And it's one that offers me, as a remainer, some degree of solace as I come to terms with the outcome of this election. I anticipate some won't agree with it, but I'm going to share it anyway.
Boris Johnson never really wanted Brexit, not really. I know that's a widely shared view already, but he seemingly adopted the position back in 2016 that would best place him for getting into power and fulfil his life long ambition of becoming Prime Minister. Only 2 days before Cameron announced that Johnson would be campaigning in favour of Vote Leave, BJ wrote an article in favour of Britain remaining in the EU. "This is a market on our doorstep, ready for further exploitation by British firms," he wrote. "The membership fee seems rather small for all that access. Why are we so determined to turn our back on it?". The consensus is that, having seen so many of he peers back remain, he took the opposing view in the knowledge that should Vote Leave prove successful, he will have positioned himself into contention to be the credible option to deliver the democratic wish of the people.
Fast forward 3.5 years and we are where we are. What's happened is sunk, and all we can really do is look forward and ask how do we reverse from the impasse we've found ourselves in? While I would've loved a 2nd referendum, and to have seen the whole charade kicked into the long grass, the reality is had that have happened, the issue of Brexit was never going to go away. We're too far gone. Arguably, it had to be 'delivered' in some capacity, and the question for me, reluctantly, is what's the least worst way of proceeding. I'm starting to think we might have found it last night. Johnson is credible from a leave perspective due to his perceived 'genuine' leave intentions, having adopted the position pre-referendum, and he was the only candidate that was ever going to do that. He has sufficient equity in his brand to pacify the leavers, with as little challenge and scrutiny relative to his peers. He'll wave a clenched fist and shout "get Brexit done" enough times that people will believe it.
His majority win was also the favourable outcome that was going to be best received by the markets, at least in the short term, while the bumpy road of Brexit is navigated. Avoiding adding an additional layer of economic uncertainty in what is already a far from clear landscape can only be a good thing.
With that in mind, and with the context that he was perhaps never truly bought into leaving, I live in, perhaps hope, more than expectation, that we might see the Tories soften towards it slightly now they have a 5 year runway at office. His speech today, albeit only a speech, was perhaps an early indication of that, as he referenced leave voters and a continued close relationship with our European friends.
Don't get me wrong, I've not seen a great deal of evidence that Johnson's moral compass is anything more than a roulette wheel, but he is undeniably an intelligent guy, and a great orator. Call me naive, but just maybe, he's too smart to put his name to anything too damaging. Perhaps this is the compromise position that can finally move us forward and unite the country.
Great to see him back and playing after the best part of 2 years out, but I did wonder how that lay off will impact him and if we'll ever see anything close to the player that was in there before. I think it's too early to tell, he probably needs to stay fit for the rest of this season, get another full pre season under his belt and then come back firing in August. I have to say, he's looked massively short of where he was at previously though IMO. Shouldn't be anywhere near our starting XI on this evidence.
And the economics of it. Operationally, British Rail had become something of a joke in the 70's for it's quality of services and reliability, but forget that for a second and let's work on the assumption that a publicly owner rail operation can be as good as if not more reliable than the private operators, and let's also assume the operation can be run as efficiently as it is currently (although perhaps Labours minimum wage proposals will increase the staff costs).
Labour are proposing a 33% reduction in rail travel costs, as well as free train travel for U16's. Rail revenues currently stand at c. £10bn per annum, with an average net profit of 2% across the private operators. Assuming the 33% reduction is delivered, and all other things being equal, how does the government propose to fill the £3bn+ bottom line losses? Labours manifesto proposes increasing vehicle excise duty, but surely not to that extent, which would represent a 50% uplift. Car drivers paying for train travel subsidies essentially. Genuine question for anyone who is more clued up on this than me.
Just finished my 1st season as Town, won L1 relatively easily. 2 defeats all season. Didn't do a lot by way of transfers, trimmed the squad selling Roberts, Jackson, Rowe, Donacien, Edwards for a combined £1.5m in the first transfer window and signed Jordan Rhodes on loan.
Tried to adopt a tika taka style but after a slow start I binned that off and went to a direct 4-4-2, lumping balls at Will Keane's head and getting players off him.
Kenlock was the surprise of the season, ended up being a central defensive partner to Chambers and been brilliant.
