The Plastic Hippo

August 11, 2012

An open letter

Filed under: Birmingham,Politics,Society,Sport — theplastichippo @ 11:29 pm

One of these men was born in Somalia; the other was born in Jamaica. They are both very welcome here. Aidan Burley MP was born in New Zealand but is sadly more moron than Maori so perhaps we should be reviewing immigration policy.

After arriving in this most hospitable of nations, young Aidan Burley attended the independent King Edward`s School in the lovely borough of Edgbaston in the fair city of Birmingham. King Edward`s has produced some remarkable sportsmen particularly in rugger and our English summer game and a notable old boy was a certain Enoch Powell. It is not known if Enoch excelled with the willow and the leather or if he was any good in a scrum, but we do know that King Edward`s are rather good at educating future politicians that are capable of ruining their careers by making stupid comments based on bigotry.

With Powell, it was rivers of blood, with Burley it was “multicultural crap”. His comment on the Olympic opening ceremony might be best described if we remove the word multicultural and even if we except that he might have been drunk, his Twitter contribution is there for eternity and gives an insight into what is going on in his tiny mind. For clarification, I would remind the MP for Cannock Chase that the Olympiad is a sporting event attended by athletes from almost every culture on the planet. It would seem that the only culture, multi or otherwise, that this bone head encounters is hiring Nazi costumes for a stag party in a French ski resort. One wonders what the good people of Cannock Chase make of this embarrassing bigot and if his local party might even now be considering immediate de-selection and force a by election. We can only live in hope that the full weight of the law will be brought down on immigrants who intentionally preach hatred and intolerance but with Theresa May clinging on to dear life after the Abu Qatada fiasco, Burley will probably be promoted.

The Royal Mail has come up with a wizard wheeze of commemorating UK gold medal winners with a special postage stamp and other wags have suggested that we all buy a Mohamed Farah stamp and post a letter to the BNP central office. This is an excellent idea that should be extended. Buy lots of Mohamed Farah stamps and send lots of letters guaranteed to make tiny brains explode. But what should the letter say? How about this:

“Dear BNP/EDL/Aidan Burley/Theresa May/David Cameron (delete as necessary)

Great Britain welcomes people of all cultures and celebrates the contribution they make to our nation. You, on the other hand, have contributed almost nothing to the wellbeing and prosperity of the common wealth. Please leave at once.”

If a night out with Aidan Burley involves dressing up as a storm trooper and giving fascist salutes, forget it. Usain Bolt prepared for the 200m final by spending the evening with the Swedish women`s beach volley ball team in a nightclub. He, and his relay team, also thanked Birmingham. Mohamed should come to Cannock and stand for MP. There is only one winner.

August 9, 2012

Golden girls

Filed under: Society,Sport,Walsall — theplastichippo @ 9:48 pm

Okay, how many clichés do you want? Sport is a great leveller, life is a lottery, rags to riches, fairytale story, hard work, dedication, sacrifice, history making. Enough of that, Great Britain has two more gold medals.

At face value, Nicola Adams and Charlotte Dujardin have very little in common other than being of the same gender and species and born within three years of each other on a small island just off continental Europe. It is unlikely that Nicola did very much dressage growing up in inner city Leeds and there are no recorded sightings of Charlotte pulling on the gloves and going four rounds with one of the other girls at the village gymkhana. It is reasonable to assume that they have led very different lives but they do share a unique common bond that sets them apart from just about everyone else. They have both been judged to be the very best individual on the planet at their chosen craft.

There are some people that are uncomfortable with women punching each other being considered to be a sport but logic dictates that if men are allowed to thump lumps out of each other then objection is discriminatory. One can only imagine how those uneasy with women`s boxing feel about Taekwondo when kicking the opponent in the head attracts a higher score. If risk of injury is the issue, a quick look at the BMX racing would result in the sport receiving an immediate ban. That BMX stuff is nuts. As an aside regarding BMX, following the failed Simon Walsh court case, perhaps the Crown Prosecution Service should bring a prosecution against the BBC for transmitting images of acts likely to cause serious injury. Just a thought.

Given the shocking and unacceptable level of violence against women, particularly domestic violence, women skilled at using their fists will contribute to breaking the dominance of male boxing and male sport in general. Who knows, perhaps the next time some moronic Neanderthal decides to punch a wife, girlfriend or daughter, he might be faced by a nascent Nicola Adams or Katie Taylor coming straight back at him.

If some observers think that boxing is degrading for women, they would surely agree that dressage is degrading for the horse. After the mud, blood and guts of the cross country and the demands of the show jumping ring, any self respecting nag must feel humiliated by being asking to prance, cavort and, for goodness sake, perform to a music backing track. This, of course, assumes that an equine has an inherent sense of self as well as an inherent sense of rhythm and musical taste. Dressage might be a closed book to most of us but it is obvious that the level of skill required, from both horse and rider, is phenomenal. There are remarkable athletes who can control a javelin, a bow, a shotgun or crash a BMX bike but they do not have a very large living animal between their legs choreographed to Land of Hope and Glory and the Great Escape.

For any competitor to reach the Olympic Games sets them apart from the common herd in sheer expertise at any given discipline. To win any medal, regardless of whatever we judge regarding ambition and killer instinct is astonishing; becoming the best in the world must be life changing. Nicola Adams and Charlotte Dujardin have displayed extraordinary skill and determination and deserve their success and adulation. As a bonus, they both seem to be genuinely nice people. Arguments about advantage and disadvantage, privileged and under privileged, wealth and poverty lie at the heart of this nation and some sport, especially the events staged at the Olympics, remain elitist and exclusive. However, if for some strange reason I was in a position to be required to round up some escaped ponies running amok on the verdant green spaces of Bloxwich, Blakenall and Willenhall, I would prefer to have Charlotte for company rather than Nicola. If, on the other hand, I were ever tempted to venture into Walsall town centre on a Friday or Saturday night, I would rather be out drinking with Nicola than Charlotte when it all kicks off.

Horses for courses or boxing clever? That`s probably enough sporting clichés.


Sport forever changes and a few short hours after Nicola Adams and Charlotte Dujardin made history another British sister joined them as an Olympic Champion. Jade Jones, aged 19, won gold in Taekwondo. Hey misogynists, watch out for strong women who wear gloves.

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