Eden Again

Sheep like the first Sheep Cuckmere Valley, Alfriston

Sheep like the first Sheep
Alfriston

Eden Again

I caught a single blade of grass twitching

The landscape was amoebic, a jelly of colour

As the Downs pushed at the horizon like rolling pins

Folding dough into the creases of the valley of Cuckmere

With Cross and Tye and Market Square

And an Inn with a Star calling to liars, kings and countrymen

Drawn as travellers, smugglers and heirs to a Wealden seat.

I caught a single field mouse fidget

In the May parade of heat

Sheep like the first sheep, fluff on the freshly ironed hillside.

The Saxon and the Domesday vibrations run

Through this land like arthritis

It will not be moved easily

It makes its own music, the reed pipes and the drum minorettes

And the river’s rustle percussion as a piano carillon

Slips from the South Down cathedral

And downscales to Pingles Place

Mozart’s 21 in C Major

played by 97 year old fingertips in a study

decorated by the Twentieth Century

Eyebrows aloft and a twinkle.

I caught a single piece of history

A man assembling his thoughts like a Summer picnic

You ran through the landscape like a chalkland stream

Swimming bareclad through the jibs and jibes and jabbering

You took photographs through the lens of your compassion

And used words like needlepoint, stitching people into history

‘When in doubt, tell the truth’ you said

And we did for two hours in May

As the rabbits met in coteries to debate the day’s news

and a lone falcon fingered the sky

We talked of Edna, the Bloomsbury Set and danced the Charleston story

Practised the Bernstein keys, recounted Schlesinger

And cocktailed with Bogart, Bacall and Onassis.

I caught a single tentative cloud, a chalk garden in the sky,

The Valley and the shadow of death

You went to Robben Island to meet with Mandela

Surrounded by rabbits, butterflies and jailers

You went to Moscow to meet Khrushchev

Surrounded by an iron curtain

You knew a man of oils at Balliol called Picasso

And painted him into your life.

I caught a single man threaded through with history

In the village where mourning has broken

Like the first morning

And for a moment

Like the photographs of Italy and the discarded apparel

It feels like Eden again.

Roy Stannard 8.10.15 for Lord Denis Healey

Who died at home at Pingles Place, Alfriston on 3.10.15

Listen here for a live version of this poem performed on The Whole Nine Yards on Seahaven FM 96.3 in the hinterland of Denis Healey’s home on Thursday 8th October 2015.

If you would like to listen to the recording of my original 2 hour interview and music selection with Lord Healey recording, it can be listened to here:

How do you interview the 20th Century?

How do you interview the 20th Century?

Roy Stannard and the 20th Century in human form - Lord Denis Healey

Roy Stannard and the 20th Century in human form – Lord Denis Healey May 22nd 2014

By day I work in advertising – but by night – and Thursday evenings in particular, between 7-9pm I sneak away to host ‘The Whole Nine Yards’ on Seahaven FM 96.3 in Seaford, Peacehaven, Newhaven and the more rarefied parts of Lewes. It can be heard live around the world on http://www.seahavenfm.com

Through a mutual friend the opportunity arose recently to interview in a kind of Desert Island (Denton Island?) Discs format, the former Chancellor and Deputy Labour Leader, Lord Denis Healey, who resides at Alfriston. One of the dominant figures in Twentieth Century politics, Lord Healey of Riddlesden has been Chancellor of the Exchequer, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Defence Secretary and one of the leading thinkers in the post 45 transition from collective economic thinking to an economics combining social justice and progressive taxation. He is credited with saving the UK economy after five years of chancellorship in the political firestorm of the seventies and has been criticised by others for not scrutinising the need for the IMF £4 Billion bail out in 1976 more closely.

Most agree that he is the best Labour Party Leader that the party never had and was responsible for preserving the democratic centre of the Labour Party during the divisive times of Militant and the SDP breakaway.

However, for the purposes of the radio show that aired on the 22nd May Denis Healey is also a local resident, a keen consumer of music, poetry and art, an enthusiastic photographer and patron of local groups such as the Corelli Ensemble. At 96 years young he demonstrated amazing wit, recollection and the ability to tell entertaining anecdotes. Although I remember with embarrassment my attempt to show off by recounting his involvement in the Barbara Castle authored ‘In Place of Strife’ Industrial Relations policy in the 70s and loftily announced that Denis supported it. To which he replied, “Did I?”

