Signposts to Ruin

Comment from Ageing Albion

This is a comment on the post “More English Effacement” published in September last year, about the England Rugby team’s choice of colours in the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

The choosing of an all black alternative colour was either the most spectacularly ignorant decision in British sporting history (if they didn’t know anything about the New Zealand hosts of the tournament, which I cannot believe) or a deliberate attempt to wind up the hosts. They would – must – have known that the New Zealanders would take it either as a cheap shot or a pathetic imitation.

In the event, of course, England played like a pathetic imitation of a team and behaved like worthless oiks off the pitch. Once upon a time England was famous the world over, and particularly in New Zealand, which regarded “the mother country” with much greater fondness than did any other ex-colony, for good manners and public behaviour. It seems that far too many modern English go in for the reverse – no public standards at all. Their black jerseys fell apart anyway, much as the players did. They were lucky to win a single match and came back humiliated.

This should have led to a thorough and objective inquiry followed by a ruthless implementation of harsh measures – sacking of anyone who wasn’t up to scratch and imposition of clear sanctions for both poor performance and poor off-field behaviour in the future. Instead a weak inquiry resulted in weak recommendations and weak implementation.

None of this should have surprised anyone familiar with modern Britain, where it seems no one is ever held accountable for anything. The absolute nadir was the Iran hostage taking of Royal Marines, which ended in a report saying it was all bad but no-one could be blamed sufficiently to suffer any consequence. As a letter to the Times pointed out, blame was blazingly obvious – the commander of the boarding party for (i) not having a lookout and more to the point (ii) surrendering pathetically; the commander of the ship for authorising the mission and not ensuring helicopter cover; and the commander of the fleet in the region because he is the one responsible for all its actions – that’s the price of being in command. The whole lot of them should have been court martialed, reduced to petty seamen and discharged without honour. Instead they got desk jobs and promotions.

Another example – the Rover catastrophe. The former executives who took huge pensions out of a failed company and the accountants who designed the scheme by which they did it should have beeen required to return the money (and the accountants professionally disciplined ie struck off). Instead it was admitted by the inquiry that the whole thing was a fiasco but – you guessed it – they couldn’t blame any identifiable individuals sufficiently to punish them.

Anyone who cannot see a link between the three different events above (i) has lost the plot and (ii) is allowing this country to sleepwalk into ruin.

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