The Saturday Sermon – Haydock, Ascot and Lingfield

Good morning from the Major who again scribes from the bed, heavy thick cloud sits fluidly over the land, streaking past the horizon slickly, blown by Caribbean winds.  The edge of the sky is light, it might be breezy but pleasant.

The Major is sloppy again, I am sorry if you are used to the sermon being prepared for your morning constitutional and coffee.  The Major has been suffering, I am on the better end of it now but some sort of viral infection has had me laid a little low.  Another good nights sleep last night, I am on the way.

The election is signed, delivered, receipted and filed.  Ouch.  All polls had me convinced that a Labour minority was the impending result and I bet like a champion on that outcome.  Alas.

The polls were wrong.  Either something horrendously biased in the methodology or more people vote Tory than say they will.

I have seen folks on the left seize on this as a duplicitous act.  Why do people vote for this vile scum but won’t admit it?  There is a clue in which they phrase the question.

Twitter is generally a lefty communication channel.  Mostly folk on my timeline are able to converse with decorum.  After all, our beliefs are never that far apart, as much as some might like to get you to think the counter.  I used the example of Bedroom Tax previously.  Do you think people in need of housing support should be able in law to have the state and taxpayer pay for any house they deem fit to live in, no matter how extravagant?  Well, No, no sane person does.  Thus, we all believe in ‘Bedroom Tax’ as it has been dubbed, it is just the nuance we debate.  There is important detail in there and I would like to see some of the criteria relaxed, for example, I do not think it is fair to reduce someones benefit if it is the only accommodation available.

In raising this, I am not seeking to explore the argument of this specific policy point, rather to consider the effect on people.  Pre election, to support the conservative party was to support Bedroom Tax, you evil vile scum.  Yet, these people are no different from the folk who vote Labour, it is in the nuance you win their vote, not the flaming rhetoric.

I shall declare for the court so that you might judge me fairly that I am not particularly a party man.  My natural allegiance might be an old school conservatism that you don’t see too much of these days.  It is compassionate (I should know, I like most people, do care and regular followers would know this). I have voted for Labour many times though, when they came to a centre left position with an agenda of ambition.

I am not that enamoured by either current party, neither had quite won my heart.  A few nights before the election, I decided to vote for my local Tory.  Not because of party politics but because she has done a good job.  She has been a highly vocal campaigner for improving train services and broadband in the area. I have seen her actively campaign with local charities and businesses.

I responded to a twitter post which was an urgent call online to read the policies and vote because you have to etc.  It did not carry a party allegiance, had been retweeted on to my timeline, masking the intent.  I replied that actually, in addition to policy and values, the local MP was a factor.  I immediately got both barrels, was accused of being a tory, as though this is an evil act (which you might think it is) and it was polished off with ‘we have nothing to say to each other’.  I did politely reply to explain that I was simply trying to say that for some people (of all political persuasion), the candidates local hard work might be a consideration.

If you think that people who voted for conservatism are evil, you need a word with yourself.  The world is not as binary as is painted in a twitter echo chamber. An election is not a 6th form debating chamber.

I was shocked the pre-election polls were so wrong, it cost me my investments and my Plaid > UKIP match seats bet courtesy of @pieaytollah27 was the only respite.

I repeat that I am not a fan of the current Tory front bench and hope Cameron makes some significant changes to bring in a more grounded bunch.  Even so, the NHS will to be sold, the poor will not be branded, the rich will continue to pay more tax and the wheels will continue to turn.  In five years, we will be back at it and the most sensible suggestions for running the country will get my vote.

Being called evil might enhance the virtuous feeling of those encouraging each other within the echo chamber; it doesn’t sway millions of others who aren’t participating on twitter.  Cameron is not back on the votes of the rich, there simply are not enough of them.  He is back because of the votes of ordinary folk.  Not by a landslide, but enough.  Vilify them if you want but they are aware and they do care; Labour lost the argument.  People did not back them to be the best party for the things they care about.

Now I fear I have bored you terribly in weeks gone by.  I promise to return to Victoria military conquests soonest.  Forgive me.

To the sports…

Ascot Tips

The first one I like is Winter Thunder who runs in the 2.35.  I think the horse deserves this step up in class, the Newmarket handicap it won in October is working out fine and with Ascot good to firm, I want one that is proven on a rattling surface and the form of Winter Thunder suggests it needs this.  9/4, I feel quite good about that.

The Victoria Cup is 12/1 the field and so, by nature, you tread carefully and keep the stakes sensible.

Generally speaking, I want a 4/5 year old from the bottom half of the handicap and maybe a shrewd Northern trainer.  The draw looks pretty irrelevant.

Speculative Bid caught the eye having been an eye-catching improver.  However a lot of that has been on soft or the polytrack and I am not sure this horse will go as well when his hooves are playing the drums.  Spencer is a decent jockey booking.

No, my pin has stopped on Dream Spirit at 16/1 with Ladbrooks who pay five places.  William Haggas is bound to have a hose set aside for the race and this one fits my profile perfectly.  Race fitness is taken a bit on trust, as is the necessary improvement, yet while some might see the lightly raced profile as a challenge in this big field, I see it as an unexposed advert when coming from these quarters.

While at Ascot, Paddy Power is 6/4 in the 4.20, fill your boots.

Haydock Tip – Swinton Hurdle

Evan Williams has won the race in the last two years, quite an achievement given the open nature of the race.  He returns with last years hero, Ballyglasheen, and I think it s worth following in again.  16/1 is available and the horse is back to last years winning mark, on ground he will enjoy again and in the headgear he last ran well in… There are another ten horses with profiles that lead you to think an improvement could come; good luck.

While at Haydock, Aetna, is one you might remember I have been hot on before.  I backed the girl at Cork and she let me down although was desperately unlucky, loads more to come and 11/4 is a dream, load the large cannon.

Lingfield – Derby Trial

Christophermarlowe did what was expected last time and now has another warm up race prior to a tilt at Epsom.  I can’t see anything other than him arriving for the classic unbeaten, 4/7.

In the football.  Sadly, Villa will put any sense of relegation fear behind today with a win at home to West Ham, 5/4.  I also think Albion will roll over and give Newcastle the three points they need, 8/5.

The Martin Hill: Aetna and Paddy Power in a simple double.

May your dinner be taken in good company, a fine sort with a wicked glint in her eye.

Courage, roll the dice.

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