Red card for blame game

by The Business Blog, with Trevor Sturgess Monday, October 3 2011

 “I would like to pay tribute to the referee in today’s game. He has a really difficult job and has to make snap decisions without the benefit of a television replay.

It is only human to make the occasional mistake. After all, look at my strikers - they made numerous mistakes, missing a hatful of chances. They earn £200,000 a week and for that sort of salary you expect a better return on our massive investment. The poor old referee is paid a fraction and I really sympathise with the difficulties they face. I also made a diabolical mistake sending on Antonio when I should have chosen Alfredo.

Those defensive blunders by Geronimo almost certainly cost us the match. The goalkeeper made a few mistakes too and that upset the confidence of the back four.

The ref saw the Bloggatelli incident differently from me, and I would not have sent him off, but I fully respect his decision. I also accept that I know less about the game than the referee. He has been on lots of courses and reached the present pinnacle in the Premiership because he has been a consistently good performer. Which is more than you can say for most of my overpaid teenagers.

The referee’s decision today is part of the human condition. We can all be wise after the event and not for one moment will I criticise the ref. I have been watching the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and seen the general respect given to the referees. I would like to see the same in football. They are also sensibly equipped with appropriate technology while we in football are like dinosaurs, refusing to do anything that might help the referee give the best deeisions. Good luck to them, I say. They have my support every time.”


And that is a post-match comment you will never hear from a football club manager. You don’t hear it much from managers in workplaces either. They may not blame the ref for a mistake, but substitute the word staff for ref and you have a similar scenario. What a shame that for many employers, blame is still too often the name of the game.





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Categories: byelection

Cheque out the banking climbdown!

by The Business Blog, with Trevor Sturgess Friday, August 19 2011

Three cheers for the Treasury select committee!


It’s not often we can applaud politicians but they have got it spot on for censuring the discredited UK Payments Council over its appalling handling of the cheques issue.


This lackey of the banking industry raised real fears among businesses, charities and individuals that this vital payment method was to go within a decade.


It’s no good the council spin doctor saying it was only a consultation exercise. It was not. The council actively wanted to scrap cheques under the cloak of declining use. The real reason is that this cabal of bankers wanted rid of a scheme that was inconvenient and expensive for them, no matter what customers thought.


The only consultation was to be about what would replace the cheque. Abolition was presented as a fait-accompli.


Charities depend on cheques for 80 per cent of their donations. Many businesses still use cheques, and much of the population - not just those of a certain age - believe cheques are a vital way of paying for things.


Of course there are alternative electronic methods - and no one uses cheques at supermarkets any more - but how would the likes of schools, Brownies and sports clubs afford the cost of installing them.


Thankfully, the council backed down under sustained pressure from all quarters, but, true to its spinning traditions, under the pretext of claiming there was no viable alternative. Well surprise surprise! The cheque is a tried a trusted method and as a paper transaction cannot be bettered. It now also needs the return of the guarantee card.


Unfortunately, the handful of so-called independent colleagues on the council failed to put a brake on this disreputable plan - how on earth could they not see the looming furore? -  and stand guilty alongside their banking band of brothers.


They should have spent more energy on speeding up the tortoise-slow cheque payment system rather than raising the blood pressure of millions.


A lot of decent quangoes have been scrapped and the UK Payments Council should go the same way. It should be replaced by a body far more representative of the consumer, not the vested interests of bankers.


The council failed the public and the Government should kill it off - just what the council wanted to do to the still cherished cheque.


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Categories: Budget | byelection

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