Wednesday 26th June: 10:30
Bright and breezy and pleasantly warm was how the day was supposed to start. The weather people couldn't tell you what the weather was like yesterday let alone tomorrow. My plans for cutting some hedges back today have been scuppered by it being damp, cold and windy. Aaaaarrrrggghhhh!!!
Having caught up with most of the rugby news there are just a few snippets to comment on today.
There is an excellent in depth look at Leicester Tigers by Andrew Aloia on BBC sport. It follows the news of the club being put up for sale. The piece is based on an interview with Tigers CEO Simon Cohen. It is very well worth a read as when you look past the comments and analyse the meaning I think it confirms what many have been saying for a long time. Basically the current levels of club indebtedness is unsustainable, costs, particularly player wages are getting out of control and outstripping revenue, long term investors are eyeing an opportunity to finally recoup some of their money, and the desire for on-field success is leading to short term knee jerk reactions rather than longer term vision/planning (e.g. rapid turnover of coaches).
Cardiff Blues, another who have been faced with financial difficulties, have changed some of their coaching team for next season and are moving from their Vale of Glamorgan training base back into Cardiff. They will use their home ground (AGP) and the grass pitches at the Welsh Institute of Sport. Whilst it doesn't say so this is a money saving move..... I think.
Good piece by the erudite Robert Kitson in The Guarniad about how King Eddie is frustrated by the off-field battles between club and country. This is a battle which could escalate into all out war and has been written about many times by me. Jones is right in that it does hold back the English international side. He also bemoans the fact that in his short time as England coach he has worked under four CEOs. That cannot be motivating for him. What isn't mentioned is growing number of overseas players in the English top flight and I am sorry to labour this point but this is a major factor in the lack of success for England. Jones admits he has hired some people who weren't up to the task and he has been over zealous with some of his training regimes. If he was being brutally frank then he should also add the conservative nature of some of his selections and the predictability of his game plan.
By the way the cynic in me would say that Jones is getting his excuses in early for a poor World Cup.
Whilst it is questionable how seriously some clubs take the second tier of the European Cups there are some good groupings in the pools. I particularly like the look of Scarlets, Toulon, London Irish and Bayonne. Cardiff and Leicester are in the same group as Pau and Calvisano. Bristol are in a tough pool with Stade Francais, Brive and Zebre. The Dragons and Worcester will go head to head in pool 1 and Wasps will face the might of Edinburgh in pool 3. You can see the rest for yourselves.
Are England's cricketers going to emulate their rugby counterparts by going into a home world cup as favourites and coming out as abject failures by not reaching the knockout stage?
England Under 21s soccer failed to impress in their recent tournament. Fascinating how little senior level game time some of them have had due to the number of overseas players in their club sides. Take note England rugby.
Conversely England's Women are doing well. They are in the quarter-final of their world cup. Interestingly the English clubs are packed with English players. I rest my case m'lud!
I've held off until now. The Buffoon and that row. Is that any way for a future PM to behave? Boris will take us out of the EU come what may. OK that is what the country voted for but it is sure to open the door for a general election and the possibility of a Marxist government led by Comrade Corbynov. Change is good but Marxism is something hard working people should fear, and those who have already worked hard and planned for their future should fear the most.
The front page of the Organ of Truth screams that we should scrap charging NHS health tourists. NO we should not. We, like the US and Spain, should be much, much more vigilant giving the limited FREE resources of the NHS to only those who have contributed. It is madness to think otherwise. To say charging is racist is naïve and irresponsible.
Back tomorrow with my first look at Japan and the World Cup 2019.
Tuesday 25th June: 09:30
The headline news this morning is Leicester Tigers board putting the club up for sale. The asking price is around £60m. The move according to the press has been triggered by the CVC investment. The £13m received allows the club to move from one of indebtedness to being debt free thus making the club more attractive to potential to investors. It has been a shocking season for the Welford Road side and a new owner with the backing of the board and the marketing support of CVC could be the trigger for positive change.
I for one take a slightly different view. I think the current main investors in Leicester Tigers see this as an opportunity to get back some of the many millions they have invested to no avail. I can see several other owners seeing the CVC investment not as a step forward with them at the helm but an opportunity to recoup part of their investment and getting out of what has become a money pit. Going forward clubs will continue to spend money they haven't got and player wages are likely to increase and this against a background of CVC taking a rumoured 27% of all revenue. Perhaps a good time to get out if you are the main investor me thinks.
Yesterday I didn't mention Danny Cipriani as missing from King Eddie's World Cup training squad. That was because I don't think anyone expected him to be included. Shock of shocks Jones has surprised many, including me, by calling up Cipriani. What are the implications and motivation. I have no idea as Jones doesn't like non-conformists in his set-up. Objectively though if England are to be in the frame for World Cup glory they will need to be unpredictable, something they are not right now. Danny Cipriani is one player who can give you that "je ne sais quoi" in terms of game day variation.
Talking of Jones it has been suggested that he will remain in post alongside John Mitchell until his contract expires in 2021 even if England fail in Japan. My interpretation of that is the RFU reckon it will be cheaper to suffer for an extra two years than sack Jones (and Mitchell) than have to pay large compensation packages.
This is one of the problems facing new RFU CEO Bill Sweeney. Another is Premiership relegation and a 13 team league. For me the big issue is the decline in the grassroots game. On that point Sweeney will attend the Sussex RFU AGM to get a feel for the issues for himself. Good on him. I hope to be there. I also believe the increase in overseas players playing at the top of the English game is something to fret over. The impact on the success of England internationally is at stake and therefore the future of the game. Is England Under 20s underperformance in France, finishing only 5th, a warning sign.
The European draw has thrown up some interesting challenges. Saracens are in a really tough group with Munster, Racing 92 and Ospreys. In pool 3 Bath have been pitched against Harlequins with Ulster and Clermont Auvergne making up the group. Sale find themselves in pool two with Exeter Chiefs, Glasgow Warriors and La Rochelle, the very club that enabled Sale to feature in the premier European tournament. Gloucester will have to travel to France twice with Top 14 winners Toulouse and Montpellier in their group. Connacht are the other team. In the other pool Northampton Saints face Benetton, Leinster and Lyon, arguably the easiest of all the pools.
Challenge Cup review tomorrow.
Israel Folau is in the news again. The donors who have had their money returned via GoFundMe have immediately re-pledged them. As expected many of the donors are from Christian groups with similar views to Folau's. Folau is arguing his sacking was religious discrimination which I continue to believe is a totally wrong position to take. He contravened a rule of employment. By the way he refused a generous settlement offer which leads me to believe this latest position is about money and having a platform to continue to air what in my mind are misguided views.
