Town Park …
On the 1st of April, the British Department of English Health is putting prescriptions charges up to £7.40 per item.
On the 1st of April, the Scottish government is abolishing prescription charges.
The Welsh and Northern Irish already get free prescriptions so from April Fool’s Day, the English will be the only people in the UK who have to pay for prescriptions. Not only will we pay for our own prescriptions, but we’re also paying for the free prescriptions the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish get by way of the £20bn a year Barnett bribe.
According to the British Department of English Health, it would cost £450m to give free prescriptions to English people and after giving all our money away to the Scots, Welsh, Northern Irish and the EU we apparently can’t afford it. Two and a half days of EU membership fees would cover the cost of free prescriptions in England. I know what I’d rather the money was spent on and it isn’t Greek sewers, Albanian roads, French farmers and Spanish fishermen.
Well, that went will didn’t it? For the first time ever I got up and walked out before an England game finished. While England were making a half hearted attempt at trying to claw back a 3 goal deficit I was in the garden getting the BBQ started.
I notice that a couple of the part time patriots in my street have already taken down their flags, including the house behind us that put their flag up just before the game started and had already taken it down before the game finished. By this time tomorrow the country will be purged of the flags the part time patriots have painstakingly bedecked their houses and cars with.
So, with England out, the question is who to support next and on the basis that I have a Dutch god daughter and they are the only country in Europe not to hate us with a passion, I will be supporting the Netherlands. But unlike the part time patriots, my England flag will stay up.
… the linesman and referee to be able to bloody see!
England have gone back to the dressing rooms for half time 2-1 to Germany when the actual score is 2-2.
The linesman was a few yards from the corner, he should have been able to see the goal. The referee was in the right position to see the goal, why didn’t he? Capello, Beckham and Pearce could see it from the halfway line. The fans could see it from the stands and were unimpressed judging by the chants of “the referee is a wanker”.
FIFA recently refused to have any kind of technology to adjudicate on goals – that position is surely untenable after the ridiculous decision to disallow England’s second goal. Tennis has hawk eye which can see if a 2.7″ wide tennis ball travelling at 130mph is over the line, it would have no problems with a 28″ football at 30mph. Rugby has a video judge and the game stops when there is a dispute so why not in the world cup?
I always knew Sepp Blatter was an arsehole, now he has the opportunity to show that he has some integrity.
I would love England to win the World Cup but if – as seems likely – we don’t make it to the finals, the disappointment will be tempered somewhat as long as we give the Germans a damn good thrashing this afternoon.
Without wanting to sound like an armchair manager, what the fuck are you playing at Capello?
Seriously, the team is playing unbelievably badly and I’m afraid I have to lay the blame with Capello. I normally defend managers when people criticise them because the 11 players on the pitch are supposed to be professionals and if tactics aren’t working they should use their initiative but in this case there are clearly no tactics to change.
The players are milling round the pitch, completely clueless. They’re getting the ball and haven’t got a clue what to do with it. The team is obviously suffering from having no time to practice together as a team because they don’t know who they’re going to be playing with until 2 hours before the game starts.
And why is Wayne Rooney still playing? I really never thought I would say this but he’s a liability right now. He’s worried about picking up an injury, he’s backing off from tackles and tonight he was limping at one point. Rest him if that’s what he needs but he shouldn’t be playing if he’s not up to the job.