I collected him from home, sat him down in the studio and spent two hours listening to his amazing stories that ranged from stories about Helmut Kohl, Khrushchev, Ted Heath, The Bloomsbury Group, Picasso to his forthright views about Tony Blair and the UK membership of the EC. We listened to his favourite (mainly classical) pieces of music and the time flew by. Denis was the author of the famous law of holes – when in one stop digging – and this was covered along with the apocryphal ‘Silly Billy’ line that Mike Yarwood ascribed to him.

I asked whether if he had left the Labour Party in 1989 with the rest of the SDP departees, it would have meant the end of the party – and whether, as most people agreed, he should have been the Leader of the Labour party. His bruising encounter with the IMF and the economic restraints it imposed may have been the result of a Treasury calculation error and led to policies that anticipated Monetarism by a decade.

I prepared for it by reading every article and interview available, reading his Autobiography ‘The Time of My Life’ and by listening to the two ‘Desert Islands Discs’ that he had participated in.

The range of topics and opinions on display was encyclopaedic and it stretched my presenter/historian/political commentator skills to the limit.

It was like interviewing the 20th Century in human form!

If you would like to listen to a recording of the programme, it can be listened to here:

On the 3rd October 2015 Lord Denis Healey died aged 98 at his home, Pingles Place in Alfriston, East Sussex.

As a tribute I wrote a poem called ‘Eden Again’ and posted it on this Blog:

http://wp.me/pCEKG-iZ

 

It Was Darker Then

Theatre, Minsk

The National Opera & Ballet Theatre, Minsk – creating the building before creating the art

It was darker then

It was darker then

The day dulled before the dawn

As I pulled up the flap of the future

memories crawled like maggots towards my heart

abandoned like fresh roadkill

in the path of the emotional bulldozers

clearing the way ahead, blinding the traffic

in the glare of the new Glasnost.

We were all party members in the old days

Card carrying pessimists, romance politicals,

Intolerant love Bolsheviks in a red mist of fury

Our angry love demanding manifesto pledges

Ahead of marriage vows as protest marched on.

It was darker then

In the no men and women’s land

Between the trenches of the past and future

When the red seeped into the white

Like an embolism of emotion

Bruising the perfect untouched ideas of a generation

Used to pumping blood in vain.

And as today’s clarion speeches are left in toilets

And whistle blowers purse their lips in dismay

We wonder why the great barricades

Look designer-made, as the would-be heros

audition on reality TV

and the everyday Watergates burst open

with tiny pustular pops and the dogs of headlines

whimper and eye the storybones with suspicion

 wondering what teeth are for when we are all vegetarian now.

It was darker then

When I brokered my first love deal

And gingerly felt the mutual bumps of our ambition

Debating great men and their place in dialectical materialism

Writing rapier essays that hurt to read

Because the words we used were the clubs we belonged to

And the blows we clubbed with

We were the boys of the Brigade

Part of the loose, easy movement, falling like the Berlin Wall

And the statue of Stalin fleeing St Petersburg.

It was darker then

With love blocked by Communism

And the father of future Milibands altering his salutation from Adolf

leaving Warsaw for the West End watering holes

While the State in Capitalist Society plays Polo by Ralph Lauren

And Tariq the Street Fighting Man

Plays Glastonbury in an ash and chestnut yurt

Whilst the reluctant fans of austerity hurt

and blurt out their pain in little red books

From Redchurch Street, E2.

It was darker then

Before the revolution of the revolving doors

And the advent of the insurrection chic

Standing in front of the tank tops in Trafalgar Square

Not backing down until the petition is signed

100,000 times online

we operate behind the lines

we are the subversives, submerged with guilt about coming out on top

we leak quietly like a million twitch-eyed whistle blowers

in a silent movie by Dali and Bunuel.

I screamed in silence for years

exploring the blade-edge in avant-garde suffering,

an impressionist pavement preacher in Paris

painting love in angles and tears, until I met you,

until the sunlight floodlines filtered into a new Perestroika

in the smallest empire in the world

called you and me.

Roy Stannard 4th July 2013

Live on air reading TW9Y 4.7.13 here:

https://soundcloud.com/roystannard/it-was-darker-then

Hey, I made a film today

I, too, am now a film maker.

It’s always been an ambition of mine to make a film. A proper movie with characters, script, dialogue, a beginning and an end. Ok, I still haven’t done it. But with the help of YouTube I have moved closer to it.

www.YouTube/create

This week with a colleague from Zerofiftyone I attended the Social Media Summit 2011 in Holborn along with around 200 other adherents of new media.

www.thesocialmediaacademy.co.uk

All of us twittered away to our hearts’ content before, during and after the conference. A friend of mine, Ben Lancaster (#benlancaster), picked up a tweet that said I was in Holborn and working around the corner suggested meeting for a pint.

