Monday, July 26, 2004

Those braying voices on the right of the House Are echoed down the Street of Shame. Where politics mix with bingo and tits. In a strictly money and numbers game.

Despite being a football fan, I have to say I don't give a toss about the national team.

My interest in England ended with Alan Shearer's retirement. By the end of his reign in the England number nine shirt I got to the point where I was happier to see him score and England lose than the other way around.

It's easy to look back on Shearer's time in an England shirt as glory all the way. But in the run up to Euro 2000 the press had their knives out. Anyone who was watching Al alot around that time knew he was effectively playing on only one leg. A short while later he was sent to US "surgeon to the stars" Dickie Steadman and we got back the Shearer we know and love.

But around that time Shearer was playing on pure instinct. And such are Shearer's instincts, he was still the best man for the job. As always he proved his point with the winning goal against Germany, and point made, he retired from international football.

Having slagged him on a regular basis, despite Shearer going through agonies for his country, the press weren't expecting the retirement. From demanding he be dropped, they then switched to calling him a traitor to his country. As ever, Al did what he did best and ignored them and kept on knocking in goals.

After that I had no time for England. It slowly dawned on me that this was a team run by the press. For my money they essentially pick the players, and if they don't like the manager then they'll make sure he's out.

I say all of this because as I was driving this lunchtime some guttersnipe Sun journalist was on the radio demanding Sven's resignation. His crime? He had an affair.

Let's put this into perspective. Unmarried football manager Sven Goran Eriksson, had an affair with an FA personal assistant. Apparently the FA cheif executive did the same.

But The Sun, coming across all holier than thou for a change, thinks it's a disgrace. And even more disgraceful that an FA spokesperon at first denied the story.

The Guttersnipe sounded like he was frothing at the mouth on the radio.

"He lied to all England fans, he deserves to go," he dribbled.

No he didn't. A spokesperson lied to The Sun.

"He's put the FA in an embarrasing position," he added. And you could almost hear him put his pet lip out.

No he didn't. Your story has. Who cares who he sleeps with.

"Well, we put up a phone line and asked our readers to decided and 75% think he should go".

Trust me if you A) read The Sun and B) Are willing to pay 10p to ring a phone poll, then your opinions really aren't worth listening to.

In Sven's defence you could even argue that a gentleman would never admit to sleeping with a woman. Especially if it was likely to be plastered all over the newspapers.

If The Sun really want to run this crap then I'm not that bothered. Likewise if Sven wants to shag his way around the UK, then good luck to him.

But what really annoys me is that The Sun has to justify the inclusion of the story in their sorry rag by going on to demand his dismissal.

During my days on newspapers, albeit at a local level, I witnessed alcoholism, affairs and drug taking, to name but three of the deadly tabloid sins.

And yet these were just the kind of misdemeanours that appeared daily in our papers. What really got me the most was the attitude that journalists adopted. They always justified it. He has a duty as a role model to kids - they would say of a footballer.

The public has a right to know - they would say, when dishing the dirt on a popstar's drug habit.

All the time they never seemed to connect it with their own leisure activities.

Of course, I shouldn't let The Sun wind me up. It's a squalid little rag run by a very nasty individual. But the truth is it wields tremendous power. The power to make asylum seekers the victims of race hate crimes, the power to see Blair through an illegal war and yes, as it has boasted before, it has the power to win elections. Murdoch truly is the kingmaker of British politics.

The good news it that they are growing wise to Murdoch in the US. This country needs to wake up to him too.

In the meantime, I don't give a toss whether Sven stays or goes. But I hope if he does go, then he goes in his own time and not because of the demands on The Sun.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.