What do the interminable Chilcot Inquiry, the latest sports doping scandal (this time, football) and the perpetually suspended decision over airport expansion for London have in common? Well apart from each being overwhelmed by a veritable pyramid of piffle, the link is that the authorities involved in each are apparently content to take the general public for fools.
The Chilcot Inquiry, lest we forget, was set up in 2009 to investigate a war that began in 2003 and ended either five weeks or seven years later, depending on your perspective. Both its eponymous chair, Sir John Chilcot, and the current Prime Minister have expressed their exasperation with the length of time it has taken, but still no white smoke have we. What’s more, no-one knows any longer who to believe or finger for the delay but many would simply like to blame Tony Blair.
The hope is – as with similar enquiries, Hillsborough, Bloody Sunday – the further one gets from the event, perhaps passions will subside, key personnel lose power or potency, or even pass away. It is left to the victims’ families and a scant few members of the press to keep the flames alive, while “they” play us for fools.
The revelations this weekend about alleged mass football doping came as a huge shock to … absolutely no-one at all, other than, it seems, the clubs and players. Thus, football is following a well-trodden path. One by one, cycling, athletics and tennis each denied there was a problem, excoriated those who dare to suggest as much, only to belatedly be forced to come a little clean in the face of the hard evidence.
The continual extreme performance improvements simply do not stack up on such a mass scale for any other reason. Does anyone really not think rugby can be far behind either: just look at the sheer size of the players, the sustained physicality. If something looks like a duck and swims like a duck (let’s not forget the swimmers too) then… they take us for fools to argue that there are no ducks.
There are ducks a-plenty in the Thames Estuary (do you see what I did there?) - this being the purported site of the Mayor of London’s alleged alternative to expansion at Heathrow or Gatwick – another depressing yarn for our times. This phony argument has raged so log it pre-dates not only Maria Sharapova and Lance Armstrong, but even Justin Gatlin’s – first – known offence.
Boris, the originator of a “pyramid of piffle” has expounded at least the Great Pyramids of Giza, the step pyramid of Saqqara and a Sphinx or two’s worth of extra piffle on the flimsy notion of building an airport that was never going to rise out of the marshlands. Instead, the people of west London, Middlesex, Sussex and the City are left in limbo, while no politician has the guts to try to force through a decision ahead of whatever the next election is, be it general or mayoral.
Yep, you guessed, they think we haven’t noticed because they are happy to take us for fools. Well, more fool us if we put up with it any longer. We really should be mad as hell!
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