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CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: The best tonic for our NHS? A drop of old-fashioned respect…

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christopher stevens the best tonic for our nhs a drop of old fashioned respect

Dear NHS Superstars

Rating: rating showbiz 4

Inside Britain’s Food Factories

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Back in the dark ages, — when men smoked pipes and Boy Scouts would wash your Austin Allegro for a few pence during Bob-a-Job week — doctors and nurses didn’t expect to be loved.

They were respected, which is something more. Going to see the GP could be as daunting as a visit to the bank manager: the local doctor might be kindly, but he was still a figure of considerable authority.

No patient would dream of missing an appointment, or turning up late and demanding loudly and rudely at the reception desk to be seen. 

AJ Pritchard and Curtis Pritchard are pictured above in the show. Dear NHS Superstars (BBC1) saw a parade of celebs telling personal stories that revealed the vital role surgeons, nurses and carers have played in their lives

AJ Pritchard and Curtis Pritchard are pictured above in the show. Dear NHS Superstars (BBC1) saw a parade of celebs telling personal stories that revealed the vital role surgeons, nurses and carers have played in their lives

AJ Pritchard and Curtis Pritchard are pictured above in the show. Dear NHS Superstars (BBC1) saw a parade of celebs telling personal stories that revealed the vital role surgeons, nurses and carers have played in their lives

But in surgeries across the country last year, nearly 20 million people failed to keep a booking to see a GP or nurse — that’s one in 20 appointments wasted, at an estimated cost to the NHS of £216 million.

And those figures fail to take into account the modern trend for rolling up at hospital A&E departments with any ailment, however slight, because it’s quicker than waiting to see a GP.

During the pandemic we have seen a tidal wave of affection and gratitude for NHS staff, who have put their lives on the line to protect the country from coronavirus. The public has woken up to how much the health service matters.

But it’s a sign of how complacent and entitled our society has become, that we forgot in the first place. 

Tanni Grey-Thompson, who was born with spina bifida and grew up to become a world-beating para-athlete, had a more measured assessment of what she owed the NHS. Childhood operations were crucial, but it was the free wheelchair that gave her mobility and changed her life

Tanni Grey-Thompson, who was born with spina bifida and grew up to become a world-beating para-athlete, had a more measured assessment of what she owed the NHS. Childhood operations were crucial, but it was the free wheelchair that gave her mobility and changed her life

Tanni Grey-Thompson, who was born with spina bifida and grew up to become a world-beating para-athlete, had a more measured assessment of what she owed the NHS. Childhood operations were crucial, but it was the free wheelchair that gave her mobility and changed her life

When doctors commanded automatic respect, they didn’t need anyone to stand on a doorstep applauding and banging a saucepan.

Dear NHS Superstars (BBC1) saw a parade of celebs telling personal stories that revealed the vital role surgeons, nurses and carers have played in their lives.

There’s no doubting their sincerity. It’s just a little odd that everyone wants to treat their consultant as their best mate.

Victoria Derbyshire, who survived breast cancer five years ago, video-called her radiologist, Demetrious, to tell him that she loved him. She talked with affecting emotion of the day he called her to reveal her results were clear and the cancer hadn’t spread — a reprieve that saved her life. Still, he looked slightly embarrassed to be bombarded with so much adoration.

Tanni Grey-Thompson, who was born with spina bifida and grew up to become a world-beating para-athlete, had a more measured assessment of what she owed the NHS. 

Childhood operations were crucial, but it was the free wheelchair that gave her mobility and changed her life. In other words, the system worked.

For that to keep happening, there’s no need for overblown outpourings of thanks. We just need to respect what we’ve got.

No greater respect could be shown than the reverence displayed for a Melton Mowbray pork pie by Stephen Hallam, who was named the world’s Supreme Pie Champion in 2017.

