Archive | February, 2013

Chris Tavare ..an appreciation.

28 Feb

The name Chris Tavare will never strike terror through the minds of bowlers in the way Viv Richards or Brian Lara ever did, however there has been an unfairness to him over the years. Tavare is seen as a dull , slow or even boring cricketer. Now firstly I take issue with the concept of a dull or boring cricketer. Secondly his reputation appears both unfair and to miss importantly the context in which he played for England.
Cricket in the age of 20/20 should recall that life is not all chocolate cake , there is a need for an appreciation of bread and butter. Tavare ( can we call him Tav or The Tav or The TAvman or even Tavmeister ?) would never receive $500,000 in an IPL auction. Im sure he wouldnt want to. Though he was undervalued as a test cricketer as much a product of the english set up in the 80s than his own attributes.

However here he is making an absolute cock up of a straight forward delivery …

His test career lasted 9 years but most of it was in a 4 year period. In 31 mathces he played at 1,2,3 and 4 when the team seemed devoid of any ideas what its top 5 looked like. between 82 and 84 he operated mainly as an opener , not his natural position. He did manage either a 50 or 100 in 25% of his innings and averaged 32.5

Heres an interesting fact , his contribution to the Manchester test of 81 was 147 runs. England won by 103 runs. You can keep your 118 off 102 balls , it was ” The Tav ” wot won it.
Something else to remember , he was the only success on the dreadful tour of India that followed. 149 off 303 balls. Thats pretty impressive.

In 33 innings as an opener his partner changed 10 times. How is that for selection rotation.

Where to from here..

27 Feb

The wall street journal provides some clear analysis on the Italian Election ..http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323384604578325992879185934.html

The key question really is what will another election solve, everyone calls for one in these situations but i would happily wager the outcome of the election will last 2 years. Why ? The biggest winners have little to say and will have the most to lose. They will push for concessions now.

Keep your context on

26 Feb

The 1975 Italian election ( local and regional ) were held against a background of two things. First the law change that gave women equality and secondly Violence. Several deaths including an anti-fascist demonstrator who was run over by the police. The Communists received significant vote increase and the left alliance looked strong. They took control in many regions.
Later that year the American ambassador said the US would oppose any PCI involvement in the Italian Government.
The 1976 National election featured even more violence and deaths. The PCI received a record vote.

I put this merely as context for the current Italian election result. A comedian has gained a good share of the vote and the bond market is wetting itself. Come on 2013 keep your context on.

More strange journalism

24 Feb

From the GUardian website , more strange journalism on the Italian election.

First Lizzy Davies renminds us the ” contest watched closely by the markets ” i presume she doesnt mkean the fruit and veg stall holders or the fish market. Why do Journos keep trotting out this rubbish without explaining why the bond market may react to particular outcomes …

THen the standard Italian election 101 ” send the country into a period of political stalemate ” yes that old standard.

John Hooper also on the guardian..
” The result will be a thats enough ” , this based on Grillo maybe getting 16% of the vote , remember that as he then said ” Talk of M5S overhauling the centre left PD ” talk of a party with significantly less support being bigger than another. Well there may be talk but its not by statisticians is it ? Theres a lot of talk about building a ship out of old bits of wood at my house …doesnt mean it has any sense to it . Just strange journalism .

Five predictions on the Italian election

23 Feb

1.its the pope wot won it
2. Western media will be fixed on crisis, unstable and the bond markets reaction
3. This is Grillos high water mark
4. Monti has failed to get his point or role across in this election
5. Even if he gets no votes Silvio won’t go away easily
6. The phrase former communist will be back in vogue

Me vs Pete Waterman

19 Feb

photoA point on the way to an apology for a history …or Me vs Pete Waterman. Ps I didn’t win.

It was the summer of 1991, and there I was casually minding my own business, attempting to impress a girl and look my coolest. We were crossing the road to get a bus, which seems to be something that has gone out of fashion. I think the whole boy girl thing must be so different these days. You no longer need to spend dreary hours on buses, just send an email. And the whole ritual of telephoning was a nightmare. I presume you just text people these days, and don’t have to avoid speaking to her dad ! Or worse. I do remember calling a girls house once and her younger sister answered. I hear her scramble off , tell the girl who it is , there’s some muffled talk then she comes back ” she said it’s the wrong number ” Oh now I find that story hilarious but at the time ..

Anyway I digress, the girl crossed the road first and safely ( and oddly was a few steps ahead of me but I wasn’t reading that body language ) im still on the road when around the corner comes a classic car driven at top speed. It may have been a rover it may have been a BMW I don’t know but it was expensive. As it zooms past, and as im a few cans of special brew down on a hot day I fall to the ground. Im not sure if the car hit me but I wasn’t hurt. However one thing I have always been good at is mock falling over. I still do it today much to the embarrassment of my children. Anyway my legs go upright and im on my back, girl is not that interested. The car screeches to a halt. And out comes the driver. Girl starts laughing, and I look up. Its Pete Waterman, the corny pop impresario. From the laughter I make some kind of barbed comment, lets say it rhymed with ” cooking Pete Waterman “. Alas he is sharper …on this day anyway ..and retorts with ” I thought you punks were tough ” gets in the car and zooms off like the illegitimate offspring of toad of toad hall and Peter Stringfellow, assuming transgenic science could deliver that.

