Steve Clarke’s Scotland football team had a great victory over Denmark; then on Sunday, Hibs beat Rangers: Glory, Glory. Because I refuse to subscribe to Pay TV, I was unable to watch either of these games; a painful reminder that I lead an increasingly separate life from ‘subscribers’. The way market values have come to shape our society is one of the most significant events of my life; made it more difficult to imagine a post-capitalist society, though I expect climate events may change this
Millionaire corporations enjoy the illusion that they ‘own’ great football clubs, but as the ‘shambles’ proposal for a European Super League showed, the ‘essence’ of a club is its fanbase which they’ll never own. Democracy requires that citizens share a level of common life; commerce erodes commonality; so aspects of our shared world – including key sporting events – should be on a formal list exempt from paywalls. The loyalty and passion of sports fans should not be degraded as commodities – instruments of profit and use.
The business model of the ‘big money’ broadcasters intentionally exploits ‘exclusivity’, restricting the access of low-income fans. But the main reason I won’t subscribe, is that SKY, Amazon etc are already too powerful and intrusive in our sports. Our economic system has enabled a handful of tech and media moguls to accrue so much wealth and influence that they move beyond democratic reach. Legislators have lost control, but the moguls ain’t getting my cash. Sunday’s radio commentary was thrilling; Hibs 3 Rangers 1: Glory, Glory.
It looks increasingly likely that, because of inherent personality flaws, Boris Johnson will self-destruct as PM; signs this week of unravelling – and the various Tory factions have started manoeuvring, Meanwhile, Scottish politics is in paralysis. Half of us, including myself, want independence but it feels like no-one’s doing the ‘grunt’ work; English border, constitution, currency, EU membership etc. The other half of us, even holding noses, want the financial security of the UK: it’s a total impasse – and we have to endure the growing number of chancers feeding off the impasse. I want a second referendum, early next year; whatever the Scottish people decide I’ll do my best to make it work.
From time to time, Scottish football produces some outstanding characters, and unusually, two of them have died at the same time. The respect shown Walter Smith at his memorial service was exceptional – for his humanity and humility. Then this tribute to Bertie Auld from journalist Kevin McKenna also celebrates greatness – the joy of the man.
‘Failure Demand’, refers to us being caught in a cycle of paying to fix what we continue to break, through our economic choices. The Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll) has published a new report examining two case studies – Scotland and Alberta, Canada – to demonstrate this process of entrapment. This link is a short intro and download.
It’s widely known that music can spark brain activity – even memories lost to Alzheimer’s; without understanding the science, I think I’ve always sensed that music can have a profound effect on the human brain. This Conversation article discusses how music can help different neurological conditions – through ‘neurologic music therapy’.
After last month’s UK Budget, it was easy to speculate that the new, emergent variant of Capitalism is kinder; turned away from the anti-state, neo-liberal politics of the past decade. But this gloomy openDemocracy article by Stewart Lansley warns against optimism – says he can find no trace in Govt of any serious thinking about a post-crisis society.
For many years, my favourite Buddhist teacher has been Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay); when last month he turned 95, the Plum Village website posted this message:
“Following a major stroke in November 2014, Thay has been on a long journey of recovery. Unfortunately, he is still unable to speak, and has some paralysis on the right side of his body. Despite this, he remains sharp and perceptive, and commands a powerful presence of peace and concentration, joining his community for walking meditations, mindful meals, ceremonies and festivals.”
This is a link to some quotes – one of my favourites:
“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”