Breaking International Law for the sake of Brexit: Where on earth are we headed?

Personally, I think there are more important things to be discussing politically on here at present such as what appears to be out woeful efforts at combating and preventing the further spread of COVID-19. However, Brexit has reared its ugly head back into the public conversation recently and it prompts me to worry even more for the future of the UK. Why? Because a no-deal Brexit [Pictured above are Boris Johnson and Jean Claude Juncker last year; image from Business Insider] which last year which at the moment we appear to be heading for and which I would have labelled disastrous last year but to be coming to that scenario in the middle of a pandemic…I’m lost for words….

Why is it increasingly likely? The government brought forward the Internal Market Bill which aims to ensure that post-Brexit, the UK nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have the same standards and rules throughout. At first glance, that’s nothing contentious. It seems perfectly reasonable. However, the bill also says ‘Certain provisions to have effect notwithstanding inconsistency or incompatibility with international or other domestic law’ but also replaces parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement as elements of it “cease to be recognised and available in domestic law”. read more

UEFA Nations League Preview

In 2018, we have already had the euphoria and emotions of what turned out to be an amazing month of football in Russia. The domestic league seasons have started up again and now they have reached the first break in the season. That means the return of International football. Normally, European sides will begin their qualification campaign for the next major tournament but instead, they will be embarking on a new competition in the UEFA Nations League.

The Story behind the Nations League

The UEFA Nations League has its beginnings seven years ago, at the 2011 UEFA Strategy Meeting in Cyprus. This is when the discussions and consultations began regarding having a third major tournament to go alongside the European Championship (EUROs) and the World Cup. The discussions continued through meetings at the Top Executive Committee (TEP). It was not until March 2014, at the XXXVII UEFA Ordinary Congress in Astana, Turkey where the tournament was unanimously adopted. read more

Lancaster House: unfulfilled promises and the national interest

 

This post has been long considered by myself. It has had many draft ideas. For example, it was nearly entitled ‘In defence of the enemies of the people’ after the backlash to the result of Gina Millar’s High Court case. However, the wording would be quite problematic as would accusing the government of being the real enemies of the people. I have decided to be above the language used by these media outlets and question who is at most damaging the national interest.

The post was aimed for publication last Wednesday to mark the year anniversary of the Lancaster House Speech though a recent family bereavement (I don't feel this is the right place to go into such detail) and dealing with it delayed its publication.

Since the 2016 Referendum regarding the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union and the ascension of Theresa May as Prime Minister vowing to deliver the ‘will of the people’, some of the language used in the press has been alarming. It has been the language of segregation, division and hate.

Judges have been labelled ‘enemies of the people’ by the Daily Mail for insisting the government needed an Act of Parliament to invoke Article 50. All other political parties, members of the House of Lords and in fact anyone that has disagreed with Mrs May have been described as ‘saboteurs’ purely for having different views on Brexit. Then, last month, a group of Conservative MP’s were named and shamed including their pictures as ‘malcontents’ for voting against the government on ensuring Parliament has a meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal reached between the UK and the EU. Though just why said newspaper quoted Nadine Dorries saying they should be ‘deselected’ is heavily ironic considering she faced calls to be sacked for going on I’m a Celebrity in 2012. read more

2017 Snap General Election: The Manifesto Comparison

 

I have been away awhile from this blog whilst working on job applications and in general taking a well-needed break. However, with Britain going back to the polls in a surprise General Election this week; there feels like no time like the present to get back into it…

In this post, as the title suggests, I will be comparing the election manifesto’s put forward by the two parties most likely to be in government come the morning of 9th June. That means it is a straight comparison of the Labour and Conservative Parties in the battle for the keys of Number 10 Downing Street.

Whilst I can be accused of being narrow-minded in only comparing these two parties and not a broad range as you have seen in the TV debates; I do have my reasons:
1. Since the EU referendum last year, UKIP have been a farce electing a new leader in Diane James before she lasted only 18 days in the job before resigned. However, even with a newly established leader in Paul Nuttall (who seems to want the job), they are now a spent force and their timing of their manifesto launch could not have been anymore distasteful; within 48 hours of the Manchester Arena attack.
2. Plaid Cymru and the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) only contest seats in Wales and Scotland respectively. Whilst the SNP won the majority of the seats in Scotland back in 2015; they do not contest enough seats to win a majority and therefore very unlikely to be in government
3. The Green Party finished the 2015 election with an almost equal share of the vote as UKIP but like the SNP and Plaid Cymru, they don’t have a realistic chance of being involved in government.
4. The Liberal Democrats under the leadership of Tim Farron were originally going to be a part of this comparison but my mind was easily altered after reading just the first two pages of their Manifesto. Farron was brutally honest in his assessment and deserves credit for that in admitting the party are unlikely to win the election and are merely competing to be the official opposition. However, for the sake of this comparison, I am not going to cover a party who is not aiming to win. read more

