Thursday, 29 October 2009

Simeon Jackson-One for the future?

Many of you reading this may not be entirely sure who this young man pictured is. Yes his name may be mentioned within the title, but has anyone actually seen him enough to class him as a footballer they commonly know. How often football fans dismiss the quality of 'lower league' players, and how often we underestimate the heights they can all reach. Three years ago Jackson was ploughing his way through non-league football under the watchful fans of Rushden and Diamonds, but now he's taken gigantic steps into realising his dream of one day becoming one of the best strikers in England.

To give a brief background on him, Jackson is a twenty-two year old Canadian international who was born in Jamaica. He currently plays for Gillingham in Coca-Cola League One, the team who rejected him at the age of 15 after having a trial at the club. After this he remained in England where he had further football trials at Premier League giants Manchester United and Manchester City in 2005. He signed for Gills for a fee of £150,000 in January 2008, and made his senior debut for Canada in 2009, scoring the winner against Cyprus.

Jackson signed with no league experience, and the pressure of the highly expecting Gillingham fans, who had craved for a proven goalscorer since the days of Bob Taylor and Marlon King. Meek efforts from Congan Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu, Gary Mulligan and Georges Ba had frustrated the Medway faithful, but the arrival of manager Mark Stimson in 2008 and his signing of 'Jacko' has added a new lease of life.

His impressive record at Rushden of 65 goals in 40 games attracted the eyes of many, but it is his ferocity in front of goal in the blue shirt of the Kent side that has alerted bigger clubs such as QPR, Leicester and even Premier League sides Everton, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur.

Monumental displays in the 2008-09 season, including the 90th winner in the League 2 play-off final against Shrewsbury at Wembley sparked joyous scenes. Jackson also impressed in the play-off semi final against Rochdale where he scored both goals to send Gills through to their 3rd play-off final in their history. In January though, his reputation grew massively with an amazing display of skill and speed to turn Aston Villa's Zat Knight and rocket a shot past the despairing Brad Friedel in the FA Cup.

I was a season ticket holder at Gills for three years, as ticket prices at Chelsea thwarted me from visiting Stamford Bridge on greatly wanted regular occasions. Many players have come, and even more have departed, and I despite my negativity towards the Canadian in his early days at Gills, I've grown to love his natural prowess in front of goal. Given half a chance in front of goal and 9 out of 10 times Jackson would convert it into another goal to add to his ever-increasing tally. I was wrong to judge him so early on, because performances of the highest quality have led me to believe that Jackson can become one of the best in England. For a small man, his heading ability is fantastic, and his control, skill and all round forward play is beyond belief for a 22 year old who has only had one and a half years to grasp the intensity of league football.

Three goals in his first season quickly became 22 in his second, and now third in the 2009-2010 season, Jackson kickstarted his individual campaign with a season opening hat-trick against Swindon, then a further 8 in just 16 games. 11 goals in 16 games is a fair record, and two of these goals came against Championship's Plymouth and the Premier League's Blackburn Rovers.

Is he ready for the step up to the greatest league in the world? Maybe not quite yet, but certainly in the next three years we can expect to see Jackson become a more prominent figure in the Championship, and then the Premier League for sure.
For all you football fans out there, regardless of which team you support, remember the name Simeon Jackson. He has a lot to offer to the game, and anybody interested after reading this blog please do feel free to watch this video from youtube which shows Jacko's first 25 goals for Gillingham Football Club. Enjoy!


Sunday, 25 October 2009

Qualified Privilege and Locke Seminar

In reporting of courts, you automatically have qualified privilege defence when repeat, publish or broadcast defamatory remarks. Also, it requires immediate publication with no errors or malice (Malice can be lack of balance), you never have AP as a journalist, though in practice if a report is free from error and published immediately, then qualified privilege confers a similar degree of protection. A journalist has qualified privilege at a range of other public events, so long as he or she allows the defamed person to deny it in the same report. Furthermore, if all 10 points of the Reynolds Test, plus the interest of the public, then you are entitled to qualified privilege in making defamatory allegations outright, without quoting somebody who is protected by AP.

An example of this is the Reynolds Defence, in which a report claiming Reynolds had misled Irish government failed to include an explanation from Reynolds himself, so the former Prime Minister instigated the defamation act.


