Labour Leadership Election 2016

11am and 1pm; these two hours tomorrow will potentially be a history deciding meeting for the Labour Party in Liverpool this weekend. Labour Party members including myself have voted for the future direction of the Party in the form of a straight choice between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith. In this article, I will provide a narrative of how it came to this, compare the candidates as well as express my opinions on this election and what needs to happen afterwards.

The Narrative: How did it come to another Leadership election?

Last years Leadership Election: Jeremy Corbyn (far left), Yvette Cooper (mid left), Liz Kendall (mid right) and Andy Burnham (far right) pose for photographs after the televised debate at The Sage, Gateshead
Last years Leadership Election: Jeremy Corbyn (far left), Yvette Cooper (mid left), Liz Kendall (mid right) and Andy Burnham (far right) pose for photographs after the televised debate at The Sage, Gateshead

The current situation the Labour Party finds itself in has its roots in the previous labour leadership election last year following the General Election defeat. For a long time, it seemed to be a three-way contest between Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendal until Jeremy Corbyn made it on to the ballot paper at the death. Corbin himself accepted some of the nominations he received were from fellow MP’s who did not necessarily support him and only did so in order to widen the debate. What these particular MP’s did not count on was a section of the membership and the general public who desired a real alternative; something different to what labour had been offering. Although there was speculation of infiltrators as the Labour membership surged from 200,000 to 300,000; the right people in my mind were weeded out such as Conservative MP Tim Leighton. Overall, 56,000 membership applications were rejected and the hostage ToriesforCorbyn trended on twitter in the aim of running the party. Obviously, this sort of people needed to go and the genuine applications accepted but it made no difference to the outcome as Jeremy Corbyn won in the first round of voting with a vote share of 59.5%. read more

Nico wins in Singapore to complete his magical September: 2016 Singapore Grand Prix Review

The Singapore Grand Prix may still only be an infant in terms of how many years it’s been on the F1 calendar but its ninth edition proved as intriguing as the other eight. The night race weekend had it all really: a Safety Car, Rio Ferdinand, an intense qualifying, lap records tumbled, Kylie Minogue, a fourth different race winner after an adrenaline filled finale and a Lizzard!

The Race Weekend

Practice read more

2016 Singapore Grand Prix Preview

Victory at Monza clearly meant a lot to Nico Rosberg who went for a spot of crowd surfing to celebrate! [image from Formula One]
Victory at Monza clearly meant a lot to Nico Rosberg who went for a spot of crowd surfing to celebrate! [image from Formula One]

Two weeks ago, F1 returned to its spiritual home; Monza in Northern Italy for the Italian Grand Prix. The Tifosi were out in force demonstrating quite easily why they are some of the most passionate F1 fans in the world. The other main winners were Nico Rosberg who got a much better start than Lewis Hamilton who suffered from an inconsistent clutch to control the race to take his 21st career victory. Hamilton recovered from the slow start and ending the first lap in 6th to finish 2nd while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished 3rd. Ferrari closed the gap to Red Bull in the Constructors Championship to 11 points in the race for second and Williams retook 4th place from Force India.

The scenes of the podium celebration at Monza
The scenes of the podium celebration at Monza
2016 Italian Grand Prix results

Point Scorers read more

Brexit: Twelve weeks on…

On 24th June, the UK woke up to the result of the EU Referendum as the nation voted to leave the EU by a margin of 51.9% to 48.1%. Nigel Farage dared to dream of the victory he had been seeking for years amongst a party atmosphere and suggested calling this day Independence Day. However, for Remain voters like myself, the all-nighter was a different story. The Referendum was divisive, it had misleading claims, deceit and scaremongering but the vote was clear.

However, twelve weeks on from that day in June, where are we now? Is Brexit any nearer to reality? What has happened since? read more

NUFC 2016/17 Championship Season: August

The football season is back in full swing The Premier League has started up again, the British teams know who they will be facing in Europe again, Big Sam has had his first game as England manager and Jeff Stelling is already sick of the sight of Bianca Westwood after her excellent reporting on Hartlepool United’s 6-1 capitulation at Stevenage. For anyone who missed the latter and would like laugh here’s a link.

