Boycott Qatar 2022

venturesonsite-qatar-2022-worldcup

I’ve been calling for this for a while now, but the events of the last few days are making it clear to all: England must boycott the Qatar 2022 FIFA world cup.

The bidding process was a shambles. And even if it was all above board, the concept of hosting a world cup in Qatar is absurd. This nation has no footballing infrastructure or culture, almost 90% of the population is foreign-born workers, and slave labour is being used to build the stadiums: an unprecedented 1200+ people have already died.

Worse still, Qatar’s bid was for a summer world cup. FIFA has now changed this to winter. So let’s forget the chaos that a winter world cup will wreak on domestic football. The point is that FIFA has moved the goalposts. Qatar’s bid was for one thing, yet now they will be delivering something else — all with FIFA sanction. This is unfair. Either host it in the Summer as per the bid, and let the dangerous fiasco unfold, or put the tournament up for a rebid again. A precedent exists: the 1986 world cup in Columbia ended up being moved to Mexico.

England should boycott Qatar 2022 and take part in our own “Friendship Cup” involving any nation that wants to join us — perhaps even a one-off revival of the Home Nations Championship. And if UEFA can be big enough to boycott FIFA, then I suggest a special (summer) edition of the European Championships in 2022. The major European footballing nations all have the ability to put on such a major event as we already have all of the relevant infrastructure.

I would hate to see football split as boxing has been, with several “world champions” strutting around. But I doubt that will ever occur. We need to stand up to FIFA and say “enough is enough!” England, as the nation which gave the world the beautiful game, should take the lead. I look forward to the World Friendship Cup in 2022, even if it means England might be squaring off against San Marino, Gibraltar, and East Timor.

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://footyjuice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/venturesonsite-qatar-2022-worldcup.jpg

European Football Needs Fixing

europa_league_top

I’m a big football fan. But I just can’t make myself care about the Europa League. I don’t watch any of the matches, apart from the final and maybe the semis — and even then, I’m not that bothered. Case in point: I forgot the final was on yesterday, so missed it.

I just don’t see the point of the tournament.

Back when I was a kid, European football made sense.

  1. All the Champions of the various nations’ leagues would play each other in the European Champions’ Cup.
  2. All the Champions of the various nations’ cups would play each other in the European Cup Winners Cup.
  3. And all the really excellent also-rans would play in the UEFA Cup.

All three competitions had their own niche. The three worked together well conceptually. And all three were exciting in their own ways.

But I don’t just get the point anymore.

Sure, the winner of the Champions League is the best team in Europe — whether or not they won their own nation’s league. But what are the Europa League winners the champions of, exactly? The not-quite-as-good-as-the-also-rans?

More to the point: the Europa League is a bloated pseudo-epic — like all the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels. The tournament just goes on forever, pointlessly.

It’s clear that European football needs reforming. But how?

A return to the old days clearly isn’t going to happen (national champions to the European Cup, all the other best teams to the UEFA Cup/Europa League). And what’s more, I wouldn’t want it to — not least ‘cos it would mean Arsenal would never get into the Champions League again! But actually, despite being a bit bloated, and a flagrant misnomer!, I actually rather like the modern Champions League.

I make two simple proposals which I think would fix European football.

1. Change the Europa League to the “Europa Challenge Cup”

It would be a pure knock-out tournament. The model would be the FA cup. So, yeah, the better teams would enter the tourney in later stages (think the 3rd Round entrance of Premier League teams in the FA Cup). But, just like the FA Cup, any team could otherwise be drawn against any other team — there would be no seedings.

Unlike the FA Cup, though, I think a two-leg format might be best, except for the final — and possibly the semis.

AND ABSOLUTELY NO CHAMPIONS LEAGUE REJECTS WOULD BE ALLOWED TO JOIN! (currently, clubs that finish third in the group stage of the Champions’ League enter into the Europa League).

Also, this set up would make conceptual sense: every nation has its league tournament and its league tournament; we would now have a Europe-wide league tourney and a Europe-wide cup one.

2. The European Super League: Merge the Two Tourneys

The more radical option: expand the Champs league further by scrapping the Europa League.

Instead of European spots being divvied up between the two competitions, all European qualifying teams go through to the same tournament.

