Posts Tagged ‘cricket’

British politics is like cricket – a big score isn’t enough, you have to actually beat the opposition

11/07/2017, 08:32:43 AM

by John Wall

In cricket you not only have to win but also beat the opposition.

The teams walk out, one is such a hot favourite that when they win the toss and decide to bat many think it’s all over. The ball is hit all around the ground and the score mounts. There is a declaration and the other side bats. Things continue badly, they’re quickly skittled out and the follow-on enforced. Then the pendulum swings the other way, batsmen get dug in and the match is drawn.

Despite a large number of runs and some very good individual performances it’s remembered as an inconclusive stalemate, the captain is blamed and replaced – sound familiar?

This is the vote achieved by the first party in the last ten general elections:

Major (1992): 14,093,007

Thatcher (1987): 13,760,935

Thatcher (1979): 13,697,923

May (2017): 13,636,690

Blair (1997): 13,518,167

Thatcher (1983): 13,012,316

Cameron (2015): 11,299,959

Blair (2001): 10,724,953

Cameron (2010): 10,703,754

Blair (2005): 9,552,436

This is the percentage share:

Thatcher (1979): 43.9%

Blair (1997): 43.2%

Thatcher (1983): 42.4%

May (2017): 42.3%

Thatcher (1987): 42.2%

Major (1992): 41.9%

Blair (2001): 40.7%

Cameron (2015): 36.8%

Cameron (2010): 36.1%

Blair (2005): 35.2%

This isn’t rejection of May and her manifesto, she increased the Conservative vote by 2.3 million and 5.5%, and also got 56 more seats than Corbyn.

May’s problem – back to cricket – is that although she “won”, she didn’t “beat” the opposition sufficiently as can be seen by looking at second party percentage shares:

Corbyn (2017): 40.0%

Callaghan (1979): 36,9%

Kinnock (1992): 34.4%

Howard (2005): 32.4%

Hague (2001): 31.7%

Kinnock (1987): 30.8%

Major (1997): 30.7%

Miliband (2015): 30.4%

Brown (2010): 29.0%

Foot (1983): 27.6%

This was largely because the minor parties were squeezed. In 2015 they secured about a third of the vote, but only a sixth in 2017. About 2/3 transferred to Labour and 1/3 to the Conservatives. There was also an age divide, the young voted Labour and the old Conservative.


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There is not a single place in the British isles that is more purely English than Lord’s cricket ground

28/07/2011, 12:00:21 PM

by Dan Hodges

On Monday I failed the cricket test. I fought it. Tried to wrap myself in a warm cloak of English patriotism, but I couldn’t. Sachin Tendulkar tore it from shoulders.

We are constantly lectured that we must make a stark choice. Cold, multicultural separatism. Or dull and oppressive social conformity.

But no one told the 28,000 people who crammed into Lord’s to watch the climax of the hundredth test match between England and India. Just getting into the ground produced a sense of elation. We 28,000 were the fortunate few. Outside, the queues that had begun forming at 2.00 am snaked for almost a mile. To be part of a cricket match. A supposedly dying pastime, a sport naïvely out of touch with the tensions and demands of modern society.

Some queued for their share of history; the Little Master’s last jog down the pavilion steps. Some in the hope of witnessing England reclaim ascendancy of the game they introduced  to the world, then relinquished. Others to see India, now the best team on the planet, turn back the would-be usurpers.

But it didn’t really matter. No passports were required. No one here would be asked to pledge allegiance to faith, or flag.

There is not a single place in the British isles that is more purely English than Lord’s cricket ground. In fact it is not a place, but an ethos. Fair play. Grace under pressure. Healthy competition. Individual  excellence. Collective brilliance. Those politicians who seek to define Englishness would do well to put down their speeches about “British jobs for British workers” and “muscular liberalism” and take a quiet stroll through the Long Room.

Not that Lords has always been welcoming. Far from being a level playing field, the pitch slopes alarmingly from left to right. The members who sit on the old pavilion, and have finally deigned to admit women to their ranks, have been known to obscure the ball as it leaves the bowlers hand, making it difficult for a new or inexperienced  batsman to defend himself.


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On the eve of greatness, a memento mori for English cricket

02/01/2011, 01:25:06 PM

by Dan Hodges

A few years ago, Kevin Pietersen nearly killed me. It wasn’t personal. I was looking for my sandwich; he was looking to hook Brett Lee into row 20 of the Peter May stand at the Oval. I didn’t find my sandwich, but he found the stand.

Two seats to the right, and I would have been a tragic footnote to England’s historic 2005 Ashes triumph. I sometimes wonder if there would have been a moment’s silence for me in Trafalgar Square; a poignant pause before Vic Flowers led Andrew Flintoff in a drunken rendition of Jerusalem. Knowing Vic and Freddie, probably not.

Tonight, England’s cricketers take to the field for the most important cricket match since that fateful, near fatal, day. “What madness is this”, goes the cry. “The cricketing Rubicon was successfully forded a week ago, in Melbourne. We saw the cheers, the tears, the cream of English youth dancing the sprinkler in front of delirious men dressed as Arthurian knights and Camilla Parker-Bowles”.

Wrong. The Ashes have not been won. Merely retained. (more…)

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