Alastair's Blog

Return to:  Blog | Articles | Videos RSS feed

Here’s hoping Cardiff is metaphor for Cameron

Posted on 4 May 2009 | 9:05am

It is hard not to feel some sympathy for Cardiff. In the space of one afternoon, both their football and rugby teams crashed out in the closest, cruellest manner possible.

A few weeks ago, Cardiff City were thinking automatic promotion to the Premiership was on, let alone the play-offs. The turning point was a 6-0 thrashing at Preston. And who was it, yesterday, that sneaked in ahead of them, on one more goal scored over the season, but Preston? If Cardiff had only conceded five that day, and other results stayed the same, they not Preston would be dreaming of a Wembley play-off final against Reading or, more likely, Burnley. THE MOMENTUM IS WITH US, MR COPPELL.

As for the Cardiff Blues, neither normal nor extra time could separate them from Leicester in the Heineken Cup semi-final, so at 26-26, the game was decided by a penalty kick shoot-out from 22 metres out in front of the posts. Sounds easy. But most rugby players never kick the ball. Add in the pressure of the moment, and it is hard.

The greatest sympathy I feel is for Martyn Williams, the Cardiff flanker who missed the kick that gave victory to Leicester. I know Martyn from my time with the British and Irish Lions in New Zealand four years ago. He is a top man and, as shown by his support for a sports fundraiser I helped organise last year, a Labour man too. He will take defeat, and his role in it, hard.

So this will be a horrible morning for both sets of Cardiff players, all the more painful for the fact they thought they were on course.

The Tories are looking pretty cocky at the moment. The old ‘born to rule’ spring is returning to the Old Etonian step, I would say. On policy, of course, and any difficult decisions that have to be taken, they are keeping their heads down and hoping all the focus stays on Labour, and difficulties for Gordon Brown.

But in politics, as in sport, you have to worry about yourselves as well as your opponents. You should never be complacent, never take victory for granted, and always understand that if you don’t truly deserve victory, you are unlikely to get it.

Two seven letter words, both beginning with Ca … both looked well set… it’d be nice if Cardiff was a metaphor for Cameron. And it would help, of course, if Labour stemmed the supply of own goals.

  • Gareth Allen

    It would be nice if we could keep the score down to 5-0 this month. We need to get back on the offensive – as you say, momentum is everything.

  • Andrew Bell

    Labour seem to get things going well again and then we do a big Djimi Traore (see burnley v Liverpool, carling cup. In case you dont know).
    Complacency has become almost set in the government stones at the moment. Gordon needs to mix it up soon, become the leader we crave-and know he can be.
    So far Cameron has just sat back and watched us ruin our own chances of a 4th term…how about a fight back ladies and gentlemen?? Lets turn this around by spreading the good word of what Labour has achieved. Remove the blanket placed over peoples heads by the media that the Labour Party are just useless…we know we arent…but we arent spot on at the minute. Nothing a good old ‘roll your sleeves up, and get to work’ attitude wont sort out.

    Good luck Burnley!

  • Wyrdtimes

    I should imagine the Tories are keeping very quiet on policy because they don’t want Labour nicking any more of their ideas.

    BTW what’s a Scotsman doing supporting an English football team? Shouldn’t you be supporting Fungus Athletic or something?

  • Roy J Thomas

    A day to learn from in Cardiff and everyone is disappointed in the Capital today (not showing it). Those thoughts are going through minds and it is hard for supporters. But it is all in the preparation as you know from marathon running.
    As young welsh boys we liked Burnley because of welsh players e.g. Leighton James and I cannot recall earlier players. Thought Lockhead was a terrific centre forward and could head a ball like Gareth Edwards who we watched play football not rugby on the Waun common.The name Lockhead stuck. If you were a West Ham or Aston Villa supporter in the early seventies in Wales -you would be sent the Burnley kit by suppliers! Good luck Burnley.

  • gary Enefer

    Dear AC

    umm? There seems to be a distinct lack of team support or strategy for Gordon Brown. I remember when TB faced terrible times we( the public) knew he had a strategist (you) a bruiser JP maybe and a big hitter or someone popular like Jack Straw (who the public liked) and was straight out there to defend TB and his record. This time round it feels like GB is alone which unsettles the public.

    with thanks
    gary enefer

  • Ian Eastwood

    Lets not feel to sorry for Cardiff FC. We (BFC)missed out on the playoffs by one goal a couple of seasons ago remember?

    I don’t think the Met police will miss Cardiff’s wonderfull fans visiting Wembley do you?

    As for G.Brown I liken him to the Spurs keeper Gomez He’s droped a few Clangers of late but sitck with him and just like Gomez he’l come good.