NUFC EFL Championship Season 2016/17: December

It may now be 2017 but we had to get through December first. What’s not to like about December hey? Sure, the nights are colder and longer but there’s the joys of counting down to a New Year as well as the giving and receiving of gifts from friends and family under the guise of the big fat man with the long white beard. The day itself was saddened as the world lost George Michael and then days later with one of the most recognisable faces from one of my favourite film franchises in Carrie Fisher. May they Rest In Peace. However, life goes on and so does Football which brings me to…

10 Developments in Football: December 2016
  1. uefa_champions_league_logo_2The Champions League Group Stages came to a close in December with Leicester City, Manchester City and Arsenal progressing to the knockout stages while Tottenham Hotspur fell into the Europa League after finishing 3rd in their group, a position secured by a 3-1 win over CSKA Moscow.
  2. Arsenal’s reward for eventually topping a Champions League group was the daunting tie of Bayern Munich (not much luck there) after PSG were held to a 2-2 draw by Ludogorets (their reward was a tie against Barcelona). Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City were drawn against AS Monaco while Leicester City paired with Sevilla.
  3. Southampton fell out of the Europa League on away goals in the Group Stage as a 1-1 draw at home against Hapoel Beer Sheva FC saw the visitors progress in 2nd.
  4. Manchester United progressed with a 2-0 win over FC Zorya Luhansk and will face St Etienne in the Round of 32; Tottenham face KRC Genk.
  5. Cristiano Ronaldo won the Ballon d'Or for the fourth time in 2016 and also helped Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid win the FIFA Club World Cup [Image from Sky Sports]
    Cristiano Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or for the fourth time in 2016 and also helped Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid win the FIFA Club World Cup [Image from Sky Sports]

    December also marks the awarding of the Ballon d’Or to the best player of the year and for 2016 it went to Cristiano Ronaldo who won the award for the fourth time.

  6. That wasn’t all Ronaldo won in December as he helped himself to a hat-trick as Real Madrid needed extra time in Yokohama to defeat Kashima Antlers 4-2 to secure their second FIFA Club World Cup.
  7. Club Badge : 2004 - presentChelsea finished 2016 top of the Premier League after their 4-2 win over Stoke City at Stamford Bridge extending their winning run to an equalling record of successive wins in a single Premier League season; 13.
  8. Five managers lost their jobs in December with the oddest perhaps being the dismissal of Gary Rowett by Birmingham City to replace him with Gianfranco Zola. In the Premier League, Swansea City became the first club to look for their third manager after partaking company with Bob Bradley having only been in charge for 85 days. Elsewhere, the man who blames anyone but himself and that cringeworthy dance at Wembley, Alan Pardew was sacked by Crystal Palace.
  9. Carlos Tevez was one of the latest to join Chinese football [Image from The Telegraph]
    Carlos Tevez was one of the latest to join Chinese football [Image from The Telegraph]

    The increasing financial clout of the Chinese Super League surprised again after Brazilian midfielder Oscar left Chelsea for the league and was swiftly followed by Carlos Tevez.

  10. Football was also given some space in the Queens New Years Honours list which was released on New Year’s Eve: Wales and Northern Ireland managers Chris Coleman and Michael O’Neill were both recognised.
Managerial departures in English football in December 2016
Managerial departures in English football in December 2016
Managerial departures in English football in December 2016
Breakdown of Managerial departures in English football during the 2016/17 season to the end of December by the top four divisions

Newcastle United News: December

Assistant coach Ian Cathro left Newcastle to manage SPL side Hearts [Image from Sky Sports]
Assistant coach Ian Cathro left Newcastle to manage SPL side Hearts [Image from Sky Sports]

Cath be gone: Apologies for the awkward subheading but Newcastle United had one departure in January in the form of Ian Cathro. The well-established catch was the only survivor of Steve McLaren’s First team coaching set up under Rafa Benitez but the lure of a management role was too much for the Spaniard to turn down. He departed to manage SPL side Hearts to replace Robbie Nielson who departed for MK Dons. The 30-year-old’s first game in charge of the Tynecastle club was a game with Rangers. He left with Rafa Benitez’s best wishes stating, ‘When a coach has the opportunity and the desire to progress his career in management, it is always very important to allow them the freedom to move on and develop themselves.’. read more

NUFC EFL Championship 2016/17 Season: November

The clocks have gone back, the nights are getting longer and darker while the nation celebrated Guy Fawkes night. That is where English football started in November and as the month progressed, developments in the world of football were getting darker and darker. Meanwhile, it was also Movember as men around the country attempted to grow some embarrassing stubble in the annual stubble against Prostate Cancer.

Football News: November 2016
  • England and Scotland faced each other for the first time competitively since Euro 96; England won the game 3-0 with goals from Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Gary Cahill.
  • The Republic of Ireland defeated Austria for the first time since 1963 to go top of Group D in EUFA World Cup Qualification; James Maclean scored the goal.
  • Wales were held to another frustrating draw, this time with Serbia as Aleksandar Mitrovic equalised with 5 minutes remaining in Cardiff; the game finished 1-1.
  • Northern Ireland defeated Azerbaijan 4-0 at Windsor Park and finished 2016 2nd place in Group C in World Cup Qualification
  • The FA ended the month announcing Gareth Southgate as the new, permanent Head Coach after going unbeaten during his interim period
  • Football was rocked by allegations of historic sex abuse allegations with over 20 ex-professional players coming forward by the end of November.
  • In the Champions League, Manchester City progressed to the knockout stages with a 1-1 draw away to Borussia Monchengladbach while Leicester City achieved the same feat at the first time of asking after defeating Club Brugge 2-1 while a 2-1 defeat in Monaco knocked Tottenham Hotspur out of the competition. Arsenal also progressed.
  • Southampton celebrated perhaps the biggest night in the clubs history
    Brazilian football club Chapecoense were struck by tragedy at the end of November
    Brazilian football club Chapecoense were struck by tragedy at the end of November

    after defeating Inter Milan 2-1 at St Mary’s.

