Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Auld Reekie Blues

I was ill the whole month I was in Edinburgh this August. There were good times baby sitting for our beautiful granddaughter, and meeting up with her parents was OK too. Nevertheless I was knackered all the time and the only escape was to sit on the Esplanade at Portobello, look at the wonderful skies there, see the changing light over Fife and watching people passing by walking, jogging, scootering, skateboarding and cycling. It's great to witness all these things but even they wore me out in the end. And, for once, the charity bookshops in Stockbridge failed to offer up solace.

Portobello Beach before the Cockenzie Power Station was knocked down so that TV pictures of the Open Championship at Muirfield looked prettier,

What's more I couldn't bring myself to get up to Dens Park to watch the famous eleven. "You're just sorry for yourself!" you say. Right first time. I'm wallowing in misery.  Things have got to get better and they will if I can get up to Dundee on October 1st to watch the Dark Blues beat Celtic. October 1st is my birthday by the way but don't bother sending me any cards, they might make me cheer up.

Okay my wife was ill some of the time and I should mention that she put up with me and I give her credit for that. She has borne her own and my troubles with fortitude. What a miserable, wretched creature I am. Just like my father, a crabbit brute.

By winning the American Open Tennis championship Andy Murray could deliver me from this brown study and I suppose the Scotland fitba team overcoming the mighty Malta offers the possibility  of lifting a few clouds.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Winning and losing in football and in life

Competitive sport is predicated on winning and losing. It’s good to win but if you lose you know there will be another day, so I know though I am feeling in a small way triumphant  (if that’s possible)  that last Saturday Dundee enjoyed a 3-1 victory over Ross County, I can, without guilt,  savour it because I can remember the dismay of recent defeat at the feet of the same opposition, and to use the old cliche, after a sporting defeat, “Nobody died.” In life however if you lose your livelihood, if you don’t have the money to feed, clothe and shelter your kids, if you cannot stop an aggressor destroying your home, if you are the victim of terrorism or criminality then there may never be a return to happier days. In this kind of defeat, something does die.

It's a shame that as a human community we have allowed an economic system, the capitalist system, to predominate. It too is predicated on winning and losing but unfortunately the losers in this game give up in the despair of acceptance or remain impoverished, or seek out new places to live and new ways to earn money.  Unfortunately the ones with power, the ones determined to win at all costs do not welcome these initiatives and ensure that the losers are crushed.  In turn this leads to further poverty or in some cases violent revolution. Whichever happens,  the consequences are always catastrophic for the poor, the meek, the crushed and the helpless. 

Our human community needs, and must begin to construct a new selfless way of looking after and caring for each of its members. It can be done. I believe that from 1945 to 1951 the Labour government in the United Kingdom made inroads into achieving this by setting up a welfare system which protected our most vulnerable, a health system which was available free to all, and a national education system which provided schooling for every child. The success of these initiatives was not welcomed by those powerful economic forces which persuaded subsequent governments that there was no possibility of making a profit out of services which were provided for the people by the people.  Gradually over the passing years governments of every ilk have allowed capitalist adventurers  to invade our welfare, health and education services and to rob us of those parts of our services from which they believe they can make a profit while leaving ordinary, modest and relatively poor folk to support - by paying their taxes - those services which have no possibility of profit. 

So the result of this match is “Capital 1 Community 0” and the result will be the same every week for it is difficult to see where even a drawn match in any future fixture would come from, never mind a win for the human community. 

I suppose I've been kidding myself to think sport is any different. While things remain as they are,  Dundee Football Club, though it may occasionally enjoy the better of a little skirmish, will aways lose to the likes of Manchester City and Real Madrid.