So at this point I was harbouring some issues
• In 1991 I had good cheek bones and jaw line , at least a cursoury hello you may have the makings of a pop star especially with that comedy Norman wisdom type fall
• Although he wouldn’t have heard it , I could hold a note
• Girl clearly found this funny , but not much sympathy for the fallen hero

Which leads me to two things , the specials a band Waterman once managed had it wrong. Its not Bernie Rhodes who knows don’t argue it was Pete ..who did for me good and proper

Second thing ..next and honestly the last time I saw her she had her face planted firmly on someone elses lips ..you see it was me vs pete waterman and I lost …twice !

Northern league are serious …but seriously mad

16 Feb

http://news.yahoo.com/italys-northern-league-vows-paralyze-next-government-153851374.html

You will see with just over a week to go the right wing bloc are getting serious about what they will do …which is block things.

As a former Avon man this guy is another image over substance politico. Do we learn much , not really only that Silvio seems to be pulling the strings ..

Kicking the tyres

12 Feb

Unsurprisingly for a small country there are few books written about New Zealand politics and fewer about the electoral process. Now that Auckland University are no longer producing their excellent electoral studies , which were mainly written by psephologists, the Victoria University press series , gamely edited by Johansson and Levine is the last man standing.

Once again the editors have pulled together a fine volume , trying, perhaps because of the lack of options , to cover many bases. there’s an academic overview where I only lost Colin James detailed numerical analysis seven times (or 6.95 with overhang ). A section on party perspectives , then some detailed analysis of the election and the role of media or TV etc. In addition this volume also covers off the referendum on the electoral system. Sadly there is no concise statistical analysis of the results which would add greatly to the books all round scope.
Whilst the quality of the analysis has gone up over the years the party political section had seemed to go down, but ill get to that.
The analysis of the election is fascinating in that policy seems to have little role. The National party had this in the bag before the start, all that remained was the partnerships needed. And here lies the recurring story of the 2011 election. Alas we have to always append a gate to any minor scandal these days and Teapot gate was the story. The fact that I don’t think a teapot ever reached the table seems irrelevant. That meeting shaped the election. For three reasons. Firstly it opened the door for NZ first , secondly it created a battle at last. But not between Key and Goff but Key and the media. Thirdly it seemed the started the descent of Key. He looked unassured and possible heavy handed in his handling of the fall out.
The other recurring issue is the rugby World Cup. It seems foolish to assign any impact on the election , but almost every commentator feels obliged to mention its impact or lack of.
The partnership thread runs through this book. Despite the significant vote the National party received at the 2011 and 2008 elections its chances in 2014 look slim. The reason for this is that it’s MMP partners are all fragmenting or shrinking. United Future and ACT may dissapear. The Maori party have shrunk and may need to disassociate with National to survive. So the options look slim next time , unless the relationship with NZ first thaws.

A final comment on the book must be the sections on party political perspectives. Joyce’s chapter on Nationals campaign is bland and offers little in how the campaign really went. Both Peters and Dunne use their chapters to bash the media , settle scores and generally point out how well they did and how we all got it wrong. Maybe future books should get campaign managers to write these chapters , they used to add to our understanding of the campaign ..this is no longer the case.

Sovereignty without Nations

5 Feb

How do groups of people maintain order when there is no legal system. Its the issue that has taxed political theorists for many years. However there are more recent examples of groups living without nation-states which could provide some answers.

I have been reading Paul Moons ” A Savage Country ” – The untold story of New Zealand in the 1820s. Which is timely as Waitangi Day approached. Moon is a prolific historian and not without his critics. I was hopeful that this book would ofer a light on what “life ” was like in that era. As Moon explains there were very few Europeans at that time and the British government had little appetite to colonise. The churches led the way with missionaries and the traders with guns.

Unfortunately Moon seems to overemphasise the role of guns on tribes. Now im not dismissing it , but it becomes the main thread of the book. Guns turned tribal power. One tribe looking for a battle , at what is now the end of my driveway , were headed off 20 kms away and suffered great loses to the musket. Moon focuses a lot on inter tribal conflict and how those tribes jostled with each other to make gains and alliances. This would seem to substantiate much international relations theory. Theres also great asides around early French and Russian interest in colonising and in the stories of the first Pakeha-maori.

Where I feel short is how did tribes keep order, Moon gives me plenty of gore around “bad manners ” but litle on order or justice. I say this because it does intrigue me , how they managed to retain justice and order prior to the legal system and also because I have Jared Diamonds new book on my desk and it seems pre-colonial is the new black.

Silvio owns Milan ..

5 Feb

Milan owns Mario ..Mario does this ….this might shore up some of the male vote which is shocking ..