Meanwhile, my beloved Newcastle United readjusted to life back in the Championship after relegation from the Premier League in May. The purpose of this series of posts is to provide my thoughts on developments at Newcastle during the season including match reports, some juicy stats, transfer updates, my hero and zeros of the month before looking at the month ahead. But first…. read more

Poor start costs Hamilton as Rosberg closes the gap and a second retirement from the grid? 2016 Italian Grand Prix Review

F1 returned to the Italian Grand Prix at Monza for the 14th round of the 2016 season. The circuit, built in 1922 represents the oldest circuit on the F1 calendar and this weekend certainly added more to its history. The weekend saw a confirmed driver retirement, potential a second but is considered by some to be a sabbatical, the pole position record being equalled and the Driver’s Championship becoming ever more intense…

The Race Weekend

The big talking point coming into the weekend was the driving style of Max Verstappen after a controversial race in Belgium where it has to be said his driving at times was bordering on dangerous. Then, big news dropped as the teams prepared for the weekend was the announcement Felipe Massa would be retiring at the end of the season. However, as it came to business in Monza, Mercedes dominance continued. Nico Rosberg topped the timesheet in first practice session while Lewis Hamilton dominated the other two sessions. Maranello and the Tifosi hopes of some divine miracle did not seem apparent during practice as the nearest a Ferrari could get to the Mercedes was at best 0.453 seconds slower and it its worst; over a second. Interestingly though, the almost Ferrari ‘junior team’ that is Haas F1 (they have used an awful lost go Ferrari technology to be on the grid and employ their former reserve driver and a rumoured Ferrari driver elect in Grosjean) had at least one car in the top 10 in each of the three practice sessions. read more

2016 Italian Grand Prix Preview

F1 certainly came back with a bang! The Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend had controversy, turn 1 chaos, safety cars a red flag and much more as the weekend delivered a worth spectacle. The only thing that was missing was the unpredictable weather of Spa but then again; maybe raining at one part of the circuit and bone dry at the other is too predictable for Spa as last weekend the track temperatures were unusually hot.

Nico Rosberg celebrated victory in Belgum last weekend but how much will he be ruing Lewis Hamilton's 3rd position come the end of the season?
Nico Rosberg celebrated victory in Belgum last weekend but how much will he be ruing Lewis Hamilton’s 3rd position come the end of the season?

Nico Rosberg won the incident filled race from pole position uninterrupted from start to finish despite the chaos ensuing behind him. He did all he could do last weekend to hurt his team mates Championship lead. However, the chaos and mayhem bringing out the safety car twice helped Lewis hamilton to score a podium finish having started 21st after serving a 55 place grid penalty for new engine parts which most people in F1 knew were coming at some point. The result meant Hamilton retained his Championship lead albeit having been reduced to 9 points. While Max Verstappen was accused of dangerous driving and causing mayhem; team mate Daniel Ricciardo went about his work quietly to finish 2nd for the second in time in as many races. Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez finished 4th and 5th to give Force India 4th in the constructors Championship; leapfrogging Williams who caused some controversy of their own having used team orders to ensure Valtteri Bottas finished ahead of veteran Felipe Massa. Fernando Alonso finished an incredible 7th to help McLaren take 6th place in the Constructors from Torro Rosso having started the race plum last. Meanwhile, Kevin Magnusson suffered the most notable incident having lost control of his Renault at the top of Eau Rouge bringing doubts over his participation this weekend. read more

2016 Belgian Grand Prix Review: Nico Rosberg holds his nerve while damage limitation job well done for Lewis Hamilton as chaos ensues at Spa

12ALZ09_CMYK_Belgien_01_RBHF1 is back! The first race after the four-week summer break is always an intriguing affair as the season enters the second half and Spa certainly delivered. From a first corner incident at la Source, Safety Cars and a Red flag amongst other controversies; the race certainly had it all! But first, a brief narrative of the race weekend.

The Race Weekend

Nico Rosberg leaving the Mercedes garage trialling the new halo device; he would go on to set the fastest time in Q1 with the halo installed
Nico Rosberg leaving the Mercedes garage trialling the new halo device; he would go on to set the fastest time in Q1 with the halo installed [image from http://www.skysports.com/f1/news/12433/10552248/halo]

The first practice session back brought about no significant changes as Mercedes seemed to still be the team to beat. Nico Rosberg was fastest while Lewis Hamilton was 0.730 seconds behind despite having his fresh new engine units. Interestingly, the ‘King of Spa’ Kimi Raikkonen was only 0.070 seconds away from splitting the Mercedes pair while the Haas pair were 10th and 11th respectively. A number of teams including Red Bull, Mercedes, Torro Rosso and Force India trialled the Halo device. In the second session, Mercedes concentrated on race pace as Rosberg finished 6th and Hamilton 13th. At the top of the timesheet was Max Verstappen leading a Red Bull 1-2 while Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg 3rd. The third practice session saw Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest lap time of the weekend thus far with a 1:47.974 leaving the question of how would win pole position wide open between Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari. read more