Pork pies, Stephen told us in hushed tones on Inside Britain’s Food Factories (ITV), must always be eaten cold. Heating one up in the microwave is worse than sacrilege — it is a desecration of all that is noble in England’s heritage.

A voice behind the camera wondered what punishment could possibly be incurred by eating a hot pork pie. Stephen frowned. The heavens darken, he said, the clouds part and a thunderbolt strikes the sinner dead. There’s no half measures in Melton Mowbray.

Despite the ‘factories’ in the title, this was a glimpse of a craftsman at work. Each pastry casing was moulded by hand around a wooden ‘dolly’, and the jelly was poured in with a jug.

It’s a living tradition. Nice to know that some things haven’t changed since those Bob-a-Job days.

Great minds of the night: Wonders Of The Coastal Path (ITV) saw Sean Fletcher set out to hike the 870 miles of the Welsh coastline. 

Over on BBC4, Paul Rose was trekking Devon’s shores on Coastal Path. We do love to be beside the seaside! 

Wonders Of The Coastal Path (ITV) saw Sean Fletcher set out to hike the 870 miles of the Welsh coastline

Wonders Of The Coastal Path (ITV) saw Sean Fletcher set out to hike the 870 miles of the Welsh coastline

Wonders Of The Coastal Path (ITV) saw Sean Fletcher set out to hike the 870 miles of the Welsh coastline

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The sky-high cost of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big tour of Africa that tore the Royals apart

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the sky high cost of prince harry and meghan markles big tour of africa that tore the royals apart

Harry and Meghan’s last official tour as members of the Royal Family cost British taxpayers almost a quarter of a million pounds, official accounts reveal today.

The high-profile trip to South Africa, Botswana, Angola and Malawi last autumn had been billed as one of the showpiece events of the royal year.

But the couple left months of work by staff and diplomats in tatters after they launched a stinging rebuke against the media during the publicly funded trip, as well as secretly recording an explosive TV documentary in which Meghan painted Harry’s family as uncaring by accusing them of failing to ever ask if she ‘was OK’.

The Sussexes, who also took baby son Archie on the trip, stepped down as senior working royals months later, and now live in the US, where they are financially independent having signed a multi-million-pound deal with Netflix.

Royal accounts published today show £245,643 was spent on scheduled flights and a private jet for the couple and their entourage, making it the most expensive royal trip of the year.

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Sources defended the cost, saying it was a key visit approved by the Foreign Office and helped highlight the work of numerous charities.

‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex undertook over 20 engagements, bringing attention to a number of worthwhile causes, in particular, raising awareness of the work and the legacy of the Halo Trust [an anti-landmine charity championed by Princess Diana],’ the source said.

‘The visit, as an official visit funded by the Government, fulfilled the objectives that were set out for it.’

A further £210,345 was spent by royal officials on a private charter plane to take Prince Charles to Oman to pay his respects after the death of the king.

The trip lasted just two days.

£41,035 was spent getting Prince Charles to Rome for the canonisation of Cardinal Newman

£41,035 was spent getting Prince Charles to Rome for the canonisation of Cardinal Newman

£41,035 was spent getting Prince Charles to Rome for the canonisation of Cardinal Newman 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s tour to Pakistan last year was the third most expensive of the year, costing £117,116, but was considered a huge success by ministers.

Questions have also been raised about the £15,848 spent to flying beleaguered Prince Andrew by private jet to the Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland for a two-day trip to the Open Championship last July.

The club later dumped him as patron following his disastrous television interview in November.

A palace source defended Andrew’s use of a charter instead of a scheduled flight, saying: ‘In this particular case we concluded that, actually, the use of charter was the only way to get him to complete his engagements to fit in with his other programmes.’

