Sunday, May 29, 2005

Random Comment

From the Sunday Telegraph's leader today:

"As a result of the chef Jamie Oliver's recent campaign, the Government agreed to increase the amount it spends on school meals from 37p a day to 50p for primary school children and 60p for secondary school children. That's still less than half what it spends on feeding prisoners."

Yes, but prisoners don't go home for an evening meal do they?

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Latest from the Christian States of America

I'd be interested to know what Lewis's opinion of this is:

"An Indianapolis father is appealing a Marion County judge's unusual order that prohibits him and his ex-wife from exposing their child to "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals." The parents practice Wicca, a contemporary pagan religion that emphasizes a balance in nature and reverence for the earth."

I can understand a conflict between two divorcing parents of different faiths getting to the point that a judge has to intervene, but in this particular case the parents agree that they wish their nine-year old to be brought up as a practicing Wiccan, what can possibly be wrong with that?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Why Liverpool have to be in the Champion's League

I cannot believe that anyone in the media is still discussing this. The UEFA Champions League regulations (here in pdf format) make things completely clear.

"1.03 At the request of the national association concerned, the UEFA Champions League title-holders may be entered for this competition, as an additional representative of that association, if they have not qualified for the UEFA Champions League via the top domestic league championship. If, in such a case, the title-holders come from an association entitled to enter four teams for the UEFA Champions League, the fourth-placed club in the top domestic league championship has to be entered for the UEFA Cup."
(my emphasis)

It's even happened before, Real Madrid won the Champions League and finished 5th in La Liga in 2000, they were entered into the Champions League by the Spanish FA and the team that finished 4th, Real Zaragoza, dropped into the UEFA Cup. So by the regulations and precedent, Liverpool must be in next season's Champions League and Everton must be in next season's UEFA Cup.

Then there is the vain hope that UEFA will somehow break their own rules and allow both Liverpool and Everton into the Champions League. I can't imagine UEFA doing that (I've stopped believing in Father Christmas for years). True, the original reason for no more than 4 teams per country (the 2nd group stage) has gone, but it still says in black and white.

"1.01 UEFA member associations may enter a certain number of clubs for this competition, in accordance with their position in the rankings listed in Annexe Ia, and subject to the approval of the UEFA Administration. However, no association may enter more than four clubs for the competition." (again my emphasis).

Whoever loses out on their Champions League place because of UEFA bending their own rules will be in court themselves within moments.

Can you believe everything you read

From the Independent 25th May 2005
"In another decision that signals his opposition to PR, Mr Blair formally abolishing the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC), he set up with the former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown as a vehicle to discuss PR... Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat leader, expressed disappointment at the move and paid tribute to The Independent's Campaign for Democracy."

From BBC News 20th September 2001
"The Labour-Liberal Democrat joint committee on constitutional reform has been disbanded by Tony Blair and Charles Kennedy... Mr Kennedy said that the JCC had done some "extremely worthwhile" work in the past but had no current purpose."

Has Kennedy forgotten that he issued a public statement agreeing to the disbanding of the JCC nearly 4 years ago?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

With friends like these?

According to the Guardian, Tony Blair is at risk of seeing his twin aims for the G8 summit (Climate Change and Africa) fail and what does George Monbiot, writing in the same paper do?

Any sensible columnist would, seeing that Blair is spending political capital on aims that the columnist support would attempt to bolster the Prime Minister, support him, assure him that while he doesn't support the Prime Minister's policies generally, on this he's right.

No, George Monbiot doesn't do that, he demands the right to attack Blair for not doing enough.

George, would you prefer Blair not to do anything at all? Sometimes a little praise is more effective than more of the same criticism.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Eurovision Whining

I love Eurovision, it's always a joy to watch, but I really don't like the whining about "political voting" that follows it as certainly as night follows day.

Yes there's friendly voting, some countries are more fortunate in that regard than others. But to do well, songs have to travel out to get points from all over Europe. Greece got 12 points from Belgium, Germany, Sweden and the UK, all votes that no-one can call biased.

