Sunday, April 27, 2008

United Close in on (a) Title

The problem with top of the table deciders is that, in Promroiship terms, they always end up in draws. Luckily, however, in the Promroiship, Chelsea have fallen well behind Manchester United over the weeks as the BBC (and everyone else) regarded Arsenal as the title challengers. Yesterdays big match ended up with Manchester United returning to the top of the Promroiship and looking likely to win the inaugural Promroiship title.

Reading, however, are putting up a great challenge, only conceding seven points to Manchester United after their nil-nil bore draw with Wigan featured fifth on Match of the Day, but ended getting the second highest Promroiship score of the day. With the running order being decided more by the effect on the important parts of the Premier League table rather than the quality of the matches (or number of goals scored), we saw some high scoring matches being left very late on with the last two not actually scoring any points in the Promroiship; they might as well have stayed at home. Even Gary Lineker remarked upon this as he presented the last match, a meaningless mid-table fixture between West Ham and Newcastle. Given this, the running order yesterday probably could not be faulted unless you live in the North East and had to wait until the penultimate match to see an exciting local derby between Sunderland and Middlesborough.

Just to remind you, weekly points are calculated using the formula (m-g)*n where

m is the points for position in the running order (10 for appearing in first match, 9 for second etc)
g is the number of goals in match
n is the number of Premier League matches on MOTD

Promroiship Results April 26th 2008 (Match of the Day Running Order)

Chelsea v Manchester United...49
Manchester City v Fulham......28
Birmingham City v Liverpool...28
Tottenham Hotspur v Bolton....35
Wigan Athletic v Reading......42
Sunderland v Middlesborough....0
West Ham v Newcastle United....0

The Promroiship Table after Round 17

Manchester United ...510*
Reading .............505*
Arsenal .............469
Fulham ..............470*
Birmingham City......405*
Chelsea .............395*
Bolton Wanderers ....382*
Tottenham Hotspur....375*
West Ham United......368*
Sunderland ..........357*
Newcastle United.....347*
Manchester City .....335*
Liverpool ...........327*
Middlesbrough .......322*
Portsmouth ..........300
Wigan Athletic ......298*
Aston Villa .........290
Everton .............289
Blackburn Rovers.....253
Derby County.........219

* indicates match played in Round 17

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Can't Stop! Hemming Time!

According to the Stirrer, John Hemming has released a new single highlighting injustice in the family courts ("Help the Children?"). His music career has known better days, however, having been a huge superstar in the early 90's. I have a copy of one of his earlier albums.

Well, I've never seen them in the same room.

Picture courtesy of John Hemming.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Candidate Apathy

We hear a lot about voter apathy, but what about when the candidates cannot even be bothered with democracy?

I went to the Balsall Heath Hustings last night, looking forward to listening to a debate between the candidates so I could decide who to vote for having recently moved to the area. When I got there, I was very disappointed to find that only two candidates had turned up, namely the Respect candidate and the Conservative candidate. Clearly the candidates for the Labour Party, the Lib Dems, the Greens, the BNP and the Independent Community Party had more important things to do. Apparently Mohammed Azim, the Labour party candidate has not been present at the hustings for the last three years!

This leaves me in a bit of a problem. I was not planning on voting for either of the parties who actually turned up. What should I do?

It looks like I have three options:

Vote for one of the parties that turned up. At least they care, even if I do not agree with what they stand for

2) Give the candidates who did not turn up the benefit of the doubt and vote based on election literature, or relevant ward, local and/ or national issues?

3) Follow the example of the majority of the candidates, reject my democratic rights and do something more important instead?

I am being serious when I say my vote is up for grabs, so please, whatever your party allegiance, use the comments below to inform me of what you think the important issues are at this election and who I should vote for. All comments will be considered seriously.

For context, the 2007 results were as follows:

Sparkbrook Ward, Birmingham City Council

Candidate Party Number of Votes
Shokat Ali Community Independent Party (UK)


Charles John Alldrick The Green Party


Mohammed Azim The Labour Party


Arthur Charles Botterill British National Party


Anwar Hussain The Conservative Party


Mohammed Ishtiaq Respect


Dilawar Khan Liberal Democrat


Candidate Elected - Mohammed Ishtiaq

A review of the husting is available here.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A River of Blood

Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the infamous "Rivers of Blood" speech made by Enoch Powell in the Midland Hotel in Birmingham. I do not know what to make of Mr Powell, who was probably as far from a caricature of a knuckle-dragging racist as you could get, and was actually a very intelligent guy who had a great understanding of other cultures and could speak around 10 languages. I will mark the anniversary by having a go at his less spectacular self-appointed heir, former PPC for Halesowen and Rowley Regis, local Tory-nut Nigel Hastilow, who not so long ago came up with the original idea that Enoch Powell was right.

In his recent tribute to the speech in the Torygraph, he comes up with the following classic quote, the kind that has been appearing on his blog for the two years or more since I have been linking to it, well before he became famous for that article in the Express & Swastika:
There have been plenty of incidents, from the riots of the Eighties to the 7/7 London bombings, where blood has been shed and where, one way or another, immigration might be blamed. How much blood constitutes a river?

Well let's work it out Mr Hastilow. The Roe River disputedly holds the title of the shortest river in the world (along with the D river). Unfortunately, I cannot find any information on the volume of either, but the Spring that discharges water into the Roe River, on its way to the River Missouri, conservatively discharges around 150 million gallons of water a day.

The average human body contains around 10 pints of blood. I think that is British Imperial compared to the probable American Imperial figure quoted above. For the purposes of the calculation it is unimportant, as I am estimating and the difference is not that huge. There are 8 pints in every gallon, which leads me to conclude that 120 million human beings would have to die through acts related to immigrantion for a river of blood to flow for one day. That is twice the population of the United Kingdom.

Nigel Hastilow need not be to disheartend. We could have chosen a longer river with a smaller throughput. Or perhaps the river only needs to flow for a few seconds. Nonetheless, there would have to be a hell of a lot more immigration and killings related to it before we could describe the result as a "river of blood".

If my calculations above are correct, using this definition as a river, neither 7/7 (52 people) nor 9/11 (3000 people) nor the Iraq War (very conservatively 30,000) nor even the Jewish Holocaust (6 million) come close to becoming a river. You have to start thinking in terms of the Bubonic Plague (75 to 200 million) or the two World Wars combined (20 million in the first, 70 million in the second, a total of 90 million according to Wikipedia; a more consevative 70 million total on this website) to get close. Many right-wingers claim that Communism is responsible for the deaths of 100 million people, while some estimates (particularly by black historians) of deaths caused by the global slave trade in Africans come up with a figure of around 50 - 100 million as a conservative figure (eg see the Black Holocaust for Beginners), although classical counts are around 10-20 million.

Was there a point to this macabre post? I was trying to show that emotive language adds nothing to the real issues caused by immigration. Enoch Powell never used the term "Rivers of Blood" (although arguably he said much worse). That task was left to his modern day wannabes, whose sensationalist drivel makes more noise that real evidence ever could.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Tight Finish

(sigh) It looked like being such a good season. After yesterdays matches, however, it now looks as if the Blues will be relegated and the SCUM may end up with the double.

Or a treble. Manchester United closed the gap at the top of the Promroiship after being first on Match of the Day despite taking part in the late kick-off which usually runs later in the show. The BBC clearly believed the draw against Blackburn was more important than the twists and turns taking place in the relegation battle. The Promroiship now looks set for an exciting finish, with only 8 points separating the top three teams. Despite being third, I rate Manchester United favourites now that Arsenal's Premier League title hopes are over, unless Reading can create an upset by being involved in some low scoring relegation battles in the last few games. It may well depend upon how quickly the Premier League title is decided.

Promroiship Results April 19th 2008 (Match of the Day Running Order)

Blackburn v Man United...48
Middlesborough v Bolton..48
Fulham v Liverpool.......36
Arsenal v Reading........30
Wign v Tottenham.........24
West Ham v Derby.........12

The Promroiship Table after Round 16

Arsenal .............469*
Reading .............463*
Manchester United ...461*
Fulham ..............442*
Birmingham City......377
West Ham United......368*
Sunderland ..........357
Newcastle United.....347
Bolton Wanderers ....347*
Chelsea .............346
Tottenham Hotspur....340*
Middlesbrough .......322*
Manchester City .....307
Portsmouth ..........300
Liverpool ...........299*
Aston Villa .........290
Everton .............289
Wigan Athletic ......256*
Blackburn Rovers.....253*
Derby County.........219*

* indicates match played in Round 16

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Boycott London 2012

As the Olympic torch arrives in India, home of a largest exiled Tibetan community, on its round the world tour, there have been more demonstrations against China's occupation of Tibet following the ones in Europe and America last week. I think it is great that what was intended to be a propaganda coup by the Chinese government has ended up as being a great advert for the Free Tibet campaign. The truth is Beijing should never have got the Olympics, although it has to be said that part of the reason the IOC did award the Olympics to Beijing was because the government claimed improved human rights was going to be one of the legacies.

However, awarding 2008 to Beijing was not the last mistake the IOC made. They dropped an even bigger clanger by awarding 2012 games to London. Hopefully the run-up to two weeks of national embarrassment will be preceded by round the world demonstrations against the awarding of the games to this "world-class city". Here are some of the things one could protest about:

Operation Iraqi Liberation (do not worry, in four years we will still be there)
Free Afghanistan
Free the Chagos Islands
Libere Las Malvinas
Free Scotland
Unite Ireland
Free Wales
Free Cornwall
Free Birmingham

Or even better, perhaps the United Kingdom of Greater London could make the M25 into a moat and declare independence. Then we could all sod off. I am struggling to think of a catchy slogan for this cause however.

