First of all, I must mention Connie Lawn, a senior White House correspondent who I first noticed on a BBC Newsnight interview a couple of years ago. Her comments made a refreshing change from the usual roster of neo-cons the programme was beginning to rely on. I emailed Connie, congratulating her for breaching what had become a neo-con stronghold. Since then I've emailed Connie a few stories from this side of the pond which might be of relevance to her brief. Connie files reports for various media outlets, but has asked me to spread the word, so to speak, on her despatches. Consider it done, Connie, the word has gone out.
Connie is also a keen skier & I was delighted to come across this piece from Christmas 2003:
Connie didn't quite succeed in her attempts to get Dubya on a ski slope. What a pity; there could have been a great big tree to greet him on the way down.
The ramifications of the Athens affair continue. Liverpool FC's chief executive, Rick Parry, returned to the fray yesterday (http://football.guardian.co.uk/News_Story/0,,2095001,00.html ).
Parry noted, "The shortcomings in the management of the situation in Athens were apparent to anyone who was there...These latest comments from Uefa should not deflect attention from that reality."
He went on to say, "We produced a report for Uefa a week beforehand predicting, sadly, all of the things that did go wrong. They knew and we knew that thousands of fans would travel without tickets and we stressed the need for a proper check at the outer cordon."
Earlier in the Guardian article, William Gaillard, Uefa's director of communications (a job title which is becoming more of a misnomer by the day), was quoted thus, "What other set of fans steal tickets from their fellow supporters or out of the hands of children?...We know who caused most of the trouble in Athens."
Whilst condemning those "fans" who stole tickets, got in with forgeries or simply forced their way in, I suspect that Gaillard's emotive point about children will turn out to be every bit as apocryphal as Saddam's weapons of mass destruction.
It didn't take long for one of the threads on the Guardian's sportsblog to run with the latest exchanges:
One of the club's new owners, Bill Hicks, threw his lot into the ring this morning, calling Gaillard a "clown". I'm not sure that such a jibe, coming from a guy who by his own admission is still new to "soccer", helps Liverpool's cause. Minister for Sport, Richard Caborn met the Uefa President, Michel Platini today & all the usual diplomatic phrases were trotted out in the press release. What was actually said &, more importantly, decided, is still to be made clear.