The courts have been reluctant to extend the defence of qualified privilege to provide the media with a public interest defence. However in 'Reynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd', the House of Lords recognised the "high importance of freedom to impart and receive information and ideas" and observed that the "press discharges vital functions as a bloodhound as well as a watchdog".

Reynolds' ten point test forms a curriculum of high quality for journalism which should enjoy a deree of legal protection. The court was to take into account the following 10 matters:
  1. The seriousness of the allegation
  2. The nature of the information (and the event to which subject-matter is a matter of public concern)
  3. The source of the information
  4. The steps taken to verify information
  5. The status of information
  6. The urgency of the matter
  7. Whether comment was sought from the claimant
  8. Whether the article contained the gist of the claimant's side of the story
  9. The tone of the article
  10. The circumstances of the publication (including its timing)

The Locke seminar provided inspiration, debate and at times humour in a constructive hour of discussion. It was based upon the set reading of "Epistle to the Reader" and the person who was John Locke. Another two seminar papers were required, this week from Karen Purnell and Hana Keegan (two people who have been given the nicknames "Purnell" and "King Kev" by myself and my astute friend Jake Gable).
Both seminar leaders provided insight and vision, explaining the background of Locke's life, linked with the reading. This sparked an imediate debate from within the group, the first coming from Jake who managed to lie about a certain pool series we had recently played, claiming he won convincingly (despite me winning the series 10-1). To move away from the irrelevance of my pool dominance, along with discussing our role without a government, I managed to mention that this is how More's 'Utopia' was formed. Without a set government or law-abiding code, 'Utopia' was formed by merely the random selection of educated men, and we came to conclude in random discussion that tis is possibly what would occur if we were to have no government or leadership. It begged the question whether we even needed a government to run society. Couldn't we just adapt and learn on our own, and if so, where would our rules come from?
Locke was considered to be the first ever empiricist who believed that knowledge came from experience, and not innate ideas. I have to say, I agree with this philiosophy.

Many thanks, and enjoy the week.

Monday, 19 October 2009

London Underground-Oh deary me!

The first thing I'm going to ask is; "Who does this bloke actually think he is?"

That was my initial reaction after watching this appalling video I found at 01.37am between Sunday and Monday. It sickened me, and quite frankly the worker shouldn't be suspended, he should be sacked!
The report also brought to my knowledge something I hadn't known before-that prices are on the increase, yet a day after Mayor Boris Johnson announced this, a tube worker is shouting at elderly people and threatening to harm them. This should not be tolerated.
This worker (or "Stroppy", as I call him) is a perfect example of a power hungry person, who thinks he has more authority than what he actually does. What gives him the right to call someone "jumped up little git" and then threaten to "sling him under a train"? It is beyond belief!

Yes it can be argued that we don't know what sparked the malicious verbal attack, but regardless of the situation if that is the attitude and the verbal I expect to receive next time I visit London, then I'd prefer to walk.
I am not usually a person who thrives on fury, but after reading this, and watching the video, I was angry. Even Boris Johnson had his say on Twitter, claiming he was "appalled by the video", which by the way, wouldn't be seen if it wasn't for businessman Mr Jonathan McDonald, who also expressed his discontent and mere confusion in the BBC article.

What does everybody else think? Is a suspension a deserved punishment, or should he be forced into, let's say, 'an early underground retirement'? What gives an Australian man in an orange jacket the right to threaten an old British man on his journey through the capital?

Thursday, 15 October 2009

HCJ theory-John Locke

John Locke is an extraordinary person. Not just because he was known as the first ever empiricist, but for the events which happened during his life. Locke's life crosslinks many historic events which go down in famous history. For example, there was the British Civil War from 1641-1651, along with the dictatorship of Cromwell, The Exclusion Bill Crisis (1678-81), and also the installment of James II in 1685 as King, although it wasn't announced at first that he was Catholic. Furthermore, Locke's father had fought for the Parliamentary Army against the Royalists.

At the start of the lecture Brian (or as I call him, "The Workhorse" due to his footballing abilities) revealed his intentions to cover 'Social Contract' and 'Human Understanding'-both being linked to the reading on Locke. A social contract is an agreement between people and its ruler. The ruler is chosen, and given huge power, this power comes from the people in order to give it to the ruler, also known as the mortal God.