Any ideas?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Derby Hit for Six

With the big four not playing, it was a chance for those involved in the Premier League's relegation battle to get some much needed exposure on MOTD, with Reading taking full advantage and moving up to second in the Promroiship, overtaking Manchester United, whose recent fixation with Sunday fixtures seems to have derailed their Promroiship hopes.

There could not be much argument with the running order on MOTD last night. The first match featured two clubs invovled in the relegation battle, the next the other team in the relegation zone and then the fourth-from-bottom club against one chasing fourth place. Derby escaped being last by being thumped six-nil by Aston Villa, a high-scoring match which heightened their chances of finishing last in the Promroiship; despite their main rivals Blackburn not playing, they only picked up seven points as a result, lifting them above Blackburn by only two points, a margin they should have increased by much more.

The programme continued with the Sunderland match, a team who are not completely safe, and then two mid-table obscurity matches, ending with a goalless draw at Porstmouth. Pompey may already be in the cup final, but if they do not ruthlessly chase 5th place in the Premier League they could end up with a very disappointing Promroiship position.

A reminder, points are calculated using the following formula:

(Points for position in running order - number of goals in match) * number of Premier League matches on MOTD

where a team gets 10 points for featuring in the first Premier League match, 9 for the second etc.

Promroiship Results April 12th 2008 (Match of the Day Running Order)

Reading v Fulham...........56
Bolton v West Ham..........56
Birmingham v Everton.......42
Derby v Aston Villa........7
Sunderland v Man City......21
Tottenham v Middlesbrough..21
Portsmouth v Newcastle.....28

The Promroiship Table after Round 15

Arsenal .............439
Reading .............433*
Manchester United ...413
Fulham ..............406*
Birmingham City......377*
Sunderland ..........357*
West Ham United......356*
Newcastle United.....347*
Chelsea .............346
Tottenham Hotspur....316*
Manchester City .....307*
Portsmouth ..........300*
Bolton Wanderers ....299*
Aston Villa .........290*
Everton .............289*
Middlesbrough .......274*
Liverpool ...........263
Wigan Athletic ......232
Derby County.........207*
Blackburn Rovers.....205

* indicates match played in Round 15

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Will Blackburn Finish Ninth?

As I pointed out in my last post, some computer problems prevented me from posting this earlier in the week, but it will take more than a dodgy processor to stop the People's Republic updating the world on Birmingham's greatest fictional league competition.

With Manchester United playing Middlesbrough on Sunday, Arsenal took full advantage of their Saturday fixture to take the top spot in week 14 of the Promroiship. The other two of the big four also featured in the first two matches on the Beeb's flagship footie programme, with the FA Cup semi-final separating them from the trash rest of the show. It got me thinking of how I should deal with the positioning of non-Premier League matches (and possibly evening kick-offs, which tend to feature later on the show) in the scoring system should I continue to run this next year. If anyone has any ideas please feel free to post them in the comments.

After the FA Cup break, the BBC decided to concentrate on the relegation battle, but decided that matches with one team involved the the battle (Bolton and Reading) were more important than the match between Wigan and Birmingham, where both teams were (before the match at least) in trouble at the wrong end of the table. With Derby not playing, Blackburn managed to get themselves off the bottom despite featuring in the last match, a mid-table obscurity battle with Tottenham. Will they finish ninth? The BBC apparently could not give two hoots.

Promroiship Results April 5th 2008 (Match of the Day Running Order)

Arsenal v Liverpool....56
Man City v Chelsea.....49
Fulham v Sunderland....28
Aston Villa v Bolton...21
Newcastle v Reading....21
Wigan v Birmingham.....21
Blackburn v Tottenham..14

The Promroiship Table after Round 14

Arsenal .............439*

Manchester United ...413
Reading .............377*
Fulham ..............350*
Chelsea .............346*
Sunderland ..........336*
Birmingham City......335*
Newcastle United.....319*
West Ham United......300
Tottenham Hotspur....295*
Manchester City .....286*
Aston Villa .........283*
Portsmouth ..........272
Liverpool ...........263*
Middlesbrough .......253
Everton .............247

Bolton Wanderers ....243*
Wigan Athletic ......232*
Blackburn Rovers.....205*
Derby County.........200

Monday, April 07, 2008


Typical. Had a week off and planned some daily blogging on a variety of interesting topics when my computer decides it has had enough. Luckily, I had already bought a new one. Unfortunately, it runs on Windows Vista which is incompatible with my existing modem. After trying unsuccessfully to find a compatible modem at PC World, I have decided to upgrade to wireless which I can get free if I upgrade my current internet package (it is actually faster and cheaper than the package I am on!). Unfortunately, it will take ten to fourteen days to arrive, which means blogging will be very light for the next couple of weeks, probably limited to updating the Promroiship table. The weekend's results will appear over the next couple of days.