Archive for July, 2018


The first time I ever went to a golf tournament with my dad, I was sixteen years old. It was  the Carling Caledonian Championship and it was won by Christy O’Connor Sr, who took away a massive £1000 cheque. It was played at Longniddry and the on-course facilities were primitive. For example the toilet facilities were oil drums in a tent. Ladies? No idea.

Fifty-seven years on and I’m sitting in Gullane, a few miles farther along what these days they call the Golf Coast. My village is rather over-golfed at the moment. Earlier this month we hosted the men’s Scottish Open, and the great circus that goes with it; currently the ladies are on the second round of their event. (There is an assumption that when the golf tour visits, it pours loads of cash into the local economy. That’s not what I hear, but I do plan to invest in the traffic cone industry.)

Two weeks ago, while doing a shift as a volunteer marshal, I had an encounter with a Tour player. I don’t intend to revisit that, other than to remark that my complaint to the Tournament Director remains unacknowledged. The incident is history but the underlying principle is not. It was in focus again yesterday when I watched the Porsche Open on Sky and saw the current Masters champion throw his toys out of the pram because he claimed to have heard someone rattling coins in his pocket as he was preparing to play.  (If he’d been playing well enough at the time I doubt that he’d have heard a gunshot.)

Such guys need to look at themselves, not at those around them. I doubt that there is another group of sportsmen who are more pampered than golfers. It’s ironic that the Tour’s support systems seem to be designed to ensure that they have to walk as little  as possible off the course. At Gullane they are delivered to the first tee and collected from the eighteenth green by buggies, driven by volunteers. The crowds who follow them are controlled by more volunteers, briefed from the Tour handbook. Their exploits are recorded and transmitted by a dedicated television unit, which broadcasts to the global audience that their many corporate sponsors require to justify their investments.

All of this support ensures that the top players on the tour are hugely rewarded. The lad who won the Scottish Open trousered just over a million dollars. And that takes me back to Longniddry. Brandon Stone is at the beginning of his career. If he works really hard and maximises his talent he might turn out to be nearly as good as Christy O’Connor Sr. But don’t bet on it.





Categories: Sport


July 27, 2018 1 comment

Somewhere along the line I got to like Ed Balls. It didn’t dawn on me until I saw him on Peston one Sunday, talking eminent sense about an issue of the day. I’m not sure when the conversion happened, but it may have begun with the grace and dignity with which he lost his parliamentary seat.

I heard him this morning on Chris Evans, plugging his new BBC2 series on Trump’s America. At the end of his segment Chris E tried to ask him if he would ever return to British politics. He fudged the answer, but he didn’t say no.

I would welcome him back, as would, I suspect, a few million lifelong Labour voters who are appalled by what has happened to their party. I might even vote for him.

Categories: General, Politics


Watched the end of the Our Girl series last night. No spoilers but … nicking one cliche from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was bad enough, but two at once?

I suppose it’s what one might call a cliffhanger.

Categories: General

Guess who’s coming to dinner

July 24, 2018 1 comment

The older I grow, the smaller my dream dinner table becomes. It’s down to seven now.

Barack Obama: I wonder if he regrets shredding Trump at that dinner.

Michelle Obama: you can’t have one without the other.

Emmanuel Macron: the French Obama? 

Kim Jong-un: there might be a funny guy lurking inside that paranoid, despotic mass murderer. 

Anthony Joshua: I’m serious. The lad impresses me in a way that no other sportsman has since Mohammad Ali.

David Beckham: he can pick up the tab.

Ian Rankin: because I need another Jock and he’s good company.

Categories: General

Coming up Roses

July 21, 2018 1 comment

Those who sneer at cricket as boring need to look at last night’s Lancs vs Yorks T20. Last second finish, three results possible, crowd going crazy.

For entertainment value, it put the SPFL in perspective.

Categories: Uncategorized


July 18, 2018 2 comments

Events of the last few days have brought me to a decision that I’ve been contemplating for some time. I’m closing my Twitter account.

First truth is, I was persuaded to join the thing for commercial reasons. Second truth, I do have many friends there. But the third truth is that it is populated by people who are anything but friendly; this week I’ve had to spend time squashing some of them, really nasty, useless vicious people. Monsters in the wardrobe, but without the charm.

Reducing it to terms that my grandson would endorse, I have come to see Twitter as the Dark Side. That’s why I’m leaving; I’ve always seen myself, as my last two census forms will confirm, as  something of a Jedi.


Categories: General


July 18, 2018 1 comment

Well done, Sir Cliff. It would have been easy to fold.

Categories: Uncategorized


Just a thought. Is The Donald’s age starting to show? (We’re pretty much contemporaries, and although I may have a higher IQ, I wouldn’t fancy running America.)

Categories: General, Politics


July 15, 2018 6 comments

Seems that Mr Poulter has disputed my account of our exchange yesterday. Now I’m having email abuse from pond life and bottom feeders. I don’t need that.

The only way I can get rid of it is by deleting the original post. In retrospect I should probably have kept the dispute private, but it’s out of the box now, and I must rely on the Tour to make a judgement.

Mr Poulter has gone public to his two million Twitter followers with his version of events. All I can say is that I stand by mine and at no time did I ever utter the words ‘OK thanks.’ What I did say was ‘Vive Les Belges.’ Now I wish I’d said ‘Come on you Spurs,’ as that really would have pushed his buttons.

I still hope to hear from him, but I don’t expect to. That won’t bother me, not a bit.

Categories: General, Sport

Mother Theresa

July 10, 2018 2 comments

My Labour friends have been insisting that the present government is our worst ever. I can’t agree with that; I still award that indistinction to the Callaghan administration. It’s close though.To me Theresa has the edge, because she has a policy and she’s defending it, whereas old Jim didn’t have much idea of what was going on around him. The problem I have with her is that she seems to have stood on the sidelines while quietly undermining her chief negotiator before coming up with a Brexit objective that resembles a comfortable seat on the fence, which is pretty much the position she took all the way through the referendum campaign. ‘Brexit means Brexit’, she cries, but in fact to her Brexit means what she says Brexit is.I don’t belong to a political party any longer, but if I was still a card carrying Conservative with a vote, then given any acceptable alternative, I would want her out, because I just don’t trust her.

Categories: Politics