Anorak News | Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget

by | 5th, December 2005

‘THE one positive that came out of George Best’s passing was that the BBC was forced to break its obsession with Strictly Come Dancing.

Rather than peppering its news broadcasts with the latest must-know goings on from the celeb dance contest for BBC employees, the corporation showed us footage of Best scoring any one of three goals.

Meanwhile, in the print media, every article on Best was accompanied by shots of said three goals, a few words from his playing and spectating peers and the universal hope that he would be remembered for being a great football and not just a drunk. There would then follow a piece about Best’s drinking.

And then there were his women. On Monday, Gina DeVivo, an ex-mo-del with whom Best had an affair in 2003, told the Mirror how Best had told her about his “SECRET KIDS”.

“I asked George how many children he had and he told me three – two girls and a boy – but was extremely sad that he was only in contact with his son Calum,” said the blonde.

How sad. But let’s not let this overshadow his playing carer (insert footage of Best beating Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris to the ball).

Better to move on and see what kind of world Besty had left behind. They were hard times when Best was plying his trade. But football has gone soft and nowadays hard men get their kicks by joining the Royal Marines, strapping bits of foam to their arms and jumping about like demented chickens.

When we first saw those grainy images of naked members of the Royal Marines standing in a field fighting with mats rolled around their wrists we were appalled.

After the shame of non-firing guns and boots that melted in the heat, what hope now for the brave men of 42 Commando Royal Marines forced to take on the enemy with not a stitch of clothing on and armour made from sponge?

Then we read the reports, as in the Times (“Naked fight film sparks calls for new crackdown on bullies”), that the men were not fighting the Iraqis, but each other.

And on Tuesday there was more. The Sun produced a compassionate and very serious report about initiation ceremonies at a military base in Taunton.

We were told that recruits were made to “SLIDE down a muddy hill, EAT Weetabix covered in dirt and SINK pints of milk until they are sick”.

It sounded all too believable. Indeed, it sounded like the sort of thing that many young Britons do for a laugh on holiday, and we agreed that it was nothing to be proud of.

Unfortunately, the days when an apprentice had his penis stuck in a bottle and his scrotum covered in boot polish are long gone. And the military, like everyone else has to move with the times.

But what can they do? Their hands are tied with red tape (metaphorically, we hasten to add) and until they are free to run things properly, we can expect more of these shameful revelations.

And on Wednesday, things were getting more touchy-feely. As the Mail reported, West Mercia Police Force had recruited Mary Gober, the motivational guru who has worked for Marks & Spencer.

Nicknamed Mrs Motivator, American Gober had been employed for a fee of £200,000 to devise a training scheme which will invigorate they who handle 999 calls and general switchboard enquiries.

“Put a smile in your voice,” said Gober. “”Everything I do or say is either a service or a disservice to another person.”

Sounded great in theory. And we went to find out if it worked in practice. We dialed 999. “Hello, caller,” came the chirpy voice.

“Help! I’m under attack. My life is in jeopardy. They’re coming in through the windows. Come quick. Help!” we urged.

“Your call is very important to us. You are held in a gently meandering queue. Try not worry. Think of a green field and lying by a smooth sun-dappled pond… Your call is very important to us…”

It was enough to turn us to drugs. And, on the subject of illegal narcotics – not the legal ones GPs hand out like Smarties – the Government was adamant.

Calculations had been performed. MPs with pasts had been consulted. Researchers had been busy with cigarette papers. Finally, Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, was ready to deliver his verdict. You could get 512 spliffs from one 4 ounce block of hash. Official!

If you had more than 4 ounces, or 512 joints, in your pockets you were a consumer. Any more than that and you were a dealer.

But in the face of so much change, at least we could rely on the police to remain constant. And so it was on Friday we turned to the Times and read: “Sexism and homophobia still ‘endemic’ in all police forces.” Well, at least the institutionalised racism wasn’t making news anymore.

The paper had seen a Home Office report that said sexism and homophobia were “rampant” in the police service. The report said: “Women, minority ethnic and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender officers continued in large numbers to feel excluded, uncomfortable and discriminated against.”

Tim Newburn, one of the report’s authors, said: “Sexism is endemic, that is to say everywhere. Not just in every force surveyed, but in every part of every force.” From the bottom of the white, heterosexual male copper’s brandished truncheon all the way to the tip of his nipple-shaped hat.

A hat removed and held in trembling hands at the memory of George Best…’

Posted: 5th, December 2005 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink