Angry? Bloody Right I'm Angry.

There are scores of memorial videos to lost lives on YouTube; enough.

I've just spent the last 50 mins reading the latest May-Aug CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young), update. It is 107 pages of uplifting inspiration merged with 107 pages of desolate grief. The grief far out weighs the inspiration. I've written about CRY before; so have many others. Although great strides are being made to reduce the number of early deaths from sudden heart death among young people in this country they are, in the scheme of things, baby steps. One death is too many.

We lose, very roughly, twelve young people a week in the UK from undiagnosed heart disorders, mostly but not always, when playing or participating in sport. Most of these individual tragedies are avoidable by simple screening. We don't though, mandate heart screening as a matter of course for our children in the UK and the death toll rises as an inevitable consequence. So, let me put this in plain and simple language that even the most stupid politician can understand.

If a rabid extremist walked out tomorrow morning and wasted 12 youngsters HM Government would immediately make it clear that 'no stone would be left unturned, no expense spared, no hiding place...... yada, yada.' Yet we'll lose more than that number before Christmas Day with kids clocking out because their ticker gives up the ghost with no warning. Because though, it happens in isolated incidents, up and down the land, there is no collective outrage, no front page news, no anger and frustration on Question Time and the rest of the media to force action. Every child in Italy is screened, why not here? To be screened in the UK a child has to meet one of the following criteria, they must be

a. At a school with an alert medical centre, sports department or enlightened headmaster who offers screening

b. Have parents who are aware of SADS and who are in a position to do something about screening

c. Lose a friend, colleague or neighbour in a tragic episode and take action

d. Be dead and the screening comes in the form of an autopsy.

Am I alone in hearing the nonsense alarm going clang-a-lang-a-lang? British sport is crammed full of self righteous self interest. From SKY Sports to the BBC, the Sports Minister, the FA, the RFU, Lords, Lord Coe; the whole shagging lot who are responsible for collective sporting failure on a quite epic scale. We have held two monumental sporting events in the UK in recent years and these people talk and bluster about 'legacy.' How about taking responsibility and doing something good in ensuring that no child who steps foot on a sports ground is at risk from sudden death. That would be a simple, achievable and laudable legacy. It's not mouth guards and shin pads parents need to be worrying about on the sports field, its being dressed in black and working out orders of service because the sporting establishment and those in the government charged with health, sport and education cannot, or will not, get their collective act together. Shame on them. Angry? Bloody right I am.

Of course, some individual sportsmen and members of the sporting establishment are great supporters of the campaign for screening. Among them Nick Easter, Sir Steve Redgrave, Gregor Townsend, Rio Ferdinand and John Inverdale, who experienced at first hand a tragedy when playing. It's not enough though, it just is not enough. I think its time to get angry and to communicate the frustration in the utter madness of doing nothing. It's not much, but I'll be writing to two Members of Parliament a week from here on in and conjuring up whatever other means might be at my disposal to cajole, embarrass and pressure those in positions of authority and responsibility to do the right thing.

We had a saying in the Army, 'JFDI.' 'Just Fucking Do It,' Mr Cameron, just do it.

Bloody Trains Rant

Coalition Transport Spending Plan

I don't believe for a moment that any of us war weary infantry in the trenches are in the least bit surprised in the supposed revelation that Vince Cable believes that he could bring down the coalition at any time of his choosing. The only surprise is that Vince Cable might think that any of us care in the least what he says. We're all just too familiar with the massive egos and arrogance of these people to be surprised which is not news given one of the people who has least earned the right to ego and arrogance is Mr Cable. Greatness doesn't come from just regurgitating the last thing you read on the internet.

Unfortunately for the rest of us, there is indeed no limit to the ego of all these people for they all leave humility at the front door of Westminster the moment they walk inside. The way they like to project their largesse and public spirit is, somewhat tragically for the long suffering taxpayer, by embarking on huge vanity projects at our expense. That we neither need not want them is irrelevant as they seek to concrete themselves in the public conciousness Oh you will lads, but for the wrong reasons.

£800m on the Millennium Dome would be a good place to start in the lesson, "How not to do it," but Westminster missed that and hurtled on to drive a coach and horses through what taxpayers wanted by throwing what will end up costing £20bn to keep Lord bloody Coe quiet on the Olympics. £20bn? Let's just stop for a moment and question this insanity. Yesterday a great big PR fuss was made of the floodlights being switched on and £65m being given to sport for schools. Here's a reality check - for £20 bn we could give every secondary school a top class gymnasium and small stadium. In fact, all our schools could be equipped just like those cutsy American High schools you see in the movies. Instead, we're spending an absolute bloody fortune on a bunch a minority sports that no one ever pays to watch. The utter waste is criminal and the servitude to the IOC is demeaning to every Briton that has ever drawn breath. The Russians got the World Cup; let's just give them the Olympic fools errand too, in fact, we should pay them to take it and retain some dignity and cash flow.

But political vanity projects are the order of the day for every administration and so the Coalition have theirs....... fast trains to bloody Birmingham. Well, that's a good way to spend £34bn isn't it?

Here's a little bit of context for you from our friends at Think Defence; despite all the drum beating about the Military Covenant, this is what the Coalition have achieved to date,

  • Reducing the planned purchase of 22 Chinooks to 12
  • Cancelling Nimrod MRA4
  • Reducing armour and artillery
  • Reducing surface vessels
  • Reducing Tornado
  • Withdrawn Harrier GR9′s
  • Withdrawing Sentinel
  • Slashing allowances and expenses
  • Setting up the armed forces for a post Afghanistan change in terms and conditions of service
  • Implementing a 2 year pay freeze
  • Reducing pensions
  • Reducing service personnel by 17,000
  • Reducing the MoD Civil Service by 25,000 which will likely result in more work for service personnel

Moving swiftly back to the £34bn we're about to hose on getting to Birmingham marginally more quickly than we already do, these people, well the Government I guess, (they could be aliens for all the familiarity they demonstrate to the lives of taxpayers), need a reality check. Obviously, I'd like the reality check to be a swift kick up the rear but instead I'll make this as simple as I can,

"We don't want to travel at 250mph, we simply want to travel at reasonable cost and with a reliable service."

My season ticket costs £5256, plus £800 a year to park my car at the station; that's after tax. Given we subsidise South West Trains anyway,  the true cost to the traveller can only be guessed at. I won't bang on about the wanton exploitation of the travelling public by South West Trains because I've talked before about them stripping out lavatories on trains to cram in more seats, about using small suburban trains for inter city services and that rather special couldn't give a damn attitude to snow clearing on their premises.

The point here, is that the Coalition should stow their egos and focus on just what would help the travelling public and the workforce and it isn't fast trains to Birmingham. Indeed, if I were a betting man I can almost guarantee that it will end up costing £50bn and the rest of us will enjoy fare increases to compensate for their utter stupidity. Muppets.

 As a postscript, I found this comment on a post on Andrew Gilligans blog interesting and exactly the sort of thing the government should be making their business to explore. They won't, it doesn't massage the ego enough and strangely, I can't now find the comment on the blog; here it is anyway:

"My favourite suggestion that went nowhere, was from a South-West Trains driver who had noticed that if you were to build a mile-long spur from a point a mile south-west of Feltham mainline BR station up between the Bedfont Road and the Primary school and past the Clockhouse Roundabout into Terminal 4, you could have a very cheap Heathrow Express, going into the surplus international-spec Eurostar platforms at Waterloo once the cross-channel trains started going into St. Pancras."

Stand up whoever you are and find that bloody driver; we can't afford to let original thinking like that fall by the wayside.