A few things on my mind to share with you today, in no particular order:
Luis Suarez – Let’s get this one out of the way first, shall we?? The punishment has been meted out by FIFA today and frankly, I think it is an insult. Not only to the rest of the professional footballing world but to the millions of kids across the world who are growing up having his example to look to for what is acceptable in a game of football. That a man who has not once, not twice but THREE times has bitten and injured fellow footballers on the field has been given a paltry ban and a measly £66k fine is downright wrong. He would earn that much money in two days playing for Liverpool, and after his recent knee surgery/injury then I’m sure that not playing football for the next couple of months is only going to give him the holiday he wants to rest up. Hardly a deterrent for future biting incidents by him, and sends out completely the wrong message to up and coming footballers who see that and are free to think it’s acceptable behaviour on a football pitch. The most disturbing thing about the whole shebang is that Suarez himself doesn’t think he did anything wrong, and the Uruguayan FA Chairman says that FIFA have over-reacted and have convicted him without any evidence. No evidence?!
Jimmy Savile – my stomach is churning thinking about writing this next bit, but a report has been published today about the fuller picture about Jimmy Savile’s conduct and its findings are horrific. If the knowledge of his activity wasn’t already sickening enough we learn today that he assaulted people indiscriminately, no matter what their age, their gender, their consciousness, their mental state or even whether they were alive or not. We have learned more today that he “interfered” with dead bodies in hospitals where he was playing at being a porter. The press is already awash with stories from his victims and I don’t intend to go into particular ones here, but I will just say that there are going to be lots and lots of people who were in a position to stop him in the 70s, the 80s and the 90s who should be quaking in their boots now and fearing that knock on the door from the police who will be asking some very awkward questions of them. Namely, why did they allow him to continue knowing full well his reputation that followed him like a bad smell? If they didn’t listen to the children who were saying he had assaulted them (since when did kids in the 70s ever get listened to about sexual abuse?), at least they could have listened to the stories from his minders, his bodyguards, his followers, the adults he assaulted, his colleagues at the radio stations, staff at the BBC, nurses at the hospitals he had access to… Plenty of people must have known what he was up to yet nobody, NOBODY dared to speak out. They should hang their heads in shame.
Scratch ‘n’ Sniff – Police forces in the Northwest are distributing scratch and sniff cards to households across the region to educate householders about what cannabis smells like to help them identify it in their neighbourhood. No, I’m not kidding you, this is a real story. I didn’t know what to make of this when I first heard it – I actually thought it was someone winding me up – but when I looked into it I found that it isn’t the first time police have used this tactic to educate people. There was a campaign back in October 2013 and another in March 2013 in other parts of the country which must have been at least moderately successful if GMP and Cumbria Police are following suit now. But my question is this: is there anybody who DOESN’T know what cannabis smells like?? You don’t have to have smoked it to know what it smells like, surely? And if you can smell it (regardless of whether you know what it is or not), would you report it to the police anyway? Looking at how thinly spread the thin blue line is already, would they take you seriously enough to investigate your reports of smelling something iffy? Or would they rely on their own tried and tested methods of spotting cannabis farms – like using thermal cameras to see where the hotspots are? I rather think that neighbourly “spying” isn’t going to work as well as they think it will as a result of these scratch and sniff cards through our letterboxes, and all the exercise will do is give a free hit for those who are so inclined to have a go.