Straight Talking with Ian Mean

Our Grandsons Could Have Done Better Than That!

Posted in Uncategorized by ianmean on June 27, 2010

My wife hit the nail on the head straight after the dismal defeat to Germany,4-1.”Our grandsons could have done better than that”, she said.

Harry is eleven and Jake is nine.

And a better job for a fraction of the price!

This was an absolute shambles and we were lucky not to have lost 7-1.

Forget the Lampard England goal that was not allowed. We were humbled and looked like Sunday morning players with no system or technique. The same players who play brilliantly for their clubs in the Premier League every week and earn up to £100 000 a week in doing so.

We were absolutely hammered and if it wasn’t for goalkeeper David James it would have been an absolute rout.

Let’s think of our brave lads in Afghanistan laying down their lives for us on this sunny afternoon here in Gloucestershire. They are prepared to pay the ultimate price for our freedom. Our England footballers are supposed to be the ultimate in their profession but they didn’t show anything today that would make those brave lads in Afghanistan proud.

Welcome to the ARRC

Posted in Uncategorized by ianmean on June 23, 2010

The Citizen today gives a very warm Gloucestershire welcome to the first arrivals from Nato’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps(ARRC).

The first families are already moving into to the old RAF Innsworth site, which has been appropriately renamed Imjin Barracks.

Imjin, of course, was one of the great battles fought by the Glorious Glosters which led to them being given the honour to wear their famous back badge.

When the RAF ceased their main operations, there was concern that the land might be gobbled up by housing. But the arrival of Nato’s “military brain” with 925 soldiers and 526 families ensured that the services’ heritage was continued.

Our reporter, Nadia Stone had actually lived at RAF Rheindalen, home of the Joint Headquarters of the Army and RAF near Monchengladbach where the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps are moving from over the next few months.

Today on page 25, Nadia writes poignantly about life in Germany, which throughout the Cold War was a huge strategic base for British servicemen and women—both Army and Air Force.

We need to ensure that the people of the communities in and around Innsworth, indeed the whole of the county, do their best to make the force and their families welcome.

As fifteen countries will be represented at Innsworth by the ARRC, the opportunity for cultural learning on both sides of the community is large.

We must also remember that the ARRC will provide a welcome boost to the local economy—with a £50 million capital investment at the barracks and a further £30 million in annual disposable incomes. There will also be additional employment opportunities for local people—up to 130 civilian jobs from chefs to clerical staff.

This county has a marvellous military heritage, based mainly on the brave exploits and service of the Glorious Glosters. It really is so fitting that the historic Battle of Imjin now takes on a title for a new force of military which still faces the same hazards of war in 2010.

Let’s all give the ARRC the welcome they deserve.

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Budget comment

Posted in Uncategorized by ianmean on June 23, 2010

The Bitter Medecine Must Be Made to Work

Let’s Keep Hoping

Posted in Uncategorized by ianmean on June 18, 2010

The boos said it all at the end of the match against Algeria.

True, England fans are so very loyal but even those who had travelled all the way to South Africa must have been disgusted with the pathetic performance of our team last night against Algeria. Even the commentators were reduced to trying to take solace in the fact that it was another draw after the previous no score game against the United States. And we have still got a chance of going further in the World Cup if we win against Slovenia next week.

This was arguably the worst performance we have seen since Capello’s arrival . Here were the country’s top footballers whose skills grace the premier league every week but were last night lost in the mists of pressure or too much control from Mr Capello whose inaudible English after the match did nothing to convince me that this was a team of players enjoying their game.

I am afraid I have never held high hopes of real progression in this World Cup in South Africa, and I am not disloyal. I feel that as a journalist I am almost duty bound to ensure that I encourage everyone to get behind the team with all the goodwill and happiness that can bring. But our expectations are rarely satisfied as we experienced against Algeria last night.

Still, there’s Slovenia next week. I still hope.

How many more of our brave young soldiers are going to have to die in Afghanistan?

Posted in Uncategorized by ianmean on June 10, 2010

Today’s front pages of the national press are filled with stories of gloom on public sector job losses and the possible effect on our pensions of the BP oil spill crisis. All quite selfish stories—how will we be affected by them?

Quite natural, of course. but where are the stories of our brave young men dying in Afghanistan? Laying down their lives so that the threat of terrorism here can at least be controlled.

I feel very strongly that we tend to undervalue the enormous sacrifice our soldiers make on our behalf, and we need constantly reminding of the fact.

A timely reminder for me came last night on the late BBC TV news when we were told of the death on Tuesday in Afghanistan of Lance Bombardier Mark Chandler who was 32 years old and came from Nailsworth.

And today we had tributes to this young man which were quite extraordinary in their praise for his bravery.

“Lance Bombardier Mark Chandler was in my eyes the perfect soldier”, said Captain Johnny Mercer of his regiment-the 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery. “He was a selfless man who would just as readily volunteer to empty the bins as go out on a patrol to disrupt the insurgents and protect the people as on the day he was killed. He was the man that men aspire to be”.

What an amazing tribute to a young man who has paid the ultimate sacrifice.

And likewise from his parents, Mike and Ann and brother, Steve who said: ”A consumate soldier, a skier, a luger, an athlete and a lover of life. He will be sorely missed by his loving family and friends”.

Need I say more.

The death toll since operations in Afghanistan began in 2001 now stands at 294.

We simply cannot continue to see our young, brave men like Mark lay down their lives without a clear government strategy for getting out of Afghanistan. This is an unwinnable war and the sacrifice of young men like Mark Chandler must not be allowed to go on indefinitely.

Are we really going to get political honesty on cuts to the economy?

Posted in Uncategorized by ianmean on June 9, 2010

Lady Thatcher looked very frail on the steps of No 10 Downing Street-being steadied b y David Cameron, who is going to have to make far deeper cuts to our economy than the lady whose reputation was very much based on her reputation as the biggest political axeman(or woman) of all time.

And then we saw Lord Myners, who was recruited by Gordon Brown to get business support for Labour turning on the former Prime Minister in the Lords—saying that his mentor’s former government was irresponsible to spend more money than it received from taxation.

It’s all part of perhaps the biggest political softening-up process for many years . We are being primed for the June 22 Budget which threatens to change the lives of all of us for a very long time.

But despite the gloom and foreboding, I feel that we are at long last ready for some realism in politics.

Do you?

Argue about the longevity of the new coalition government as much as you like, but I really do believe that the British public are finally accepting that we need to radically restructure our economy if we are to avoid the lessons of the Greek tragedy.

But is the government really going to talk to us or listen to us about these impending cuts? Or is this part of the Conservative Big Society mantra that turns out to be a hollow promise?

I hope not. If this government does listen before they actually cut, it will be a welcome departure for our politicians. Isn’t that what we pay our MPs for? Don’t hold your breath but let’s hope.