Friday, June 05, 2015

End of Week Ramblings

I once saw Charles Kennedy speak at an event in London.  It was back when I was doing teacher training - the event was for A-Level politics students and gave them the opportunity to hear politicians from across the political spectrum speak and put questions to them.  Amongst the other speakers were Jack Straw, David Willetts and George Galloway.  But Kennedy, who had returned to the back benches by then, was far and away the best speaker: charismatic, passionate and sincere.  Which is why, in an era when the public perception of politicians seems to be that they are untrustworthy, venal and unprincipled, his death is such a tragic loss.  Of course, when he was alive, the media never missed a chance to highlight his problems with alcohol.  Indeed, it was the media's relentless focus on these problems which were a major contributing factor to Kennedy resigning the Lib Dem leadership.  Not that alcohol problems should necessarily disqualify anyone from political leadership.  Let's face it, Churchill was notorious for his heavy drinking and Stalin was allegedly consuming several bottles of vodka a day as the Germans advanced on Moscow.  By contrast, Hitler was a teetotaller and just look at how that turned out.

But for a while it seemed that Kennedy's untimely death would be eclipsed as a news story by Sepp Blatter's surprise resignation as FIFA president, despite his triumphant re-election only a few days earlier.  Not that he has actually stepped down from the role.  He remains in charge until an extraordinary meeting to elect a successor, which might not happen until next year. Which means that he'll be in charge throughout the current investigations into alleged corruption at FIFA.  The cynic in me can't help but suspect that between that election and now, there's going to be a whole lot of shredding going on at FIFA headquarters.  Then again, Blatter himself might be innocent of any wrong doing.  Maybe that's why he makes such sanctimonious statements about the allegations.  But even if that were the case, the fact remains that he has presided over FIFA since 1998 and it is his job to know whether officials are behaving corruptly.  Mind you, whilst Blatter might be on the way out, none of his potential successors instil any confidence that they'll actually change anything: a Kuwaiti Prince is hardly representative of football fandom and let's not forget that current media favourite, UEFA President Michel Platini, voted in favour of Qatar getting the 2022 World Cup...



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