Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Poppy - a simple mark of respect

THERE can be little obvious connection between football and those who gave their lives for their country.

Yet a huge row developed over the England and Wales teams wanting to wear poppies as a mark of respect during friendly games ahead of Remembrance Sunday.

Inevitably football’s world governing body FIFA tried to give the whole idea not a red poppy but a red card because it claimed poppies would “jeopardise the neutrality of football” by breaching its decree that shirts should not carry political, religious or commercial messages.

FIFA’s stance attracted a storm of protest including comments from Germany in support of what England and Wales were trying to do not to mention anger right across the country including Weymouth and Portland that it was another unwelcome example of political correctness.

I’m bound to say that FIFA’s insensitive remarks bear close resemblance to the constant interference we have to endure from EU chiefs who also feel that their rules are the only ones that matter.

FIFA eventually bowed to international pressure and agreed a compromise for England and Wales to wear poppies on armbands rather than their shirts.

Perhaps FIFA might also dwell on this — but for those who gave their lives there might not be any FIFA while only an idiot divorced from reality would label a poppy as political, religious or commercial when it is clearly a simple mark of respect.

Let’s hope we don’t get our fingers burnt!

WE now have a rough idea of how the Olympic torch is going to make its triumphal passage through the streets of Weymouth and Portland en route to the 2012 Games in London.

I’m sure that many people would like to catch a glimpse of this sporting icon, so I enclose a few notes here to shed a little light on the torch and to help people arrange their diaries.

Believe it or not, Carl Diem devised the idea of the torch relay for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin which were organised by the Nazis under the guidance of Joseph Goebbels, so let us all hope that Weymouth and Portland’s handling of its share of the 2012 route can match German efficiency.

By far and away the best chance of seeing the torch on July 12th-13th, 2012, will be anywhere in the town centre area where drivers won’t be distracted from enjoying the spectacle by anything so mundane as forward progress.

Other promising viewpoints include the Nothe Gardens – if you can get a ticket – from which the transfer of the torch from Osprey Quay on Portland to Weymouth beach promises all sorts of challenging opportunities for spanners to get into works.

This is because the transfer is by sea and, if this year’s July weather is anything to go by, then there is a strong possibility that conditions may be a little choppy, so perhaps a few prayers here to the sea god Poseidon rather than the Olympic god Zeus.

Finally, no guidance on a moving receptacle carrying naked flames would be complete without some advice from Health and Safety who warn that runners carrying the torch should be careful of hot metal.

However, I think local Olympic organisers will be more worried about getting their fingers burnt in a wider sense since the eyes of the world will be on us and we don’t want to be forever after remembered as the town which dropped the torch down roadworks or lost it at sea! Good luck, we’ll need it.

Spirit of Christmas?

VODKA may not be everyone’s drink of choice and it certainly doesn’t rank top of the list for members of Chapelhay Community Playgarden in Weymouth.

They turned up to the garden ahead of an event for children to make snowmen and angels as decorations for a community Christmas tree only to find that part of the garden had become a major hazard.

Vandals had decided it would be great fun to have a drink in the playgarden and, when they had finished, they smashed an empty bottle of vodka on the metal top platform of a children’s slide.

Hundreds of pieces of glass exploded over the whole area and helpers at the garden arrived for the Christmas event only to find they had some serious housework to do first.

It took a house broom, a dustpan and brush plus a lot of effort to painstakingly track down and sweep up every shard of glass and put it in rubbish bins before children could be allowed back on that part of the play area.

Residents say that the playgarden is frequently being used at night by groups of teenagers as a rendezvous point for drinking and smoking which is hardly what organisers had in mind when the playgarden was formed.

Hopefully the true spirit of Christmas can return to the gardens... and I don’t mean out of a bottle.


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