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's (pictured in London on September 15) tour to Pakistan last year was the third most expensive of the year, costing £117,116, but was considered a huge success by ministers

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's (pictured in London on September 15) tour to Pakistan last year was the third most expensive of the year, costing £117,116, but was considered a huge success by ministers

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s (pictured in London on September 15) tour to Pakistan last year was the third most expensive of the year, costing £117,116, but was considered a huge success by ministers

Questions have also been raised about the £15,848 spent to flying beleaguered Prince Andrew by private jet to the Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland (pictured)

Questions have also been raised about the £15,848 spent to flying beleaguered Prince Andrew by private jet to the Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland (pictured)

Questions have also been raised about the £15,848 spent to flying beleaguered Prince Andrew by private jet to the Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland (pictured)

£63,000 for three train journeys

Just three trips were taken on the Royal Train last year – at a cost of more than £63,000. Only the Queen and Prince of Wales are permitted to use the distinctive claret-liveried locomotive which has sleeping, dining and lounge carriages.

Charles used it to travel from his Gloucestershire home to Carlisle for royal visits, costing £20,822. He also used it to visit Wales at a cost of £19,737.

The Queen travelled in the train just once last year, from London to Edinburgh, to spend her annual week at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. That journey cost taxpayers £22,696.

The royal train, pictured left with the Queen, has long been a point of contention but is normally used ten to 14 times a year.

Asked if the drop in usage meant it should be scrapped, a royal source argued that the royal train was still an ‘effective and efficient’ means of travel.

Buckingham Palace maintains that it offers the elderly monarch a safe way to travel overnight, mitigating security costs.

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Even diligent Princess Anne found herself under the spotlight for spending £16,440 on another private jet to take her from London to Rome and back to watch her beloved Scotland play in the Six Nations Rugby International against Italy.

She is patron of Scottish Rugby Union.

The total bill for royal travel in 2019/2020 was £5.3million, a 15.2 per cent increase on last year’s £4.6million, according to the palace’s annual report and accounts, published today.

Anti-monarchist campaign group Republic said the figures failed to reflect the true annual cost of the monarchy – which it puts at £345million by taking account of lost revenues from the royal estates, policing and the cost to other authorities such as local councils.

Spokesman Graham Smith said: ‘These figures don’t disclose the daily abuse of money on shorter trips around the country, taking helicopters when they could go by car, driving when they could go by train.

‘A 15 per cent increase in travel costs when hospitals can’t deliver the very best care to every person in need, when teachers are struggling to pay for the necessary books and equipment and the police are stretched to breaking point is scandalous.

‘Why is the Government paying for Prince Andrew to go to golfing tournaments, or Princess Anne to attend a rugby match in Italy?

‘This is an abuse of public money far worse than the MPs’ expenses scandal and it has to stop.’

Buckingham Palace also confirmed yesterday that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have paid an ‘undisclosed’ sum upfront for the rental and refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage.

Princess Anne found herself under the spotlight for spending £16,440 on a private jet to take her from London to Rome and back to watch Scotland play in the Six Nations (pictured)

Princess Anne found herself under the spotlight for spending £16,440 on a private jet to take her from London to Rome and back to watch Scotland play in the Six Nations (pictured)

Princess Anne found herself under the spotlight for spending £16,440 on a private jet to take her from London to Rome and back to watch Scotland play in the Six Nations (pictured)

Critics had called for Harry and Meghan to pay back the £2.4million of taxpayers’ money spent renovating their Windsor property, which they have decided to keep on as a permanent base in the UK despite buying an £11million mansion in California.

The accounts also revealed that Prince Charles handed the Cambridges and Sussexes no less than £5.6million – £556,000 more than he gave them last year.

Palace £35million funding shortfall – but will not let public foot the bill

Buckingham Palace has admitted it faces a £35million funding shortfall due to Covid-19 – but says it will not ask for extra public money.

Senior Royal aides said that the household will have to tighten its belt, which could lead to job losses.

Last year the Queen, who still conducted 296 official engagements despite turning 94 in April, was given £82.4million in taxpayer funding – known as the Sovereign Grant.