We repaired to The Gunmakers in Clerkenwell (13 Eyre Street Hill, Clerkenwell EC1R 5ET – www.thegunmakers.co.uk). It, too, is social media savvy and had picked up a tweet from Ben that we were coming and welcomed me by name as we entered. The pub now follows me on Twitter (#thegunmakers) and I follow it. It worked, as the next day in the same vicinity with different people I went there again. By then it felt like home. Ok, better than home..

The Conference was  brilliant. An array of great speakers followed one after the other. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare. Among the best was Bruce Daisley, who is Sales Director for YouTube & Display UK.  In June 2010 New Media Age awarded Bruce ‘The Greatest Individual Contribution to New Media’. 

He has worked in radio, spends his days selling open video as a medium and he uses humour to great effect. What’s not to like?

He delivered a disarmingly humorous talk rich in content and insight that started with a large knitted video screen of a Google home page with a space in it for Bruce’s face, which he obligingly placed in the hole.  His Grandmother had knitted it for him.  The audience, won over, obligingly disappeared into his pocket. After a few serious points, he played a succession of videos that show how YouTube is becoming a mainstream search engine platform. He is a passionate evangelist for video and convinced the audience that it is worth exploring. Consider these points:

  • Video creates engagement with your community
  • ‘The most creative communities are those that cultivate the greatest diversity.’ (Charles Landy: The Creative City)
  • One-fifth of YouTube traffic comes from Facebook
  • YouTube is the second most tweeted brand on Twitter
  • 20% of consumption on YouTube is via mobile
  • Mobile views trebled over the last year (the iPad effect)
  • Video is creative, stimulating and open as a platform
  • Video is 50% more likely to appear in SEO results

He threw in a gem amongst the humour. YouTube has adopted video processing software online that enables complete novices to create their own short animated films. You supply the dialogue and direct the facial expressions, choice of set and background music which are available in a wide palette of options, ready to go. Aside from slightly mechanical American voices and transatlantic drawl in the on-screen menus, it is possible to create highly sinuous, fluid action clips in less than an hour.

I know. I’ve done it. Using one of the platforms, Xtranormal Movie Maker, I made a short animated film entitled ‘The Floating Voter’ and uploaded it in about fifty minutes last night. Here’s the lowdown: The days are passing quickly before the political event of the Millenium – the Referendum on the new voting system. Two contemporary characters sit in a clean white office in Hoxton debating the issues of the day.

He is using politics as a means of speed dating. He is keen, anxious and supplicatory. She is savvy, cynical and unmoved. They represent the Zeitgeist. They could be you and me…

You can watch it here. It will probably make you laugh.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3fq6Lw7_vM

Why saving theatres is great theatre

Jonathan Woodley - Stage managing the rescue of theatre in Worthing

Since Christmas something rather remarkable has been happening in Worthing. Because of the cuts in Central Government spending, the Town has been looking under its moth-eaten bed to see what obsolete pieces of social detritus it can afford to get rid of.

The Town Council in its wisdom has decided that Theatre is the defunct slice of culture it can justify eliminating. We will all be too poor or depressed to go to the theatre anyway. And it’s costing us £1.2m a year of money we can ill-afford to spend.

In steps Jon Woodley from the central casting department of ‘The Big Society’.  He is a charming young man of 26 with an equally engaging  fiancée, Ann-Marie Clarke, who work in London as a Theatre Consultant and Programme Manager respectively. He is the son of Kim Woodley who runs the wonderful Broadwater Manor School which has itself produced several talented actors. Jonathan, then, is a scion of Worthing, brought up in its rich tradition of producing  and repertory theatre. Jon was a member of the Worthing Youth Theatre based at the Connaught before going on to study Stage Management at the Royal Acadamy of Dramatic Art (RADA). After this he worked with amongst others, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Opera House, the National Theatre of Ireland, Bill Kenwright Ltd, and Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. 

For three months he has laboured in the shadows taking the Council’s accounts and producing a startlingly good proposal to take the three theatres of Worthing into public trust ownership and running them quixotically for the  ‘benefit of the community’.

This week the Council Cabinet met to discuss the future of the theatres. Jon Woodley was invited to share his thoughts. An amazing concession in its own right.