Sadly discrimination is something that people (try and) use to their advantage. Whilst on holiday in Grenada the hotel we were staying at supply sunbeds for guests and only guests. They were very protective about their offering. Along the beach are plenty of private enterprises hiring out sunbeds at reasonable prices. One afternoon a row developed when a women and man were asked to vacate a hotel sunbed as they weren't guests. Instead of accepting the position the women went on a tirade of abuse towards the security guard screaming "you are only doing this because I am black. This is racism". WRONG, WRONG! The guard was doing it because the hotel has a policy and quite frankly because the women was an arrogant so and so who quite clearly based on her general demeanour was used to getting her own way. By the way the guard was a local and as black as the locals come.
Monday 24th June: 10:30
As promised the miserable bugger is back from his holidays and keen to catch up on all matters Boris rugby.
The papers have made much of King Eddie's training squad for the rapidly approaching World Cup. The inclusion of several youngsters is two fold. Firstly a reward for a fantastic season by the likes of Alex Dombrandt and Val Rapava Ruskin but secondly because 17 players have been given extra recovery time following the Gallagher play-off games. The real story is the exclusion of Chris Robshaw, Danny Care and Dylan Hartley potentially signalling an end to their England careers. Hartley's exclusion is blamed on the failure to recover from his knee injury which could indicate a late call up but sadly for him I doubt it.
Chris Ashton was included but has since withdrawn citing family reasons: the imminent arrival of his second child. His decision to be close to his wife is likely to signal the end of his international career. With Jack Nowell touch and go to make the trip to Japan Ashton was a serious contender for the squad so his decision must have been a tough one to make.
In France several star names have been excluded from their initial World Cup squads. Most notably the Big Mathieu Bastereaud and the not so big Morgan Parra. Romain Ntamack has been included, recently seen using the Top 14 trophy the Brennus Shield as a skimboard on a beach on the French Riviera. Muppet!
World Rugby finally assigns the Nations Championships to "room 101". It was doomed to failure with the Northern Hemisphere fearing loss of income and control over the 6 Nations and the prospect of relegation and promotion. Schedules and player burn-out were also cited as concerns. The Southern Hemisphere might now become more demanding and potentially obstructive in terms of tours to and from the European nations as they stood to gain a lot from World Rugby's proposal. Time will tell. Wales tour New Zealand in 2020.
There has been controversy too. Israel Folau's decision to use a GoFundMe website to raise funds to fight his dismissal has raised eyebrows in some quarters. This was always going to be a difficult period. Rugby Australia and the sport of rugby will be faced with Folau now being free to express his beliefs openly, no matter how misguided. Folau himself will come in for criticism that his beliefs no matter how deeply felt are outdated and insulting. He will also be accused of greed and hypocrisy for his pursuit of money to fight his dismissal and the chase for compensation for alleged religious discrimination. By the way the funding website have closed down his account and started to refund donations.
Then there is Diageo the owners Guinness withdrawing their sponsorship from London Irish. The arrival of Paddy Jackson has been cited as the reason for the withdrawal. Whilst Jackson was cleared of rape last year the comments made previously by him led to his sacking by the IRFU and were subsequently the reasons for Guinness to pull out. It is fair to say if Jackson was cleared then he is innocent however any (alcohol) company would want to distance themselves from his misogynist messages revealed during the trial. There are enough challenges for the alcohol industry with anti-social behaviour without being seen to absolve indiscretions through sponsorship. This will be a massive blow for London Irish as they move to Brentford.
Gatland is the Lions coach but we knew that. Mike Catt will join Ireland post RWC 2019 as attack coach. A bold move. The demands of Ireland will be far greater than those of Italy. This move will make or break Catt as an international coach. Fascinating that all of the failed England 2015 coaching team will soon be based in Ireland.
That'll do for now. Back tomorrow with comment on next seasons European draw, the new RFU CEO, King Eddie's future post the World Cup, and possibly comment on the new TV soap: Boris the Buffoon on Love/Hate Island.
By the way the holiday was amazing.
Tuesday 11th June: 09:30
What a difference a day makes. Not that today is going to be fabulous but it has to be better than yesterday. Relentless rain all day meant being trapped at home after all our outdoor plans being cancelled or postponed. Pace, read, write, cook, pace, read, write, tidy up, cook, even more pacing and reading and completing a few domestic admin tasks. I couldn't do that every day but recognise sadly for some that is how their day will be spent, and even worse they might succumb to daytime TV.
We can't complain, the gardens and the reservoirs need the water. The M25 didn't though with lengthy delays overnight as parts of the network were closed after sinkholes were discovered. We'll be out today come hell or high water but on foot. If you are driving be careful out there.
I see the elite women's game is being extended into the summer with England and France joining Canada, USA and New Zealand in the Super Series being held in San Diego. A round robin tournament which for England starts with USA on 28th June and finishes with New Zealand 14th July. Not sure if it will be on TV but if it is it might be worth watching.
The other news covered by most is St Helens coach and rugby league legend Sean Long is joining Quins next season. St Helens are going well in Super League thanks in part to Long so this has to be good news for the Stoop faithful.
Nice story covered by BBC is the fact several of Wales Under 20s have had to be secluded from the camp as they get whisked off to take their A-levels. Arrangements have been made for them to complete the exams, in one case as far away as Buenos Aires, and in another the player concerned went straight from the exam to play against Argentina a short while later.
If you go to the World Rugby website you can catch up on the Under 20s including some amazing tries, some more than justified red cards and anything else that catches your eye.
Elsewhere the Vettel saga rumbles on. Yawn.
Leicester City's Harry Maquire might be on his way to Manchester, City or United, for a reported £80m. How can that be justified. How can it be sustainable. It is mind boggling. Top flight footballers. There is a tax target if there ever was one. £300,000 grand a week! Do me a favour.
Now there are just ten. The going was deemed too hard for some of the donkeys so they have withdrawn from the Tory leadership race. Nine donkeys and a very large buffoon. This is important however because one of these is going to be the next PM and therefore lead us out of, or keep us in the European Union. Some of the glib promises being thrown around like Poundland confetti makes my blood boil. It is demeaning and suggests people are so shallow they can be swayed by such empty and totally un-costed or thought through promises. That said people are very shallow if you look at how obsessed people are with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other sources of self serving, bullshit vanity.