What do you reckon?

featured image from http://romanews.eu/img/1213/logo_competizioni/europa_league_top.jpg

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

Fatty Parry 6 (Update)

fattyparry_beforeafter_newedit

The goals:

  1. To get down to a healthy weight, 12st 7lb – 13st 7lb, by the end of the year.
  2. To get down to my wedding weight (Oct. 2013) of 14st 5lb by the Summer.
  3. To maintain the above weight indefinitely.
  4. To do the above in a healthy and balanced way. Therefore, to increase my overall levels of fitness and mental health.

It’s been over two months since my last Fatty Parry update. I was 16st 3.5lb (227.5lbs, 103kg). So how am I getting on?

Well, if Project Fatty Parry was a sport, it’d be golf: the lower your number (read: pounds), the better. Unfortunately, I seem to think it’s rugby: gain as many points as possible.

For you see, the sad fact is, I am now 16st 8.25lbs (232.25lbs, 105.3kg). Yeah… that’d be a gain of 4lb 12oz since March.

I feel rotten. But then again, what did I expect? No gym for the last two months + lots of junk food = weight gain. In a way, I’m happy I gained a mere pound a fortnight such has been the depth of my depraved and unhealthy lifestyle.

I seriously need to get a grip here. I’ll update you again around the beginning of June. Wish me willpower!

See my previous posts on the subject here: https://doggerelizer.wordpress.com/category/fatty-parry/

This post was written at the beginning of May but not published due to technical difficulties.

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

Stop Ruining Game of Thrones for Me!!!!! [SPOILERS…ish]

game-of-thrones-logo

I sent the following letter to the Metro newspaper (London, UK) on Thursday.

Thank you, Metro, for COMPLETELY RUINING the latest episode of Game of Thrones for me. The large headline and picture (21 May, p23) gave the plot away without me even having to read the article.

I work 15 hour shifts and Game of Thrones is my one crumb of pleasure. I haven’t been able to catch up yet this week due to my long hours.

So, once again, THANKS.

Bryan Parry

Click here for the photo they posted. The headline was “‘Disgusting’ rape scene is attacked by Thrones fans”. Doesn’t take an absolute genius to put two and two together.

Grrr.

Voting Reform

vote-toss

The results of the General Election have thrown up some intriguing uncertainties. For example, will the SNP’s unprecedented success precipitate the break up of the UK?

But one thing is certain from the results: the voting system needs to be changed in time for the next General Election.

Consider this. The UK Independence Party received almost four million votes. That’s the third highest and a total 12.6% share of the vote. Yet the party only received one seat in Parliament. Yet 12.6% of the 650 House of Commons is 82 seats!

Whatever you may think of UKIP, this is a travesty and makes a mockery of any notion of British “democracy”.

But it’s not just UKIP who were done over by our voting system.

The LibDems got two and a half million votes, a 7.9% share. Yet they received 1% of the seats.

The Greens gained 1.15 million votes, a 3.8% share. They only received a single seat.

On the other hand, the SNP got 50% of the vote in Scotland, yet a whopping 95% of all seats! Not quite as dramatic, but the Conservatives won 51% of the seats on a mere 36.9% of the vote.

And bear in mind that 33.9% of the eligible population didn’t even vote! That means the Conservatives were only supported by 24% of the voting age population, yet got more than half the seats.

Our system really is winner takes all.

A lot of people I’ve been speaking to have been really quite confused. So I’ll explain our system.

The country is divided into voting areas (constituencies). Whichever candidate gets the most votes in any area wins that seat. Everyone else gets nothing. This was UKIP’s problem: they came second in 120 seats nationwide! But first in one seat is better than second in a hundred under our system.

Perhaps in the era of two party politics, our current system worked well (for example, in the 1950 General Election, the Conservatives and Labour respectively gained 40% and 46.1% of the vote and 35.2% and 46.1% of the seats). But we no longer exist in that era, and never will again. So it’s time to change.

The only arguments in favour our system are that it’s easy to understand and produces stable government. Well, I think the idea our politics is stable is now laughable. And easy to understand? How can anyone understand a party receiving 12.6% of the vote getting a mere 0.15% of the seats?

The system needs to change. That is clear. But change to what? There are so many alternatives that the mind boggles.

Luckily for us, however, the UK has been engaged in numerous pilot schemes trialling different voting systems for a while now.

