Blowing whistle on soccer softies?

THE Ministry for the Protection of Hurt Feelings is forging ahead with its Softies' Charter by setting out its plan to pour loveliness and cuddles all over children's football.

THE Ministry for the Protection of Hurt Feelings is forging ahead with its Softies' Charter by setting out its plan to pour loveliness and cuddles all over children's football.

Crushing defeats of small boys and girls' teams - the sort of 15-0 thrashings suffered on community playing fields every weekend for decades - should be banned because they're too demoralising, it says.

Hurt feelings and dejection should be spared by a lunatic new 'mercy rule' where a referee would prematurely end the game if a team went at least nine goals ahead.

I've heard it all now. Children are allowed to lose but only by a bit.


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Do you know any adult permanently scarred for life because the football team he ran out with every Sunday as an eight-year-old was beaten every week?

First killer conkers, then competition was a dirty word in schools where everyone's a winner, no one's brainy, no one's thick and everyone is middle of the road happy, happy, happy and now football.

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Some officials are calling on the Football Association to introduce a 'mercy rule' to encourage more people into the game.

Have you ever heard such piffle?

I've watched these teams. Most of the children don't give a jot if they win or lose. They're in it for the fun, the play and the game. If it's 15-0 so what? They're tired and muddy and have run their little hearts out.

Coming up against people more talented, clever, athletic, organised, whatever, is a fact of life. We can't pretend differences don't exist.

Week after week my son's friend's team of under 11's turned out for total thrashings but it never bothered them. They just loved football and their team. They never felt demoralised, just wanted to get better, and would have hated to have their game cut short just because they were losing.

But we all know none of this is really about the children's feelings, it's the parents behind the lunacy- the ones who make their life out of junior and youth football treating it as a matter of life or death.

Believe it or not, you sad little men - and it is mostly men I hate to say - who behave like mini sergeant majors drilling your under eights to go out and win at any cost, most boys play football simply because they enjoy the game.

For most children - and their families - it's a way to fill a couple of hours on a Sunday morning and get the children some exercise.

But seriously, this is such a warped message for children, twisting reality and sugar coating every negative experience pretending nasty stuff doesn't happen.

Life throws rubbish at everyone at some time. Some more than others. The earlier it happens, the better people are at dealing with it.

How will our children, cosseted and protected, cope when their turn comes?

And isn't it disturbing that schools, parents and the authorities want to wrap our children in cotton wool, protect them from real life, necessary experiences and emotions needed for them to grow into rounded adults - treat them like babies even - yet bombard them with graphic sexual information in the name of 'education'?

Today's children are driven from door to door, instructed on what to do when, never allowed to take risks and think for themselves, protected from every 'danger' out there and have their hands held every step of the way shielded from the big nasty world.

Fluffy mollycoddling means 13-year-olds aren't allowed to climb a tree or catch a bus by themselves but they sit in front of screens for hours on end stabbing, shooting and strangling enemies in the name of fun on games consoles, all with the express permission of their parents.

So they can play slaughter for fun on the Xbox because it's 'virtual' but mustn't lose a football match by 10 goals because it's too real.

Loopylooland reigns.

'Is Wogan on his Way?' asked the headline.

We can but hope, taking his smug inane nonsense and band of beige TOGs - Terry's Old Geezers and Girls - with him as far from BBC Radio 2 as possible.

I'm always suspicious of anyone with an obsessive following - only Daniel O'Donnell's fanatics pip his Wake Up to Wogan fan base at the obsessiveness post.

But it's Wogan's sneering and pomposity and apparent belief that no one else in the media and entertainment world has an iota of talent compared to his enormous appeal that really grates.

Can there be anyone under 60 who listens?

So if he's realised he's passed his sell-by-date, hurrah.

I just wish the BBC had got in first with and wiped that smugness away.

He was hardly a Hell's Grandad but Stanley Murphy's trip in the fast lane on his mobility scooter showed the obvious madness of allowing anyone behind the handles of these death traps without a test.

Sixteen-year-olds must pass a test to ride a scooter but hoards of elderly - some who have never been behind a wheel in their lives - are rampaging along paths in their electric buggies scattering us in their wake.

