Why we should welcome Sarah Palin here

Sarah Palin is planning a trip to the UK specially to have her photo taken with Margaret Thatcher. (La Palin was unable to tell Katie Couric the names of any of the newspapers she reads. I wonder if she has read the whole of Margaret Thatcher’s Downing Street Years. I hope someone asks her when she comes. It would be interesting to know since the book is 832 pages long and considered somewhat inaccessible. Roy Jenkins once quipped: “Wather like the virgin wastes of the Antartic, there are some parts of the book around about page 794 which have, I suspect, the distinction of never having been defiled by the human eye”)

I was rather surprised to read on Spiderplant Land: “Sarah Palin should NOT set foot on British soil“. Come off it. She’s fairly harmless. OK, she’s stupid and wrong-headed on virtually every topic. But if Americans want to vote for her (which I certainly doubt they do in sufficient numbers to make her President) then that is their funeral. If we barred people from this country due to stupidity we’d have noone left here.

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In praise of Robert Green

I have been a bit disturbed by the vitriol and humiliation aimed at poor Robert Green, England’s goalie last night. People seem to work themselves up into an unfeasible sense of excitement about England in the World Cup, so when there is a disappointment they (or at least the press) go over the top with retribution aimed at a scapegoat. Robert Green was chosen to be our goalie. He made a great save in the second half and he made a mistake in the first. Get over it. If the team had played better, particularly in the first half, the mistake may not have lost us two points. We’re not out of the World Cup as a result. We live to fight another day. I thought Green showed great dignity in the post-match interview here.

If you want to see a real World Cup clunker of a goalkeeping mistake just look at David Seaman and his ponytail in the 2002 Quarter Final below. That cock-up meant our World Cup that year was over. 

And Peter Bonetti made a similar error to Green’s which cost us our World Cup place at the quarter final stage in 1970. Bonetti was, in fact, a brilliant goalie. He was nick-named “the cat” because of his agile dives. He was in the 1966 England World cup winning squad and had a fantastic career with Chelsea, after which he became a postman on the Isle of Mull. He expresses his sympathy for Green here in a Telegraph article and says of him:

(Green is) a great professional and the fact is he deserved to start the game yesterday.

His form has been good, he has all the skills you would want in a top-level goalkeeper and his temperament seems spot on. He proved just how much character he has by pulling off that fantastic save in the second half: that took real bottle, not to mention high quality.

Fabio Capello is a shrewd man and a good professional. He did the right thing by keeping Green on the field for the second half – substituting him would have crushed his self-confidence – and I’m pretty sure he will give him another chance. That is certainly what Sir Alf (Ramsey) would have done.

MPs on expenses – some of them still don't get it do they?

It really is coming to something when the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has to erect a sign at their House of Commons offices warning MPs:

We will not tolerate abuse of our staff

…And the civil servant who was charged with implementing the new system leaves his job. But wait, he was only on a six month contract – and he’s quit that and given this explanation:

I have left the job for the sake of my health and sanity

The Telegraph reports that:

Paul Farrelly, a Labour MP, sent a complaint to Mr Gooding and said the new system was “prehistoric, amateurish, self-defeating and bureaucracy gone mad”.

He wrote: “I have been asked for a copy of my passport or birth certificate to prove my date of birth. Why that is necessary, I do not know. More importantly, as I have used my overdraft limit, my mortgage payment will bounce, causing me embarrassment and further charges You could easily have saved us all this aggravation.”

One wonders if some MPs have still not go it – i.e that the public demanded the new expenses system and that they (the MPs) really ought to consistently show humility and patience in their dealings with IPSA.