  • In the London Assembly, Welsh Assembly, and Scottish Parliament, the Additional Member System is used. It is semi-proportional; winners are chosen as in the General Election, but there are extra seats for each area which are awarded proportionally.
  • The London Mayor is selected by the Supplementary Vote system. Everyone picks their first choice and second choice. If no one candidate receives 50% of the vote, then all candidates except the top two are eliminated, and all second preference votes are redistributed. The candidate with most votes after these supplementary votes are added is the winner.
  • European Parliament elections are done according to the d’Hondt method which, more-or-less accurately, gives a proportional share of seats based on share of vote. For example, in the 2014 European Parliament Elections, the percentage of votes/seats won was: UKIP 26.6/32.88, Labour 24.43/27.40, Conservative 23.05/26.03, Green 6.91/4.11, SNP 2.37/2.74, and so on.
  • In London council elections, each ward elects up to three representatives.
  • There are many other systems in use in the UK. See here for all the details.

Clearly, no voting system is perfect (this is actually scientific fact: just see New Scientist‘s article if you don’t believe me), but we need to make votes count. Some ways include more even-sized constituencies so each vote is equally valuable, instant easy right to sack any MP / call a by-election, direct voting by the population, easily triggerable referenda, and so on. But changing the electoral system is key.

My proposal

Whilst I don’t want to break the link between MP and constituency, nor introduce two kinds of MP, I think the best solution is either a proportional system based on voting regions, e.g., the four nations or sub-regions thereof, or a London-style Additional member system with the current system supplemented by proportional elected regional MPs.

The 2015 General Election results were a travesty and a miscarriage of justice. Indeed, they were a farce. Let’s move into the twenty-first century.

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

References
Full results: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2015/results

Scottish Parliament Electoral System: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/visitandlearn/Education/16285.aspx
European Parliament Electoral System: http://www.europarl.org.uk/en/your_meps/european_elections/the_voting_system.html
Other voting systems used in the UK: http://www.parliament.uk/about/how/elections-and-voting/voting-systems/
European Parliament Election Results 2014: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament_election,_2014_(United_Kingdom)
New Scientist on the impossibility of fair elections: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627581.400-electoral-dysfunction-why-democracy-is-always-unfair.html#.VVYou2dFCM8

Featured image from http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/06.11/images/vote-toss.jpg

 

General Election 2015 Predictions: Aftermath

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The 2015 General Election is almost done, with less than a dozen seats left to declare. David Cameron has won, and with an outright majority.

Huw Edwards on the BBC said, “Nobody predicted this”.

Well, not quite nobody, Huw:

https://doggerelizer.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/general-election-2015-predictions/

As you can see, a nobody predicted this. If everybody wants to come to this nobody’s house and offer me a top boffin job and / or fat wodges of cash in return for my god-like insights, I will consider your offer.

But how did I get this right when top bods around the country didn’t? Was it luck? Was it insider knowledge? Was it a time machine or a cellophane-sealed batch of NZT-48?

Actually, it was simply a matter of being realistic, objective, and following the ebb and flow both on the streets (as a political activist, myself; I’m not a drug dealer) and in the media.

But my supernatural gift of foresight comes as a small crumb of relief because the party I voted for did not win. Also, I didn’t put a damn bet on!

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.link2portal.com

General Election 2015 Predictions

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I’ve been saying this for weeks, but I’ll say it here so there’s proof of how prescient and insightful I am, so all will flock hither to worship at my feet. Unless I’m wrong, of course, in which case I’ll promptly delete this post and deny ever having written it!

  • Everyone’s talking about coalition. Will it be Conservative-LibDem? Or Labour-SNP? Or Labour-LibDem? Or a “progressive” coalition of  Labour, SNP, LibDem, and Green? I personally think one party will win outright; no coalition will happen.
  • Despite the polls and the poll of polls saying for a while now that Labour will win most seats (if not an outright majority), I think that the Conservatives will win an outright, albeit narrow, majority. P.S. This is not wishful thinking: I’m not a Tory!
  • UKIP MPs Douglas Carwell and Mark Reckless will both lose their seats. UKIP will win a grand total of 1 or 0 seats.

Friday will tell whether I am a genius, or this post never happened.

featured image from http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/624/media/images/81891000/jpg/_81891191_f40ce8ec-ccb8-4108-892b-50ae511a42d8.jpg

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

Vote Hope, Not Fear

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Tomorrow, you will vote in a General Election.

All of the main parties are trying to scare you into voting for them.

The Conservatives tell you about the horror of a Labour-SNP coalition.

Labour tell you about the horror of a Conservative government which will cut, cut, cut.

The LibDems tell you about the horror of a hung parliament.

But I say:

VOTE HOPE, NOT FEAR.

Don’t vote to keep the other guy out.

Don’t vote for the lesser of two evils.

Vote for who you want to win. Even if it’s the Greens or UKIP and they won’t win anyway.