Locke's 'Treatise of Government' involves two ideas. The first treatise of Government attacks the concept of the 'Divine Rights of Kings'. The second stems from Locke's opposition of James II and Hobbes-is the state of nature where everyone enjoys natural freedom and equality but obey natural laws (The natural laws were moral laws which every man knew without thought-right and wrong). Brian also informed us of the manual for a revolution, which included Locke's proposition of a concept of government by consent and limited by laws-its powers mainly used for the protection of property. Locke insisted that taxes could not be levied without the people's consent, and he believed that citizens could rebel if their government refused to respect the laws of nature (this links to the tyranny of James II during his reign). This suggests that Locke felt we were entitled to the right of revolution, like it was one of the rights of men.
It raises an interesting question. Can we revolt? And if so, to what extent can we revolt? I believe that we can create some form of revolution to fight for the rights of the world, and to defeat the wrongs, but any revolution without sufficient evidence of tyranny and corruption should be a crime.

Human understanding is a complex issue and Locke believed that our understanding comes from our experience which is worked on by our powers of reason to produce 'real knowledge'. This is against the innate ideas of Plato and Descartes. Locke formulated that reason consists of 2 parts:
  1. An inquiry into what we know with certainty
  2. An investigation of propositions which it is wise to accept in practice, although they have only probability and not certainty in their favour.
Locke thought that God had given mankind the ability to discover knowledge and morality so that innate ideas were not needed. He also claimed that when matters of faith go beyond reason and experience-individuals should be guided by private revelation, but these revelations should never be imposed by the church or state.
Mr John Locke saw himself as a "humbler under-labour" who cleared the ground for scientists such as Newton. Newton was arguably the start of enlightened science after discovering the law of gravity, three laws of motion, infinitesimal calculus, and modern optics in the same time period when the plague was rampant during his university days.

The link provided is the story of Newton's inventions and discoveries. Worth watching as it adds further knowledge to what we already know regarding Newton and science.


Monday, 12 October 2009

Harmy excluded as Strauss considers a rest

The winter cricket season has begun. England travel to South Africa before facing off against Bangladesh in a test series, one which captain Andrew Strauss has said he will consider missing to "have a break" from the cricket scene. Despite a humiliating defeat in the one-day series against Australia after our Ashes victory, the one-day team bounced back to show some impressive performances in the ICC Champions Trophy, however we were knocked out by the Aussies in the semi-finals.

Strauss has always been a cricketer I've admired. Not just his captaincy but his all round play in the field and most importantly with the bat. Seeing him crunch boundaries through the covers sends shivers down my spine, because there is no thought process, he just does it. He connects beautifully, and on form is arguably the best batsman in the cricketing world. Not only that but over the past years he's been considered the first name on the team sheet, playing 67 tests and scoring over 5000 test runs so far during his illustrious career. Okay yes I may sound somehwat biased, as he can never be compared to the batting talents of Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, but England now need that player to idolise in absence of Andrew Flintoff. With Pietersen's form inconsistent and Jimmy Anderson a more intrinsic player, Strauss is, to some extent the player who can fill the entertainment boots of 'Freddie' Flintoff through the responsiblity of captain.

So with the skipper considering taking a break in February, who will be the ideal man to temporarily replace him in the side. There are many options. Pietersen, if back to full fitness, will no doubt regain his spot and Ravi Bopara retaining some form during the one-day form of the game, he has a point to prove after losing his number three spot during the Ashes. The impressive 2009 form of Warwickshire's Jonathan Trott was greatly admired by many all over the land, and his county teammate Ian Bell returned during the series against Australia to fill the void left by the then-injured KP. All are fantastic candidates to replace Strauss in the series against Bangladesh, but there is one man who shouldn't be forgotten. Kent opener Joe Denly made his international debut during the ODI series against Australia, and despite getting out for a golden duck to arguably the most intimidating bowler on the planet in Brett Lee, Denly recovered and played some well constructed innings', even if the side did lose the series 6-1.

Again feel free to question my bias, after all I am a Kent-boy myself, so nothing would please me more than to see our very own young-gun play (and succeed) against some of the finest cricketers on the planet. Denly's domestic success has been largely helped by Kent captain Rob Key who's had differing experiences at international level himself, but the combination of youth and experience has lifted Kent back into the Division 1 County Championship and led the side to three 20/20 finals days (one of which they lifted the trophy), and a Friends Provident trophy final.

