Funny old game

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A spot of local bother in the Middle East and a change of government in some distant Balkan country are all very well. But what a relief to read some real news at last, courtesy of that ever-reliable national soap opera, the England football team.

A spot of local bother in the Middle East and a change of government in some distant Balkan country are all very well. But what a relief to read some real news at last, courtesy of that ever-reliable national soap opera, the England football team.

Nor is our tongue entirely in our cheek. Kevin Keegan's departure offers lessons of universal application. Let others complain of impetuous emotionalism, cowardice or treachery to the nation. For us, Mr Keegan's going sets new standards in public life. "Absolutely no one is to blame but myself... I fall short of what is required for this job."

Goodness, had Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic (to name but two) earlier in their careers adopted the Keegan approach, how much happier recent Middle Eastern and Balkan history might have been. And what of all our own politicians and businessmen, promoted beyond their station, but for whom blame is for someone else to shoulder?

But if the world were made exclusively of Keegans, cabinet room and boardrooms alike would soon be empty. Someone has to run the country. And some poor wretch has to manage the England football team.

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