But I’m really up for the FA Cup. Feels like it’s got a bit of its magic back, it was great to see Dulwich Hamlet in the 1st round, a club I know very well. Chichester too, in the 2nd round. Couple that with the fact we’re top of the league and winning matches, perhaps it’s a case of looking forward to town games generally more than recent seasons, and that’s having a halo effect on other competitions for me. Given we’re out of the league cup, and I’m not too fussed about the Mickey Mouse competition irrespective of whether it yields a Wembley visit, this is our 1 shot this season to do something meaningful outside of the league. How good would a cup run be? 5th round or 6th round at Portman Road, lovely. Getting back to the Championship this season has to be the priority of course but I do hope lambert takes the FA cup seriously.
A decent enough away performance, particularly 2nd half. Please to see us get another clean sheet, I thought Chambers and Woolfenden deserved that. We got lucky on 1 or 2 occasions but equally we really could've score 3 on another day.
Norris - Solid enough without really having a proper save to make. Distribution was good, some excellent kicks out to the touchline to find a man. This is an obvious edge over Holy and I feel much more confident with Norris in there.
Edwards - Very poor positionally and defensively. Rochdale had 3 decent chances, all from Edwards right-back position. Notable the header he missed on the touchline 1st half, with Garbutt doing well to block the resulting effort. He also got found out 2nd half, with the ball making its way over to Henderson who tried to dink it and put it over. Better sides put one of those chances away. Much more comfortable going forwards, but that's to be expected given he's not a right back. The sooner KVY gets back the better.
Chambers / Woolfy - Solid. I think its our best central defensive partnership. Chambers was composed and won an awful lot in the air, and Woolfy is a real player who seems to be getting better with each passing game. We need to build the side around players like him and Downes. My only criticism yesterday was that he didn't score 1, maybe even 2. Chambers would've buried those chances.
Garbutt - Played really well I thought, I really like him. Kept his man quiet and looked composed going forwards, linked up well with Rowe 2nd half. I like technical players and he's one of them, clearly been schooled well.
Rowe - Poor 1st half, came into the game more 2nd half and pleased to see him score. Looked much more effective on the left, not sure what was said to him at half time but clearly it worked.
Judge - Seems to be getting better and sharper each time I see him play, and yesterday showed glimpses of his quality, particularly in the 2nd half when he roamed inside looking for the ball and looked capable of dictating the play. That said, he still gave the ball away cheaply on too many occasions for my liking. A couple of poor passes, the crossfield switch to Rowe 1st half etc, not difficult things to execute and expect more from Judge. I still think he'll get going before too long and be a key player for us. Really needs a top performance to get his confidence up.
Skuse - About as classic a Cole Skuse performance as you'll see, highly effective, made a lot of interceptions and broke up play excellently, recycled the ball well and always offered protection and an out ball to the back 4.
Nolan - Started slowly but another one who improved 2nd half. When he plays well the team play well. Won the ball back countless times and keeps the ball moving quickly. I like Nolan but I wonder who starts from Nolan / Downes / Skuse in a 4-4-2. That's the conundrum and the sole reason why Lambert has explored the 3-5-2.
Jackson - Question marks over his first touch still, and technically no in the same league as some others in the side but compensates for that with his pace and work rate, defended from the front brilliantly last night and didn't give them time on the ball to pick a pass out of defence.
Norwood - As above. Without possession I thought our front 2 were excellent. With the ball I thought we could do more, and there were times in the 1st half where Jackson & Norwood were so far apart. Clearly our best partnership though, although I am looking to see if Sears can find his pre injury self in the new year and offer something a little different up there.
Solid performance overall, got to be satisfied with that. Keep ticking them off, 5 points above 3rd with 2 games in hand. Hopefully we take the FA Cup match seriously on Saturday, especially given we don't have a league game for a while. Would be nice to go on a little run.
Does anyone know a good / cheap email hosting option? I’m in the early throws of launching a business with an ex colleague of mine, we have domains registered and in order to sound somewhat credible at this stage it would be great to have a more professional sounding email as an alternative to @gmail, particularly as we’re starting conversations with manufacturers.
Or are there significantly less coppers in lay-bys with speed guns than there used to be? A consequence of reduced police numbers perhaps? Or maybe just that most of my driving tends to be very early of late at night nowadays.
I’m sure I’m tempting fate in some way but I genuinely can’t remember the last time I saw a speed camera van or copper with a speed gun.
Out of the League Cup, fine with that. We’ve got the 2nd string cup which could yield a Wembley trip.
Anyone else hoping we take the FA Cup seriously this year? Would be great to get to a round 4 or 5 tie at PR vs. someone decent. It feels like forever ago that we did anything in the FA Cup. Obviously I don’t want anything to compromise us getting up but with the squad we have you would think we can rotate sufficiently.