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League Express


John Drake

Member Since 10 Nov 2008
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 10:09 PM

#3018782 Why TotalRL are wrong.......

Posted by John Drake on 23 October 2014 - 08:53 PM

There are lots of other websites out there where people who like Rugby League and people who like Rugby Union can argue the toss till the cows come home about the respective merits of their chosen rugby code, and suggest that each others mothers smell of elderberries in the process, if they so wish.


For long established reasons, this site isn't and never will be one of them, and people who simply want to indulge in the above will not be welcome. We don't need them, we're busy enough with more reasoned (well, most of the time) discussions about Rugby League, which makes sense, this being a Rugby League website n'all.


We do have a cross-code section, where people can discuss, well, cross-code matters (the clue is in the title) to their hearts content, so long as they do so within the well established rules of this site, where we do not accept that anyone's mother smells of elderberries, no matter which code of rugby their offspring may prefer.


The above may not be to everyone's taste or approval, but that's just tough, because that's the way TotalRL rolls: no trolls.


That doesn't mean we won't welcome people who like Rugby Union. We'll welcome anyone with an interest in anything, so long as they are also interested in Rugby League. That's why to earn the right to post in the cross-code section at all, you have to make 100 posts elsewhere on the forums before you'll be allowed in. Few trolls are that persistent, that patient or even just that able to hold a reasonable conversation about Rugby League with Rugby League fans without revealing their true colours before getting anywhere near achieving posting rights to the cross-code forum.


This is the internet. It's not like people don't have a choice. We're happy enough to be the website that provides people with the choice to discuss Rugby League matters without being endlessly sidetracked into pointless argy-bargy about another sport. This is a policy that is not up for discussion, and that's why I am locking this thread now.

#3017303 25/10/14 - 4N - Australia v New Zealand (TV: Premier Sports 9.30am)

Posted by John Drake on 21 October 2014 - 09:29 AM

Discuss the 4 Nations game between Australia and New Zealand here.

#3016140 General Election seat calculator

Posted by John Drake on 18 October 2014 - 10:28 PM

Where is there a truly representative democracy?  I was listening to something on the radio yesterday about the US.  Each state no matter how big or how small elects the same number of senators, so that America's farmers remain relatively prosperous, because the small agricultural states have more say than the big city states, whereas the urban population in many states lack the basics of life.

If we introduce PR and our legislature becomes truly representative of the votes cast, we'll lose the contact of an MP representing his constituency in any meaningful way.

I disagree about the coalition BTW.  For me they haven't put a brake of the worst excesses of the Tories. NHS "reform"  Austerity, Student Fees and many other obnoxious policies not in their manifesto have been allowed to go ahead..  They claim that the £10k tax threshold is down to them, but they keep quiet about nodding through the 20% VAT rate, that more or less eats up any gains for most people.


The US system is worse than ours. It is designed to fail. Unless a President carries the Senate and the House, they can't get much done. One can repeatedly block the other, and they usually do. But at least their second chamber (House of Representatives) that is elected, unlike our second chamber (House of Lords) which, hilariously after all these years, remains wholly appointed. What kind of democracy is that, but a totally warped one.


For me, there is no justifiable defence left for FPTP, in an age when the two old 'major' parties are shedding vote share like crazy. The current Coalition is not a fair representation of what a coalition might look like elected under a proportional system, because the share of seats would be far more balanced.


Had the 2010 result been proportional, we'd have seen something like this:-


Conservative (36.1%) 234 seats (as opposed to the 307, or 47.2% of total seats they got)

Labour (29.0%) 188 seats (as opposed to the 258, or 39.7% of total seats they got)

Lib Dem (23.0%) 149 seats (as opposed to the 57, or 8.8% of total seats they got)


Given that an overall majority in the House of Commons requires 326 seats, under PR, the Lib Dems could have done a deal with either Labour or the Conservatives, and whichever they had chosen, for whatever reasons, they would have carried far more clout in that coalition with 149 seats than they ever could with just the 57 they got under FPTP, which has seen them function mostly as enablers of Conservative legislation and apologists/scapegoats for the most unpopular aspects of it.