In contrast the UK entry only got 18 points, 17 of which can be classified as friendly voting, 8 from Ireland, 5 from Cyprus, 4 from Malta and only the 1 point from Turkey can be considered to be genuine.

And finally, can we knock on the head this stupid "we only lost because of Iraq" nonsense - France did worse than us, Spain only finished 1 place higher. We lost because it was a forgetable song performed in a bland manner. We also are disadvantaged by our automatic qualification for the final, since the new system was put into place, the majority of the top 10 have been filled by qualifiers from the semi-final.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

BBC Strike

It's hardly going to have the BBC quake in their boots, but tomorrow I won't be linking to or reporting on anything the BBC produces. I wouldn't cross a picket line in person, I'm not going to over the net either.

Britblog Roundup 14

Tim Worstall's BritBlog roundup is up and yours truly has a post, my one about Survival Sunday, included.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Scott Ritter talks balls

Scott Ritter in the Guardian today talking about George Galloway.

"This is a man who, back in 2002, had the courage to stand up to Blair and George Bush, calling Blair a liar and declaring that both were behaving like "wolves" towards Iraq. For speaking the truth, he was castigated, thrown out of the Labour party and smeared with false allegations of corruption"

er, no. It seems redundant to yet again state why Galloway was expelled from the Labour party, but lets go through the charges that he was found guilty of again.

· he incited Arabs to fight British troops
· he incited British troops to defy orders
· he threatened to stand against Labour
· he backed an anti-war candidate in Preston

He was not thrown out of the Labour Party for calling Bush and Blair "wolves", he was thrown out for two charges that are borderline treason and two charges of opposing Labour electorally.

Also "false allegations of corruption"? Those allegations have never been proven false, George you can sue me if you like.

Friday, May 20, 2005

More Episode III

By the way, did anyone else think "I am the Senate" sounded like "I, We, The Government"

Brown costs UNISON dear

As part of the last Budget's stamp duty changes the threshold for stamp duty was raised, but the exemption on buyers entering into a commercial land transaction in an enterprise area from the 17th of March 2005 will no longer be able to claim the disadvantaged areas relief.

That diversion into fiscal studies was because UNISON was one of those people entering into a commercial land transaction, buying the former Elizabeth Garrett Hospital for our new Head Office. Problem was that they bought the £16m property in mid-April, costing us £640,000 in stamp duty instead of the nothing they would have paid.

I bet Dave Prentis was delighted with Gordon for that.

If you had £15m quid what would you do with it?

That's the question posed by Paul Nowak on his blog. Rather boringly Amicus want it to be used to support a campaign aimed at extending collective bargaining across engineering.

I would rather use it to buy Rupert Lowe out of the Saints chairmanship.

Why I'm not gloating over James Grey

From the Guardian

"The Conservative MP James Gray last night won a footnote in the record books by managing to get himself fired as shadow Scottish secretary just six days after being appointed to the post by Michael Howard."

This is just getting embarrassing now, as anyone living in "one-party state" local council area would know, without a credible opposition, the majority party gets lazy. For the good of the Labour Party, the Tories need to get their act together.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Episode III thoughts

It was a tough decision, but I gave up the pleasures of the Eurovision semi final for the infinitely more geeky Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. I'm not a movie reviewer by trade and there are lots of reviews out there so read them if you're one of the four people in the world who haven't decided whether or not to watch it. That said - a few thoughts.

Why did General Grievous look like a Vogon?
For that matter, why do all cyborgs have asthma?
How did R2-D2 lose his rocket boosters between Eps III and IV?
Why did Lucas spin out the "will Anakin turn to the dark side?" plot when we all knew he would?

and the big question
Would it be possible to make the Bush=Sith parallel any more obvious without actually turning into Michael Moore?

The Nurse and the Baroness

Andrew asks a very good question in the comments on my High Court madness post.

