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Messages - karlmark

1
The Daily Cut and Thrust / Re: This Europe Stuff
So Trump steams into the Brexit argument and backs Johnson for PM. Could Trump have miscalculated? Could his intervention backfire, and far from giving more credibility to a hard Brexit actually turn people off the idea? He's not a popular guy in the UK and if I'd voted leave I would now be alarmed at thinking I was on the same side as Trump. Rich B?

Of course not silly!
There is a correlation between voting Leave and supporting Trump. There is also a correlation between supporting Leave and Climate Change Deniers. Not a perfect link, but if you voted Leave then you are more likely to support the orange or disbelieve in climate change. Probably also a fair chance you believe in a Flat Earth and unicorns too.
3
The Daily Cut and Thrust / Re: The World Cup Thread
Football is interesting, of course, but I don't think it is necessary or unsatisfactory to have third place unresolved. I can suffer it in all other tournaments, and every other sport manages, so I'm sure the World Cup would survive. Of course, if it's simply for your pleasure, then fine. But to accuse others of not liking football because they feel more than a little deflated by falling just short of the chance to compete for the top prize and therefore being less interested in a match that is much less meaningful than even the semi-final is more than a little churlish.

Perhaps if I could watch as dispassionately as you then I would get it. Then again, I wouldn't enjoy it as much so what would be the point?
4
The Daily Cut and Thrust / Re: The World Cup Thread
I don't consider that a foolish option. The Easter five a side, that later became the supporters club five a side, was played at least for one year where matches were played to determine every team position.

I only stopped it because it was difficult getting the 7/8th playoff played.

There's an easy solution: Instead of bringing another 16 makeweights into the tournament, have various different playoffs to decide the rankings. Extra matches, and guaranteed TV audiences even for the big teams that crash out early.
5
The Daily Cut and Thrust / Re: The World Cup Thread
The problem is that your generalisation is just simply wrong and deliberately patronising, which I'm fully aware is because you like a good row.
Like I've stated twice already, I do like football, and it has nothing to do with your assertion about liking what surrounds it. Clearly I don't go to the levels of people such as yourself as I don't really have the time, but feel free to cling to your moral high-ground (which I know you will). I like watching the game itself and also enjoy watching a good tactical battle, although clearly I could never hope to attain the mastery that you have achieved.

As for the play-off game, I'm very happy that Bilic counts the third-placed medal as one of his greatest achievements, but I still maintain that two teams of players who have been through a long and tough season, using all their athletic abilities that you so admire to the max, followed by a very intensive schedule of matches involving extra time and huge mental strain, could probably do without yet another game which is not really necessary. If medals are to be dished out then give them something for being losing semi-finalists. Personally, I think they should be rewarded with at least a bit more time off before they face another long season.
7
The Daily Cut and Thrust / Re: The World Cup Thread
You didn't say you were a better football fan; you said that other people don't like football and find entertainment only in the bonhomie of mingling with other like-minded idiots. I do like football, just not enough to clear the decks for a game that means little. None of this distracts from the fact that the third place playoff is unnecessary, and you even admit yourself that some of the players don't want to be there (although I would argue that none want to be there; they all want to be in the final).
8
The Daily Cut and Thrust / Re: The World Cup Thread
You have the four teams that have worked their way to the top of the most prestigious tournament in the world, if we as supporters gave the game the prestige it deserved (third is better than fourth, and that should be a big deal), then we would have a game very much worth watching. But we don't.

Personally I always watch them. As I try (quite hard) to watch all England friendlies, and definitely all competitive matches. I also watch as many competitive high end international and club games as I reasonably can. I like football. Not so much the herd thing, of which there has been too much for the last week (ish).

Leaving aside the psychological analysis of your superior fandom, it is still only a gap-filler. Any losing side in a semi-final is going to be massively disappointed and it almost seems cruel to force them to play another losing side to fight for scraps. Will I watch it? If I am at home, perhaps. Will I clear my schedule to ensure that I can see it? Absolutely not. Third is better than fourth, but does it matter? Not enough to make me go out of my way to watch no. Maybe that means I don't like football, or it could, perhaps, be because I think that it is a largely meaningless match that exists only to fill the gap between the second semi-final and the Final.

Would you watch a third place play-off for the FA Cup or Champions League? I expect so, because otherwise you could be accused of not liking football.
10
The Daily Cut and Thrust / Re: The World Cup Thread
Hmm. Germany were off the ball, for sure. I'm not sure about the other three, it felt more like they were merely 'not as good as the fans/media built them up to be'. Teams who didn't make it through their group, or weren't good enough to win their group ended up on the right side of the draw based on their performances. England made Sweden look ordinary where other teams had struggled. Getting through that Colombia game, given how Colombia played, was first rate... not many sides, even those with winning pedigree, make easy work of those games.

The hyperbole (by definition?) is always over the top. Don't let dampening it also dampen the achievement.

I agree. Yes, there are areas that need work; playing a full ninety minutes being foremost, but you suspect that comes with experience. As for the big teams, something was clearly wrong with Germany, but one-man teams Portugal and Argentina should not have been such a surprise. Ronaldo had a better tournament than Messi, but both were in teams that were no great shakes.
As for Spain, they simply have no plan B. Their brand of football may be attractive when it works, but they simply didn't seem to know how to play against a Russian team which denied them the space to frolic around.
Brazil? Always the most overhyped team in the tournament. They always have quality players and are always a threat. Would England have beat them? I suspect not, but it is an irrelevance as we didn't have to. When they play as a team they are superb, but I can't help feeling that the ever-increasing expectations have been affecting them in recent tournaments. I also think that compared to the best Brazil team I can remember in my lifetime (1982) they are nowhere near approaching the same level.

