+I have to register a complaint about this Coronavirus thing. Speaking as one who has a severe allergy to all things ‘sport’ I am dumbfounded how news bulletins and newspaper ‘sports’ sections still have anything to say. They don’t really have anything to say of course, because there is no sport. The only talk is of when there might be sport. Or what might have been had there been some sport. Thank God at least that the air waves have not been filled with endless interminable droning from Andy Murray about his plans for self-improvement. Listening yesterday to Greg Dyke talking about the possible resumption of football most of his answers seemed to be prefaced with variations of ’I don’t know.’ One wonders how true sports fans are coping without hearing their daily dose of clichés.
+A tale in the Guardian this morning encapsulates England today, and is bad on many levels. It tells of Middlesbrough’s directly elected mayor, hedge fund millionaire Andy Peston closing the city’s parks because of Coronavirus. He said “When I feel that people are distancing correctly, when I feel people who behave well won’t be put at risk by people who behave badly, that’s when I will re-open them." Peston lives in Otteringham Hall (pictured). Lots of people in Middlesbrough live in small terraced houses with only a back yard. It is one of the poorest, most deprived cities in the country. It does however have some very large parks, like Albert Park, adjacent to the city centre where some of the housing density is greatest. But Peston knows all that of course, since he is quoted as saying “I spend a lot of time with people who live in back-to-back houses.” Clearly he thinks a small terraced house with a small back yard is a back-to-back. Has he actually seen a real back-to-back? Where are they in Middlesbrough (I am willing to be corrected on this point*)? But, on another level, what motivated voters in Middlesbrough to vote for a hedge fund millionaire as their mayor last May? Did they think he was the kind of person to regenerate their town? Did they question what hedge fund millionaires do? Peston won with an astonishing 59.2% of the vote. Nobody else came close. Maybe this is because he is a Philanthropist, and to be fair to him he was involved with setting up a local charity. But the parks belong to the people. They aren’t a gift from him.
Definition of a hedge fund (the first definition that appears on Bing,com): “an offshore investment fund, typically formed as a private limited partnership, that engages in speculation using credit or borrowed capital.” That is of course just one definition amongst many, some of which are not repeatable in a family blog.
Full disclosure: when I’m attending Teesside University for my course, I enjoy walking through Albert Park, so yes, I have an interest. Even though the campus is closed at the moment.
* I looked on Google maps for evidence of back-to-backs In Middlesbrough. I couldn't find any but maybe I was looking in the wrong place. Are they in the suburbs?