  • Stuart Le Gassick


    Could be a good year for you next year!! Burnley in the Premiership and the Tories back for a long rule!!
    What has happened to the economy and the daft budget?
    Interest Rates at 0.5%, Banks charging anything between 6% – 7% on loans and the surlus cash is sloshing into the banks coffers while businesses are being strangled and the housing and construction sectors crumbling!! Bringing more unemplyment and more distressed debt!! What about stimulating ‘Thatcherism’ it is the only solution, I say Bonuses for Profits! Not Bonuses for Losses!! The Financial Sector has been our great benefactor for the last 25 years and although it got out of control it is still our saviour!! Will you tell 10 Downing Street that we have not been able to manufacture economically for decades!!! We also control the banks so instead of hoarding cash, the government can tell them how to use it!!!

  • Alan Macrae

    It is all very well to say, as eg Kinnock, Johnson, Harman, Straw, Prescott, you and others have been saying, that we have to unite – but unite around what? That is the important question. Gordon’s problem is he is not showing the direction clearly enough. I blow a bit hot and cold on politics but the one thing I will say for Blair – and reading between the lines I think a lot of this was down to you and Mandelson – was that even when the S.H.I.T was flying, you always knew what the general direction of travel was.

  • Paul Mellor

    Cardiff City blew it because their form dipped, and the form of others – notably your team and Preston – picked up. Little sign of Cameron making mistakes, even if he is hiding away, whilst what you call the own goals seem to keep coming

  • Jane A

    The combination of cocky/spring-in-the-step Opposition and a row of our own goals hasn’t made for a great week in terms of political mood. But this is to be expected with the election a year away ; like a sport season, there are weekends when it all goes wrong.

    The Tories have got just the one tune “If we win the next election we might think about…” and they roll something lumpily repetitive out to the media every day, maybe hoping hearing it will make it so. Dave’s admission that he wouldn’t even commit to reversing out the 50% tax rate hardly looked like a bucket full of alternatives to me.

    The own goals at our end are messy. Maybe there are people in the mix who’d like a shot at being Captain, or taking penalties – who knows? But it’s a long season ahead, a chance to turn the tide most weeks, and we at least have the stronger side. I don’t think Dave’s going to manage the keepy-uppy for long.

  • Grumpy Old Man

    Dear Alistair.
    cardiff couls well be a metaphor for Cameron. The fire and fury of the celtic fringes seen off by the sheer dogged bloodymindedness of the English. There’s a lot of bloodymindedness amongst the English at the moment. To paraphrase the Duke of Wellington, “you’ll come on in the same old way, and we’ll see you off in the same old way.

  • angie bray

    I agree totally with Stuart Le Gassick has to say. But let’s not forget who allowed the banks to get away with it for so long. Gordon Brown not only sat back and watched but actually praised people like Fred Goodwin – in fact he organised a knighthood for him for his services! He also raked in loads of money by levying 40 percent tax on all the bonuses flying around for years – no questions asked about what the bonuses were actually for. The bankers have alot to answer for but so does this Labour government.

  • Caroline Hett

    I’d prefer you to be talking about Brown’s leadership crisis. Do you really think Alan Johnson has the necessary intellectual rigour to become PM? He didn’t even win the deputy leadership contest.

    Snigger at your cheap class warfare tactics – Blair went to Fettes which is known as the Eton of the North or the Scottish Eton. Social mobility has decreased under Labour you will really shoot yourself in the foot if you persist with this class division nonsense.

  • Terry Evans

    I don’t know what Ian’s problem with Cardiff is. We visited Wembley twice last season with no problems. I listened to Burnley fans singing some nasty stuff to Dave Jones a few weeks ago. Kettles and black spring to mind

  • Jane A

    Re: leadership “crisis”.

    Politics is not a game for the shrinking violet – there will always be factions, people muscling up to be the next contender and positioning themselves accordingly, plus tribal lobbying and campaigning for who’s next. That’s not specific to Labour, or to difficult times, or to Labour in difficult times.

    I don’t believe that’s a crisis, though I’d be the first to say this hasn’t been a good week. Gordon Brown’s popularity has ebbed and flowed since he got the job, as it did for the PMs of both colours before him.

    The media would *like* us all to think its a crisis, because that gives them something to go on about for endless interviews with “experts”, pundits, commentators and a few has-beens who are clearly socially underwhelmed over the Bank Holiday.

  • Em

    Cocky. Good word to describe the Tories. I’m concerned about the rogues in the Labour party. Hazel Blears saying that Labour has had difficulty communicating of late — did she also point out that on sunny days the sky is blue? The only reason for her to do this is to position herself. I don’t like it. Let us watch the Tories being cocky to the point of spontaneous combustion without Labour digging its own grave at the same time, shall we?