Trump: Good luck, Harry, you’ll need it 

Donald Trump has lashed out at Meghan over her perceived interference in the US election, saying: ‘I’m not a fan of hers.’

He wished Harry ‘luck’, adding: ‘He’s going to need it.’

It came after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made what was seen as a thinly veiled swipe at him ahead of the November poll. Harry urged voters to ‘reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity’. Despite stepping back from royal life, Harry and Meghan vowed they would uphold the values of the Queen who always remains apolitical. But Meghan said in a video on Wednesday: ‘When we vote our values are put into action and our voices are heard.’

This is not the first time that Mr Trump and Meghan have come to verbal blows. Last year the President called her ‘nasty’ because of her past criticism of him.

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The Palace says that this is equivalent to £1.23 for every person in the UK.

The figure is made up of a core grant of £49.4million which is used to fund official travel, property maintenance and the operating costs of her household in her role as head of state.

An additional £33million was given as part of a major £365million, ten-year reservicing of crumbling Buckingham Palace, which was agreed after aides successfully argued the building was on its last legs.

But in the coming years Buckingham Palace is facing tough times, including a £20million shortfall in funding for the reservicing programme.

It is also looking at a loss of £5million a year in funding from the Royal Collection Trust for the next three years due to the palace being closed to visitors and the continuing downturn in tourism.

The Queen’s official Keeper of the Privy Purse, Sir Michael Stevens, said: ‘In responding to both these financial challenges we have no intention of asking for extra funding and will look to manage the impact through our own efforts and efficiencies.’

He did not rule out job losses among the 488 members of staff.

A pay freeze for royal staff was implemented in April and there is also a halt on recruitment, with only ‘business-critical’ posts being filled.

Members of the Royal Family conducted almost 3,200 official engagements last year, both in the UK and overseas.

More than 139,000 guests were welcomed at royal residences across the country, among them Donald Trump, with £69.4million going on official expenditure.

Sir Michael said although the virus had changed the format of events this year, with even the Queen now carrying out some engagements via video call, she and her family still offered ‘continuity, reassurance and recognition’.

He added: ‘Her Majesty’s programme, supported by her family, will continue to develop meaningful ways to lead the nation through this time.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Australian cricket great Dean Jones DIES aged 59 

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Australian cricket great Dean Jones (right) has died in India aged 59. Daily Mail Australia understands he was with fast bowler Brett Lee (left), who desperately tried to revive him

Australian cricket great Dean Jones (right) has died in India aged 59. Daily Mail Australia understands he was with fast bowler Brett Lee (left), who desperately tried to revive him

Australian cricket great Dean Jones (right) has died in India aged 59. Daily Mail Australia understands he was with fast bowler Brett Lee (left), who desperately tried to revive him

Australian cricket great Dean Jones has died in India aged 59.  

The player turned commentator, who was born in Coburg, Melbourne, died of a ‘massive’ heart attack in a Mumbai hotel on Thursday.   

Jones was in the subcontinent as part of Star India’s commentating team for the IPL, which is being played in the UAE. 

Daily Mail Australia understands Jones collapsed in the lobby of the hotel as he entered with former fast bowler Brett Lee, who desperately tried to revive him with CPR.

According to close friends, Jones went for a run on Thursday morning before suffering the heart attack at lunchtime.  

‘It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing away of Mr. Dean Mervyn Jones AM,’ a Star India statement read.  

‘He died of a sudden cardiac arrest. 

‘We express our deep condolences to his family and stand ready to support them in this difficult time.’

Star India said it is in communication with the Australian High Commission.  

Jones is seen during a ODI match against South Africa at the SCG in January 1994

Jones is seen during a ODI match against South Africa at the SCG in January 1994

Jones is seen during a ODI match against South Africa at the SCG in January 1994

Jones (centre) celebrates Christmas with his two daughters last year

Jones (centre) celebrates Christmas with his two daughters last year

Jones (centre) celebrates Christmas with his two daughters last year 

Jones looks on during a One Day International match in July 1992

Jones looks on during a One Day International match in July 1992

Jones looks on during a One Day International match in July 1992

‘Dean Jones was one of the great ambassadors of the game associating himself with Cricket development across South Asia,’ the statement continued.