"why does it matter that she is a baroness? Would it be okay if a nurse evaded a fine in the same way?"

Well, I don't think that a nurse should evade a fine, even if she was one of my members, but that question did touch on why the case bothered me. The fact is that the nurse wouldn't be able to evade the fine like the baroness did. Now, I don't know the full ins and outs of how the case proceeded, but I do know that applying for a High Court judicial review doesn't come cheap. The nurse would have cursed her luck and paid up, the baroness can use her wealth and contacts to force TfL into quashing her fine.

It's simply not fair that there's not an equal access to justice.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

How to dress your kid for tomorrow

Don't know if this means anything but.

I've been looking at the election results and noticed this:

Labour: Male candidates average 37.4%, Female candidates average 37.2%
Lib Dems: Male candidates average 22.3%, Female candidates average 23.4%
Conservatives: Male candidates average 35.7%, Female candidates average 27.8%

Read into that what you will.

What's wrong with ID cards

Genuine question here - What is wrong with having to carry around an ID card?

I can understand the practical objections, how to secure the data, how to stop forgeries, how will the government install such a project without it costing ten times the planned amount. But I don't understand what's wrong with the concept, the government has all this information about me anyway, they know where I live, my date of birth, how much I earn, my medical history, etc. There's probably even an MI5 file from the days when I was a lot more left-wing than I am now. That doesn't bother me.

Am I missing something? What's so wrong about collating all this information?

High Court madness

This annoyed me:

"A baroness has won a High Court battle against the "unfairness" of London's congestion charge appeals system"

So lets get this right, an undoubtedly intelligent woman typed in the details of the wrong car when paying her £10 London Congestion Charge. Unsurprisingly, that meant that the car she was using wasn't registered and so she got a fixed penalty notice of £40. That seems a suitable payment for mucking Transport for London around, and it would have made it very unlikely that the Baroness would make that mistake again. But she wouldn't pay up.

The fine kept growing and Transport for London's costs increased, then Baroness Walmsley took them to the High Court. She amazingly won, so that's going to increase the bureaucracy and operating costs for TfL and will probably cause the congestion charge to go up. Well done Baroness.

The Glazer business

From BBC News:

"Meanwhile Labour MP Roger Godsiff has criticised the club in Parliament, attacking United for being solely focused on making vast profits."

Err, isn't that the usual preoccupation for a plc? United not for sale? it's been for sale ever since it went on the Stock Exchange mate.

Need a good phrase

The terms "politically correct" and "political correctness" have crept into our language. As far as I can work out, it's shorthand for stuff that the speaker doesn't like but don't have a good argument against. It's as meaningless as the left using "fascist" to apply to any right-wing idea that they don't have a good argument against.

What we don't have is a term that applies to lazy and idiotic arguments like that. I would like to use the term "political stupidity" but I'm sure the fine minds of the British blogosphere can do better.

In defence of the Tories

Following on from my previous post about right-wing whingers, I do have to point out that no serious Tory politician has claimed that the election result was unfair. Even Michael Howard was on Five Live this morning saying through gritted teeth that he respected Tony Blair for being a successful politician and winning three elections in a row.


My post about Labour winning the majority of English seats in the General Election has attracted some attention. Note to readers, I'm using majority in it's real definition

1. The greater number or part; a number more than half of the total.

I think the phrase you were looking for Gareth was plurality of votes.

I'd always thought I lived in a representative democracy, every so often, we go to our polling stations or post a ballot and the 70 or 80 thousand of us living locally elect one person to be our member of parliament. I voted Labour in the certain understanding that it didn't matter, voting Labour was a waste of time in Yeovil constituency. There may have been over 5,000 of us, but our ballots might as well have been thrown in the bin. Likewise the 17,000 people who voted Tory and the nearly 2,000 who voted UKIP didn't count, most people wanted David Laws to be our member of parliament. That's the democratic system that we have.