The idea is that the Trust would take the Town’s Connaught and Pavilion Theatres and the Assembly Rooms into a social enterprise-based Trust or Community Interest Company, if a way can be found to avoid the protracted EU legislation on Asset Transfer from public to community ownership.

This campaign, of course, fits the Government template for ‘The Big Society’ to a ‘t’. Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary is already rubbing his hands together at the thought that a local community could take a significant public enterprise out of the public subsidy ditch and thrust it atop the Big Society hill, glittering and golden – and profitable.

A petition to save the theatres with 17,741 names was handed to the Meeting before proceedings began. That is approximately one-sixth of the population of Worthing or twenty-five full houses at the Assembly Hall.

The outcome of the meeting was three recommendations from the Cabinet Committee to do the following: 

  1. A Committee has been formed: this committee comprises of 4 councillors who have volunteered to set up a group, specifically in order to work alongside the council staff in investigating and implementing the best route of putting in place an alternative body to manage / run Worthing Theatres. 
  2. The Council staff (the Chief Executive and the Head of Arts and Leisure) have been requested to investigate the alternatives to a full EU procurement route, which include other alternatives such as Community Asset Transfer.
  3. The Councillors have requested that these actions take place as quickly as possible, in order to resolve the process and put in place another management (The Trust, for eg) as quickly as possible, to allow maximum preparation and transitional time for the Trust to be established and responsibility transferred.

A note of caution was sounded by Council officers who advised that Cabinet Members should not show favouritism with any party until it is legally established which method they can adopt.

Once the Council has made its recommendation about the direction it will take, Jon Woodley and the Trust will then register the Trust or charity in the correct form with Companies House.

Jon Woodley was understandably delighted with the outcome, “We have achieved everything we could at this stage. The support for the Theatres was overwhelming. Worthing is a passionate centre for theatre and the arts. We need the whole Community to get involved and help. We will need to raise funds in order to get the Trust up and running. This can be done via corporate sponsorship, donations in kind, membership schemes and advertising.”

In the meantime the political machine ticks over. The ‘Yes Minister’ contingent in the Department for Communities and Local Government, where Minister Eric Pickles (responsible for the promotion of ‘The Big Society’) was given a private briefing last week by Worthing Council Leader Paul Yallop, are already preparing press releases.

The Group has already been approached by a TV production company to take part in a series of documentaries about the Arts trying to survive the cuts, to be broadcast on BBC2 later in the year.

The interesting outcome is that at the meeting there was a single solitary soul in the room who wanted one tiny scintilla of the theatre provision in Worthing to touched. There were no Thatcher revivalists calling for the theatres to stand up and be profitable or die. Not a single councillor asked why they had been making a loss when the ticket sales were only averagely poor. Even the very organ of Government responsible for removing the funding for the Arts is looking like the cat who ate the cream at the prospect of ‘The Big Society’ being brought to life in little ol’ Worthing.

There are people already rehearsing their laissez-faire lines for television. A thought occurs. Cynically. Perhaps they should be on stage? They should stand up and be heard before the final curtain falls on theatre in Worthing.

The website is being set up: www.worthingtheatrestrust.co.uk

Go and visit your inheritance soon.

Henry Olonga – Today a good man stood up

Today a man stood up.

Today I attended Sussex County Cricket’s Mark Davis’ Testimonial Dinner at the Grand Hotel.

Nearly 350 supporters and cricket fans were there to give Mark’s Testimonial year a good start. After the usual cricket stories and dressing room humour, a dreadlocked guy stood up and walked to the microphone. He apologised for not indulging in the usual cricket stats and introduced himself as Henry Olonga from Zimbabwe.

After a short introduction to his life, he sang four songs, beautifully. It was unexpected and poignant. Like a flower sprouting in the desert. His version of ‘You Lift Me Up’ was particularly piquant. It was sung by someone who had made a major life choice. Someone who knew that the here and now wasn’t the be and all.

Henry Olonga is an impressive man. Clear of voice, clear of purpose. He stands tall and today he won over a crowd of Sussex business people with his simple honesty and sincere beliefs. He had made a decision a few years ago to not tolerate corruption, oppression and intimidation. He had stood up and been counted. He is still standing, and he still counts.

Olonga was the first black and youngest-ever cricketer to represent Zimbabwe. Yet he was nearly a non-runner before he started. He was called for throwing in a Test in early 1995 and had to start again on his action from scratch. One of the fastest and least accurate bowlers, he had a poor hit rate with no-balls and wides.  He also suffered more than his fair share of injuries. However, as a strike bowler he could play with devastating effect as he showed in the 1998-99 tour of Pakistan when he destroyed the Pakistan top-order to engineer a win in the first Test.