Politics is broken. Politicians have lost all touch with reality. There is a need for change but I genuinely fear that this Governments ineptitude, the Brexit debacle, the self-serving nature and duplicity of our politicians could lead to Comrade Corbynov getting into No.10. Do you know what, I am not opposed to some form of levelling of the playing field, a loosening of the public purse to invest in the police, the NHS and education, and a shake up of things like social care. A sensible Labour party led by sensible politicians might be able to deliver that. Comrade Corbynov, and Comrade McDonell supported by the Momentum politburo with their Marxist policies won't be those sensible people though. I fear they won't make the poorest in society any better off, they will simply drag everyone else down closer to deprivation. The current richest and big business will simply fly the nest leaving everyone else to suffer. That's my view and I am sticking to it.
The scrapping of the free TV licence for over 75s has caused quite a stir. Political ammunition for those with nothing better to worry about. There are many who rely on TV as they get into their old age and there will be many who will find it hard to pay for the TV licence. HOWEVER there are many who get a free TV licence (like the winter payment) who can easily afford the extra cost. Right now many pensioners live a comfortable lifestyle so yes scrap it as long as there is some form of means testing for the worst off so they can still enjoy the benefit.
Just to make you happy, and to avoid the pain and the raised blood pressure caused by the bullshit that will emanate from the battle for The Poisoned Chalice I am off for lie down in a darkened room on a beach for a few days. Back on June 24th with hopefully some rugby to write about.
LATE BREAKING NEWS the fixtures for next season will be officially out tomorrow. I have had a sneak preview. We start with Dover away on Sept 14th. Go to RFU London tomorrow afternoon to find the full list.
Monday 10th June: 08:45
It is going to be Toulouse v Clermont Auvergne in the Top 14 final next weekend. The season for these guys started in August and finishes 10 months later. With the speed, intensity and power of the modern game it is no wonder more and more players are getting injured and teams are having to build bigger and bigger squads. Obviously this is France but the Gallagher Premiership seems to be sliding in that direction. This despite loud protestations about player welfare and no mention of the international demands on the players at the top. The owners are happy with the longer season because of the revenue but they can't then turn around and moan about player burn out.
Anyway it was the boot of Greig Laidlaw, some great attacking play along with some excellent defensive work by the men in yellow that kept Lyon at bay. Romaine Poite had his hands full at times in what was a feisty and sometimes ill-disciplined encounter. As with their English counterpart the top two teams have made it through to the final. This again begs the question about why we have play-offs if player welfare is a concern. Surely after 26 hotly contested games Toulouse topping the table should be enough?
Very little other rugby news so lets look elsewhere for stories.
The Canadian Grand prix wasn't as eventful as hoped for but extremely controversial with Sebastian Vettel being given a five second penalty that "stole" first place from him. I watched this and can see why the stewards applied the penalty but equally I can see how it was a bit harsh. If I had to get off the fence I would argue that these drivers are unbelievably skilled with lightning fast reflexes and tremendous spatial awareness. On that basis I would argue Vettel knew what he was doing, but then again!!! The picture of him swapping the No.2 board from in front of where his car should have been with the No.1 board in front Hamilton's is a classic.
Well done England ladies. 2-1 is not convincing but a win is a win. Well done England men. Winning a penalty shoot out. Gosh!
In other news I see Michael Gove has shot himself in the foot with his cocaine revelations. You can admire his honesty and best to be open than it come out in a way that makes him look dishonest. Actually makes him look even more dishonest than he is already after him supporting the outlandish claims made during the EU referendum campaign.
It beggars belief that he wants to abolish VAT if he is elected. I support the notion of spending within your means and ensuring the government does not spend more than it has in its coffers but we need the tax revenue to fund our police and NHS and schools. Who or what will fill the financial gap.
Talking of dope Boris says he will refuse to pay the £39bn to the EU and then increase the threshold for the highest earners to £80,000. The £39bn is a legal obligation which as a law abiding country we should pay. Increase the tax threshold will reduce tax revenue at a time when we need more taxes. What a Buffoon.
Then I laughed out loud when I read Labour's idea of a 10 hour week with a 75% cut in salary. It was so far fanciful I really couldn't be bothered to continue to read.
If we are to avoid the revolution and us becoming the next Venezuela; an economic and social disaster then the Tory leadership candidates must get into the real world. They must be talking about increasing the tax take from the highest earners in the land, closing down tax avoidance schemes, going after tax dodgers, getting the multinationals such as Amazon and Starbucks to pay their true share of tax, stop allowing overseas companies to buy British enterprises only to plunder the assets and move the profits overseas e.g. the train companies. There is also a strong case for getting the NHS to manage their funds better, have an even more robust approach to how councils spend their money. This all sounds like Labour dogma but its not, it is common sense. Run the country like you run your home. Spend what you've got wisely, find extra income where it is easiest to find and be honest about what is a real priority.
Three more things.
I see Anna Sourface has had a go at Chuka Umunna. She is such a self-serving hypocrite. Umanna is a splitter but I'd be more comfortable with him fighting to be PM rather than Comrade Corbynov and his bunch of Marxist acolytes of which Emily Thornberry is no longer a member.
It was interesting to read that a convicted Labour supporting vote rigger was very active in Peterborough during the recent by-election. Mmmmmm!
Finally I am led to believe all the Tory leadership candidates are praying that Chris Grayling doesn't endorse them!!!!
Sunday 9th June: 09:45
My question about who reads this guff was answered when I got several mails yesterday, most from Tory leadership candidates. None were abusive but all were rambling full of outlandish promises thus reinforcing the point that they all must be snorting cocaine, smoking dope or devouring magic mushrooms. More on this later next week.
That Crusaders v Rebels game was something. The New Zealand outfit were simply unstoppable. Yes the Rebels made a number of basic errors opening up opportunities for the Crusaders but nevertheless the home side were superb. Backs crashing into rucks like forwards and forwards deftly passing left and right like backs. Ignore the number on your shirt, wherever you are on the field is the position you are playing. The score did not lie this was a very one-sided game against a good Melbourne side.
I enjoyed the Waratahs v Brumbies game too. The Sydney side blown away in the first half came back strongly in the second. This was less free flowing in part because the game was more closely fought. What struck me though was during the game and in the post match commentary the number of references to players leaving to join London Irish post RWC 2019. At least three, if not four players are on the way to the UK. It begs the question where is the money coming from? The CVC money obviously. The money that the clubs said they would invest in infrastructure is clearly going on OVERSEAS players. Sadly I really can see the day in the near future when the top clubs field only one or two English players a la soccer.