Throughout the UK, there were 645 such contests, the 646th will be held sometime later. Out of those seats in England, Labour won a majority, more than half the seats. We won the election. The likes of Gareth and Eric wish that wasn't the case, but whining about it isn't going to change a thing.

It's like complaining your team lost a game of football despite having more shots on target. You have to have shots on target to score a goal, like you need votes in order to win seats, but the winner of the game is the team that scores the most goals. It's pointless whinging coming from Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger, it's no more edifying coming from Gareth and Eric.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

More right wing amnesia

Over at The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles Anoneumouse is getting quite upset about the possiblity of Tax Freedom falling as late as 11 June by 2007. While that would be usually late for a Labour Chancellor, Tax Freedom day being that late has not been seen since that arch-socialist Nigel Lawson was at 11 Downing Street. Thanks ASI for the information.

Anoneumouse, learn a bit of history because launching into half-baked rants next time.

Tories win England? Don't think so

There's a load of rubbish on the right wing of the British blogosphere being talked about the election results (it's unfair to single any particular blogger out, the virus is widespread). To add to the new definition of "law-abiding" (anybody who isn't working class committing a minor crime) comes the new definition of "majority" (any party that receives 35.7% of the English vote in an election).

First past the post is an awful way of electing a government, but it's the one we've had for centuries so it should be well understood by the whingers but they seem to miss this fact:

In a first past the post election all votes not cast for a winning candidate are effectively ignored.

Given that, the vote totals change immensely and disprove the paranoid electoral bias fantasies of the right-wing.

Out of the Tories' 8,028,386 votes only 4,368,177 were cast for a winning candidate.
Out of Labour's 7,985,165 votes 5,334,831 were cast for a winner.

So on the votes that actually mattered, Labour beat the Tories by almost one million votes by being more efficient at targetting their resources. If the election was to be won by whoever got the most votes in England then we would have fought it differently.

The next (10) big things

No sooner are we into an historic third term, and the NHS is moving forward. There's a document hidden away on the NHS Modernisation Agency site here (pdf file, 489KB) called 10 High Impact Changes for Service Improvement and Delivery and for anyone working in the NHS or interested in the health service I recommend at least flicking through it.

All these 10 changes work, have been proved to work in at least one NHS organisation, if all the NHS did the same as the best practice in each of the 10 areas then:

Change No1: Treating day surgery (rather than inpatient surgery) as the norm for elective surgery could release nearly half a million inpatient bed days each year.

Change No2: Improving patient flow across the whole NHS by improving access to key diagnostic tests could save 25 million weeks of unnecessary patient waiting time.

Change No3: Managing variation in patient discharge, thereby reducing length of stay, could release 10% of total bed days for other activity.

Change No4: Managing variation in the patient admission process could cut the 70,000 operations cancelled each year for non-clinical reasons by 40%.

Change No5: Avoiding unnecessary follow-ups for patients and providing necessary follow-ups in the right care setting could save half a million appointments in just Orthopaedics, ENT, Opthalmology and Dermatology.

Change No6: Increasing the reliability of performing therapeutic interventions through a Care Bundle approach in critical care alone could release approximately 14,000 bed days by reducing length of stay.

Change No7: Applying a systematic approach to care for people with long-term conditions could prevent a quarter of a million emergency admissions to hospital.

Change No8: Improving patient access by reducing the number of queues could reduce the number of additional FFCEs required to hit elective access targets by 165,000.

Change No9: Optimising patient flow through service bottlenecks using process templates could free up to 15-20% of current capacity to address waiting times.

Change No10: Redesigning and extending roles in line with efficient patient pathways to attract and retain an effective workforce could free up more than 1,500 WTEs of GP/consultant time, creating 80,000 extra patient interactions per week.

