GLENN HODDLE'S SACKING
THOSE WHO say it is unfair that Hoddle should be sacked over his religious beliefs miss the point. If Hoddle had kept his thoughts to himself, he would still have a job. He would have been judged by his team's results. But he opened his big mouth and put his boot in. Hoddle's brief reign ended in ignominy on and off the field.
The Daily Telegraph
ONE NEED share none of Hoddle's views to believe that the conclusion - reached by Mr Blair, The Times and the FA - that his departure was the "correct way forward" (which means, of course, the politically correct way forward) is worrying. Many religious opinions are regarded as wicked or wrong-headed by those who do not share them. But that their expression should be followed by a witch hunt led by the highest political figure in the land is insupportable.
Mr Hoddle's comments show him unfit to bear the responsibility of being England coach. the FA's dithering makes us question whether it is fit to carry on governeing the sport. Even the Conservative party, as it showed at the weekend in the case of Tom Spencer, has learned the lesson of acting quickly when somebody clearly merits dismissal.
EVERY TIME he opens his mouth Glenn Hoddle gets into hot water. So we've found him just the job - as a tea boy. Toddle off, Hoddle, and spout your twaddle somewhere else.
INSULTING DISABLED people is never a good career move but Hoddle has only insulted the previous incarnations of the disabled. His beliefs are thus more offensive to existentialists than to disabled people, but come pre-packed with a get-out clause, that those who do not accept the concept of reincarnation are under no obligation to go off in a huff. Why, then, was Hoddle told to go? Until now, spiritual wisdom has not been one of the prerequisites for a career in football management. Similarly, the Dalai Lama has not been employed for his football expertise. For both of these things we should be thankful. (Alastair McKay)
THE HARSH fact of life is that if you are England football manager, then every word you say will be scrutinised. And what Hoddle said was clearly offensive to disabled people. It has been an ugly episode for all concerned. Glenn Hoddle has gone because he made the mistake of airing a controversial religious belief. This is a curious way for a football manager to lose his job. And one that sets a dangerous precedent for other public figures.
MR HODDLE is an inarticulate, unsophisticated man. In that, he is similar to most people who have made a living in professional sport, which requires, at an age when other young people are developing all facets of their personalities, a single-minded dedication to training and physical fitness. Such men would do best to stick to subjects they understand, but they should not be barred from prominent positions if they allow embarrassing opinions to slip out.
Free speech is not an optional extra for a democratic society: it is the bedrock of liberty, without which even the right to vote is largely pointless. It is also indivisible, applying as much to the stupid, misguided and wicked as to anyone else. If new Labour leaders really wish to claim the best of English liberalism, they need to understand that.
I AGREE that Hoddle's irrational beliefs disqualify him from running the English football team. How could we hope to qualify for the European championship under a manager who still thinks that Alan Shearer is the most prolific goal scorer in the land? (Francis Wheen)
THE FALL of Glenn Hoddle was as necessary as it was inevitable. He had lost the support without which it was impossible to be the figurehead for the national game. An England football coach, like other sporting icons, is now quite properly considered a public figure in a fashion that would once not have been appropriate. Diplomacy is rightly an essential element of the job. Mr Hoddle was no stranger to these arrangements. His successor should ensure that he is both able and prepared to live up to the full duties of the office.
THE KING OF JORDAN
International comment on the future of Jordan following
the decline in health of King Hussein ibn Talai
WE ALL must be responsible citizens and stop all baseless rumours and superficial speculations. King Hussein since the early moments spoke with a lot of transparency about his illness without hiding any details from his people. His Majesty's concern has always been the well-being of this country and nothing else. What is important for him is to ensure Jordanians that their future is safe and is based on love, co-operation and understanding, and not intimidation. We are not asking people not to care about the changes that His Majesty talked about, we are only asking them to be more responsible when dealing with these changes which His Majesty considers of great importance.