  • Chelsea finished the month top of the Premier League after defeating Tottenham 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.
  • Lamia flight 2933 crashed in the Columbian Mountains killing 71 people, including 19 players of Brazilian club Chapecoense who were travelling to face Athletico Nacional in the Copa Sudamericana final having defeated San Lorenzo the previous week.
  • Six managers in English football lost their jobs in November taking the tally for the season to 18.manager-sack-race
The managerial casualties of November 2016

NUFC in November

Away from those dark developments in football, there was, of course, the action on the pitch and the beauty of the beautiful game. In the EFL Championship, Newcastle United had only four fixtures in November; three in the league and an EFL Cup Quarter-Final. November would not be as stellar as the previous month when Newcastle won all 6 of their games but there were still some highs. read more

NUFC EFL Championship season 2016/17: October

The leaves have been turning brown, the nights are getting longer and colder, the kids have had their Autumn half-term while the ghosts and ghouls have been out for Halloween! And that’s without Chris samara’s fashion sense! In English football, the league and cup competitions are in full flow with early promotion and relegation candidates appearing across all three divisions of the Football league. All the while, the national side has been without a permanent manager.

October 2016: 10 things in October

  • The managerial sack race picked up with 8 casualties over the top 4 divisions of English football
  • Gareth Southgate began his spell as Interim England Head Coach with an unconvincing 2-0 win at Wembley over Malta before taking a dull 0-0 draw away in Slovenia.
  • Wales thought to a credible 2-2 draw in Austria but was followed up with another draw as Georgia held Wales to 1-1 draw in Cardiff
  • Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland defeated Georgia 1-0 before defeating Moldova 3-1 to go joint top of Group D
  • Northern Ireland defeated minnows San Marino 4-0 before falling to a 2-0 away defeat to reigning World Champions Germany
  • Scotland scraped a 1-1 draw at home to Lithuania after scoring a late equaliser before Slovakia destroyed them in a 3-0 win.
  • Jose Mourinho made his first return to Stamford Bridge after his sacking by Chelsea last season and his first visit as a rival Premier League manager but his Manchester United side was blown away in a 4-0 defeat.
  • Meanwhile, Diego Costa had a strop with manager Antonio Conte
  • Pep Guardiola overcame his worst run of form in his managerial career with a 4-0 win at West Brom after 6 games without a win against Celtic, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, Barcelona, Southampton and Manchester United.
  • Sunderland were still yet to win a game in the league under David Moyes and became the first team in Premier League history to win in one of their first 10 games
  • At Arsenal, Arsene Wenger celebrated 20 years at Arsenal.

Newcastle United’s October

What a month it was for Newcastle United! No upheaval during the International break as has been the case at times under the ownership of Mike Ashley and for the first time this season; a 100% win record in all competitions. 6 games, 6 wins and 17 goals scored with only 2 conceded as well as a Quarter Final appearance in the bag! The feel good factor is certainly back now! read more

Newcastle United EFL Championship season 2016/17: September

September is a glorious month for football! The league games keep coming thick and fast, the ‘big boys’ have entered the EFL Cup and the biggest club competition globally is back; The Champions League! A glorious month for Football! Or, least it was until this week. Revelations brought forward by the Daily Telegraph highlighted England manager Sam Allardyce giving ‘foreign investors’ advice on how to circumvent rules regarding g third party ownership of players sighting West Ham’s signing of Enner Valencia in 2014. The Telegraph have continued implicating more figures in English football; suggesting 8 premier league managers are implicated as well as three figures in The Championship.

Here is a selection of events this month… 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

EU Referendum Results: Analysis

On 23rd June, ballot stations around the United Kingdom were open for the In, Out EU Referendum promised by David Cameron in 2013. The polls opened, they closed, the votes were counted and announced as the results came in thick and fast during the early hours. For myself and many other friends of mine, the ‘All-Nighter’ was a depressing experience and for some, emotions of disgust as the UK voted to leave the EU by a margin of 51.9% to 48.1%.

You might be able to tell from my tone here and in my previous political posts that I was pro-remain. I still am all for remaining in the EU but that I not the purpose of this article and I will proceed in as neutral as humanly possible during it. If you have me on Facebook or Twitter, you will know how disappointed I was at the outcome of the Referendum and have held myself back on commenting on any possible explanations for the result until the emotions had died down. Now, almost two months on, now is the right time for me to discuss it and hopefully not lose too much of my sanity. read more