British & Irish Lions deadline

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Tomorrow is the day then, Gatland will announce his 37 man touring squad at last – I predict the following

14 Welshmen

5 scotsmen

8 Irish

10 Englishmen

I can list the names I believe will be there, but I’ve already indicated my choices previously, but the test team will have 4 out of the front 5 will be Welsh, with one Englishman or possibly Irishman filling the last spot.

The back row could be all welsh or contain either 1 Englishman or one Irish guy.

Scrum  half is mike phillips

Fly half is Johnathon Sexton

Centres are probably Welsh or may contain 1 englishman or 1 Irishman if tTommy Bowe goes or the great B O’D goes.

Test wingers are G. North and either Brown of England or Bowe of Ireland

Full back is Leigh Halfpenny.

Let’s see what happens tomorrow.

SBK- The Sophist


More on Immigration

Just to go a little further with this idea of immigration control.

What does an immigrant need to do in order to disqualify themselves from acceptance by/into the host society?

Surely the answer lies within the societal norms of that host society. For example the British citizens recently sentenced by a Dubai court to 4 years each for drugs offences involving synthetic cannabis.

The individuals concerned knew that what they were doing was an offence, they were caught, will serve what is by Emirates standards a lenient sentence and then be deported/repatriated upon completion of their sentences.

Any problems?

Certainly not as far as I’m concerned, (other than the UK probably doesn’t really want them back).

In this case I find the possibility that the Dubai police tortured them abhorrent, but surely this is secondary to the offence they committed.

So how about when the shoe is on the other foot – take Abu Qutada for example, he has flagrantly broken the laws and societal norms of the host nation, the UK, and is also believed to be guilty of other offences in his own home of Jordan, yet there is a section of society who believe this monger of hatred deserves some form of protection from due process.

Ridiculous – that section of the do-gooding legal fraternity need to accept and support that this guy is not welcome in the UK and needs to go. The fact that he will receive harsh treatment from his own set of societal norms is immaterial – he knew the consequences when he committed the crimes.

He does not deserve our protection or empathy.

I wonder if he would get the same input from the do-gooders if it was based on ethics and therefore pro bono rather than fame, (notoriety), and cash – all at great expense to the already overburdened British tax payer.


Fair and ethical Immigration control

United Kingdom: stamp

United Kingdom: stamp (Photo credit: Sem Paradeiro)



Is there really such a thing?


Does the situation exist?


Is it possible to fairly and/or ethically control immigration into the UK?


I suppose that in order to discuss what is really the issue here we should substitute the word limit for the word control.


I say this because if you have no problem with the influx of foreign nationals into the UK no matter what the burden/cost  then you have no requirement to control or manage immigration and there is no longer a problem.


I have to make it clear that I am not racist or bigoted in any way BUT readily admit to being concerned at media reports of the number of foreign nationals who are in the UK illegally. I am also concerned at the degradation of British culture that is influenced by large pockets of foreign nationals who are determined to transfer their own culture to the UK rather than assimilate the culture of their ‘adopted’ host.


Is it possible that the Americans have it right when demanding that those immigrants applying for USA citizenship be required to swear allegiance to the flag and the constitution.


I think they probably do.


Not all immigrants come to the UK to take unfair or fraudulent advantage of the Health and Welfare systems available, though a significant number do and it is these that need to be ‘controlled’ or ‘limited’


Health and/or benefits tourism should not be allowed whatever the circumstances because this just further stresses an already overburdened welfare system that is in place for those who have the genuine right to its benefits, not those who merely scrounge illegally. We probably have enough home-grown scroungers without allowing a huge influx of the foreign type.


Genuine visitors/immigrants to the UK would always be welcome as far as I am concerned as long as there is a genuine need or purpose to the move. All anyone needs to provide really is evidence of a will/desire to contribute to and assimilate the development of the host country and does not become a burden on the host’s resources. Even then , there needs to be a limit on numbers, merely due to a lack of room in terms of infrastructure, employment and even housing.


I’m gonna leave it there and think some more about this.




Religious justification or terrorism excused?

Is terrorism really driven by religion or is the religion used as an excuse by terrorists who are really political activists with a penchant for violence?

While Islam does not defend violence in any shape or form, many terrorists gaining attention in the press appear to use jihad as the driver or motivator for their actions.

Again the question – what religious benefit do the acts of terrorism achieve, or are they geared to advance some political belief?

I have no intention of addressing the terrorist or freedom fighter argument because that, I believe would lead to a debate that could become very subjective and/or judgemental. 

It is only the religious justification of terrorism debate that concerns me because I quite simply cannot reconcile the two positions. 

Acts of war/violence are and have been carried out by people of religions other than Islam, yet there seldom is an attempt to ascribe religious connotations to those acts, rather the arguments of humanitarian benefit, social safety, economics and/or politics are proposed as the drivers.

Are Christian beliefs followed with less fervour than other religions or are they seen to be more benign in their doctrine – always ‘turning the other cheek’ rather than taking ‘an eye for an eye’ maybe.

Can any one help me understand all of this? 

I have my views but am open-minded as to what really is behind this issue that affects our day to day lives.

Will we now await the outcomes of any investigation into the bombing of the Boston Marathon event just to find that this was yet another political or religious abomination – either way the results were terrifying and therefore constitute terrorism.