Apologies for the excessive management-speak, but if you can cut through the jargon there's some terrific stuff here. I'm very excited to be working in the NHS right now, I'm sure that this isn't the last time I'll be talking about this project.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Who do you think you're kidding Marshall-Andrews

I used to like Bob Marshall-Andrews, really I did. But his behaviour on election night was appalling. Blair nearly cost him his job did he? Perhaps so, but maybe Marshall-Andrews ought to look at how he got the job in the first place.

1997 wasn't the first time Bob fought Medway for Labour, his first attempt had been in 1992, he managed to get a 1.7% swing Con to Labour, much in line with the 2.0% national swing, but that still meant that he was 8,800 votes away from winning the seat, he needed a further 8.9% swing.

That's why Medway wasn't anywhere on Labour's target lists in 1997, but Marshall-Andrews actually got a 14.9% swing, giving him Medway. Does he think that was due to his superior campaigning skills, somehow learnt since 1992? Does he maybe think that John Smith or Margaret Beckett would have helped him get such a swing?

No, you're a nob Marshall-Andrews, and you're an ungrateful nob at that.

Guido hypocrite?

Getting back into the swing of blogging after the election, I notice that Guido Fawkes has proudly changed his banner to include "Voted Winner - Commentary weblog of the year - The Backbencher Political Weblog Awards 2005".

That wouldn't be the same award as mentioned here would it Guido?

Dear Backbencher,

Re: Political Weblog Awards.

Could you withdraw the undersigned from the running for your Political Commentary Awards.

In the light of unusual voting patterns and your suggestion that readers "vote early and often" seemingly being taken literally, any award seems worthless to us.

The morning after the afternoon before

We didn't lose our Premiership spot because of bad luck. True we can look to games like not beating West Brom or conceding late equalisers at home to Middlesbrough and Everton. If we'd won any of those games then we would have survived, we can blame Michael Svensson and Marian Pahars being injured, Matt Oakley being out most of the season, David Prutton being suspended for the crucial run-in. But we could also point to a dodgy winner at home to Blackburn, a deserved but fortunate penalty against Pompey and all teams have injury problems.

In the end, we didn't go down because our team wasn't good enough either, that squad should have been good enough for mid-table. But one thing was very clear on each match I've seen, the team visibly tired in the second half, they aren't fit enough, and that's inexcusable, skill you either have or not, but fitness, the ability to run for 90 minutes is a matter of training.

We went down because the players we have didn't care enough about the club. The players will move on, it doesn't matter too much for them except as a black mark on the cv but the likes of Phillips, Higginbottom, Prutton and Ormerod will be in next season's Premiership. For us, the adherents of the religion called Southampton Football Club*, we're down in the Coca-Cola Championship.

*(As tribal as I am in my Labour affliation, I could imagine supporting another political party, but never ever could I support another football team)

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Live Blogging - Survival Sunday

2:45pm - I had thought that I was nervous enough in the last hours of polling day when there was nothing else to do and it was just us all waiting for the election results to trickle in. But that's nothing to the sick-in-the-stomach feeling I have now, 15 minutes to go until Southampton kick off against Man Utd and the other three important matches start. This will be an attempt at a live blog. Hopefully I'll be able to cope with it.

Current League Table (before kick off)
17. Norwich City
18. Southampton
19. Crystal Palace
20. West Bromwich Albion.

3pm - My first memory of football is the latter stages of our promotion season of 1977/78 so I can just remember Saints being not being in the top division, but I don't remember what it's like to be there. Ormerod's in the team replacing Crouch, it would be wonderful if a bit-part player could save us this season.

3.03pm - United look a lot better than us, I wish I didn't have to watch, but I do.

3.07pm - United fans chanting "Going Down" to us. Is there a special school Man Utd fans go to to be so charmless? They are expecting us all to support them about Glazer too.

3.10pm - YESSSSSSSS. First chance of any note and Nigel Quashie scores.