The notion that the contact of a sole MP is a good enough reason to lumber on with an electoral system that completely distorts the will of the electorate, and effectively disenfranchises millions of them by denying them the representation they voted for, is to me, a joke. I'd guess many people don't have a clue who their MP is anyway, and many vote for a party label already, otherwise why are party labels included on ballot papers now, when once upon a time they were not.


We're living in an age where people are disillusioned with the political process and actively disengaging from it. That's a dangerous road to continue down and the next General Election, under FPTP, will make it far worse. Not just because it is likely that UKIP will win a lot of votes and very few seats, enraging those who choose to vote for them, but those votes will skew the outcome in possibly hundreds of other seats. Whichever of the 'major' parties limps over the line to form a government, they will have no genuine mandate if they have achieved barely a third of the votes cast, which looks likely. And that would be a third of the vote on a turnout of probably only 65%, ie, a majority government with the active support of less than a quarter of the total electorate. That is not democracy by any measure.


The number of the electorate actually supporting and having voted for the government of the day will continue to decline until this stupid, antiquated, undemocratic system we are hobbled with at Westminster is cast into the dustbin of history and replaced with something that at the very least begins to produce a House of Commons that more accurately reflects the way people have voted.


I think a switch to PR would re-energise politics in this country. Every vote would carry the same weight. No party could take its electorate for granted or rely on appealing only to its own 'base' to win a majority. It should be applied to local authorities too. No more one-party fiefdoms. It would also kill the fear many have that the current hot potato of 'English votes on English laws' - ie turning Westminster into a de facto English Parliament by barring non-English MPs from voting on English only laws, following greater devolution to Scotland - would result in a permanent Tory majority. Under FPTP, a permanent Tory majority in England is much more likely. Scary thought, for any non-Tory voters out there...


Sure, PR might mean a few people or parties you don't like gaining seats, but it is better to have them inside Parliament where they can be held to account, than leave them to raise an angry army of the disenfranchised on the outside, panicking the 'major' parties into bending over backwards to appease them and forgetting what they are supposed to believe in themselves in the process, as is happening now with the 'UKIP effect' on the Tories and Labour. And in any case, an electoral system shouldn't be designed to keep anyone out, it should be designed to reflect the will of the electorate, whatever that might be.

#3014478 Championship Fixtures Out On Sunday?

Posted by John Drake on 15 October 2014 - 03:06 PM

Super League, Championship and League One will all be out at 9pm on Sunday.


And in League Express on Monday! :)

#3013885 Ben Flower Sending Off / Reaction / Apology (merged threads)

Posted by John Drake on 14 October 2014 - 02:56 PM

As this has descended into people just slagging each other off now, I'm locking the thread.


Once the RFL disciplinary publishes its judgement on the situation, I'll open a new one.

#3013470 2015 Election debates

Posted by John Drake on 13 October 2014 - 09:44 PM

I see your point John but all they do is make it a battle of personalities and soundbites all based on what they've learned from their focus groups.


Isn't that why so many people hold them in contempt? Why should we be shielded from seeing them as they are, so we can choose to vote accordingly.


The public are complicit in this too. We get the politicians we deserve.


One thing I'd like added to the debates is a follow up programme where all the claims the leaders have just made are fact-checked. That would keep them on their toes.

#3013438 2015 Election debates

Posted by John Drake on 13 October 2014 - 09:15 PM

I am in favour of having such debates, but the rules on who is and isn't included ought to be made more formal and less open to inviting whoever seems to be flavour of the month at the time. These debates are going to be watched by millions, and have the potential to sway the votes of millions, so they should not be treated lightly by broadcasters or political parties.


It is unjustifiable to talk of including UKIP while excluding the Greens. It is ludicrous to propose not including the leader of one of the governing Coalition parties while allowing the other to take part.


Rules could be set to include past performance in national, European and local authority elections, and the number of candidates fielded in those elections by parties wishing to be involved, to silence the claims of one man band or purely localised operations at the same time as legitimising the claims of those parties with a wide national base but which may have struggled to gain fair representation at Westminster as a result of its unbalanced electoral system.


It should not be down to a collaboration between broadcasters and the political elite themselves to decide who the voters are allowed to hear from, based on what they think will make 'good' television or who is up and who is down in the latest batch of opinion polls.

