Saturday, 28 March 2015
Right away I'm going to come out and say it...
I like Karl Henry as a player
He's a rarity in the English game. One of these big, strong, defensive midfielders who can gobble up the centre of the park, break up the play, soak up the pressure and turn the momentum of the contest around. Similar to what Yaya Toure does, defensively, for Manchester City. He'll just body check [fairly] a Cazorla off the ball with his huge frame, take possession and then play a simple pass to Silva.
Well, Henry performs a similar role on the football pitch.
I also like Henry because of the petty tribalism that plagues me - the guy is a working class West Midlander.
And as a guy from the West Midlands, from a working class background you always feel there's a resonance when people from your local communities, with your accent, succeed on the national stage whether that's in politics, the arts or by becoming a Premier League footballer.
I like Stan Collymore for similar reasons. Although I'm blocked by Stan, we're worlds apart on many, many issues and he supports the team from the wrong side of Birmingham - again, I respect his rise to prominence [especially in radio, an RP-dominated industry in which people with our accent rarely succeed].
Stan Collymore and Karl Henry clashed yesterday in a Twitter feud, fueled by the following tweet...
Collymore took issue with the tweet and the pair shared some increasingly bitter exchanges.
Whenever Collymore attempts to trigger and participate in debate the usual goons emerge from the woodwork. 16-30 year old; Toni&Guy haircut-sporting; One Direction clones; pouting in their profile pictures; based in non-descript Home Counties towns like Welwyn Garden City and Aylesbury, they hurl unoriginal and boring insults towards Stan about his episode with Ulrika 20 odd years ago...
'LOL, u are wimin beatings scumbag'
'2 rite Karl, no tyme for wimin beaters'
'punch ulrika again did ya, hahahaahaha'
It's the go to response for the gonks when they can't engage Collymore in a debate on the issue at hand. The cheap tactic of simpletons.
But hey ho, that's Twitter I guess. Every idiot gets a platform [including me].
The issue I have with Henry's tweet is how incredibly stupid and selfish it is.
Let's look at it...
It refers to the fact that Labour are traditionally the party that believes in taxation of the high earners, redistributing the cash back into society and building a better place for all. Better hospitals, stronger roads, a smooth-running transport system, better schools, well funded and equipped emergency services, and the improvement of the poorer areas of the UK, giving the people there a chance to progress in life.
Places like Ashmore Park, the housing estate where Karl Henry hails from, one of the most deprived areas of the UK.
A place where...
"Of all the households, only 11.1% are considered to not be deprived at all and 7.2% are considered to be overcrowded."
Now Karl Henry is on a wage presumably in excess of £30k a week, he can afford sports cars, innumerable holidays abroad, he can buy any property his heart desires and he spends his free time wining and dining amongst the diplomats on the Fulham road - has he forgotten his roots?
How can somebody from an ethnic minority background, from a working class background, from a deprived housing estate in a Midland town publicly promote the Conservative Party?
A party famed for showing contempt towards ethnic minorities; famed for being London-centric and upper class-centric; famed for actively encouraging unemployment in order to manipulate inflation and exchange rates; famed for shutting down the mining and manufacturing industries in places like Wolverhampton and purposely switching Britain from a manufacturing nation to a service-based economy; famed for promoting free markets in which the lowest skilled labour [Henry's neighbours] are exploited in terms of wages and working conditions...
Well...it's baffling that he'd support them isn't it?
What's more likely is that he's looked at his wage packet, realised he's deemed a high earner and has found out that under a Tory government he'd be able to keep a slightly bigger slice of his gargantuan Premier League salary.
But surely it's better to stomach a slightly higher tax rate in order to help the Karl Henrys who are still stuck in Ashmore Park? Where they're committing suicide under the stress of job losses, where depression is rife, where people have no hope in life.
A leaked document today has shown that should the Tories get into power in May they will hit the poor with further cuts, increasing tax on disability benefit and reducing benefits for the vulnerable.
Does Karl Henry approve of bringing financial misery on the disabled?
Even if Henry was callous enough to believe the super rich should horde their wealth and the poor should be bashed into oblivion, it would be better if he kept that view on the down low and secretly hoped for a Tory government in May.
Instead, by actively promoting and advertising them on Twitter, he's helping them get into power so they can hurt the people of Ashmore Park - pretty classless in my biased opinion.
And this notion of 'people who have done well for themselves', yes Henry has 'done well for himself' by dint of being born good at football. But many in Ashmore Park aren't so lucky unfortunately.
You should appreciate that you were born with this talent, didn't get injured as a kid and were in the right place at the right time when the scouts came along to enable you to live this opulent lifestyle. If your salary has to be slightly garnished [to an unnoticeable extent] in order to help out your brothers back home, then I don't see why you see that as a bad thing.
Ultimately I don't see Henry as a bad person. I don't think he supports the Tories' detest of the working class of Wolverhampton and other similar areas, and I do believe he takes pride in his roots. I think he just looked at his pay cheque and realised he'd get to keep more of it under a right wing government.
Henry is going through what many have to toil with when they reach obscene wealth that of the battle between your selfishness [keeping a bit more money] and promoting the greater societal good [helping out the poor]
At the moment, on balance, his tweet would suggest he believes that redistribution of wealth is a negative thing.
But let's hope when Henry finishes his career when he approaches his late 30s, he makes enough sound investments to maintain his level of wealth and doesn't fall into bankruptcy.
Otherwise he may well be tweeting about the unfairness of the system and airing his disgust regarding the way footballers are not looked after once they retire.
Perhaps Henry is symbolic of what people are really like, perhaps we are all out for ourselves and it's dog eat dog.
But wouldn't the country be a better place if we remembered where we came from?
Wouldn't the country be a better place if those in positions of strength offered a helping hand and a ray of light to the suffering and alleviated their misery?
...Or you could just give them an extra kicking and go out and buy some Cristal and drink tequila off a dancers' chest...whatever works for you.