Friday, 27 June 2014

Suarez and that bite

I just can't get worked up over Suarez biting the Italian Chiellini. I actually think it was very funny and one of the highlights of the World Cup so far. Now poor old Suarez has been sent home in disgrace and banned from playing any professional football for yonks. Why? I mean what was his crime? It can't surely be 'bringing the gamer into disrepute' otherwise the entire board of FIFA would be banned for ever. So what makes 'biting' so much worse than all the other examples of 'professional' fouls, arm wrestling, shirt pulling, hugging, diving, acting hurt and other practises none of which seem to have much to do with football.

Also if biting Chiellini is really deemed to bring the game into disrepute what about Chiellini's attitude. If Suarez bit me in the shoulder my immediate reaction would be to flatten him - end of story. But not that drip Chiellini - who burst into tears and ran around looking for his Mummy.  How pathetic is that? and how bad an example to the hundreds of millions watching.

But then -frankly - that is what one might expect from an Italian I am afraid. Brought up as I was on a diet of historical  novels by the likes of G A Henty it is nice to know that the prejudices which he and other so deftly implanted into my young mind still hold good today. Europeans, especially Southern ones,  do not fight like men with their fists but like girls biting ,scratching and kicking and, when they lose, or get hurt, blub and run to Mummy.            

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Magna Carta and British Values

I am thrilled that David Cameron thinks knowledge of Magna Carta is a key element in the make up of 'British Values. I would though be even more thrilled if I thought he had ever read it, in particular that he had read and absorbed Clause 2.

For this clause is the one about Inheritance Tax.  Yes -I suspect very few people know that Inheritance tax (IHT) was alive and well in 13th century England, but it's true.  In the medieval world all land was technically owned by the king and only held by a baron or knight for his life. I say technically because the custom had grown that the king would always grant the land back to the deceased baron's heir providing he paid a 'relief' or 'fine' -in effect a medieval form of IHT.

King John had abused this custom by upping the customary amount paid by heirs to unheard of levels and it was this high rate of IHT which had incensed many barons who, just like most people today, wanted to be able to pass on their house or estate to their heirs.

The actual clause reads as follows:

If any of our earls or barons holding from us in chief by knights service dies, and at his death his heir be of full age and owes relief he shall have his inheritance on payment of the old relief , namely the heir or heirs of an earl £100 for a whole earl's barony, the heir or heirs of a baron £100 for the whole barony, the heir or heirs of a knight 100 shillings (£5) at the most for a whole knights fee; and he who owes less shall give less according to the ancient usage of the fief