La Flamme Rouge edition 14; dateline 20 September 2016
You’ve seen one medieval king disinterred from a 21st-centure city-centre location, you’ve seen them all but this hasn’t stopped Reading museum from assembling a team to investigate the strong possibility that the remains of Henry I remain in the remains of the abbey in the town centre. Of course, we like to think that the Leisure Review has played its part, most notably in the fine work of our Leicester correspondent, Mr M Allison, who explained in some detail the potential benefits of finding a monarch under your hardstanding in a recent issue of the Leisure Review. If this new kingly attraction is uncovered, we will send him along to pass judgement in the manner of a Wooster faced with a cow creamer.
• Read King in a Car Park via the TLR back issues service
Lobbying and obfuscation
One of Mr Khan’s first decisions when he took on the task of following Mr Johnson as mayor of London was to announce that the so-called garden bridge project would cost more to cancel than it would to build. It was a disappointment for anyone who had hoped for a swift end to this bizarre proposal, which will use public money to help build a privately managed bridge over the Thames at a point on the river where it is manifestly not needed. However, soon afterwards came a little hope. The mayor halted work on the grounds that no more public money could be spent on it, which may be enough to scupper the project. The logic that it costs more money to stop spending money yet to be spent bears little scrutiny for anyone not immersed and enmeshed in the world of Yes Minister-style lobbying and obfuscation but perhaps a new prime ministerial broom might sweep a little cleaner. We can but hope.
Exit Cameron, humming
And speaking of prime ministers, nothing became David Cameron like his leaving. First, his resignation as prime minister, humming like Winnie the Pooh as he walked away from Downing Street having taken a massive dump in the top drawer of his desk and leaving it for someone else. Next quitting as an MP within a few weeks to ensure that he did not become “a distraction” for his successor. This was widely interpreted as meaning that Cams did not want to become distracted in his pursuit of much more lucrative opportunities by irritating matters like his constituents and any sense of public duty or responsibility. His position towards the head of the list marked “worst prime minister ever” seems assured, at least while the new one beds in and enjoys a few moments of a political honeymoon. Cameron’s reputation as one of the most careless and destructive prime ministers the UK has ever seen is bolstered by the demonstration of so many other qualities by the nature of his exit, most noticeably that he’s a spineless, selfish, soulless husk of human being with no sense of duty to anything beyond himself and his privileged position. He leaves an immense legacy of incompetence that will be ruefully measured for generations to come. Even as political observers kept watch to see if he cast a shadow on the Downing Street pavement as he left, his old school was adding him to the honours board, irrespective of the irony. They keep churning them out and we keep putting them up there.
At last: a new visionary for athletics
Greg Rutherford, Britain’s go-to long jumper for the big event, has been an excellent ambassador for his sport, not least in the manner of his ability to address the ironies and iniquities that seem to go with the territory of a life in professional sport. Among the ironies was the story of his long-term sponsor responding to his achievement of winning the Olympic gold medal by dropping him from their list of supported athletes. Among the iniquities was the suspicion, which Rutherford was happy to discuss on the record, that the International Olympic Committee and like-minded power-brokers within the IAAF and various governments would find some way to justify the inclusion of Russian athletes at Rio 2016, which they subsequently did. However, what has really caught our attention was news that Rutherford is prepared to play the IOC at their own game and present a new future for athletics. A little while ago Rutherford got his dad to help him build a long jump pit in his garden. With space for a 52m runway, he then got it certified as competition standard by the IAAF and has begun holding long jump events at his home venue.
Legacy, legacy: all they’ve got is infamy
Much comment has been passed on the legacy, or lack thereof, delivered by London 2012 but we’ve always been of the opinion that that ship finally disappeared below the waves as soon as professional football was welcomed on to the scene. West Ham United have done a deal that will see them work their legacy magic as tenants of the Olympic Stadium and the sale of their Upton Park home will go some way to covering the sizeable bonus Ms Brady is reputed to have earned having secured the move. Perhaps it will all be alright in the end and football’s long-standing reputation as King Midas’s antithetical little brother will have to be reviewed but the send-off given to the Boleyn Ground did not immediately give grounds for confidence and suspicions that all might not be love, light and peace were confirmed by trouble in the crowd during the first few home games as West Ham supporters reportedly disputed in the traditional manner which seats were theirs, whether they were obliged to sit in them and whose fault it was that they had to be watching their team at this particular venue anyway. If only someone had come up with the idea of turning the focal point of the London Olympics into a reasonably sized athletics stadium that could have served as a venue for occasional international events, a home for sports development organisations and an inspiration to local young people all this unpleasantness might have been avoided.
Perfect for the job
Recruitment to senior positions is a complicated and imperfect process at the best of times but the weighing of candidates’ qualifications for senior ministerial positions does seem to have been clarified. Looking to fill a post with responsibility for a key department? Find someone with a deep hatred of the policy area concerned. Mere distrust or ignorance will not do: the go-to guy has to have the drive and motivation to get stuck in to the real task of making things worse. Need someone to sort out the benefits and pensions system? Get someone in who despises anyone who might not be rich enough or sufficiently well-connected to live in a mansion. Someone to look after the NHS? The candidate who has written a book explaining why the NHS should be closed down is just the man for the job. Someone to steer the world’s most valued and respected broadcasting organisation through the turbulent waters of the digital age? Call the man with a track record of calling for the BBC to be closed down. Putting these principles into practice, members of La Flamme Rouge team will shortly be applying for the posts of manager of Manchester Utd, leader of the Conservative Party and Queen. Wish us luck.
La Flamme Rouge
Unpalatable and irreverent, unreliable but essential