Olonga was just 17 when he debuted in first class cricket in the Logan Cup for Matabeleland against Mashonaland, emerging from it with five wickets. He was chosen for the Test team to play Pakistan in 1994-95 when he took a wicket in his first over but was then penalized for throwing. A dramatic remedy was called for. He was coached by Dennis Lillee, who modified his action slightly and the shortcoming was turned into an asset.

From 1998 onwards Olonga became a regular in the Zimbabwe side. Selected for the 2003 World Cup, Olonga made international headlines when, along with Andy Flower, he donned a black armband to protest against the ‘death of democracy’ in Zimbabwe.

Henry Olonga with black arm band

This was a brave but foolish act. It would lead to his having to leave his adopted country in fear of his life. He played no meaningful part in the remainder of the competition and could not return to his homeland after the tournament. He fled Zimbabwe and found a new home in England.

Henry Olonga picks up the story in his own words, “Back in 1995 Zimbabwe got involved in a war in the DCR. Things became bad in our country. I was involved in helping an orphanage and began to ask how we got into this mess. I had always respected Robert Mugabe. But I began to hear people speak about him as a dictator and I started doing some research. I found references, for example, to the fact that he had killed some 30,000 of his own people in Matabeleland and the whole thing had been hushed up. I felt a deep, righteous anger.

To cut a long story short, I and another cricketer named Andy Flower decided to make a peaceful protest. We wore black armbands at the 2003 cricket world cup which was taking place in Zimbabwe and wrote a statement mourning the death of democracy in Zimbabwe. As a result I was in trouble.

At that time God proved himself very real. There were threats made against my life by those within the Mugabe regime. I needed to get out of the country – otherwise a mysterious ‘accident’ would happen to me. I called to God.

The day before the final game, we were poised to play Pakistan. If we won – which was highly unlikely – or drew the match, the Zimbabwe team would progress to the next stage of the world cup and go to South Africa and I would escape. So I prayed, ‘O God I need your help’. Unbeknown to me, a cyclone started to brew over the coast of Mozambique. We caught the edge of it and it washed out our game at Bulawayo. We were through to South Africa. The next day the weather in Bulawayo was absolutely fine. You can call it a coincidence, but I believe it was God’s way of answering my prayer.

In South Africa, I was put up by a wonderful family. I later put in my resignation to the cricket authorities in Zimbabwe. I had people still after me. It was just weird. But it was a quiet time in my life. I was on my own. I had left my country. I didn’t know where I was going to go. But God intervened again.

What Andy Flower and I had done was in the headlines. Still in South Africa, I gave an interview to CNN. And it was really through that I was able to come to Britain. I got an offer to come and play cricket in this country if I could raise the air fare. But I had no means of doing that. Out of the blue I got a phone call from a man I had never met before. I was a little frightened of this. Was he really someone who was involved with those who were still after me? He had seen the interview and turned out to be an American, who had been helped out of a very difficult situation in his past, and now had become very rich and just felt that he should help out someone else. He bought me the ticket to Britain.

All I know is that God says, ‘Call on me in the day of trouble and I will answer you’.”

When Henry Olonga entered the room today, the people in the room realised that here was a man who had met a defining moment in his life and had not blinked. As he put it, ‘evil will flourish when good men don’t stand up to it.’  Today, Henry Olonga stood up. Again.

Watch the video below and ask yourself the question, what would you do?

http://vimeo.com/13385623

Henry Olonga’s website: 

http://www.henryolonga.net/

Interview with Henrry Olonga reproduced with kind permission from ‘Cricket at the Cross’ – Evangelicals Now Dec 2008

http://www.e-n.org.uk/p-4448-Cricket-at-the-Cross.htm

Fair Trade in Football?

A Fair Deal Football

In 1879 the football club Darwen in Lancashire shocked polite Victorian society by employing and paying Fergie Suter and James Love, two Scottish footballers.

In private players had been paid in kind for a while – some in cash, others in food and drink.

By 1885 professional footbal was legal and six years later a  £4-a-week wage limit was nervously introduced as the Authorities were afraid that the Corinthian ideal of the gentleman footballer was in danger of disappearing.

By 1922 the maximum wage had grown to £8 a week (£6 in the summer), and clubs also gave a loyalty bonus of £650 after five years.