And these invalid carriages are multiplying and an increasing danger to pedestrians and their users.

Slow reactions, poor sight and hearing and lousy spatial awareness, users are too often an accident waiting to happen.

It's great they give people freedom but risk maiming or killing them too, as well as anyone in their path.

Before town centres, footpaths and parks are overrun with these machines, a law must be brought in to insist on training and passing a test before anyone is let loose in public.

Much has been written about Britain's jeering attitude to intelligence after brainy Gail Trimble's performance on University Challenge.

Derided, ridiculed and insulted for her bluestocking appearance and her formidable intellect, she has suffered a barrage of vile abuse just for being clever.

Crassly, her intelligence has been compared to Jade Goody's ignorance as if they were two young women brought up with the same advantages in life.

Their backgrounds could not have been more different and the two can never be compared.

One relished her private education and encouragement from her professional parents to do well, as they laid her path and cushioned it well for her. She is where she is today because of her background, not taking away any of her hard work, but she's had it easy.

The other had drug addicts as parents, was photographed with a spliff in her mouth at five and spent her childhood caring for her inadequate mother. There has been no cushioned path. She has had to make her own way.

But Gail Trimble shouldn't be criticised for making the most of her advantages. It's how life is and she made the most of her advantages.

Intelligence is valued today as it ever was. Stephen Fry isn't ridiculed for his rapier-like wit. QI is adored.

And I'd rather watch University Challenge any day than the daily displays of crass ignorance by some of the handsomely paid Loose Women who have the audience rolling in the aisles every time they say anything spectacularly stupid.

In particular Sherrie Hewson, without doubt the daftest most hopeless woman on TV.

What drives women to travel more than 200 miles with their children to a London cemetery to remember a child they never met?

A shrine to tortured and murdered Baby P is festooned with flowers and tributes to mark what would have been his third birthday.

But it feels macabre - uncomfortable even - that 14 and 15-year-old girls should beg their mothers to travel for hours to stand vigil by the grave.

Baby P died because he was not only failed by the social workers charged with protecting him but because no one spoke out and took action within the community.

Perhaps rather than joining the mourning club, these people would be better off being more vigilant on their own doorstep to work to prevent this happening again and handing over the money spent on expensive teddy-bear-shaped floral tributes to the NSPCC.

One Asda store is losing �200 a week to 'grazers', people who eat food on their way round the aisles and never pay for it.

Supermarkets lost �207 million a year to shoppers who hide the empty packaging and leave without paying.

Most stores are crawling with uniformed guards. What are these companies paying them to do?

If stores class this as theft, as they claim, why isn't there an outright ban on eating anything in store before it's paid for?

We've all seen people do it. If we can, guards can too.

Just what I need - my children have turned into the wine police protesting every time I open the fridge to reach for a nicely chilled Pinot Grigio trying to stop me from enjoying one of the few pleasures left in life.

I blame the TV ad. The one with the woman enjoying a glass of wine with friends at lunch, at the end of the day and so on, notching up the units, unwittingly damaging her health.

All to warn us women of a certain age of the dangers of drink.

But all it's doing is putting the fear of God into our children that we're going to keel over and expire any minute because we unwind with a glass of red or white.

I'm feeling distinctly under attack.

Once again, Nanny State picks on the easy targets and let the people doing themselves real harm day in day out get on with it.

No 63-year-old should be allowed to go round hitting 13-year-olds, even if it is with copies of the parish council minutes, and not expect to face the consequences.

Alma Harding, hailed as a pillar of the community, cuts a formidable figure but seemed shocked that she should feel the hand of the law on her shoulder after striking a boy she believed had been involved in a ball landing on her flower bed on the village green.

If my son came home telling me he'd been hit around the head by face by a woman who should know better I would feel aggrieved and make a complaint.

If my son had done wrong, he too should face the music.

Now Mrs Harding has a criminal record and huge legal fees to pay but is unrepentant believing she had every right to hit the boy.

To lash out and hit makes her just as bad as the 'yobs' she says she was trying to control. Control isn't her job. She had no right and the least she could do is admit she was wrong.

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