#3012145 11/10/14 - SLGF: St Helens v Wigan Warriors KO 6pm (TV)

Posted by John Drake on 12 October 2014 - 10:13 AM

At work this morning all I've had is people asking me and talking to me about the punches and nothing else to do with the game. Even people who don't usually watch RL are talking about the incident. Doesn't show the game in the best light.


That's where you come in. It has opened up a discussion about RL with people who wouldn't normally talk about it. So explain to them how the incident was dealt with, which reflects well on the sport. It wasn't condoned or ignored. The punishment was immediate and proved costly. And if this is ther first time some people have noticed RL because of this incident, doesn't that in itself confirm its rarity in our sport? Turn a negative into a positive. Then, if they watched the whole game, ask them what else they noticed or enjoyed apart from that incident to move the conversation on. If they've only seen it in isolation, suggest they take a look at the whole game, or additional highlights to see it in context.

#3012100 11/10/14 - SLGF: St Helens v Wigan Warriors KO 6pm (TV)

Posted by John Drake on 12 October 2014 - 09:23 AM

For all the controversy (and in some respects because of it) last night was one of the best Grand Finals I've ever been to, and I've only missed one and seen my own team play in six and win three, so it's no idle statement.

The pre-match build up was the best ever. A complete contrast to the half-baked effort we got at Wembley for the Challenge Cup final, this is how it should be done, and this shows RL is perfectly capable of doing it. More please. James were a fantastic booking, and Sit Down the perfect singalong anthem to get a crowd going before kick off. Absolutely loved them.

The stadium looked wonderful almost packed to the rafters and the added touch of handing out free flags at both ends and the #RLNewEra interactive crowd mosaic was a great idea.

The electric atmosphere was sustained throughout the match, and I couldnt take my eyes off what was unfolding on the pitch.

I was sat in between rival Saints and Wigan fans who were going through all the high emotion you'd expect and I envied their intense personal attachment to the outcome of the game at the same time as being relieved to be a neutral in that cauldron being able to appreciate what both sides were doing.

What to say about the Ben Flower incident? Well, when you're at the game rather than watching on TV, you see it once, not repeated over and over again for shock value, and then things move on quickly. It was bad, even in the super charged blink and you miss it live environment, but the referee dealt with it firmly and correctly, and Flower will receive his punishment in due course. Ignore the social media hysteria. That's par for the course in any sphere of life these days. Over reaction is the new normal. Flower's actions are not symptomatic of thuggery in Rugby League because Rugby League demonstrated clearly and unequivocally in the referee's actions that such behaviour is not tolerated and has severe and immediate consequences.

Flower's team received their punishment there and then, but my word, what amazing resilience Wigan showed throughout the rest of the game a man down for almost its entirety yet they could still have won, and for long periods looked the most capable of winning. That is a remarkable tribute to their character, rather than an under appreciation of Saints performance.

Saints had setbacks of their own to overcome and they did so. I thought they thoroughly deserved their win, and if anyone has any doubt about their Champion quality, having defeated a 12-man team at Old Trafford, well, they have the League Leaders Shield in the cabinet as well, showing that they have proven their credentials throughout the season too.

What a fantastic, unforgettable night.

#3006855 The David Waite appreciation thread

Posted by John Drake on 03 October 2014 - 02:31 PM

He had some close scores against the Aussies certainly, but they were certainly some of the weakest Aussie sides I've seen come over.

It was his team selection that did it for me. Four loose forwards in one starting line up, half backs on the wings... It just made no sense.


Hmmm. We've played so called 'weak' Aussie sides many times and still ended up with a flogging at their hands, but Waite's side went toe to toe with them across three Tests and should really have won the Ashes in 2003. Astonishing progress considering where we were (as England) just 3 years earlier in the 2000 World Cup.


It wasn't GB's team selection that prevented that Ashes win happening in 2003, it was the tendency of our players to succumb to brain farts in the closing stages of games in which they were ahead (or in the case of Adrian Morley in the First Test, a brain fart in the opening minute) and the genius of Darren Lockyer.


Despite the results, what a great Test series that was.

#3005582 The TV Thread

Posted by John Drake on 01 October 2014 - 11:17 AM

Gogglebox. It's not highbrow, but it is funny.

#3002873 Islamic State bombings

Posted by John Drake on 26 September 2014 - 09:08 AM

I have a sinking feeling about this.