‘He was passionate about discovering new talent and nurturing young Cricketers. He was a champion commentator whose presence and presentation of the game always brought joy to millions of fans. 

‘He will be sorely missed by everyone at Star and his millions of fans across the globe.’  

Jones is hailed for revolutionising the One Day International format. 

The cricket great played in 52 Tests for Australia and averaged 46.55 batting in the middle order.

He scored 3631 runs and 11 centuries in his illustrious career. 

‘Dean Jones was a hero to a generation of cricketers and will forever be remembered as a legend of this great game,’ Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings said.

‘Anyone who watched cricket in the 1980s and 1990s will fondly recall his cavalier approach at the crease and the incredible energy and passion he brought to every game he played.

Jones (pictured) is hailed for revolutionising the ODI format

Jones (pictured) is hailed for revolutionising the ODI format

Jones (pictured) is hailed for revolutionising the ODI format

Shane Warne and Jones pose for a photo at the Melbourne Cup Carnival in 2006

Shane Warne and Jones pose for a photo at the Melbourne Cup Carnival in 2006

Shane Warne and Jones pose for a photo at the Melbourne Cup Carnival in 2006

‘This is a truly sad day. Deano’s loss will be felt not just at home in Australia, but across the globe.’

A classy right-handed batsman, Jones played in an era of great change in Australian cricket. 

He played his first of 52 Tests against the mighty West Indies at Port of Spain in 1982 with his most famous innings his double century in the tied Madras Test in 1986.

There, he spent more than eight hours at the crease in 42C heat and severe humidity for his 210.

It earned him not only a place in Australian cricket folklore, but left him on a drip in hospital after losing eight kilos and any memory of the second half of his innings.

‘The fractured memory of that amazing experience still jumps back into my mind in bits and pieces,’ Jones wrote in his 1994 autobiography ‘Deano My Call’.

‘Some of them blurred and some crystal clear.

‘Sometimes I have to refer to descriptions written at the time to fill in huge gaps in my own consciousness.’

Jones speaks to former prime minister John Howard at Maroubra Beach in Sydney's eastern suburbs

Jones speaks to former prime minister John Howard at Maroubra Beach in Sydney's eastern suburbs

Jones speaks to former prime minister John Howard at Maroubra Beach in Sydney’s eastern suburbs

Jones is seen with his wife Jane and their daughters Augusta and Phoebe at the SCG

Jones is seen with his wife Jane and their daughters Augusta and Phoebe at the SCG

Jones is seen with his wife Jane and their daughters Augusta and Phoebe at the SCG

Former Australia coach Bob Simpson said he had not ‘seen a braver innings’.

‘He was running on adrenaline,’ Simpson told Cricinfo.

‘During breaks we would have one bloke waiting to take off his pads and another would strip him and put him in an ice bath just to try and revitalise him. It was immensely courageous.’

For all his toughness shown in that innings, Jones led the way with his aggression in the white-ball game during an era where teams were still cautious with their ODI batting.

His 6068 runs in the format was the second highest of all-time when he played his last match in 1994, while his strike-rate of 72.56 was also brisk for that era.

He played with flamboyance, not afraid to walk down the pitch to bowlers, attacked when running between the wickets and saved runs in the field.

The end of his time in Australia’s Test team was controversial, with his axing in 1992 still one of the most perplexing in Australian cricket.

Former Australian cricket captain Allan Border told Foxsports.com.au Jones ‘revolutionised the game’. 

‘I can’t believe this news but I’d like to pay tribute to Brett Lee for everything he did,’ Border said.

‘Deano was unbelievable at the Test level but his aggression at the one day level will be remembered forever.

