Monday, 19 October 2015

Blowing the whistle ...

Scotland's rugby side put up yet another 'plucky Scot' performance and were denied because a highly respected international referee, Mr Joubert, made a error in what he saw happening. I will leave the technicalities to the experts but there is a simple rule which is the basis of all team sports, you play to the whistle, right or wrong. 

You might think a supposed 'good chaps' game like 'rugger' that would be that, hard luck boys, you did us proud, better luck next time. Those who have been lucky enough to play at a high level of any sport understand no matter how aggrieved you may feel, it is not going to change the decision and some point down the line you will get a similar decision in your favour. That is the nature of competitive sport at all levels

When you hear a supposed 'great' of the game basically calling for the referee's bollocks as soon as the final whistle blows, then decrying Mr Joubert for walking off at a rush, probably because he had seen the big screen 'slo-mo' and realised what he had done, you really need to stop and dwell a marching step. Ask yourself this simple question, "Did anyone die as a direct result of his decision?

The media is calling for the poor man to be stripped of his international referee status as, all of a sudden, a man thought competent to referee the 2011 World Cup Final is now clearly an utter refereeing imbecile. The media hubris is palpable and falls just short of expecting the South African Authorities to exile the poor man to Robin Island for life.

Back in the real world, a mole in the US State Department has leaked a 'Situation Report' from Conan Powell, US Military Chief of Staff, telling Mr Bush, prior to the Camp David talks, Tony Blair will rubber stamp the Iraq regime change while pretending to seek peaceful resolution through the UN. Now there is a decision, unlike Mr Joubert's, which did cost and is still costing lives.

Just where are the self same London Parish Pump media giants calling for Mr Blair's permanent removal from public life, the reform of the system of governance in the UK and Mr Blair's bollocks on a plate?

You will have to look hard beyond page 2 of the 'The National' for any front page copy in the London Parish Pump Press on Blair's evident lying and distortion on this issue as long as it is the residents of the Middle East who are dying, what does it matter beyond a few crocodile tears?

In the meantime the Russians, the USA and their proxies continue to put even more petrol on the flames in the service of what the USA and Russia see as their own self interest in the Middle East, as the map of who is bombing who from the air and who is murdering who on the ground gets ever more convoluted, now reaching 'Gorgon Knot' proportions. It could be described as being of 'Life of Brian' proportions as the myriad of groups split, fight, kill and realign on a daily basis depending on whether the Shi'ites, Sunni, secularists or Kurds are that day's bad boys, if it was not so serious.

There are three regional states who could bring this to a fairly rapid end. Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia given they all have a high level of self interest as what is a supposed, proxy religious war between members of Islam's two major sects across Iraq and Syria. A war which is now coming home to roost in their own territories, with increasing levels of religious, sectarian violence in their own countries. In this alone there should be a high degree of mutual self interest. These three could say stop, cut off funding to their preference groups and look at creating a Middle East version of the EU to give all the ethnic groupings in the region the chance to sort themselves out and undo the lunacy which was the 1919 Balfour Settlement. An equivalent of Alexander taking his sword to the problem of the 'Gorgon Knot'.  If Russia and the US were serious about bringing peace to this area you would see a joint resolution at the UN to this effect but you will not, because neither Russia nor the USA trusts the other as far as they could throw them and does not wish to give up their 'client state' and direct influence in the region via Syria and Israel respectively.

You have the same problem with the two major oil producers, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Neither trusts the other on ethnic or religious grounds as both are inflexible on the 'fact' the others form of Islam is a heresy. Throw in the economic power via oil production Saudi Arabia wields and apart from the deaths of fellow Muslims they have little to bring them together as each sees them self as the major power broker, via religious nutters (aka terrorist groups), in the region. So for now Iran is best pals with Russia and Saudi Arabia is best pals with the USA.

You would think that Turkey, as a more secular and Europhilic state, could act as the catalyst to end the mayhem Bush and Blair's regime change in Iraq has created. Logic says as part of NATO and pretensions to join the EU surely Turkey could bang some heads together as it could be in the country's interest to become the portal of support from the EU to the region.

Yet Turkey finds itself between a rock and a hard place as it still retains political pretensions of being a regional power, hanging over from the days of the Ottoman Empire, and for that reason alone both Iran and Saudi Arabia are united in opposing this perceived threat. A further complication is while Turkey's Muslim population is predominantly Sunni (and so should favour Saudi Arabia) they share the problem of the Kurds (who are seeking their own autonomous state) with Iran. Throw in the increasing differences between the predominantly secular Turks on the European side of the Bosphorus and the Muslim majority in Asia Minor, represented in the growing tensions between Istanbul and Ankara over the increasingly Islamic State style of Government exercised by the capital, and the Turkish Government does not have much in the way of wiggle room itself.

Turkey turning a blind eye to Iranian supported groups attacking the Kurds has brought violence and suicide bombings back on the streets of Turkey's main cities with the end of the Turkish Kurds peace agreement with Ankara. Selling oil on behalf of Saudi's supposed proxies (ISIS) has not made them many friends either. The continuing blockade of their border with Syria annoys both the Russians who wish to support their client state Syria by back door means and the USA who sees the Kurds in the border area as the only effective group on the ground, in Iraq and Syria, who are taking on ISIS.

Now whose decision has had the greatest impact on the world as a whole?

Mr Joubert or Messers Blair and Bush?


  1. As a paranoid conspiracy theorist, thanks for the insights on the Middle East conflict. However, was Scotland deliberately prevented from being the only home nation to do well at the rugby? Or was it a simple matter of audience numbers for TV consumption? or was the French referee punishing Scotland for dragging the French Ambassador into Carmichael's saga? or did Karma bite back at what would seem at a rough guess to be a no supporting section of the population?

  2. Joubert F'd up, as soon as he saw the big screen slow motion replay he knew he had F'd up and was heading for a verbal bashing so he did a runner, probably out of embarrassment. The crowd were already none too happy about some calls against Scotland in what was not one of Joubert's better games, the yellow card which was not, for one. I think the whole occasion got to him and in his attempt to 'control the game' he got ever more anal, made more errors, so got more tense and even more persnickety. He made some iffy calls against the Aussies as well. He simply had a terrible game. PS Mr Joubert is from SA - hence the Robin Island reference, if he was French it would have been 'Isle d' Diable' ... :-)

  3. Dear Peter, his SouthAfricanicity answers one of the theories. On a more serious note, the acceptance of arbitrary arbitration in a professional sport removes the sport from the profession. At least the televised with an international audience "sports" of football, rugby and cricket are part of the entertainment circus and seem more driven by the gambling fraternity than anything else. When the rules of a sport no longer need apply, it is no longer a sport, but something else - we just have to figure out what - or not, as the case may be.

  4. It does seem a bit strange then, if he knew what he had done immediately he did it. Long as he did not know what he was doing, sounds like he had the jitters.

    They could not have allowed Scotland to win,(?) just like in the Indy ref, which has and will for some, adversely affect lives to within a whisker of survival.