Welcome back one and all, and many thanks if you took the time to read last week. Today’s edition is shorter, because yours truly has been preoccupied with reading ‘How to bring down a statue for Dummies’ – there’s a big weekend coming you see.
A slimmed down recommendations section this week:
Top Reads Of The Week:
Talking about statues and history has been all the rage over the past week, and you won’t read a better piece on preserving and rewriting history than this from the superb Charlotte Lydia Riley:
I haven’t read as much sports writing lately but Jim Waterson’s wonderful tale of how York City could lose a title in the cruellest of fashions was a brilliant distraction from the events of now:
On a more political theme, Stephen Bush’s analysis of Rishi Sunak’s political manoeuvres make for important and interesting reading;
And Bush’s personal piece on his appointment to chair the Board of Deputies of British Jews’ commission on racial inclusivity within the Jewish community (and whilst we are here, may I just say what an excellent appointment it is):
The Institute For Government’s report on how both sides could secure more time for Brexit (written by Georgina Wright, James Kane, and Haydon Etherington)
Ever thought about what’s really going on with Brexit and Fish? Wonder no more, thanks to a superb team effort from Professor Catherine Barnard, Matt Bevington, Jill Rutter, John Connolly, Girffin Carpenter and Arno van der Zwet:
And last but never least, Paul Waugh’s incredibly powerful piece on the UK’s schooling situation:
Top Listens Of The Week:
I will make no apologies for putting More Or Less here each week. It ought to be mandatory listening when we are all trying to work our way through an incredible amount of data and Tim Harford and his team are doing a tremendous job.
There are a whole host of excellent political podcasts right now, but one stood out over the last week and has been deserving of a spot here for some time. The FT politics podcast, released every Saturday, has become a near perfect way to reviews whatever’s happened – and god know what that is in the span of five days – with Sebastian Payne as a versatile anchor and an excellent cast of the ever-present political correspondent Laura Hughes, top Chief Political Correspondent Jim Pickard, political editor George Parker and other names too. A big shout to Anna Dehdhar and Breen Turner for a fine production job.
Word Of The Week: Cancelled (Noun). To dismiss something/somebody. To reject an individual or an idea
Example: “Oh god, William Kedjanyi likes pineapple on his pizza. He’s cancelled.”
Tweet Of The Week:
Statues and Liberty
By now you know what this is all about. Statues all around the country appear to be under threat as Britain – spurred on by the group of demonstrated that topped Edward Colston’s statute in Bristol last Sunday.
The Discourse on this seems to have gone into two camps. One is Team ‘Tear Them Down’ – probably the side yours truly finds himself on, if we are talking about Slave Traders and those guilty of war crimes. The other seems to be Team ‘Keep Them Up’, a position can can understand for the greyer figures in our history, although it must be said that there appears to be more than a tang of after-timing with this; What odds would you have laid on your next door neighbour knowing who Edward Colston or Robert Miligan were before Sunday?
Don’t Mention The (Culture) War
A new and excruciating frontier in our never ending Culture War is the removing of old television programmes that used blackface. I should make my position clear (as depressing as it is to say) that I feel it is absolutely right to remove or edit programming with blackface, something which I find it astonishing has made it into what one might consider ‘modern’ (if we can call Little Britain that) comedy.
The picture is much more nuanced around older comedy shows and other forms of art, and well-meaning (let’s be kind) executives in arts industry, TV especially, ought to remember that whilst anti-racism movements have broad support in the UK, there is likely to be far less enthusiasm for what could be seen as overreaching censorship. It’s for you to decide whether removing ‘The Germans’ from Fawlty Towers falls into that category – it’s worth remembering that the “racist” elements of Fawlty Towers derive their significance from clearly mocking the stupidity of racist attitudes – but cultural sage Penny Andrews says it best:
We wanted more diverse new telly, not more people praising themselves for pressing delete
— Penny CS Andrews 🌈🔥 (@pennyb) June 11, 2020
European Racing…. It’s In The Game
The more alert readers amongst you will know the last of those words come from the EA Sports gaming family. You’ll have heard them for FIFA, NBA, NFL, AND NHL games if that’s your thing. Racing does have a gaming history – Starters Orders is the thing of legend in the sport – but the last game of note that made it to a console was Horse Racing 2016 (and with all due respect, the videos I saw made it a step back on G1 Jockey).
M3 Media – who have been doing so much good work – pointed this out in the aftermath of Oisin Murphy’s superb Guineas win with a beautiful mock of up what ‘Racing 20’ could look like.
— M3 Media Racing 🏇🏽 (@M3Media_Racing) June 8, 2020
And honestly, why not? The technology is there – and has been used successfully in the past – the fan-base should certainly be there – and virtual racing has proven that horse AI could be used to simulate realistic performances and career simulations. A fan can dream…
Question: Dumb q but can you actually see *who* is putting down these massive bets? Or does it just say someone has placed a 50k bet, here’s their account details?
Sam, Twitter (@SamFromHongKong)
Answer: So we can see who’s betting with us – as all bookies do – but we of course have privacy as a top priority.
Question: How do horse racing odds actually work?
Brian McGee (@ImJoseee), Twitter.
Answer: This is a great question for those of you who aren’t on the side of the Good Guys. The simple way of it saying it is that odds represent the probability of an event to happen and therefore enable you to work out how much money you will win if your bet wins. There are different types of odds.
Fractional: With odds of 4/1, for every £1 you bet, you will win £4 for a successful selection.
Decimal: The represents the total payout, rather than the profit. Or to make it even simpler, your stake is already included in the decimal number (no need to add back your stake), so your total payout calculation’s a great deal easier.
American: So the odds for a favourite will have a (-) sign infront of it, indicating the amount you need to stake to win £100. Meanwhile, the odds for underdogs are accompanied by a positive (+) sign, indicating the amount you’d win for every £100 you put on.
How do Star calculate their racing odds?
Answer: Our team of traders – race-readers and analysts who will work in tandem to assign a chance to each horse in a race – will assign odds to each horse. Then as punters come and bet – and often this will take place with large sums – the odds will change to reflect our labilities by best to worst result, as well as our original opinions.
Question: Are there any odd/surprising trends that are similar in sport/horse racing and politics?
Answer: Actually, yes! The ability of social media to move markets is the main trend I have noticed. It works more in politics, but it Is a more common trend now in racing than ever and smart social media watchers can make a big impact.
Thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts, anything at all – please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org !
This column will take a week’s break, to give full focus towards a fantastic and Socially Distanced Royal Ascot. See you after then!
Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.