17. Southampton
18. Norwich
19. Crystal Palace
20. West Bromwich Albion

3.13pm - And in the excitement, Fulham have scored against Norwich, McBride becomes my favourite American by scoring for Fulham

17. Southampton
18. Crystal Palace
19. Norwich
20. West Bromwich Albion

3.15pm - The Saints goal is proved to be an own goal by O'Shea, but I don't care. I'm not any less nervous, 25 years of supporting Saints (before then I was an Arsenal fan for 3 years) has taught be never to take anything for granted. We almost score but Wes Brown clears off the line.

3.18pm - Brett Ormerod caught offside again, that's been his problem from earlier in the season. I wonder how bad he was at that in that at Wigan... Bugger Fletcher just equalised, that's 1-1. Positions still unchanged, but that makes the margin tighter.

17. Southampton 33
18. Crystal Palace 33
19. Norwich 33
20. West Bromwich 32

3.21pm - Huge save by Niemi from Van Nistelrooy. We're still alive.

3.23pm - Another corner, another chance, Ormerod jumped so high, but headed over.

3.26pm - Silvestre joins Brown in the ref's book, we've got a free kick by the corner flag. Ball pings around a bit, but evantually United clear it.

3.31pm - Not much in the match, United dominant but strangely weak in front of goal. We're still surviving but one goal by Norwich, Palace or West Brom will keep them up and send us down.

3.34pm - Quashie has a header just loop over the bar. Charlton score against Palace, it's 1-0 there and Fulham go 2-0 up against Norwich.

17. Southampton 33
18. Norwich 33
19. Palace 32
20. West Brom 32

3.36pm - Still a goal by West Brom against the dreaded Pompey will send us down and it's bit nervous, the danger is that we might think a draw's enough for us and it won't be. We need to win, if we win and Norwich don't score 3 or Palace not score 4 then we'll stay up.

3.39pm - Is it just me or does O'Shea look like Peter Kay?

3.41pm - We're certainly wanting this more, but United are so much better than us. COME ON YOU SAINTS.

3.45pm - 1 minute of injury time to play. Smith just lobbed too long.

3.46pm - and that's half-time, 45 minutes from safety. COME ON YOU SAINTS.

3.57pm - on the SaintsForever message board someone's saying that he wants to cry, scream, shout and vomit all at the same time. I know exactly how he feels. If we can just get through these 45 minutes then we can put this season behind us and start next with a clean slate. All we have to do is win.

4:02pm - We're back, no chances yet.

4.06pm - Odd, according to the rules, all the 2nd halves must kick off at the same time, but according to the BBC, the Fulham v Norwich and the Saints v United game have kicked off before the other matches. This could benefit West Brom.

4:09pm - The game seems slower than the first half, I really hope we're not settling for this, West Brom are bound to win.

4.11pm - At the moment, Norwich have to score 2 to survive, Palace have to score 2 to survive, West Brom need just 1, but United just need 1 to send us down.

4.13pm - Fulham are 3-0 up now against Norwich, Norwich need 3 now to change anything. They had the benefit of having their destiny in their own hands, a win for them would trump anything we did, but now assuming they can't score 4, a win for us will ensure survival.

4.17pm - Coming up to the hour mark and we haven't had a chance on goal this half so far. We're not going to be able to ride our luck against United for another 30+ minutes, we have to score.

4.19pm - And it all goes wrong. West Brom up against Pompey and Van Nistelrooy scores for United.

17. West Brom 34
18. Norwich 33
19. Saints 32
20. Palace 32

4.21pm - Palace equalise at The Valley against Charlton, it drops us down from 17th two minutes ago, to bottom now. That doesn't matter to us too much, it's still in our hands, a win will keep us up.

17. West Brom 34
18. Palace 33
19. Norwich 33
20. Saints 32

4.23pm - Southampton til I die, Southampton til I die, I know I am, I'm sure I am, Southampton til I die.

4.26pm - Strangely I'm actually calmer now then when we were in a safety position, I don't have to worry about the other games, just this one.

4.29pm - Phillips and Delap on for Le Saux and Prutton, moving into a 4-3-3 formation.

