“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Can the News Of The World teach anyone anything about honesty?

Papers like the News Of The World tend to be like a dog with a bone once they get hold of a story. They will run with it until they are sure that they have got every bit of benefit from it or something juicier comes along to divert their attention. The Pakistan cricket team scandal is one such story and it looks set to run for a while yet. In amongst the mixture of liberal hand wringing and pompous twaddle that has made up most of the media coverage a few interesting and worthwhile comments have emerged. I heard some old retired general on the radio. He sounded like Peter Sellers doing a retired general and I don't suppose that he and I would see eye to eye on very much but when it came to the incident of Amir's "no balls" in the Final Test he talked a lot of good sense and rightly pointed out that it would be a great shame if a brilliant match was remembered only for something that influenced the outcome not at all.
One point that I have not heard made by anyone is that only gamblers themselves can ensure that sport is on the level. The English tradition of "fair game" did not come about because of some innate love of honour and decency but because of the aristocracy's love of gambling and the need to be confident about the matches that they were betting on. Notions of fair play, level playing fields and all the rest of it are firmly rooted in gaming; not the playing fields of South Slough.

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