The Washington Post
CROWN PRINCE Abdullah is almost twice as old as was his father, King Hussein, when he assumed power in 1952. The questions now asked about Abdullah and Jordan's stability were also asked about young Hussein when he assumed power. King Hussein has proved to be an impressive nation-builder over the past 47 years. He has cemented Jordan's sovereignty, improved living standards, forged a new, if still evolving, Jordanian national identity where none existed before, and found the state a credible diplomatic niche. His success, though, has also been his weakness. His effective personal rule has precluded the emergence of accountable national politicians who could share the burdens of leadership. Jordan remains an apolitical land where there is no real contesting of power, where parliamentary and political party institutions have very limited credibility, and where press and lobbying groups are virtually powerless.
SEVERAL PRIORITIES occupy Jordanians' minds and they are the same ones that occupied His Majesty's mind while out of the country for treatment. Namely the stability of this country, enforcing democracy, fighting corruption and nepotism, unemployment and poverty. Jordanians should stop complaining and being lazy, and start working hard to keep up with the new changes that His Majesty talked about. These changes need sacrifices from Jordanians, who should start working as a team because one hand does not clap alone.
THESE ARE indeed testing times for Jordan, requiring all Jordanians to rally around their leadership and the Royal Family in a show of solidarity, unity and faith. The King has set an example to his subjects by exhibiting courage, wisdom and commitment to the ideals and principles which are the bedrock of the modern Jordanian state. We join millions of Jordanians in praying to God Almighty to keep and preserve King Hussein and that soon he will be back among us as father, leader and inspirational figure.
Middle East Times Egypt
IS THE situation in Jordan hopeless? Maybe not. The government must first admit that the economy is in very bad shape. The first step must be for as high an official as possible to take as high a profile as possible and say as loudly as possible that the economy is in a mess. To continue to talk about external factors without mentioning internal ones such as corruption, overmanning, slow decision-making and many other public sector issues, is misleading. This is a tall order, but a start can be made only if enough people with enough guts in the private, public and civil sectors call loudly enough for change. This is a recipe for disaster.
Will the new faces in the Jordanian regime do anything to avoid such a situation? We, along with millions of others in Jordan and the rest of the region, certainly hope so.
TOM SPENCER'S RESIGNATION
Views on the homosexual Tory MEP's resignation after he was found at Heathrow carrying pornography and drugs
GAY MEN have relied heavily on a right to silence and the courteous benefits of others' doubts. We are entitled to [do so], in self-defence. Tom was less than frank, but there is a difference between not being frank, and telling lies: a difference upon which St Thomas More staked his immortal soul. We should not, however, represent the unforthcomingness as honesty. It is just the survival instinct, as inevitable as it is low. And in the end, Tom did not survive.
IN HIS enthusiasm for the European ideal, and perhaps also for pornography and drugs, Mr Spencer seemed to have lost sight of the fact that the UK still has laws of its own. Public figures have an especially strong duty to set a good example by obeying them. When they are caught breaking the law, it is reasonable to expect them to resign. But rather than go immediately, he chose to pretend that his offence was simply that he is homosexual. He made it clear that he hoped to present himself as a martyr to his sexuality, rather than as a smuggler of illegal material through Customs.
NOTHING ABOUT the strange tale of Tom Spencer followed the usual script. Usually, Tories caught in the crosshairs of scandal adhere to a standard patter: wriggle, deny, pose for fake family photo, wriggle some more, then quit. But the MEP for Surrey adopted a rather different approach. He moved from revelation to resignation in a single day, with only the slightest prompting from the Conservative Party chairman.
THE IMPORTANCE of Tory Euro candidate Tom Spencer smuggling cannabis and hardcore gay pornography into Heathrow Airport was not so much in the sordid crime itself, but in the national disgrace that followed. That was the cover-up by Customs and Excise, who struck a deal and accepted a pounds 600 penalty without pressing charges. Our judicial system illustrates that not everyone in Britain is equal under the law. (William Burns)
The German press assesses Gerhard Schroder's first one hundred days as Chancellor
A HUNDRED weak days. Many ministers make a good impression, the cabinet as a whole does not. Who would have thought that the picture which lingers after 100 days is that of a Chancellor panting for breath, but still smiling? He is still a media star, but not effective. When will Schroder the moderniser start to rid Germany of bureaucracy at long last?