    On a gagné!

    Cardiff has Doctor Who and Torchwood, isn’t that enough?

  • olli issakainen

    It seems to me that most of the people think that unless there is a major foreign policy crisis, a mega-scandal involving the Tories or big improvement in the economy Labour can´t make a Preston-like comeback.

    As for Burnley FC – Wembley here we come!

  • Alina Palimaru

    How unfortunate that Labour’s efforts to take on the Tories are being undermined by in-fighting. A few Ministers and MPs seem to have a death wish. It is one of those instances where a minor disadvantage for one side (stupid bickering within Labour) is generating disproportionate benefits for the other (making the Tories look organized). The countdown has started and Labour must get its act together.

    It’s the policy, stupid! I have said this many times: the Tories’ policy agenda is as scary as hell. Their reform plans for the NHS would wreak such havoc in health care that the UK will be competing with the US in the number of people who die or suffer at the hands of a ruthless system. The Tories are also filp-flopping a lot in their embrace of the market: sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t, sometimes they twist the supply/demand models to suit what they think is a popular expectation.

    The conservatives are very vulnerable and easy to take on. All we need is a Labour Party that moves on as if it truly had a purpose. So far the signs are not too encouraging. But… there is still time.

  • Marion

    I was wondering what would happen if Go4th went. I have come to the conclusion that the Tories have been using Malthus to plan for govt:

    If they rely on their reforms for the NHS plus Swine (and other) Flu pandemics to reduce the population; then they could also ignore the environment as there would be no stress on natural resources.

    Presumably this is why they have not bothered to produce any comprehensive policies in these areas either. With fewer people – unemployment during the recession would not be a problem either.

    Hope you don’t mind me broadening your metaphor from Cardiff to Wales; but I don’t recall previous Tory leaders (think Thatcher, 1984-5) being that popular in the region!

  • gary Enefer

    Hi Jane A

    Left a message(yesterday’s page re Benn) for you and Marion (who is in the Sudan)about following you on Twitter – Apologised for using AC’s blog but twitter is where I found him and this wonderful blog. AC I have been in touch with Sadiq Khan – before” Blears- you- tube-if- you-want-to-gate” yesterday and he is going to follow your blog.

    My twitter name is MYYOGA.

  • gary Enefer

    Thank you Marion (Sudan lady) Jane A for following me on twitter and giving permission for me to folllow too – we can twitter about AC’s blog!

    Most of all thank you AC for making this happen.


  • betty curtis

    Tories are! keeping their heads down and hoping the focus stays on Labour.

    Labour must include training practice in their working week to ensure good passing of the ball ie teamwork is in place and then no own goals will occur.

    The PM cannot do it alone(striking the right economic policies that the rest of the World imitate) he needs good people around him (A strong defence can win games) therefore all Labour MPs should be out knocking on doors and using youtube—to get labour’s policies over to every voter in this country.

    The email smears were shocking,
    The PM was right to show the red card to Mcbride &
    Draper but don’t be naive the Tories are using tactics that definitely isn’t cricket.

    Margaret Beckett said on politics show The PM had to use youtube because the media wouldn’t have reported his urgent changes to MPs expenses that he wanted to take place in the commons the following week.

    A.C. wrote in an earlier Blog the papers do—
    I think we can add the BBC & Sky commentators
    There is absolutely no journalistic investigations being carried out by them.
    Nick Robinson the BBC’S political editor is not neutral–He is a Tory—His new commentators Laura Kunzbergg, Ross hawkins and Gary ?–have been recruited because they are conservatives.
    They report whatever story against the PM that is either untrue or weak in detail.
    The story is on every bulletin–it has to be changed as they interview MP’s and they deny the contents of the report but at the end they will let us know their original report of the PM being in trouble will go on for days or even weeks ahead.

    The same kind of reporting happens on Sky with John Craig, Adam Boulton, Joey Jones.

    These reporters and many more of them must have the best job in the world and get highly paid for it and they don’t have to produce facts, fiction will do to be highlighted as– BREAKING NEWS–

    More and More Labour look like the deserving winners and they will be victorious if they follow their strategy in the game that is politics with a FAIRNESS FOR ALL POLICY and NOT JUST FOR SOME– that the Tories would practice.

  • Constantly Furious

    “..if you don’t truly deserve victory, you are unlikely to get it”.

    Or perhaps, in the context of your mate Gordon, “If you don’t truly deserve victory, best to delay the contest for as long as possible, and remain curled up under the bed clutching the previous winners trophy”.