Archive | July, 2017

Where have all the good men (and women) gone?

14 Jul

I haven’t Simplysorroed for a while because I have been, simply, sorrowful. Matters serious and profound of  late took all my heart for speech. It started with Brexit, then Trump trumped that, then Mother Theresa called an election, then the DUP were bribed with taxpayers’ money and then awful murder in Manchester and London..and then Grenfell.

What follows seismic stuff combines the heroic with the grubby; the magnificent and the mean. You know what I am talking about. From Ariana Grande to the firefighters picking their way through the unimaginable carnage of a tower block. The eye-blinking speed of the London Bridge police and emergency services to the heroism of individuals who put their lives on the line. Much more could and should be said here but I find myself dispirited by the blame culture and political chicanery which characterises the response of those who should know better. For all Corbyn’s ascendant star, his unworthy delight in grabbing the opportunity to blame everything Tory for each tragedy, is pretty shabby. Basically the rich are to blame.

He isn’t the only one, of course but where should we mere mortals look for moral leadership and measured, helpful responses to crises which are without a self-serving agenda? The title line of my article is a nod to that great songstress, Bonnie Tyler. Her classic, raucous rocket-fuelled hit Holding out for a Hero opens with Where have all the good men gone/And where are all the gods? Where indeed?

Thankfully I can think of those worthies who have, unbidden, served the Grenfell dead and living without thought of advancement; so too so many others of late. Jermain Defoe, today, flew back from Spain to the funeral of that poor lad, Bradley Lowery. He was the boy’s hero in life – and proved it by deeds, not just words.

And we turn to other things don’t we? The summer heralds good weather and our sporting heroes come to rescue us – in Auckland where Owen Farrell kicked the Lions to a thrilling tied series; in cricket where Joe Root raised his cap at Lords to accept the ovation for his century in his first match as England’s captain; at Wimbledon as Johanna Konta bowed out to the serene power of a 37year old champion.

So far this summer of sport has raised my spirits. The manner in which so much high level competition is conducted is admirable. Sportsmanship – and sporting heroism – is alive and kicking. Of course there are a few dark corners but the honesty and generosity in triumph and defeat suggest behaviour which our real leaders would do well to ape. Sport may be ‘non-serious’ but tell that to a first round player at Wimbledon who gets £35k for turning up. It is a part of life where individuals and groups are held up to a moral microscope. Soccer players, – and their FIFA masters – sometimes fail the rather simple tests. More often they don’t.

It’s Wimbledon finals this weekend followed by the Open Golf. Exciting! All sports require adherence to clear rules and strict codes of conduct. If you slag off your opponent (s) you get banned and fined. If you cheat, you face disqualification. I don’t expect anything other than the fiercest gladiatorial confrontations – but competition wrapped in respect. When the All-Black Sonny Boy Williams was red-carded for a silly shoulder challenge to Anthony Watson’s head, he was rightly red carded. His response was not to bleat about the injustice of it all, but to offer sincere apology man to man.

Our political masters seem miles away from hero-status. They are a rag-bag of evasive, poison-pen, back-stabbing, conniving, selfish, dogmatic, tub thumping, naïve, corruptible, lying, opportunist,….stop! I’m getting depressed again.

Where have all the good men (and women) gone? C’mon Venus! C’mon Roger!

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