THE NEW government puts the accent on speed and then loses direction. It had pledged continuity, yet Germany is changing. In order to set the long-term course correctly, some unpopular measures are necessary. Some Social Democrats support Blair's Third Way, but more in theory, since it also demands change and readiness to enter conflict with their own camp.
AFTER THE chaotic first 100 days, it is time for the real work to begin. The government has not done badly, though. Many election promises have been kept: on sick pay, protection against dismissal, and the reversal of pension cuts. Even the promised tougher line on European policy has been launched. It is not necessarily disadvantageous for Germany to give a higher profile to its own interests, rather than merely fulfil its duties.
A HUNDRED days of theatrics: comedy surrounding minor tax reform, dual- nationality drama, low-wage jobs farce, nuclear shut-down tragedy. In too many performances, Schroder's troupe moved like clowns in a masked ball. There was a surprising amount of clumsy spontaneity at the Red- Green premiere.
LOUISE SULLIVAN'S SENTENCE
Opinion on Louise Sullivan's seemingly lenient sentence following the death of a child in her care
GIVEN LOUISE Sullivan had what appeared to be excellent qualifications and experience in nannying, the spotlight has once again fallen sharply upon the Australian nannying industry, which many argue is far from shipshape. The commitment of most nanny agencies cannot be questioned, but there is long-held concern about the standard of service offered by other players. Industry sources say agencies offering the cheapest deals to budget-wary parents often cut business costs by limiting the screening process they use to assess the hundreds of nannies who walk eagerly through their doors.
NOT CONTENT with letting her walk free - without even a slap on the wrist - the judge allowed her to return to Australia, in the hope she may receive psychiatric treatment there. No less than four previous sets of parents had fired Sullivan after finding her roughly shaking their babies. A fifth mother refused even to employ her after Sullivan knocked over her toddler as she arrived for the interview - and incredibly didn't even notice! This is a sad tale of a truly terrible tragedy. But a tragedy made immeasurably worse by the sentence on Louise Sullivan. Clearly, the person in acute need of psychiatric help is the judge!
PEOPLE LIKE Louise will still be able to find jobs with children despite plans for the nanny register. Most nannies are nothing like Louise Sullivan. But such cases are a warning of what can happen. And should encourage parents to think seriously before they seek the apparently easy solution of hiring surrogate mothers while they get on with their careers.
Quotes of the Week
"I am a bit of a slob. When left to my own devices, I don't necessarily have perfect nail varnish."
Esther Rantzen (above), TV presenter
"There is a limit to the things politicians should poke their noses into."
William Hague, leader of the Opposition
"We can take the challenge, although some of the younger boys, who have never seen girls before, might be surprised."
Dr Stephen Winkley, headmaster of Uppingham School which is to go fully co-educational
"Robin Cook is not a man I would be inclined to marry, either politically or, were I a woman, for love."
George Walden, former Tory minister
"I have always had a jaundiced view of the media."
Ron Davies, former Welsh Secretary
"I wonder what I did in a previous life to become Sports Minister. I must have been Vlad the Impaler."
Minister for Sport
Stories from around the world
ISRAEL'S STATE Prosecutor's Office has informed the High Court of Justice that the Shin Bet intends to begin using "less onerous" means of interrogation such as a "ventilated sack" and "relatively comfortable handcuffs". In all seriousness, it was explained that the Shin Bet is aware that some of its interrogation methods have an "onerous effect", and therefore it has decided to inject a bit of relief. No more stinking sack, which is urinated on by a large number of police officers and interrogators before it is placed on the detainee's head for days at a time; now we will have an "airier" sack. No more handcuffs that rip into the skin; they will be replaced by a newer, more comfortable model.
Times of India
THE STATE Youth Congress has raised its eyebrows over the exhibition of the "Stude-Baker [sic] killer car" used in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by Nathuram Godse. A press statement claimed that it was a shame that the car which had been used in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi has become a pride for some to show that they possess it. This is a cheap publicity, which the congress condemns. The party leaders have said that the Congress will not submit to such things and said these people to be a fanatic.
THE VIEWS OF THE WORLD