A contemporary criminal epidemic
Is the subject of this polemic
Its epicentres are the financial sectors
In the United Kingdom and United States
And its reverberations have left entire countries in dire straits
That crime is corporate fraud
Committed by the banks and the fraudulent accountants
Fraud by the hedge funds and ratings agencies
And in the fraudulent delivery of fraudulent securities
To people who hardly knew an asset from a liability
By Steve Hynd
This is the final post in an SJF mini series: ‘Football and society, then and now’. See the other articles here and here.
Paulo Di Canio, a fascist (in all probability), is now sitting at the helm of one of Britain’s most respected football clubs. The only way to remove him from such a prestigious position is for the fans to implement a boycott of the club.
For the last two years I have been calling for a boycott of Swindon Town FC – Di Canio’s former employers.
“I am not political… I do not support the ideology of fascism” – Paulo Di Canio
Few in the midst of the media scrum that followed his appointment to Sunderland commented on his two year reign at Swindon Town. Barney Ronay at the Guardian was the exception to this rule when he wrote, “Di Canio has been manager of Swindon for two years without complaint…there is an excellent point to be made about the lack of attention paid to events in the lower leagues.”
He was right on one count. The whole Di Canio debacle shows the unhealthy media spotlight that is shinned upon the Premiership leaving the lower leagues in its shadow. Read More
by Sarah Walker
The UK government and their sympathetic media would have you believe that current legal aid provisions allow unpopular members of our society to greedily grab what they can get, much like an unsupervised child at a pick ‘n’ mix. The truth is that this government is systematically dismantling a safeguard of access to justice that is essential if we are to ensure that the rights of vulnerable members of society are protected.
By Sam Tomlin
This article is the second in a mini SJF series: ‘Football and society, then and now’. See here for the first article in the series.
English football is about as ‘modern’ as you can get. The brand of the Premier League is known world-wide with boys and girls all over the poorest parts of Africa, Asia and South America wearing replica shirts with Rooney, Lampard and Tevez emblazoned on the back.
But football was not always this way. In many ways a microcosm of wider societal change, subject to the introduction of neoliberal thought in the Thatcher/Reagan experiment, major changes occurred in the 1980s. Many of these changes were positive: tackling the hooligan culture that had emerged was vital (although this was clearly not the fault behind the Hillsborough tragedy, as some have claimed), re-branding the game to make it more family-friendly and the insertion of some more private investment. I remember my Dad telling me going to games in the late 70s was often like going to a football fight hoping that a game might break out. Read More
The following article is the first in a short series of articles on SJF: ‘Football and society, then and now’
By Sheila Coleman
My friend Diane (Diane Graham) and I first went to see Liverpool play when we were seven. We lived in Kirkdale, a neighbouring area of Anfield. All members of my family were fanatical Evertonians so none of them would take me to see Liverpool. At that time Everton were the more successful team. However, I have no recollection of ever liking them. I believe that I was born a red therefore it was only natural that I sought refuge with Diane’s family who were all Liverpool supporters. It might seem strange in the present day to think of two little girls heading off to a football match totally unsupervised but we had no sense of danger, only excitement at what the day would bring. As Diane says: “I think we were quite unique as very few little girls were interested in football at that time but we both came from football mad families so it was in our blood!”
The Kop, Anfield
Most games were on a Saturday and that day would be packed with fun from beginning to end. In the morning we would take in a film at the local cinema (we were ‘ABC minors’ – a film club for children), hopefully catch a wedding at our church (we sneaked into many a wedding album) and most importantly we would then go to watch our beloved Liverpool FC.
We wore whatever clothes our mother’s made us wear. We didn’t have much money so choice was limited. We did however, have our Liverpool scarves; hand knitted in our beloved red and white.
We went in the ‘Boy’s Pen’. This was long before the age of sex discrimination legislation and no one ever thought that girls might want to see a match. It could be quite rough in there. A large number of boys in a penned area now seems quite a frightening prospect but I guess we managed to stand our ground. The Liverpool writer Dave Kirby wrote a brilliant poem about the Boy’s Pen but I reprimanded him for not saying about the girls who bravely entered it! Read More
More teachers are reporting high levels of stress. Gabe Palmer / Alamy
By Sam Tomlin
This bank holiday weekend has seen delegates at the National Union of Teachers threaten to boycott classroom inspections and call for the resignation of the chief inspector of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw. Dislike of Wilshaw and the inspectorate is nothing new from many teachers and historically there has often been significant tension between Ofsted and the unions. Discord has been growing, however, since the Coalition came to power amid new measures such as significant reductions in warning before inspections. In Ofsted’s own words:
“Ofsted also announced further reductions to the notice of inspections… Under the new arrangements, schools will receive almost no notice of an inspection with inspectors calling headteachers the afternoon before an inspection takes place. Ofsted proposed conducting school inspections without any notice but listened to headteachers’ concerns about this during the consultation. Calling the working day before an inspection will enable headteachers to make any necessary logistical arrangements including notifying parents and governors of the inspection. Parents can be reassured that inspectors are seeing schools as they really are.”
By Antoine Cerisier
Hero or Villain?
On the evening of 5 March 2013, Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced the death of Hugo Chavez in Caracas. The President had been battling with cancer in Cuba and Venezuela for nearly two years. He came into office in 1999 as the first democratically elected leftwing leader in Latin America and remained President for over a decade. His funeral attracted more than 100,000 mourners, including many heads of state as well as American personalities such as Sean Penn and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson. Nicolas Maduro took over as interim President until an election is held on 14 April.
By Sam Tomlin
Israel’s hasbara efforts (public relations, disseminating information about the country) were dealt another blow last week with the publication of a report from UNICEF on the conditions of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention centres.
Unicef’s report: Children in Israeli Military Detention
In 2009, in response to evidence that children were prosecuted in adult courts, Israel established a juvenile military court, which, according to UNICEF, “is the first and only juvenile military court in operation in the world. In fact, it uses the same facilities and court staff as the adult military court.”
The analysis by UNICEF identified clear examples that amount to, “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” of children as young as 12. On a yearly basis, it reports, around 700 12-17 year olds (mostly boys) are arrested, interrogated and detained by Israeli army, police and security agents, often in conditions which it would be difficult not to describe as torture. Read More
by Sam Bright
Mark Twain, a man who knew a thing or two about recognising a great tale of adventure, said in 1878, “Stanley is almost the only man alive today whose name and work will be familiar one hundred years hence”. Ironic, that. Mr Twain evidently underestimated his own import. Even in Little Old England, I would happily bet that more people would be able to link Mark Twain with his most famous creations, than can link Henry Morton Stanley with the navigation of the Congo, or the Emin Pasha relief expedition.
Reality contrives to be crueller still. Before picking up Tim Jeal’s stupendous biography of one the greatest Welshmen, I knew perhaps three things about the explorer: (obviously) that his name was Henry Morton Stanley; he uttered the immortal phrase “Doctor Livingstone, I presume?”; and his adventures inspired Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
Having now put down that biography, I realise: I was wrong on all counts.