This column begins with belated congratulations – to Hon. Colonel Thomas Moore, who has raised over £30,000,000 for the NHS at the ripe old age of 100 – an incredible achievement in this trying time. To see exactly where that money goes, read this excellent explainer by Emma Youle:
What I’m Listening To: Archive On 4 is always brilliant listening, but especially in these surreal times and two episodes have been absolute standouts this week.
The first is The Sound of America: The Story of NPR (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0076vcz) by Joe Queenan, a deep look into one of the world’s great institutions. In an hour you’ll hear clips from Watergate, OJ Simpson, 9/11 and the Iraq War to name a few, beginning a journey that should make time fly by.
The second is one of the most remarkable pieces of radio I’ve ever heard – Diana: A Life Backwards (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0926flh). A brilliant journey in reverse from her untimely death to her engagement at 19 to Prince Charles, it offers a level of access and insight into her life unmatched by any other programme, a testament to the skill of Steven Rajam and James Roberts.
The other thing I’ve been listening to this week is The Social Review’s latest podcast. Joe Hamm and Jasper Cresdee-Hyde discuss COVID-19’s effect on globalisation, interplay between nation-states and international corporations and the future of air travel with Mathew Lawrence, Director of the think tank Common Wealth. A very interesting and insightful podcast indeed:
What I’m Reading: With the announcement of a plan to lift the lockdown made yesterday, the debate over what an exit strategy looks like is sure to dominate much of the next week. I haven’t read a plan that comes anywhere close to the Institute For Government’s in terms of detail – if you’re curious about what the coming months might hold, it is worth a very deep read:
What I’m Watching: Gangs Of London, the brilliant gritty drama which is a thrill a minute. That came off the back of Spooks, one of the best TV shows in British history – and the movie (Spooks: The Greater Good) is also a very good watch (although best seen after the TV show).
What I’m Excited About: Watching Normal People, restarting Money Heist, perhaps buying a Nintendo Switch and also a toastie machine – because who doesn’t love a toasted sandwich!
Parliament but not as you know it!
My esteemed colleague David Stewart, pointed out the changes that Coronavirus has forced upon both houses of Parliament – in many cases for the better, especially in the long term. Virtual debates and committee sessions have transformed access for many MP’s whilst also allowing in some cases – especially in PMQ’s – for a more policy focused debate, whilst electronic voting is a measure that many felt was long overdue. It would be no surprise if many, if not all of those changes were kept for good – and that’ll be for the country’s benefit.
Fail To Prepare…
Prepare to fail, so the old saying goes. That is not something the BHA can be accused of however, with a comprehensive plan to restart the sport at a moment’s notice. Whilst it is imperative that the timing is just right – and some trainers in particular ought to know better than to ask the impossible – it should provide a great deal of comfort that racing has planned in such detail for a return behind closed doors, whenever that might be. (We already know that French racing is pencilled in to resume on May 11th at Longchamp, German racing mid- May and of course some US and Australian racing has been continuing anyhow behind closed doors even amidst the global pandemic with strict hygiene protocols).
Lots of very good sense, and some clarity on early days of resumption, in the latest bulletin.
– Flat horses eligible for a mark after two top six finishes
– Staggered bands (e.g. 0-66, 0-68, etc) to give more horses the chance of a run. pic.twitter.com/ylmJiXaH31
— Matt Bisogno (@MattBisogno) April 30, 2020
Just the one this week…..
“Marks out of 10 for Sir Keir Starmer so far?”
Sam, via email
6. That will seem both too how and too high for many, so let me explain. His performances at PMQs have been excellent so far, but his almost delirious delight at the Government’s exit strategy plans seem misplaced – that decision came through natural timing with just as much pressure from Tory MP’s as Labour ones. The party could also be doing more for renters too – they seem to have retreated from supporting rent suspension & are now advocating rent deferrals which will create serious problems down the road. However, it’s worth remembering he’s had precious little time at the helm and things will surely evolve down the line. It goes without saying that his statement on Kashmir was also deeply disappointing – the link below explains better than I could.
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Until next time, keep safe and well,
Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.