In 2009 John Terry of Chelsea was earning £130,000 a week. It’s reasonable to suspect that he’s put in for a wage rise since.

By way of contrast, in 1908 Walter Tull was apprenticed as a printer and playing for his local  team in Clapton. He was an outstanding talent and was quickly discovered by a Tottenham scout. Spurs paid Walter the maximum signing on fee permitted at the time – £10 – and his wages were £4 a week. Walter was only the second man of mixed race (after Arthur Wharton) to play professional football in Britain.

Walter Tull at Spurs

He played at the highest level for Tottenham and then Northampton Town (a club much more prestigious then than now). His inspiring story has been told by me in another post. He gave up football and a chance to sign for Rangers in 1914 to join the Army, going to Italy and then France. He didn’t return.

Football has become about big money and small characters. Even the ball itself has become a metaphor for big business and exploitation.

In 1995 first reports started to surface about the structural abuse of child labour and exploitation of adults in Sialkot, Pakistan. Children and women were working for long hours in poor conditions for a pittance. Footballs were made in Pakistan and to a lesser extent, India for many years by people with no cultural link with the game. They were paid laughable sums and were prevented from having employment protection in law.

Footballs to this day are still hand-stitched, assembled one-by-one in primitive conditions where 5 to 6 balls a day is the average worker’s output.

Major brands like Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Mitre (UK) have recently discovered a conscience in these matters because links with child labour are not a great football association in the hothouse supersales arena of world soccer.  

Research done by the V.V. Giri National Labour Institute (NLI) captured in the paper –  ‘Child Labour in the Sports Goods Industry – Jalandhar, A Case Study’ 1998 (known as the ‘NLI report’) concluded that around 10,000 children were engaged in stitching footballs in the district of Jalandhar.

A Child Worker in Pakistan

Stitching footballs is a home-based industry in which the manufacturing-exporting companies produce the panels of the balls in their factories and hire contractors who act as middlemen between them and the home-based workers who stitch the balls. Almost half of the stitchers are living below the poverty line and four out of ten households are headed by illiterate adults. About 90% of the households belong to the so-called ‘untouchables’, or Dalits as they prefer to call themselves. Their human rights are violated in many spheres of life, especially when they dare to assert and organise themselves. Dalits and their children are the main victims of bonded labour and child labour.

The NLI report estimates the average daily earning of an adult male in the sports goods industry to be around Rs.20 (less than half a US dollar) which is about one third of the present minimum wage of Rs.63 a day. Almost half of the working children have health problems, the most common of which are joint pains and backache.

Since 2006, meanwhile, a British company, led by young co-director James Lloyd in Brighton has designed a range of balls that do not depend on exploitation and child labour to make a profit.

Fair Deal Trading is based on rigorously monitored Fair Trade principles, paying fair wages for sensible hours of work and providing a hinterland of benefits and health cover for workers employed in Pakistan.

Imran Khan is one such worker. He has been working in the Ethletic factory, Vision, since 2005, manufacturing sports ball bladders. He currently earns Rs. 7000 – much more than the minimum wage.

Because of his employment, most of the benefits of the Vision Fairtrade projects are available for him and members of his family. He does a significant amount of his shopping in the Fair Price shop, saving about 3% on the grocery bill – significant savings for a family of ten (parents, six sisters, two sons) on a silly budget.

He can use the Vision pick-up and drop bus purchased with Fairtrade Premium money – saving up to 1000 Rs/month: His daughter has benefited from the Fair Trade health care scheme in place.

The footballs produced are of premium quality, unlike the factory produced, machine stitched Adidas balls used in the last World Cup to universal derision, not least from players. The sponsorship pumped into the competition secured their place on the pitch. Players watched in bemusement as these balls ballooned their way around the pitch, completely out of control.

In the meantime, Ethletic balls, which have fair wages and a future for the indigenous economy sewn into them, can’t even break into the squad of approved balls used in the Premier League, much less the European Championship or World Cup.

So while most Premiership players earn above £50,000 a week, workers in Pakistan are being paid 1/50,000 of this in order to protect the positions of the major football sponsors. Yet, the high street is going bananas for Fair Trade. The Industry is worth £1.4 billion per annum. It just hasn’t reached Football yet.

If you read this and feel ashamed, lobby your local club. Better still, get them to buy their footballs from Fair Deal Trading.  http://www.fairdealtrading.com/

That way, given a level playing field and a fair wind, everyone wins.

A fair day's pay for a fair day's work?