My fourth game of the day was Toulouse v La Rochelle. It was a pretty good game. Toulouse have been the best of the Top 14 all season so it came as no surprise they eventually broke down La Rochelle's stubborn defence. Toulouse also defended well as it wasn't despite what the scoreboard says a one-sided affair. Toulouse have been the go to team for the French national side but they were still packed with overseas players, as was La Rochelle. This comes as no surprise when you hear that most of the Top 14 sides are operating with player/coach/support staff budget of between £25m and £30m pounds. This dwarfs the budgets of English clubs and makes you wonder how this can be sustainable. In part French clubs benefit from the fact the grounds are owned and provided by the local councils and the club owners are ridiculously wealthy. It is no wonder the southern hemisphere countries are being drained of talent.
This neatly brings me on to my third game of the day: France U/20 v Wales U/20. Wales played well but were beaten by an excellent French side. Some of their play was sublime. The off-loading and support play was top draw. They had big mobile forwards, and quick and skilful backs. It was a joy to watch, accepting the pain that goes with watching any Welsh side lose. Many of the French team are playing in the Top 14 academy sides, with a few having made Top 14 appearances. This bodes well for France....... or does it? I fear it doesn't as many will be unable to dislodge the big name, expensive, overseas signings. What happens then? They drop down into the lower leagues, also full of overseas players like our very own Billy Rohipa, or they become disillusioned and leave the game completely. Put all that to one side as right now that French side is a joy to watch.
In the other games England snuck past Italy by a single point, Scotland were well be beaten by the Kiwis, and Ireland were well beaten by the Aussies. The next round of games is on Wednesday when the three table topping sides plus the best second place team will go into the semi finals. England v Australia kicks off at 19:30, Wales v Fiji at 17:00 (S4C)
Elsewhere England were mighty impressive against Bangladesh in the cricket world cup.
Sebastian Vettel is on pole ahead of Lewis Hamilton in today's F1 from Canada. This is the one race worth watching. Usually lots of overtaking and plenty of spills, as there were yesterday in qualifying.
England women get their soccer world cup campaign up and running today when they take on Scotland. The men play Switzerland in the 3rd/4th play off in the Nations Cup. Let us hope there is no repeat of the appalling behaviour seen before the game against Netherlands. Those mindless morons are a disgrace to their sport and an even bigger embarrassment to this great country of ours. Lock them up and throw away the key.
Saturday 8th June: 08:45
Not sure how many people read this rubbish on a Saturday even during the season but hey ho I write it as much for my satisfaction as anything else.
The weather put pay to many tasks planned for yesterday at the club but ye olde farts (aka the Friday Club) still got plenty done. Thank you to Mrs Martyn for a fantastic cake.
The story headlining most rugby pages is the fact Israel Folau has launched legal proceedings against Rugby Australia following his sacking. My opinion is unchanged and that is he wasn't sacked for his religious beliefs he was sacked for breaching RA's rules on the use of social media and therefore bringing the game into disrepute. Folau should not be punished for his deeply held religious beliefs, no matter how outdated they may seem, but if your employer pays you very handsomely then there is an obligation to follow their rules. He didn't.
There are two issues with this action. In my view Folau's quest for "remedies" (aka MONEY!!) will appear contrary to his deeply held beliefs, additionally the protracted proceedings will only serve as a platform for him to share his (controversial) views, which will frustrate many.
Young Sam Davies is the first signing by Dean Ryan at the Dragons. He moves from Ospreys as Gareth Anscombe arrives at the Neath/Swansea outfit. Davies hopes to increase his number of Wales caps by getting more regular game time. He is a good player but is he better than Anscombe, Biggar, Priestland, Patchell? No!
Don't forget Toulouse v La Rochelle tonight and the Under 20s games this afternoon /evening. England v Italy at 19:30, Wales v France at 17:00 (S4C). England will be without Alfie Barbeary after his red card during the Ireland game. No-one can have any complaints about that. It was very, very dangerous indeed.
Lot of talk about Mark McCall and England. Can't see that happening any time soon.
Much is being made of the Barbarians v Wales clash post RWC 2019. Why? Simply because it will be Wayne Pivac's first game in charge and Warren Gatland has been slated to be in charge of the Barbarians.
Plenty of other sport if the weather scuppers your outdoors plans for today: cricket, women's football, men's football including Wales v Croatia, F1, tennis and golf.
Weren't the D-Day celebrations excellent. Many moving stories about acts of heroism and selflessness. Great images in many of the papers including that one of the young boy wearing his great uncles medals standing alongside a veteran of D-Day.
Trump has gone so we can now focus on the Tory leadership race. Yawn! Talking of Trump I find it somewhat ironic that he has signed an act increasing tariffs on Mexican goods the same day that the American icon Ford announced they were closing the Bridgend engine plant and moving it to USA Mexico!
I did smile broadly when I read that Anna Sourface's new party Change UK has already had people, quite a number of them, leave already. I guess once a splitter always a splitter.
Then there was the Peterborough by-election won by Labour. How to lie with statistics. Labour lost 17% of their vote and they claim things are wonderful for them. With the appalling performance of the Tories, the Brexit shambles, and many, many other factors that would normally aid an opposition party Labour are not in a wonderful place. They are a mess. Not as bad as the Tories by a long way but a mess nonetheless.
I read with great interest that there are calls for the new Peterborough MP to be suspended because of her anti-Semitic views.
I also read with interest that the case against Boris has been dropped. I am pleased by that as it was politically motivated driven by a self serving publicist. I remain convinced however that politicians, especially someone like the Buffoon should be held accountable for the veracity of their words and deeds. I believe Johnson did lie, did make up figures to suit his needs and did con the public at large. He should answer those charges but they should be led by a proper body not just a single person with his or her own agenda.
Back tomorrow. Crusaders v Rebels has just kicked off.
Thursday 6th June: 09:00
On this day 75 years ago Operation Overlord was launched. D-Day as it has become known. 156,000 allied troops landed on five beaches across Normandy. Countless more were parachuted in to prepare for the beach landings and to support the troops from behind the main invasion force. Add to that the work of the French Resistance and the SOE and you have an amazing logistical operation fraught with danger and a high risk of failure.
It was a multi-national operation with more than 12 countries involved in one way or another. Thousands of aircraft were needed and around 7,000 ships and 10,000 vehicles were used on the day. The planning was exemplary and the fact that, especially against today’s instantly accessible information via the internet, the secret of where and when the landings were to occur was kept is mindboggling.
It wasn’t all joy and laughter as 4,400 from the allied forces perished on D-Day and it is estimated up to 9,000 Germans could have lost their lives. Then of course there were thousands of innocent French civilians who became collateral damage in that theatre of war.
I paraphrase Churchill in saying it wasn’t the end but D-Day was certainly the beginning of the end of World War II.