The ‘bedroom tax’

I just don’t follow the reasoning behind all of this –  

we need to reduce expenditure on welfare, this doesn’t do that.

We need to reduce homelessness – this doesn’t do that.

We need to increase the availability of social housing – this doesn’t really do that either.

example 1- single mother on benefits living in 2 bed council flat. No children at home, she is now in her 50’s and her only son is living away from home a lot of the time.

Options are

1. move her away from her community into a single bed flat

2. Reduce her housing benefit by £15 to teach her a lesson

3. Leave her alone so that her soldier son who is serving in Afghanistan can come home to visit his mum in between laying his life on the line for his country without the added stress/shame that his mother is being penalised financially to provide him with a bed.


example 2

Parents with father disabled and mother as his carer. They raised a family successfully in a local authority 3 bed house which they have nurtured and cared for along with their kids over a 40 yr period.

Father now has to sleep alone due to his disability, doesn’t matter – the bedroom tax will require them to move to a 1 bed property or have their meagre benefits cut even further.

The idea that people like this suffer to this extent while the monsters who administer these laws are in receipt of what are in comparison huge housing subsidies (for 2 properties whether anyone sleeps there or not) is obscene.

We all know there are likely to be people out there who are not deserving of social housing or the benefits to pay for it, we cannot ignore the examples of the genuinely needy who are yet again being penalised to the furtherance of the well off.

The Sophist

Just a light hearted view of what one might expect the British & Irish Lions touring team of Australia might look like this year.

Let’s begin with the captain – Surely Gatland has the opportunity here to pay homage to one of the greatest players the game has known in recent times. I am referring to Brian O’Driscoll of course. The problem is that he isn’t guaranteed a starting position in the test team, ( though he is a big game player). So Gatlan announces that he is going to appoint a TOUR captain and gives the inspirational O’driscoll the job.

There WERE calls for the English captain Chris Robshaw to become the Lions captain – calls that became rather less vociferous following the annihilation of England by Wales in Cardiff at the end of the 6 nations tournament.

By the same token that O’Driscoll isn’t guaranteed his position in the test team, Robshaw wouldn’t get in the Welsh team in his chosen position of open-side flanker, let alone lead the lions from that spot – and he doesn’t have the pedigree or charisma to be considered as a tour captain, so lets forget all that nonsense about him.

Robshaw is, however a good enough player to go on the tour as a back row player, but if he insisted on being considered for the No 7 berth then he isn’t gonna have much playing time if Warburton and Tipuric go. (If Dan Lydiate is fit, then Robshaw really does have a fight on his hands to make the test team).

So how about the rest of the team/squad – my choices follow with comments

1. Gethin Jenkins     Wales      On his day the best in the world/Paul James, Wales

2. Tom Youngs England/Rory Best, Ireland/ Ken Owens Wales

3. Adam Jones Wales – best tighthead in the world currently/Jeff Cross Scotland/Dan Cole England/Euan Murray Scotland

4. and 5. Alun wynne Jones wales immense and possible captain/Ian Evans Wales/ Richie Gray Scotland/ Paul O’Connell Ireland – despite lack of match time

6. Dan Lydiate wales (if match fit)/Chris Robshaw/ Ryan Jones Wales/ Tom Croft England/ Chris Henry Ireland

7. Sam Warburton wales   (outside chance captain)/ Justin Tipuric Wales recently showed English back row how to do the job huge pace/Steven Ferris Ireland

8. Jamie Heaslip Ireland/Johnnie  Beattie Scotland/ Dave Denton Scotland/Ben Morgan England/Toby Faletau Wales

9. Mike Phillips Wales – the best there is/Conor Murray Ireland/ Ben Youngs England.

10. Jonathon Sexton – Ireland/ Owen Farrell. – England/Toby Flood England/ Dan Biggar – outside chance of a place Lets not forget Johnny Wilkinson as a real blast from the past – in spectacular club form.

11 & 14. Mike Brown England – well deserved place/Alex Cuthbert and G. North Wales/ Tommy Bowe Ireland  (Smoking if fit) Tim Visser Scotland/Keith Earls Ireland

12 & 13 Jamie Roberts & Johnathon Davies Wales/ Brad Barrit – England/Brian O’Driscoll Ireland/Luke Marshall Ireland

15 Leigh halfpenny Wales – outstanding player of the 6 nations tournament./Stuart Hogg Scotland/Rob Kearney (if fit)/Alex Goode england (outside chance only)/ What about Lee Byrne? Wales (in smoking club form).

We will all need to give some thought to utility players etc etc etc but this is my first stab at it


THE British & Irish Lions tour 2013

Hello to the world!!


I’m the Sophist – just a normal person who would like to discuss the important stuff in life in a reasonable manner. This is my first ever blog so don’t expect too much in this one, but some of the topics I will probably publish my views on will include immigration, crime and justice, the influence of religion, the Nanny, (oops), welfare state, Rugby and other such life-determining issues.

I would like for all of us who take part in any discussions as a result of what I publish to do so in a calm and logical manner – avoid giving deliberate offence and to at least accept that the other guy does have an opinion and that he/she is wholly entitled to it.

Let the fun commence, I suppose