Bristling Brock speaks out...

 

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Having read the story of a certain Mr Stokes, cricketer extraordinaire (apparently) it is gratifying to see that the ECB have taken a disciplined and robust position on his non-selection to play for England in the upcoming Ashes series.  In some ways his story is the story of many who suddenly find themselves in the public eye - some talent gets recognised and exploited by the institutional frameworks we all live within and all of a sudden we have 'heroes' (though I find that particular word inappropriate) who believe they can do no wrong.  I guess that's a common failing in many of us (even out of the public eye), a little bit of approbation and we think ourselves invincible, immune to the critique of others.  Fortunately, that's rarely the case and we find that an occasional hard landing often brings most of us back to our senses.  A few, like our cricketer extraordinaire, don't learn that lesson so readily.  A place in the England cricket team is an honour.  It is also a position of responsibility and accountability and it is additionally a position that demands a sense of appreciation and acceptance of what being such a team member represents to nations elsewhere.  If you carry the flag of your country then be proud to do so, behave with dignity, behave in ways that show you fully understand the responsibility and behave in a way that is courteous and with a sense of personal pride in your actions.  It's what defines us as human beings, a cut above the knuckle dragging masses of other mammal species - or so we'd like to imagine.  

As sport has evolved into the huge commercial monster that it has in recent decades, that sense of honour in representing your country has largely been lost.  It attracts those that, yes, have talent for something but it now seldom attracts people who have that innate sense of national pride, respect and any understanding of decent public and personal behaviour.  But we are where we are and I doubt sport will ever revert to former times and codes of conduct, depressing a prospect as that is.  Which is a shame, because so many in our country revere sports and so called celebrity personalities and set them up as role models for themselves and their children - not just in sporting or entertainment arena's but in ways that shape their own lives and attitudes.  Unfortunately, there are very few genuine role models out there and the British have - with good reason - been long marked as the nation of appalling respect and behaviour.  In truth, we are much the same as we were in the Dark Ages - except now we have technology....but I remain optimistic that we will have some national revelation soon.

I'm further depressed by watching Donald Trump as he stands before reporters and struggles to string a coherent sentence together.  It's rather like listening to someone talking in clipped Twitter bites - almost a language of its own.  As his aides and cabinet disintegrate around him the spectacle of this American presidency becomes more extraordinary by the minute and I wonder at what point will wiser heads prevail and force some sort of (hopefully) bloodless coup d'etat.

Back here, Boris is back in print defining his vision of Brexit yet again.  I might not agree with everything about this chap but he does sum up some of the fears of the Brexit community and blurt them out in high places.  And for that he has some useful political value.  His words reflect his own concerns that the government have not got control of the Brexit debate in Brussels (or, indeed, here in the UK) and that their weak and flabby approach to the negotiations with the EU are open to European bullying and intransigence.  I wouldn't want Boris in No.10 but I think he'd make an excellent support act to my favoured head of negotiation, Mr Farage.  Unfortunately, neither is likely to happen and as things look we'll possibly see Mr Corbyn casting his shadow on No.10.  Now that really would screw us lock, stock and barrel...