If you want to know more then Anthony Beevor’s book on the subject is brilliant and Andrew Roberts covers it well in his book The Storm Of War.
Today is not a day for personal opinion or fake news or ill-judged comment. It is a day to remember a momentous moment in our history and remember those brave men and women who with blind faith played a part in bringing the iron fist of tyranny to a halt. Sadly most are no longer with us but those who are, are quite rightly being lauded as heroes and not just of the UK but the world.
May we remember them all.
Wednesday 5th June: 09:00
The rain was most welcome yesterday. It certainly has given impetus to Mrs Bleater's potatoes, beans and peas. It also meant changing our outdoor plans for indoor ones. As a consequence I started to watch the opening game of the Under 20s tournament with little success sadly. The internet kept buffering making it hard going. I did however watch Argentina v Wales on S4C, a game Wales won. It was an error strewn game but at times exhilarating. Some real talent on show and some very good tries. Argentina were marginally the better side but it was Cai Evans, son of Ieuan, whose metronomic boot kept Wales ahead.
Elsewhere England lost to Ireland by 42-26. I didn't watch this one but does it imply that Ireland's policy with the regions and the regional academies is a better one than England where the clubs are responsible. Does it mean in only a very few cases do the academy kids come through in part due to the ever growing influx of overseas players?
In the other games Wales next opponent France beat Fiji, Scotland lost to South Africa, Australia beat Italy and New Zealand beat Georgia. Next round of games are on Saturday.
The big rugby news is Graham Rowntree going to Munster as forwards coach after RWC 2019. He is currently with Georgia and will replace Munster legend Jerry Flannery who along with Felix Jones have refused to sign new contracts. I am surprised someone like Leicester Tigers didn't snap up Rowntree. The move also begs the question with Munster's recent slide "is all well over there in Cork/Limerick?" By the way Georgia open their RWC 2019 campaign against Wales in the Toyata City Stadium. I'll be there!!!
Good day to be glued to Flightradar24 or failing that having your eyes ever watchful on the skies. The D-Day celebrations start today down in Portsmouth where Her Majesty will be joined by Donald Trump. There are several fly pasts planned including spitfires and Douglas Dakotas both of which have been seen overhead in Crowborough on route to rehearsals. Perhaps we might see them again today?
The news is dominated by the visit of Donald Trump: the Corbyn snub, the explosive NHS comment, the Tory leadership comments, the fashion parade and the size of his family entourage all get mentions. What you might have missed is the phone call with Boris.
"Boris, Hi buddy its Donald"
"Donald, what a surprise. How are you, and how are the nephews?"
"Boris, what nephews?"
"You know. Huey, Dewey and Louie"
"That's Donald Duck you buffoon. This is Donald Trump. You know, the one who is making America great again"
"Donald, I'm so sorry. How is your wife Marjorie and the daughter Iwanka?"
"It's Melania and IVanka you moron"
"Ok, ok keep your hair on. Where are you?"
"I'm in London meeting up with Queenie and the Buck House crew"
"Wow! I didn't know that. If I had I would have invited you over for a Mexican, or better still we could have had a Chinese take-away"
"Donald. DONALD. Are you still there?"
Two minutes later
"Hi Hunty, nice to meet you with the old lame duck earlier. Tried talking to the buffoon with no luck. How about we grab a coffee. We could talk about chlorinated chicken and how you can make a buck or two helping me get my hands on the NHS"
"Yeah, ok, When and where?"
"How about Starbucks, Oxford Street, in about an hour. That'll be after I've seen Nige, your next PM"
Must go my brain hurts.
Tuesday 4th June: 08:45
Dear Bleater, the season is over is it? What about the Under 20 World Cup? What about the Top 14?
Yeah, yeah I get it. I have got it wrong again. The Under 20 tournament kicks off today. It is being held in Argentina. The games will be shown online via the World Rugby website, ITV 4 will show the final and S4C will show all Wales games live. Today's pick of the round is Argentina Under 20s vs Wales (on TV at 17:00) and England v Scotland looks a good one too.
Interestingly Marcus Smith shunned this tournament to play for England 2s against the Barbarians. I hope that was with an eye on the future rather than enhancing his bank balance. If it was the former he certainly made the right choice after his excellent showing.
The Top 14 starts before the English season and is still going. The semi-finals are on Saturday when Toulouse host La Rochelle and then on Sunday it is Clermont Auvergne v Lyon. I do worry about the health of players, especially those at the very top who will soon be going into international training ahead of RWC 2019. I dread to think how little rest some would have had in the last 12 months.
Going back to last Saturday I meant to mention my surprise when Maro Itoje was named man of the match by Austin Healey. He must have been watching a different game to me as Jamie George was clearly serem y gem. That's Healey for you though.
As the dust settles on the Gallagher Final I bet King Eddie and his crew are keeping a keen eye on any fitness worries. Jack Nowell would surely have been penned into the squad for Japan after his showing during the game. Mako Vunipola is another whose fitness will be monitored daily I am sure. Outside that I am pretty sure Jones will have settled on the vast majority of his squad already. There will be some like Jonathan Joseph and Antony Watson who would be certs if they had had injury free seasons. They are only just back so might be some of the very few maybes.
I am sure Gatland, Schmidt, and Townsend will all be in a similar position where 90-95% the squad is already decided on BUT wary of the damage that might be done during the August warm up games.
I'll get into the World Cup soon but here are a couple of things you might not know about Japan. Tatoos are seen as a symbol of Japanese gangsters (the yakuza) and are therefore frowned upon and in some places must be hidden. Putting your chopsticks into rice and leaving them upright is a massive no-no. It appears too close to the dignified process of having incense sticks burning at funerals. You can sniff as much as you like but blowing your nose in public is not acceptable.
In the news is the Simpsons Trumps visit to Britain. I see the whole family are here. Is the Big Orange ensuring nepotism is not dead by grooming (not necessarily a good choice of words) his daughter Ivanka for a shot at the Presidency. The meeting with Theresa "The Lame Duck" Maybe will be a photo opportunity that's all, unless the Big Orange has a deal on one of Trump Towers retirement apartments he wants to discuss with her.
I personally find it ridiculous that the man who thinks he could be the next leader of this country will lead protests against Trump today and shunned the banquet last night. Talking about cutting your nose off to spite your face. That said come the revolution and we emulate the fantastic economic and social success of Venezuela much vaunted by our soon to become "beloved leader" we can all rest easy in our beds. We will be secure in the knowledge our armed forces and nuclear weapons are no longer and Hamas runs our nation's security plus all profit making companies are closed or in state control being run as smoothly as Network Rail.
