Archive for May, 2010

A Connected World

May 28th, 2010

One of the things that I’m most proud of as a British Citizen is that despite it’s failings, we have a free-to-access healthcare system that steps in to help people when they most need it.  It is one of those things that epitomises what freedom is – take it away and suddenly you realise how good it was.

When I was living out in India, my eyes were opened to just how much the NHS can affect peoples lives.  In the UK, should someone have an ectopic pregnancy, it’s tragic.  However, should the same thing happen to someone without the necessary money to pay for the treatment, then it will most probably be fatal.  As if that wasn’t enough, if the family are able to scrape the money together to afford the treatment (at an over-inflated price, just to spite them) – then the money they’ve gathered probably includes some loaned from the local loan shark.

It therefore saddened me, when on BBC News at 10 last night, there was an article on the ‘crisis in Bangor.’  Due to the new limits that the Coalition is due to put on immigration, Bangor will be without enough Doctors to service the region, therefore (as the reporter put it) “there could be a crisis, or even an outright catastrophe!”

Why?

According to the same report, Bangor relies on immigrant Doctors (traditionally from Commonwealth countries) for much of its medical needs. 

Unfortunately this is where the problems becomes a little more complex.  In countries like India, Somalia, and other Commonwealth countries – migrants come and train at Universities in the UK, with the hope of being able to earn a British Wage, and pass that wealth back into their own economies – by sending money back home. Unfortunately the outcome of such behaviour is a brain drain away from the developing countries, as the more ‘skilled’ workers get poached by the ‘developed’ countries.

I sometimes think back and wonder if someone was reading this blog in many years time, and I had built myself into a politician, what would be made of comments such as these.  During the pre-election debates, not a single Politician was arguing for the good of the world – but intent on focusing their efforts on the continuation of our traditional way of live, albeit at the detriment of many other countries.

It’s a hard thing to accept – that by living the way we do that we’re causing the death and destruction of other people on our same Earth.  The globe is shrinking fast, as more and more people populate it, and our channels of communication improve.  In the same was that isolation was a failed policy for America in the lead up to World War II, isolation for Britain is a recipe for disaster.  I’m not saying we should join the Euro and start singing a European National Anthem – but I think we should look more carefully at the medium to long term effects of our foreign policy.

Too much policy recently has been about short term gains for the current population.  It’s all been about maximising now.  How can we make ‘now’ better?  It’s time to start thinking about how to make the future better.  How can we make sure that our living standards now are not a ‘Concorde moment’ – and how can we use the privileges that we’ve inherited for the good of our fellow man?

Happy Days – Birmingham and Solihull Bees Rugby

May 4th, 2010

It’s been a helluva journey for all us Bees fans over the last few months, and a happy end to what could have been a devastating season.

I was volunteering out in India when I heard about what was happening at Bees, and when Dad informed me that someone had stepped in to help the club out, it didn’t take me long to work out who would be quite stupid/passionate (there is a fine line) enough to do such a thing.

Well Friday day I was hoping to finish work early, but didn’t end up leaving Manchester til past three, and my thoughts as I was traveling down were not those of a positive man, I must concede.  The pain of such a well-fought defeat against Coventry where the fate of the club was taken out of our hands had really knocked the stuffing out of me.  On the way home from that match I was stupid enough to say … “well – if that’s how crap it’s going to feel when we’re on our way down, just imagine how Rusty’s going to use this feeling to inspire Bees to victory against Moseley” – I just didn’t have a clue how Rotherham would fare against Coventry.

I managed a lie-in on Saturday morning, and came down to quite an optimistic atmosphere.  Dad was playing the organ at a wedding, so as soon as he got back we were geared up and headed to the ground.  Once inside, I went over to meet with some friends, and left Dad to his own nerves, rather than sharing my own.

The next 80 minutes of Rugby were magical.  It probably wasn’t the best display by either team, with many more mistakes and missed tackles than the 25-24 win by Moseley in the regular season.  There was an absolutely fantastic turn out by both sets of supporters, and an atmosphere worthy of the occasion.  The two best moments for me was Hunty’s run from just outside our 22, when he managed to cut straight through the Moseley back line and score right under the posts, then Ant Elliott’s sterling touchdown 12 minutes from time to regain the lead for the Bees, after Moseley had taken it off us for the first time in the match, with only 18 minutes to play. 

I was keeping tabs on the updates through my phone, courtesy of the fantastic fans @ Rolling Maul – without this site the day would have been a lot more stressful.  From about 20 minutes into the game Rotherham were appearing to dominate Coventry – yet the thought of counting my chickens was dispelled by the disaster of doing so at half time two weeks previously. 

When the final whistle went, and the bees players jumped in the air for joy – it was a special moment.  The fans around me that had followed Bees for much longer deserved the result – the Moseley fans were a credit to the game of Rugby.  Sure, they’d wanted to send us down – any rivals would – but they were gracious in defeat, and mindful that they will get another chance to try next season.

Back at the Clubhouse we had the end of season awards.  I liked Rusty’s comparison to the Redskins in 1991 – I remember having a little claret hat with the golden R – brought back from Dad on one of his trips to the states.  Rusty’s done a fantastic job – nobody can possibly deny the commitment of a man who, against Coventry, dislocated his should for then umpteenth time this season, lay behind the dugout whilst two men manhandled him in an attempt to put it back in, to then have to head to hospital once they’d failed – to then be on the pitch at the start of the next game – as though it was nothing more serious than a bit of a cramp.

One of the nicest parts of the weekend was just after I set out to head back home to Manchester.  I was driving down the M42, and honked when I drove past a car with a bees sticker in the window.  “Proud to be following the Bees.”

It’s great that the club can look forward now, that we can build on the achievements of this season.  However, the key part of the club is the fans.  The ones we’ve got, and the ones that we need to get.  To turn out next season, wherever we may be, in front of an ever expanding crowd is the best way to help the team on the pitch.  I wouldn’t suggest that copying my parents in breeding 6 bees fans in necessarily the best (or most convenient) way forwards, so get your friends involved – lets get the stickers on the bumpers and raise the profile of Bees Rugby.