4.30pm - Andy Johnson scores a penalty, surprise surprise and Palace are in the survival spot.

17. Palace 35
18. West Brom 34
19. Norwich 33
20. Saints 32

So all the four teams have had some time in the coveted 17th spot.

4.34pm - Norwich 4-0 down now at Fulham, if they weren't down before they are now.

4.35pm - Calum Davenport on for Olivier Bernard, 12+ minutes left to score twice, it's a tall order but it's never over till it's over.

4.37pm - West Brom 2-0 up now, it doesn't alter things for us, we still have to win, but a win is all we need.

4.38pm - Camara hit the bar... corner to us... but nothing comes of it.

4.40pm - "It's not often that the final day of the season isn't all about United" Alan Parry trying to make it all about United.

4.42pm - Camara goes down in the box, but it was a weak penalty appeal. Palace concede at The Valley so West Brom are back in 17th.

17. West Brom 34
18. Palace 33
19. Norwich 33
20. Saints 32

Only 4+ minutes left, it's looking too late for us now.

4.45pm - Steve Bennett turns down a stronger appeal when Camara tumbles, it needs 2 Saints goals or 1 for Saints and 2 for Pompey for us to survive now.

4.48pm - Massive cheer from the crowd when it's announced that there's 4 minutes of injury time to be played.

4.49pm - MLT "Going down isn't the end of the world" I know Matt, but it feels like it.

4.51pm - Norwich now 6-0 down against Fulham, it's disappointing for me, I can't imagine being a Canaries fan right now.

4.52pm - And that's it, we're down. They are still playing at The Valley and The Hawthorns, I'll carry on till the final whistle there.

4.53pm - West Brom have finished 2-0 winners, but if Palace score a winner... but that's it, Charlton 2 Palace 2 and West Brom stay up.

17. West Brom 34
18. Palace 33
19. Norwich 33
20. Saints 32

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The survival equations

Now that the election nonsense is over I can break from cover and talk about something much more important - football.

First of all, I must congratulate Yeovil Town on their 3-0 win over Lincoln City, ensuring that Yeovil get the League Two title and promotion to League One next season.

Now to the team of my heart, Southampton. Three clubs get relegated from the Premiership and four teams are in danger of that fate. With one game to go, here's the table.

17th Norwich City: Won 7, Drawn 12, Lost 18, Points 33
18th Southampton: Won 6, Drawn 14, Lost 17, Points 32
19th Crystal Palace: Won 7, Drawn 11, Lost 19, Points 32
20th West Bromwich Albion: Won 5, Drawn 16, Lost 16, Points 31

Last games are on Sunday, Norwich travel to Fulham, Crystal Palace have a local derby at Charlton, West Brom host Portsmouth and Saints entertain Manchester United.

The recipes for survival are:

Win ensures survival
Draw will keep Norwich up only if none of Saints, Palace and West Brom don't win
Defeat will only be okay if Saints and Palace both lose and West Brom don't win

Win is okay as long as Norwich don't win and Palace don't win by 2 more goals than the margin Saints achieve.*
Draw is only okay if Norwich lose and neither Palace or West Brom win
Defeat means we're down.

Win is good as long as Norwich don't win and Saints either don't win or win by 2 less goals than Palace manage.*
Draw is only okay if Norwich and Saints lose and West Brom don't win.
Defeat means Palace are down.

West Brom need a miracle
Win will only be enough if Norwich, Saints and Palace don't manage to win.
Anything else will be not enough.

*The Saints/Palace situation.
If two teams end up on the same points, then Goal Difference (goals scored less goals conceded) is the first tiebreak. Saints are currently on -20 and Palace on -21, so if Saints win by 1 and Palace by 2, they will both be on -19. The second tiebreak is just to look at Goals Scored, Saints have scored 44 and Palace only 39 so it is just about possible, if Saints win 1-0 and Palace win 6-4 that will be equal as well. If that happens then Saints and Palace would have to play off for the 17th position.