Of course at that time the overwhelming poverty in Britain will be a thing of the past like the poverty that does not exist in North Korea, rural China, rural Russia, vast swathes of Africa and of course the Utopian Republic of Venezuela.
Comrade Corbynov will argue who needs the USA when you live in a paradise under the guidance of our new President, one Comrade Vladimir Putin.
Of course Vince Cable also refused to attend the banquet. Another who sees himself as future leader of the UK. Managing conflict by putting your head in the sand is madness. Front up you clowns.
Have a nice day, back tomorrow assuming the politburo have not closed down free speech and individual thought.
Monday 3rd June: 09:00
The kids head back to school today, many to complete their exams. Others head back to work after a week off. I am sure many are shaking their heads and wondering how are we in June already.
June and finally the season is over after a young England side beating a very experienced Barbarians side. It was a thoroughly enjoyable game with England using it as an audition for advancement. The impresario King Eddie was there with his entourage of judges and they would have been pleased with what they saw. England's got talent and plenty of it based on yesterday. If he can keep his feet on the ground Young Marcus Smith will soon get his chance. Another Harlequin Alex Dombrandt was mighty impressive. Joe Marchant, also a Quin, was another to catch the eye. Looking ahead to next season Sale will have plenty of firepower and if Josh Beaumont and Ben Curry can stay fit they will be a force to be reckoned with.
On the other side of the field there was plenty of experience on show and they entertained us royally but all too often recklessly. This cavalier attitude somewhat flattered England but we got glimpses of class from Charles Piutau, Rhys Webb, Colin Slade and Francois Louw. I for one didn't see anything remarkable from Joe Marler that reinforced the view he should be thinking about coming out of retirement. It was great that Aussie legend and erstwhile Quins hero James Horwill played well and scored that wingers try out wide.
A decent crowd too which will be welcome news to the RFU bean counters. A word for Nigel Owens who played his part. On several occasions I think he turned the proverbial blind eye to minor infringements to keep the game flowing. Overall a good way to close the season, a very long season which is going to get even longer next year despite concerns about player welfare.
England's cricketers take centre stage today with their world cup game against Pakistan. Should be worth keeping an eye on.
The Tory leadership nonsense and Labour's anti-Semitism row will take a back seat as The Big Orange arrives in the UK. I find some of his policies troubling and some of his behaviour very un-statesmanlike but he is the President of the United States so we should treat him with respect. There will be many who think otherwise and will be out protesting. I wonder how many of those protesting will have recently voted for the Brexit party.
The Big Orange and Nigel Farrago. One wants to build a real wall, the other wants to build a virtual wall. One wants trade barriers and tariffs, the other will get trade barriers and tariffs. One complains about immigrants, and so does the other one, this despite both being married to foreigners. One complains about fake news, the other is fake news. One has an ego the size of a house, so does the other one. Where they diverge is one is a teetotaller, the other drinks frequently. One will meet the Queen, the closest the other will get to that is down the Queen's Head.
Trump divides opinion in the States but as I have said he is still The President of the most powerful nation on earth, just.
Some weeks ago London was in chaos thanks to the climate protestors. I worry about climate change and the impact it is having on the world. Many people do until the change required is to happen in their back garden. Thousands have signed a petition against a new solar farm on the Kent marshes because of the environmental impact. That impact being it is next to their homes. People, you can't have it both ways. At some point sacrifices will have to be made.
By the way I try and do my little bit but is it enough? I am not going to stop travelling but I will ease off on the accelerator to improve fuel consumption. I will cut back on using non recyclable materials. I will turn the thermostat down and turn off non essential appliances. Sadly spouting hot air and talking through my backside are harder to control.
Sunday 2nd June: 10:00
It was a relief to get out of the sun for a while yesterday and no better time was at 15:00 to watch Exeter v Saracens. Having gorged on burgers and sausages, with salad of course, I was all set for a slug fest of forward power sprinkled with a little bit of back play. How disappointed was I to see a try in the opening minutes for Exeter quickly followed by a try from Saracens and then to see the ball whizzing around the pitch with pace an accuracy. Well actually I was delighted. Exeter weren't predictable and Saracens looked rattled. Jack Nowell was excellent, unfortunately leaving the field with ten minutes to go, as were many of the Exeter back line. Henry Slade, after his early ten minute rest showed why he is now England's first choice #13. Exeter were worthy of their 11 point lead, especially after the Henry Slade try in the corner. That Sam Skinner run was excellent.
You write Sarries off at your peril and so it proved. Finally getting the better of the Exeter defence they scored three great tries. Maitland wide out was the pick of them for me but I though the vision of Farrell and the skill of Liam Williams to pluck that ball out of the air was excellent. Put his two tries to one side Jamie George showed why he is now England's hooker bar none so it was good he got Saracens over the finishing line.
Yes Exeter scored a late consolation try to make it the highest scoring final but the better side won. I am sure Paddy O'Fez will be like a dog with two ......... tails this morning and I am sure he will remind me of how Saracens have pretty much won everything as a club this season including the women's title. They are the best at the moment. End of....... leaving any discussion of financial impropriety to another day.
Bottom line it was a great advert for rugby with a full house at Twickenham. Unlike in Madrid no snarling dogs separating the fans, no ban on alcohol in the ground, no fan segregation, no trouble just a wonderful game wonderfully supported and very well refereed.
England 2s v Barbarians this afternoon. Probably won't watch live but will watch at some point. Depends on alcohol levels and what Mrs Bleater wants to watch on the box tonight.
Now the season is over in the coming weeks I'll start my random views on the Rugby World Cup. Watch this space.
Well done Liverpool. Six times European Cup winners. That early penalty was a massive blow to Spurs and in my view took the wind of the game before it had started. Liverpool were lacklustre but Spurs were worse. After the rugby this was an anti-climax. Potentially the highlight being the blonde Russian porn star running onto the pitch.
After all the hype, and boy wasn't there some hype Anthony Joshua was beaten. The bigger they are the harder they fall.
Elsewhere they are still showing that miracle Ben Stokes catch. The cricket has been pretty good so far based on the little snippets I've watched.
The week ahead brings us Trump. That'll liven things up a bit. More Tory leadership candidates. I might put myself forward as I can be as incompetent as the rest of them but then again I find it hard to be a lying, two-faced, self serving arse.
Finally two things to mull over.
Did you notice that several of the Brexit Party's new MEPs are actually from elsewhere in Europe. Look them up if you don't believe me.