‘He loved his family, cricket golf and wine. I loved batting with him and he backed me and for that I will always love him.’

The cricket great played in 52 Tests for Australia and averaged 46.55 batting in the middle order. He scored 3631 runs and 11 centuries in his illustrious career

The cricket great played in 52 Tests for Australia and averaged 46.55 batting in the middle order. He scored 3631 runs and 11 centuries in his illustrious career

 The cricket great played in 52 Tests for Australia and averaged 46.55 batting in the middle order. He scored 3631 runs and 11 centuries in his illustrious career

Former Australian Cricket World Cup players Dean Jones, Brett Lee, Michael Hussey, Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Damien Fleming and Adam Gilchrist pose with the the ICC Cricket World Cup trophy during the Ricky Ponting Tribute Match at Aurora Stadium on January 30, 2014

Former Australian Cricket World Cup players Dean Jones, Brett Lee, Michael Hussey, Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Damien Fleming and Adam Gilchrist pose with the the ICC Cricket World Cup trophy during the Ricky Ponting Tribute Match at Aurora Stadium on January 30, 2014

Former Australian Cricket World Cup players Dean Jones, Brett Lee, Michael Hussey, Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Damien Fleming and Adam Gilchrist pose with the the ICC Cricket World Cup trophy during the Ricky Ponting Tribute Match at Aurora Stadium on January 30, 2014

DEAN JONES’ CRICKET CAREER 

Tests: 52

Runs: 3631

Centuries: 11

Average: 46.55

High score: 216

 

ODIs: 164

Runs: 6068

Centuries: 7

Average: 44.61

High score: 145

 

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Cricket greats posted their condolences when the shock news broke on Thursday night. 

Former England Test cricketer Monty Panesar said: ‘Very sad to hear passing away of Dean Jones.

‘Top commentator and coach, great cricket brain, will be missed by the cricketing community #RIPdeanjones.’  

Indian cricket coach Ravi Shastri said he was shocked to lose ‘a colleague and a dear friend’.

‘Gone so young. Condolences to the family and may his soul rest in peace,’ he wrote. 

Former Australian captain Steve Smith described Jones’ passing as ‘awful’ news.

‘He was a wonderful player for Australia and he will be missed. My thoughts are with his family. RIP Deano,’ Smith wrote. 

David Warner said: ‘I can’t believe this news. So very sad to hear about this. RIP Deano, you will be missed.’ 

Legendary Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar said Jones’ death was ‘heartbreaking’. 

‘A wonderful soul taken away too soon. Had the opportunity to play against him during my first tour of Australia,’ he said.

‘May his soul rest in peace and my condolences to his loved ones.’

Jones leaves behind his wife Jane and their two daughters, Augusta and Phoebe. 

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Cricketers quickly posted their condolences to Twitter when the news broke on Thursday night

Cricketers quickly posted their condolences to Twitter when the news broke on Thursday night

Cricketers quickly posted their condolences to Twitter when the news broke on Thursday night

Prime Minister Scott Morrison paid tribute to the ‘absolute cricketing legend’.

‘A true entertainer at the crease, whose flair with the bat and electric running between the wickets changed the game forever,’ he said.

‘A genuine good guy and a huge loss.’

‘Our hearts go out to Dean’s family, friends, the Australian cricket family and his many fans.’ 

Jones enjoys a game of beach cricket against the backdrop of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2006

Jones enjoys a game of beach cricket against the backdrop of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2006

Jones enjoys a game of beach cricket against the backdrop of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2006

Prime Minister Scott Morrison paid tribute to the 'absolute cricketing legend'

Prime Minister Scott Morrison paid tribute to the 'absolute cricketing legend'

Prime Minister Scott Morrison paid tribute to the ‘absolute cricketing legend’

Dean Mervyn Jones was a flashy showman long before such a man existed in Australia. But the swagger and Hollywood looks aside, ‘Deano’ will be remembered for playing cricket’s toughest-ever innings, writes MIKE COLMAN

To a generation of Australian sport lovers he was our golden boy, a confident, cocky cavalier with the looks of a Greek god and the ego of a Hollywood superstar.