Is Denly ready for the international stage? In my opinion, and the opinions of many cricketing greats like Sir Ian Botham, Michael Atherton and Bob Willis, he is. I think it's time to give him a chance like Alistair Cook was. Especially in a series against a Bangladesh side, who quite frankly must be expecting defeat after losing 4 consecutive times on English soil, Denly should and must be given the chance. Credit to the selectors for choosing him the one-day internationals, a form of the game which Denly blossoms in, but his experience on the Test arena is vital to the future of English cricket.

As for the bowling department, I'll keep this short and sweet. I rate Harmison highly, but the selectors (the apparent experts) do not. I think if somebody like Onions or Anderson were on awful form then the Durham seam bowler would be England's main strike bowler, but as it goes, Anderson is ranked in the top 10 bowlers in the world and Onions has been taking wickets for Durham all year. I don't think it's the end for Harmison, he needs to keep plugging away and his chance will come again. There have been arguments that he's lost his pace and aggression (mainly during the 06/07 Ashes in Australia). What do i say to those critics? Rubbish! Harmison was influential in the 2005 Ashes victory and it was Harmison who effectively gave the advice to dismiss hot prospect Phillip Hughes from the Australian test side. During the England Lions' match against Australia, Harmison claimed Hughes' wicket in both innings and then advised the England selectors who passed this message onto the England bowlers to dismiss Hughes when it mattered.

I said I'd keep the bowling department short, but one piece of sad news is that former England bowler Matthew Hoggard is now a free agent after being released by Yorkshire after 13 years at the club. Piece of advice to any clubs interested in him this winter, "Sign him up!"
His England days may be over, but domestically he's still a huge threat and if Hoggard was to quit the game in the same year as Vaughan and Justin Langer then cricket is losing the legends that once were. Something which cannot afford to happen, not yet anyway.

Many Thanks, Gman!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Court Reporting

Apologies to all my blogging fans for the somewhat delayed blog this week, I have let you all down and endeavour to make up for my wrongdoings. My main intention is to cover the Media Law lecture and HCJ seminar (both on Tuesday), one of which I had to deliver my seminar paper to Group A (or as Jakey Gable calls us "The A-Team") and our forever-amusing leader, Mr Chris Horrie.
Our second lecture was on reporting of the courts (obvious by the title), and included lots of various information regrading the different types of courts that our astound country has to hold. But first, we were introduced the basic legal principles. These being:
  1. Presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt
  2. Justice seen to be done-accusation of law-breaking must stand up in court
  3. Evidence based-Right to have evidence tested by an independent jury of fellow citizens (Magna Carta)
In the absence of a written constitution, freedom of speech has depended upon the two main constitutional bulworks, and these are: jury trial, and prior restraint rule. Chris also mentioned the judge's role and it is very largely to 'arbitrate on admissibility of evidence and advise on points of law and procedure'. Over my many years of education I have rather been known as Mr Information than Mr Explanation, and already I am starting to feel this court blog is doing exactly the same. But without information, how can everybody learn and refer to the mountain of notes throughout our prestigious bible 'Mcnae's essential law for journalists' and the detailed passages of our lecturers.
One thing that caught my extreme attention during Tuesday morning's lecture was the function of each court and which type of people and cases they deal with. Criminal courts deal with the whole community, whereas civil courts only settle individual disputes. Magistrates and Crown courts deal with criminal law offences but their functions differ from one another.