Are you fed up with the snowflake millennials trying to eradicate history. To them I say "to demolish this statue is to pretend our history never happened, an easy way to allow ourselves to move forward" and "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" - Spaniard Jorge Santayana
Saturday 1st June: 09:00
A couple of quick updates.
Brad Barritt has made it through his fitness test and will lead Saracens out today. The more I think about it the more I can't see beyond a Saracens win.
The Barbarians have named a very exciting side but I guess all eyes will be on Joe Marler who in his most recent interview has said "never say never" with regard to an England return. I expect Rhys Webb will shine against a second string England outfit led by Josh Beaumont.
Interesting piece in The Guarniad by Paul Rees on how the rugby season is being stretched out and the summer break therefore squeezed. It covers many of the reasons why such as the (desperate) need for cash by the clubs. Go back a number of years and the season would have been long over but here we are June 1st and the season continues. Next season because of RWC 2019 the season will not end until deep into June. The article also comments on the CVC deal, the influx of overseas players, especially from South Africa and the potential for The Lions to become a casualty of the pressures on clubs and unions alike. It is well work reading and is part of The Guarniad's "The Breakdown" series of articles.
Could USA under Mike Friday becomes World 7s champions this weekend? Only time will tell.
I understand the evening with Kyran Bracken was very good. Good turnout, good food and lots of fun. Well done to those who organised that for the wooden spoon.
Obviously many eyes will be on the Gallagher Cup Final today but rest assured millions and millions more eyes will be on Spurs v Liverpool tonight. Two wishes: a good game and no trouble.
I asked for debate and I got it. It seems that some have mis-interpreted my comment on the Buffoon being taken to court as me being against private prosecution and also unhappy about politicians being prosecuted for inaccurate election statements. Wrong! In this case I feel uncomfortable because the person bringing it has a very personal agenda against Brexit and therefore Boris and has also syphoned off a fair chunk of the money raised for his own personal benefit. It feels more like a PR stunt than a genuine attempt to bring politicians to book. On that point I strongly believe politicians should be accountable for the accuracy and veracity of comments made at any point let alone during elections. If it takes private prosecution so be it but I think this is a criminal act and the police should be investigating. You could argue the statements made during the referendum campaign have caused the country to spend billions on Brexit. If the truth had been told that might not have been the case and therefore you could ask whether fraud has been committed.
The Tory party leadership contest is developing into a farce. Mark Harper, who?, has put his name forward. This is the odious former Immigration Minister who hired billboard vans to tour London telling people to "go home". He resigned when it was discovered he had a cleaner who was working illegally in the UK. Forget Love Island. Watch the bitching, back stabbing, deviant behaviour in the latest Simon Cowell blockbuster "Tories - The Battle for Poisoned Chalice".
Finally, and this might seem like self-aggrandisement, well done to The Friday Club. The work being done around the place is fantastic.
Thursday 30th May: 08:30
Back in Crowborough after the M25 experience from hell yesterday. No more than 20 mph from joining the M25 at the M40 junction all the way around to the M23. In fact 20 mph felt as if you were speeding. Anyway it gave Mrs Bleater and I time to put the world to rights.
Rugby first however. Twickenham awaits and according the matrix signs you can expect delays on the A316 on June 1st and 2nd. I don't know what to expect on Saturday. Is it going to be rhinos thumping into each other: a battle of virility, or will it be rugby on speed with players with eyes wild with adrenalin playing without a care in the world. I fear the test of virility with Exeter restricting Saracens possession then trying to batter them into submission. Personally I think this is a flawed approach as Saracens more than anyone can defend and defend brilliantly. If this approach fails and Exeter don't batter them into the ground and allow Saracens possession I think the Barnet men have the variation in their game to get the ball wide and expose Exeter's defensive weaknesses. If Exeter can utilise the skills they have out wide and get in the face of the ringmaster Owen Farrell then they have a chance. I would normally say defence wins games but on Saturday and especially for Exeter I say unpredictability is the key to success. I hope for a classic but expect an arm wrestle with much tactical kicking and lots and lots and lots of turgid pick and drive.
He has been good all season but Brad Barritt won't be missed if he fails tomorrow's fitness test. Other men to watch are Henry Slade, Matt Kvesik, Will Skelton and Billy Vunipola. These are the game changers.
On Sunday England host the Barbarians. I can't get enthusiastic about this money making exercise I'm afraid. They say England but basically it is the Saxons with King Eddie picking a second string side. It makes sense in some respects because I am sure he has most of his RWC 2019 squad penned in already so this is an opportunity to see who is capable of stepping up and filling any remaining gaps.
Rhys Webb starts at #9 and Joe Marler in the front row for the Barbarians. Neither will be in Japan but I am certain both Gatland and Jones would snap them up if they could. By the way Joe Marler has said it would be very unfair if he went to Japan after the hard work the others have put in. My answer is "so?". He is England best scrummager right now (accepting Vunipola is injured and might not make Japan).
Geordan Murphy will start next season with a three match ban for abusing match officials. Sorry but that isn't acceptable no matter the pressure he was under, the ban should be longer.
A NZ player has been banned for four years for attempting to strangle an opponent during a game. Yes you read it right, trying to strangle an opponent.
Arsenal v Chelsea, the all English final. All English my backside. One English player started the game, neither coaches are English and both clubs are owned by foreign investors. This was an all English final in name only. Thank heavens the second half came alive.
Baku seems a marvellous city. A great location and a fascinating history. That said a ridiculous place to hold a European final. A 70,000 seater stadium but the two sides only got 6,000 tickets each!!! The rest went to sponsors and other hangers-on. No surprise the stadium was far from full and the atmosphere flat. Just hope those whose palms might have been greased were happy with their decision to host in Baku!!
I don't like Alistair Campbell. He was implicated with the lying Tony Blair in the allegedly inaccurate, full of holes and outright untruthful Iraq dossier. That said his expulsion from the Labour Party seems a bit Stalinist. A sign of times to come? You disobey the beloved and god like leader and it is the gulag for you. On the other hand if you are a member of a party surely you should support that party? Debate.
Then there is Boris the Buffoon being taken court over the £350m to the EU statement during the referendum campaign. This is a spiteful attempt to discredit the Buffoon ahead of the Tory leadership elections. That said all too often politicians make outrageous claims during election campaigns and I for one believe they should be held accountable for the truthfulness of election claims and promises. By the way there is plenty of time for Boris to commit Buffoonery without having to take him to court.
Finally Sturgeon is stirring the pot about independence again. Even if the UK stays in the EU independence is still a pipedream, in my mind. I find it bizarre that Sturgeon and many Scots want independence from the rest of the UK but want to tie themselves to an organisation that wants to have even greater control over its member states than it does now. I might just write to Wee Jimmie Sturgeon and ask how independence will work.