Apart from radicalising a load more people who need little excuse already to see the UK as the big bad, and giving ISIS exactly the response they have been goading us into by making sure their beheader-in-chief was a Brit, what the hell is the UK becoming involved in this 'limited' bombing campaign supposed to achieve?


A full-scale bombing campaign alone won't defeat ISIS, let alone a half-hearted one like this. The military have already confirmed that. And the UK is only committing to bombing the bit of it that's in Iraq anyway.


There appears to be no concrete objective, and no known end date, just the urge to be seen to be doing 'something'.


It won't save the life of a single ISIS hostage, but will almost certainly result in many more hostages being seized and graphically killed in future.


Why, just for once, if other Middle Eastern states are already involving themselves in this campaign against ISIS, can't the UK just let them get on with it?

#3000386 Spoiler threads - all users please take note.

Posted by John Drake on 22 September 2014 - 10:30 AM

On the subject of spoilers...


We cannot under any circumstances guarantee that any part of TotalRL.com will not contain the results of games once they have been played.


If you do not want to see the results of games after they have been played until you have personally watched them, the only solution is to give TotalRL.com a wide berth.


Hope that clears things up.

#2998790 Scottish Independence Referendum

Posted by John Drake on 19 September 2014 - 11:40 AM

The Tory backbencher proposals are just a power grab for Westminster.


Labour needs to position itself in a way that genuinely offers devolution to England. If they do that then the Lib Dems, UKIP, Greens will join them. Tie it in with changes to Scotland, Wales and NI and they'll have the numbers to get it all through.


Spot on.


I'm absolutely delighted that Scotland has voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. But no politician of any party should take that as an endorsement of the way the British political system currently works. If they do, are missing the point by several miles and will simply stoke up further resentment on both sides of the border.


We need a cross-party consensus for change, not a self-interested power grab by any party.


The idea that England is made more democratic simply by stripping voting rights from Scottish MPs at Westminster is crude, stupid and counter-productive. The notion that England should be allowed to become some kind of permanent Tory fiefdom in this way is a recipe for division and disaster. Mr Cameron and his party need to recognise that in many parts of England they are just as hated as this referendum has shown them to be in Scotland. England does not and should not belong to the Tories any more than Scotland should belong to Labour or the SNP.


If we can learn anything from Scotland and the way they do politics, it is that Holyrood is more representative and effective as a Parliament because it is not elected in the same way as Westminster. Consensus is not anathema; parties with minority support that struggle to win any seats at Westminster (ie, the Tories) can still win seats at Holyrood and gain fair representation to ensure a more pluralistic approach to politics prevails.


At the very least, the whole of the UK deserves the same kind of approach at Westminster, and no party can argue that it won't work, because we already know it does, within the UK itself in Scotland.


Westminster cannot serve as an English Parliament in its present form simply by removing the votes of Scottish MPs, because it is not fairly representative of England in the first place.


It is time for our leaders to show some statesmanship, and step away from seeking to exploit or manipulate this referendum result for their own party political gain, or the contempt they and the political class are held in will only grow and we will all suffer for that in the long run.

#2998036 Scottish Independence Referendum

Posted by John Drake on 18 September 2014 - 02:01 PM


The basis is so that Scotland can govern Scotland themselves.


Why are you so against them being independant?


Hmmm, all I've heard is Alex Salmond and the SNP blaming all the bad stuff on Westminster. Even stuff which is already under the jurisdiction of the Scottish Parliament, such as the NHS. Oh, and Westminster never delivers for Scotland, apparently. With the glaring exception of Westminster delivering devolution and the Scottish Parliament in the first place.


And they are also inviting Scots to vote for independence without being able to offer any guarantee on what will happen to the currency or EU membership, to name but two huge and complex issues. On that basis, in my view, the nationalists haven't made a sufficiently convincing case that they can deliver much of what they are promising, and thus they resort to a bit of flag waving, Braveheart infused twaddle and complaining about bias when anyone asks them a question they can't answer.


Whatever the outcome of this referendum, the SNP have split Scotland pretty much down the middle. Some achievement, that.


I might ask in turn, why are you so against Scotland remaining a self-governing part of the United Kingdom?