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Insights from the UK and beyond

Is Britain broken and if so how do we fix it?


handcuffsMy Dad is always telling me about the good old days.

Born in Liverpool — a stone’s throw from the football ground Anfield — he grew up in a house that had an outside toilet and was freezing cold. His mother regularly bought food on tick and his idea of a good day out was a trip to New Brighton beach with a banana sandwich to eat for lunch. A Catholic, he suffered sectarian abuse on his way to school, where he was regularly beaten by the teachers. Sounds good doesn’t it?

Listening to our politicians – be they from the left or right – things haven’t got much better. By the sound of it, you’d have thought we were living in some post apocalyptic Terminator-like nightmare, where courts do little else but dish out Asbos — anti-social behaviour orders — to our feckless youth.

The suicide of Fiona Pilkington, 38, who killed herself and her daughter after years of abuse on their estate has brought Britain’s social problems sharply into focus.

“We will not stand by and see the lives of the lawful majority disrupted by the behaviour of the lawless minority,” Prime Minister Gordon Brown is to tell the Labour party conference on Tuesday.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Can you out-predict Reuters Soccer Blog?

It's that time of the week again, folks. The best brains at Reuters Soccer Blog are off, so it's just the usual crew of no-hopers here to embarrass ourselves trying to predict the outcome of the weekend Premier League action, and with no help from that lottery bobbins bloke.

To recap: with one point available for getting a correct result -- and make that a whopping five for the correct score -- there are at least 50 points up for grabs each week. Given that most teams have played five matches the total number of points a perfect tipster would have got by now would be well over 200.

Are The Beatles overrated?



A framed handwritten report card from 1950 on the wall of Mendips, John Lennon’s childhood home in Liverpool, states:

“John has worked quite well this term. His oral work is very good, his written work is good, but he chatters far too much.”

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Predicting the unpredictable … take your best shot

Do you feel you've been sitting on the bench too long this season? Are you itching for a chance to get out there and show what you can do? Confident you can show all those pundits how little they know about the game?

Well, my friends. Now. Is. Your. Chance.

Scores have been so low in our modest little predictions slot that one good week -- one! -- could see you overtake the vast majority of the Reuters Soccer Blog panel.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Manchester United seal Premier League title – your views

Manchester United have captured their 18th English league title after securing the point they needed in a 0-0 draw at home to Arsenal.

It was a subdued display by United but the celebrations began when the final whistle sealed a hat-trick of titles and moved them alongside Liverpool as England's most crowned club.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

The sort of result that wins titles: Middlesbrough 0 United 2

In Spain, you often hear players and coaches talking about "the sort of match that decides title races". More often that not they're talking about the tricky away game against awkward opposition rather than a high profile match against direct rivals.

Manchester United's 2-0 win away to Middlesbrough on Saturday was just that sort of game, and just the sort of performance that will leave their rivals utterly deflated.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Champions League draw – your views

Jose Mourinho will clash with old foe Alex Ferguson in the Champions League last 16 with holders Manchester United playing Inter Milan.

It is England v Italy twice more with Juventus coach Claudio Ranieri facing former club Chelsea while Arsenal and Roma, two teams who love to play the beautiful game, also meet.

Abandon Northern towns for the prosperous South?


mersey.jpgEven the report’s authors say the idea may sound barmy.

But the Policy Exchange, a right-wing thinktank, says it was serious when it called on the government to stop spending money trying to regenerate struggling northern cities and use the cash instead to help their residents relocate to the southeast.

Its report says it is unrealistic to expect cities like Liverpool, Hull and Sunderland to ever regenerate properly.