Back briefly on Saturday with any play-off updates.
Tuesday 28th May: 08:30
Mrs Bleater would like to thank all those who sent her "in sympathy" messages yesterday. They were much appreciated after 41 years with a miserable bugger like me.
The numbers have been crunched and the best rugby brains in Europe have finally reached the conclusion that Sale have qualified for next seasons Champions Cup. This apparently thanks to La Rochelle. Life is too short for me to try and explain how this works so please just trust me that Sale are in.
Crowborough is a great town with great people. There are however the scumbags who persist in throwing their litter out of their cars onto the roadside outside the club. Red Bull cans being the favourite. There are also scumbags who cause wilful damage to other peoples property. This is what has happened to our good friends Jarvis Brook Football Club. Their goal posts and some of the grounds have been mindlessly vandalised by persons who definitely fall into the scumbag category. They are appealing for help to put things right. Contact Simon Davies if you are of a mind to do so.
So its Aston Villa into the Premiership next season and come this time next year if history repeats itself it will be Aston Villa back in the Championship. Good to see our future King so happy about the result.
The papers have various headlines about the EU elections. The smugness of Farage is painful and the optimism of the Liberal Democrats laughable. It made me smile when that Anna Sourface women tried to put a positive spin on her new party's pathetic showing in the election. Defending the indefensible.
Anyway, what has changed? NOTHING. The Brexit party has no MPs, the Liberal Democrats have a few, The Greens have one so the only voice of opposition to Brexit and the only voice for "remain" is the SNP. The Tories continue to fight amongst themselves and Labour remains, or at least their leader does, firmly on the fence.
The Labour spokesman on the TV yesterday who spoke for about four minutes on Labour's EU position said absolutely nothing in that time. Labour's position is what?
The Tories are lurching towards the no deal Brexit cliff edge and all this time David Cameron is laughing all the way to the bank. He wants to come back into politics. So he should to the take the flak for being a coward and running away after the referendum defeat. Give him a white feather.
This is going to run and run and run and run, especially as Comrade Corbynov has said he will let the party conference decide IN SEPTEMBER what the party's policy. WHAT!!!!! You have to start today otherwise we will crash out with no deal, which perhaps is what many want so perhaps I should shut up. Shut up like the Tories, who were noticeable by their absence yesterday. Cowards.
Must go breakfast awaits. Back on Thursday. Bridgnorth today and tomorrow.
Monday 27th May: 08:30
On this day 41 years ago Mrs Bleater and I got married. I am not sure we awoke to a country that was in such shambles. A country divided over Brexit. A country with a Buffoon on one side and a Marxist on the other waiting in the wings to take this country of ours further into the abyss.
Thank goodness for rugby. Let me start with Kearney's yellow card. Having watched it again both in real time and in slow motion I believe Nigel Owens got it right. Kearney had his eyes on the ball at all times. He didn't change his direction of travel. Where he ended up was directly below the ball and if Hogg had missed it it would have fallen straight into Kearney's arms. Thankfully Hogg came down on his back and not on his shoulders, neck or head. As a consequence Kearney was reckless and deserved the yellow card..... in my opinion.
Watching the highlights from Saturday it is also clear that Northampton weren't as bad as the result would indicate. They played well and oh how things could have been so different if Reinach hadn't dropped the simplest of passes on the stroke of half time. Exeter were worthy winners but they are one dimensional. Unless they show more creativity out wide I fear Saracens will rip them apart next week.
Saracens were put under pressure by Gloucester but Sarries have everything. That second Tomkins try was a thing of beauty. With Farrell pulling the strings my money is on the Barnet outfit lifting yet another trophy. Gloucester scored a couple of good tries so Sarries are not infallible. This reinforces my view that Exeter's only hope is to throw caution to the wind and keep Saracens guessing where the attacks will come from.
Looking further ahead Ireland have received an early blow to their RWC 2019 chances with the news that Sean O'Brien is out injured.
On the other hand Argentina will be buoyed by the performances of Los Jaquares. I was mighty impressed by their win over the Waratahs on Saturday. Beware England! The Pumas will be no pushovers.
Well done Lewis Hamilton. Yet another win for him and Mercedes. At times he was a rolling road block but a win is a win.
Our good friend Tim Rons will be very happy this morning as his beloved Charlton Athletic are promoted back to The Championship. Aston Villa v Derby today. The £130m game.
You cannot get away from the EU elections whether you want to or not. The traditional two parties of UK politics were sent a very clear message. That message was you are inept and divided and unfit to get us through this Brexit fiasco. That said the results change nothing. In fact all it did was confirm how divided the country is on Brexit. The people either want us out and out completely or they want us in and in wholeheartedly. The one party who can claim something different is the Greens who have been clear that climate change has to be part of any party's policies.
Will things change? No! The divisions in Parliament are still there and still entrenched. Unless those on the green benches change their attitudes and compromise we are heading for disaster. This is reinforced by the Tories who are already fighting amongst themselves with the Stop Boris campaign and claiming that they will bring the "house down" if the direction becomes leaving without a deal. Labour as perfectly articulated by Emily Thornberry is in a mess with a policy of sitting on the fence with ears, eyes and mouth covered like a mutated monkey. Their Brexit strategy is non existent as Comrade Corbynov is desperate for a general election so he can take us (IN MY VIEW) into the abyss. The vote in Scotland reinforces their desire to stay BUT Brexit did well too so it is not all sweetness and light. No-one has yet given any idea how Scotland could leave the UK and stay in Europe. It would be impossible without a border manned by tanks with machine gun posts every 20 metres or so.
The ground swell for a second referendum is growing but again my question: "what happens if the country votes clearly for leaving" has not been answered.
The Change UK splitters were shot down in flames. Good. Disloyal muppets.
Across Europe the Greens have done well but the swing to the right and anti-EU groupings was nowhere near as marked as expected. There is disquiet in Europe but not enough to encourage the EU mandarins to change their stance.
In the absence of rugby news I'll come back to this tomorrow and the MY thoughts on what could happen in the coming months.
Sunday 26th May: 09:30
As expected the weather and a friends BBQ won the day so right now I haven't seen the two play-off semi-finals. I have however read several reports on the games. It seems as if Gloucester started well and their early score indicated a shock was possible. That was quickly dispelled as Saracens fought back and started to strangle the life out of the Gloucester attack. It also seems that Gloucester shot themselves in the foot with wayward passes and failing to manage the high ball. The contest according to th