He was christened Dean Mervyn Jones but to us he was always Deano, a cricketing matinee idol in the days before Twitter and Facebook.

Not that Deano needed social media to promote his ‘brand’. He attracted plenty of followers the old-fashioned way – by singing his own praises whenever a microphone or camera were in range.

And fair enough too. Deano had plenty to crow about.

It is a truism of human nature that we all think the stars of our own era are the brightest that ever shone. Today’s AFL and NRL fans are convinced that their games started the day that Dustin Martin or Nathan Cleary first tied on a boot.

And try telling a current day cricket tragic that 35 years ago Australia boasted a player who combined the timing of Steve Smith, the swagger of David Warner and the grit of … well, actually I can’t think of any modern day player who has come close to exhibiting the grit of Deano … and they’ll look at you as if you’re nuts.

On September 18, 1986 in Chennai, India, Jones played arguably the gutsiest innings in the history of Test cricket

On September 18, 1986 in Chennai, India, Jones played arguably the gutsiest innings in the history of Test cricket

On September 18, 1986 in Chennai, India, Jones played arguably the gutsiest innings in the history of Test cricket

But that was Dean Jones, who passed away last night aged just 59.

It’s hard to put into words how big a part of Australian cricket Deano was at his peak in the mid-1980s and 90s.

He wasn’t the rock of the team like captain Allan Border, or the court jester like Merv Hughes. He wasn’t even a star in the making like Steve Waugh, but in some ways he was bigger than all of them.

It was his aura, his glow. In the vernacular of the time, he was ‘full of himself’, but in a good way. His teammates used to joke that on any day of the year Deano could tell you his batting average down to the third decimal point, and when he strode out to the middle you’d swear he owned every blade of grass.

But on his day he was good, oh man was he good.

One Day Cricket could have been invented for Dean Jones. The lights, the crowds, the theatre. He lapped it up like a dry-tongued dog at a water bowl.

His critics called him a fancy dan, a pretty-boy show-pony who wouldn’t be sighted when the whips were cracking, but boy did he prove them wrong.

Allan Border holds World Cup alongside Jones after Australia defeated England in 1987

Allan Border holds World Cup alongside Jones after Australia defeated England in 1987

Allan Border holds World Cup alongside Jones after Australia defeated England in 1987

On September 18, 1986 in Chennai, India, that pretty-boy show-pony played arguably the gutsiest innings in the history of Test cricket.

On a day so hot that you could have fried an egg on a taxi bonnet, Deano batted himself to the point of physical and mental exhaustion.

At one stage he walked down the other end and told Border that he couldn’t continue.

‘Alright, go then,’ snapped Captain Grumpy to his Victorian team-mate. ‘I’ll get a Queenslander out here to do the job’.

Deano looked daggers at him, strode back to the crease and batted on. And on and on and on.

Dehydrated, delirious, barely able to hold his bat and half blinded by sweat, he stayed out there for 502 minutes before being dismissed for 210 and setting up only the second tied Test in the game’s history.

No-one ever called Dean Jones soft again.

And now he’s gone. Dismissed early and suddenly to a heart attack in India, the country that he had come to know as his second home.

Today’s young cricket fans will have their own heroes of course, and they will never believe that anyone born over 25 years ago will be able to hold a candle to them.

But they will be wrong. In the case of Dean Mervyn Jones, very wrong indeed.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Labour MP Nadia Whittome learns she’s been ‘SACKED’ from party role

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labour mp nadia whittome learns shes been sacked from party role

This is the moment a Labour MP learned live on ITV that she had been sacked from a role by leader Sir Keir Starmer after defying the whip to oppose a controversial Bill. 