Crown Court functions are:
  • to try arrestable offences sent for trial by magistrates
  • to deal with cases sent for sentence
  • to hear appeals
Magistrates Courts' civil functions deal with:
  • Family matters, such as husband and wife. This is where the media are largely omitted.
  • Divorce matters where there are restrictions on reporting
  • Child Welfare matters have same principle for the press as divorce.
No details of an actual court case may be reported, apart from names, ages, address, occupations, charges, names of the counsel, and the date and place of the Crown Court hearing.
Media Law is an interesting topic. It is currently requiring lots of attention and focus, as my fellow students all know. However, after weeks of knowledge on law I feel positive that we will gain a sense of experience on the topic and journalism as a whole. In the words of Sheila on Friday after our shorthand lecture, "It will take time, but once you grasp it, it's so good to have". To my fellow students, remember to keep 'plugging' away. And eventually it will happen it will click. One person you have to look at for evidence is my dear friend Jake Gable. He keeps plugging away at pool against me, but he has got nowhere. He is losing 7-0 (Haha!) However, his time will come, he may pull one or even two sets back if he is lucky.
Enough of the jokes and the banter, the serious message I'm trying to get across here is that we have to try. Any difficulties then we ask for help. Over the next three years we have to act like a team in order to succeed.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Padang in turmoil at the force of nature

It was a reality check for me today when I bought The Guardian. To think how lucky I was to be at university in one of the greatest countries in the world, when thousands of people are struggling to survive the effects of arguably 2009's strongest natural disaster.

The death toll has apparently risen to over 800 people, although The United Nations fears that this figure could climb to well over 1000. Another 600 are feared dead after being buried by rubble and landslides in three Indonesian villages, but the reality is that any sign of life has or is quickly fading away.
The earthquake, which occurred two days after a tsunami hit the islands of Samoa, has shocked the world into action with Australian naval ships sending aid on boats, and British servicemen being flown over from Gatwick and Heathrow airports to help rescue any survivors.
I don't intend to earn any hero status, but if I had the opportunity, I would bust a gut to be there now helping those poor unsuspecting civilians. Yes, unsuspecting. It begs the question as to whether our technology should be going to warnings systems and the survival of the world's citizens instead of new fancy cars and 'ultra-fast' planes.

If so much money is already being spent on warning technology, then why isn't more? Why are there not already breakthroughs or some form of solution? I'm not saying a whole planetary region can be warned, all I'm saying is that it will give people an option to respond before being caught.
My heart goes to the victims and their families. Tragedies may kill a portion of mankind, but the spirit of humans will never be destroyed.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Gritty performance, the right result, but rightfully Ancelotti isn't impressed

Can't say I blame him. I mean being a Chelsea fan I'm obviously pleased with the result on Wednesday away to Apoel Nicosia, but performance was close to shambolic. I would have thought that after our embarrassement at the DW Stadium in Wigan last weekend we would have shown more of passion to repay the fans, but I saw none of this.

I agree with what Dominic Fifield of The Guardian had to say, "This was a nervy and, at times, lacklustre performance". Chelsea looked disjointed, and possibly threatened by a below-par Apoel, who had former Blues player Nuno Morais starting in a defensive midfield role. I'm not too fond of criticism towards Chelsea from anybody and quite frankly I do become annoyed, however I can always admit when the team deserve to get criticised and on Wednesday night, they were in all honesty, appalling.

Ancelotti has experienced his first Premier League defeat.
For all Chelsea fans it would seem a repeat of Phil Scolari's reign last year, dropping his first points after about five or six games in. Ancelotti's side have responded well with a win in Cyprus, however his main worry has to be a disappointing display, especially with the crunch game against Liverpool coming up Sunday. The Italian manager, won three Scudettos and two Champions' League titles with his former club AC Milan, adds a wealth (no pun) of experience to the Chelsea staff. Yet, he is another foreign manager who has yet to be tested against the intense velocity of the English game. Do I believe in him? I want to, but he needs a true test. The community shield counted for nothing as both teams had players missing, but a match against one of England's alleged "Top Four" is, in my opinion, vital to how will progress in this country.

One thing I do greatly admire of Ancelotti is the relationship he formed with Milan club captain Paolo Maldini in his time in the Italian capital.

Whilst browsing the internet I found this link :

Maldini was questioned about Ancelotti just after his move to Stamford Bridge, and the former Milan captain exclaims that to see the big Italian holding a Chelsea shirt "left its mark on him". One sign of the blossoming captain-manager relationship is plain to see on the web page but also throughout the many years of success at the San Siro.
It will interest me throughout the course of the season as to whether a similar relationship can be formed with John Terry, the early signs are good. They show confidence, trust and above all, respect for one another. But I wonder how long it will take before something cracks and the real test for Ancelotti will be if he has the mental stability to control it, whilst at the same time producing the results highly expected from the club's fans and the hierarchy.