Yes, expectations for England will now increase, and rightly so. There are some talented players in the squad and some weaknesses, but the England team has underperformed for so long it has been a pleasure watching them play in this tournament. For so many years the team was dominated by big personalities but for once they have actually played as a team and this seems to be down to the accidental appointment of Southgate as manager. Would anyone have predicted the rise of Southgate prior to this tournament?

Whatever happens, I am happy for a few things. Firstly, Big Sam never got his chance to lead the England team. I never thought he deserved it and have always been massively suspicious of the media-whore managers like Redknapp, Allardyce, Venables et al. Secondly, Southgate has worked with many of these players through youth tournaments and has earned their respect over that period of time and has earned his chance to build on the work already done and perhaps take the team even further. Maybe the FA will finally realise that a successful England team cannot be bought by enticing expensive, experienced managers to the job and that the accidental discovery of a new approach is the way forward. Of all the hopes for England football in the future, I suspect that this last point is the most unrealistic...
11
The Daily Cut and Thrust / Re: The World Cup Thread
I'll approach it the same way people approach Andy Murray matches. If England win I'll be happy and celebrate with the rest of them. If they lose, then I shall fall back on the fact that I'm Irish and should obviously be supporting anyone but England.
12
The Daily Cut and Thrust / Re: This Europe Stuff
To be fair that applies to a lot of MP's too. Notably David Davies.

To be fair, that applies to all MPs and everybody working on the process. Nobody knows because it is impossible to know.
Politicians don't know, economists don't know and even John Redwood doesn't know. As dear old Donny Rumsfeld said, there are a lot of known unknowns and even more unknown unknowns.
13
The Daily Cut and Thrust / Re: This Europe Stuff
Doesn't it depend on what Labour, the SNP and the Lib Dems do? (And it seems likely they'd all vote against.) If they do all vote against May then, even if the DUP vote for her, it'd only take something like 5 Tories to take her down. They get that easily wouldn't they?

No, I should have been a bit clearer! The way the Tory party works, if they get enough letters to the Chairman of the Backbench 1922 Committee, then that triggers a vote of confidence in the leader. If the leader loses that vote then they go to a leadership contest.
Obviously if there was a vote of confidence in the government in the house then a small number of Tory MPs voting no confidence would topple the government; such votes are generally tabled by the opposition and would likely not succeed unless the hard-Brexiters thought that was the only way of forcing their "dream" on the country. Government no confidence motions tend to only succeed when there is a true minority government like in 1979.
14
The Daily Cut and Thrust / Re: This Europe Stuff
If they can topple May, then they only probably need to get a hard-Brexiteer into the last two, because I expect the party will vote that way. I thought we were spared that when Leadsome stood down from the last contest but maybe, with hindsight, it would have been better for her to have spent the last two years trying to make the impossible work and have someone sensible (Hammond?)come in round about now to pick up the pieces with some kind of Single Market/customs union membership approach.

People have been predicting the Tory party to split over Europe at least since Maastrict and it hasn't happened yet - I think they only lost 2 MPs between 1992 and the referendum? I think there's a good chance they'll weather this storm as well. Sadly, our electoral system inevitably forces a two-party system, so whoever loses this battle will, most likely, suck it up and wait for the next opportunity.

Incidentally, Boris' stupid resignation letter shows another one of the contradictions in the hard-Brexit position. He always talks about it as an opportunity for Britain to become a free-trading paradise but he also wants to ban foreign lorries... Make your f*cking mind up.

They won't topple May because they don't have the numbers. They may get enough for a vote of confidence, but I can't see them winning. As for a Tory party split, we are in a very different position than we were at the time of Maastricht; that fight was over the passing of powers to the EU. This time they have the referendum which supposedly gives them the mandate to exit the EU - the very thing they have been wanting for decades. Given that this is their life's ambition, I don't think it is unreasonable to wonder if the party may split. Further to this, it seems likely that some sort of UKIP v2 may come along and pull in some support as whatever Brexit is achieved (if at all) will not be hard enough. Will they put their beliefs above power? They may if they think they can have enough support based on this platform.

As for BJ, this is his moment; there can be very few politicians who have overestimated their own intelligence by so much. He seems to think that by quoting Latin verses and making supposedly witty remarks he is some sort of genius. Of course, Churchill was a man who always gave a good quote; the difference is that Churchill was intelligent enough to know when to make a witty remark and when to be serious. In addition to all this, BJ has been terrible in his attempts to gain power. In the last leadership election he totally miscalculated and was left looking like a complete idiot at the last moment. How he thinks that the past two years of open plotting will bring him the prize he seeks I do not know. Still, should he launch a challenge I suspect we can put this utter pillock's aspirations to bed once and for all.
15
The Daily Cut and Thrust / Re: This Europe Stuff
What are the chances of us crashing out, realising it's a clusterf*ck and changing our minds only for Europe to turn around and tell us to do one

I really cannot see any possibility of crashing out at this point. The Brexiters, although very vocal, simply do not have the means by which to force such an outcome. As I stated above, their options are very limited; they can't win the Tory leadership and the only other option is to vote down the government and/or split from the party. Either way there is no path to a clean break that I can see.

Of course, I could be very wrong....