It’s been a while, so there are quite a few articles that I’ve picked up on recently. Some might be signposted elsewhere, but better twice than not at all, eh?
One of my secret passions is Rugby League – I’m off to the Challenge Cup Final on Saturday – so I was glad to see it get some coverage in the Guardian away from the sport pages.
The commercial modernisation of rugby league has crushed its ambitions. But as yesterday showed, it can’t crush the pride.
The Wall Street Journal take a different look at national contributions to the EU budget – on a per capita rather than total basis. Interestingly, that pushes the UK way down the list of contributors.
The picture changes quite a bit. Small, rich countries (the Benelux nations, the Nordics, Ireland) rise up; the biggies (particularly the U.K.) fall down.
This item on the Failblog made me laugh so much. Unfortunately I was on the tube and so everyone thought I was a crazy lady.
Among all the dire news about the written press, Roy has some good news for us:
One success story hidden away among last week’s release of the ABC consumer magazines sales figures was the performance of First News, the weekly paper for children.
In the first six months of the year, it registered a sale of 48,314. That was a rise of 22.5% on the same same period in 2009 (when the sale was 39,450).
This is a bit after the event but whatever…
Over the Bank Holiday weekend I attended the Rugby League Magic Weekend. Marvellous time had by all etc etc and the longest I’ve spent in Edinburgh for years, thereby remind myself that it is a great city. In the programme for the 7 games of Rugby League we watched, they had a section about each team, and one of the catageories was “If they were a famous Scot, they would be…”. I thought some of them were funny enough to share. Knowledge of Rugby League teams not necessarily required.
Quins: Mary Queen of Scots – Posh relatives, but choosing to live by a different code.
Bradford Bulls: Former RBS boss Fred Goodwin – A rich and powerful major player recently fallen on hard times.
Wigan Warriors: Wet Wet Wet – By the mid-1990s, people tired of them being number one all the time.
St Helens: Gordon Brown – Top dog now, but for how much longer?
Huddersfield Giants: Colin Montgomerie – Often in the running, but just can’t seem to win a major trophy.
Castleford Tigers: Shrek – Not the most picturesque or glamorous of creatures, but much loved.
Catalan Dragons (my team and possibly my favourite one): JK Rowling – Not originally from round these parts, but now considered one of us.
Warrington Wolves: Rod Stewart – Big in the 1970s and still in the news, but it’s been ages since their last hit.
It’s clear that people are gearing up for the “rentrée” on Monday – my diary is filling up with meetings after several quiet weeks. And it’s also obvious that with the prospect of a general election looming, and EP elections next year, we’re going to have a lot of work on our hands over the next few months. Just this week, the acre story has reared its head again (am I allowed to say that there’s some irony to be found in Conservative MPs talking about the awfulness of the EU getting rid of the acre, when all the EU decision does is recognise the status quo in the UK, a measure brought in by the last Conservative government…?). We had the cakes. We know that we have pesticides and electronic tagging of sheep coming up. Who knows what else is waiting there for us?!
Off to Brussels this weekend, which will include watching the Challenge Cup Final with some friends. If you need a laugh, read Jon Wilkin’s analysis of the Saints team. The man is a comedy genius. Also getting my hair cut, finally, so will no longer look like the evil lovechild of Leo Sayer.
I tried out for a band last night, but I’m not very hopeful – I had made clear that I was looking to do this for fun, not as a career choice, but they do want to do a lot of gigs and festivals and things. Loved their music though, so I can only wish them the best of luck!