Nadia Whittome, 24, was stripped of her junior position as the shadow health secretary’s parliamentary private secretary after defying instructions to abstain on the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill.

But Parliament’s youngest MP, who is known as the ‘Baby of the House’, only learned this was the case after being asked by presenter Robert Peston if she had resigned.

Ms Whittome replied: ‘I haven’t resigned, I haven’t resigned. I thought that the Bill was a matter of conscience. I understand why colleagues came to a different conclusion and thought that we can amend this as committee stage.

‘But, I felt that given that all the major human rights organisations, Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, and given that even the British Legion and veterans themselves opposed this Bill – and these are all arguments that our front bench made today, we don’t agree with this Bill.

‘And we think it’s anti-veteran, it’s anti-human rights. It would, effectively, decriminalise torture, and that’s why I voted against it. We already have laws that prevent vexatious claims, and, in fact, many veterans are against this.’

Tory ministers say the Bill is aimed at protecting armed forces personnel from ‘vexatious prosecutions’.

Beth Winter and Olivia Blake, who like Ms Whittome were aides to shadow ministers, have also been removed from their positions, party sources confirmed.

The MP was asked by presenter Robert Peston on his ITV show yesterday if she had resigned

The MP was asked by presenter Robert Peston on his ITV show yesterday if she had resigned

The MP was asked by presenter Robert Peston on his ITV show yesterday if she had resigned

Peston's show had referred to a tweet claiming Ms Whittome had resigned from the party

Peston's show had referred to a tweet claiming Ms Whittome had resigned from the party

Peston’s show had referred to a tweet claiming Ms Whittome had resigned from the party

Ms Whittome tweeted today: ‘This morning the leader of the Opposition’s office called me to confirm that I have been stood down from my role as parliamentary private sectary to the shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, following my vote against the Overseas Operation Bill.

‘I opposed the Bill because it effectively decriminalises torture and makes it harder for veterans to take legal action against the Government or for war crimes to be investigated.’

The Nottingham East MP said that while she understood others in her party hoped amendments could be made at a later stage and so abstained, it was ‘important that MPs are able to vote in line with their conscience’.

A Labour source had said that ‘anyone who wanted to vote against (the) whip’ had been informed they ‘would have to resign’.

Labour MP Ms Whittome issued the following statement on Twitter at 10.44am this morning

Labour MP Ms Whittome issued the following statement on Twitter at 10.44am this morning

Labour MP Ms Whittome issued the following statement on Twitter at 10.44am this morning

The Government said the proposed legislation will ensure service personnel will be protected from ‘vexatious claims and endless investigations’.

Ministers said it seeks to limit false and historical allegations arising from overseas operations by introducing a statutory presumption against prosecution, making it exceptional for personnel to be prosecuted five years or more after an incident.

To override the presumption, the consent of the Attorney General will be required, and the prosecutor must weigh up the ‘adverse impact of overseas operations on service personnel’ and, where there has been no compelling new evidence, the public interest in cases coming to a ‘timely conclusion’.

But campaigners and some senior military figures have warned the legislation will create a presumption against prosecution of torture and other serious crimes except rape and sexual violence.  

The MP learned live on ITV that she had been sacked from her role by leader Sir Keir Starmer

The MP learned live on ITV that she had been sacked from her role by leader Sir Keir Starmer

The MP learned live on ITV that she had been sacked from her role by leader Sir Keir Starmer

A Labour Party spokesman was contacted for comment by MailOnline today. 

In July, Ms Whittome launched an attack on free speech by saying the ‘very act of debate is a rollback of equality’ in an article about trans rights.

The MP wrote a column for The Independent, titled: ‘The only way to avoid hysteria about trans rights is to ground the debate in real life experiences’.

Ms Whittome shared the article on Twitter, posting in a series of tweets that the ‘very act of debate in these cases is an effective rollback of assumed equality’.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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