Be brave. Vote for your favourite candidate or party. Don’t vote for who you   wouldn’t hate the most to win: only by being brave like this, will we eventually change politics in this country.

featured image from http://www.newstatesman.com/sites/default/files/images/Salmond%20Miliband%20Call%20The%20Tune%20(3).jpg

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

General Election 2015: Ideologies

 

liblabcon

The General Election is on 7th May 2015. So the question is, who should you vote for? 

There’s lots of reasons to vote for one party or another. But me, I like to know where people stand. I mean, where they really stand, not what they say. And whilst policies may change or be ill-thought-out, the fundamental underlying ideology which motivated those policies is key. Therefore, voting for the underlying ideology is a good reason to vote one way or another (even if some of the policies may be a tad dodgy).

The following represents what I believe to be a fair, one-sentence summary of the core ideology of each of most of the prominent British parties. I try to be as neutral, yet blunt, as possible — but you’ll see that I can only go so far on that point.

VOTE BNP if you believe in the rights of white, Anglo-Celtic Britons being put first.

VOTE GREEN if you believe that the environment is the single most important and pressing issue of our age and you believe that socialist-leaning policy can solve this.

VOTE PLAID CYMRU if you believe in putting Wales above everything else and that this should be done with socialist-leaning policies.

VOTE SNP if you believe in putting Scotland above everything else and this should be done with socialist-leaning policies.

VOTE UKIP if you believe that democracy is the most important issue of all and that British democracy is best served by leaving the EU and that this should be done with mixed / centrist policies.

VOTE CONSERVATIVE, LABOUR, OR LIBERAL DEMOCRAT if you like a blander style of politics with no underlying ideological commitments whatsoever.

SAY NO TO THE FALSE CHOICE OF THE “LESSER OF TWO EVILS” PHONY PARADIGM

Labour are no longer a socialist party. The LibDems are not really a liberal or a democrat party. The Conservatives are not a conservative nor a nationalist party. These three parties have no underlying ideology any more and they therefore cannot be trusted on anything they say.

futurama

The whole thing reminds me of the following skits from The Simpsons and Futurama.

The politics of failure have failed. It’s time to make them work again!
The Simpsons http://youtu.be/Tv5CT7r3Txo

[presidential candidates Jack Johnson and John Jackson having a debate]
Jack Johnson: It’s time that someone had the strength to stand up and say, ‘I’m against all those things that everybody hates!’
John Jackson: Now, I respect my opponent, I think he’s a good man, but quite frankly: I agree with everything he just said!
[…]
Jack Johnson: I say your titanium three cent tax goes too far!
John Jackson: And I say your titanium three cent tax doesn’t go too far enough!
Futurama http://youtu.be/Fs9P44voNfU, http://youtu.be/f69PnAUwv-E

People say, ‘A vote for UKIP is a vote for Ed Milliband’. People say, ‘A vote for the Greens is a vote for David Cameron’. People say, ‘Let’s vote for the lesser of two evils’. And most egregiously of all, people say, ‘A vote for anyone other than Labour or Conservative is a wasted vote’.

Well I say, a vote for something other than that which I believe in is itself a wasted vote. If I believe in Slightly Sillyism, and therefore vote for the Slightly Silly Party, then my vote is not wasted even if no one else votes Slightly Silly. Why not? Because otherwise, I’d be voting Labour or the Conservatives, neither of whom I support, and so voting for them would indeed be a wasted (and an idiotic) vote.

REJECT this phony “Vote Evil A to keep Worse Evil B out” paradigm.

REJECT this phony “A vote for a smaller party is a wasted vote” paradigm.

REJECT the LibLabCon who all share the same values and background, i.e., those of the ruling class and the old boy network, and who have no coherent ideology, i.e., no principles whatsoever.

DO NOT vote Labour, LibDem, or Conservative just because you always have. DO NOT vote Labour, LibDem, or Conservative because of what they used to stand for.

VOTE FOR an ideology. REJECT LibLabCon. Even if this means spoiling your ballot by writing a minority party in who aren’t standing in your constituency, e.g., the National Liberal Party, the English Democrats, the Christian Democrats, and so on.

Also, check out this political alignment quiz and this link to the manifestoes.

Happy voting!

featured image from https://poppyreece.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/liblabcon.jpg

John Jackson and Jack Johnson image from http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/nonciclopedia/images/2/2c/Jack_Johnson_e_John_Jackson_(futurama).jpg/revision/latest?cb=20120429093102

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry