Stewart was an amazing person - A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle. He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and is missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good. We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer. If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3 .
If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent. It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/heartbroken-widow-geraldine-smith-raises-3452997
Similarly, if you haven’t heard it, please listen to Geraldine’s moving radio interview which was on Radio Scotland recently.
Stewart began writing The Grambler when he was between procedures and hoping for some form of recovery. He loved all aspects of football and was a lifelong Motherwell supporter. His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige. Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see. Read on and enjoy…
In the week when Ched Evans has been cleared, on appeal, of any wrongdoing when he (and others) had sex with a 19 year old woman, there have been many articles written relating to the implications of the case. Here, in full, is one such...
The issue of rape cannot be separated from a society that commodifies women and sexuality, and demeans both men and women, argues Judy Cox
In 1982, a man was found guilty of raping a teenager. He was let off with a small fine because the judge decreed that the 17-year-old was guilty of ‘contributory negligence’ because she hitched a lift. Decisions like this one prompted many young women like me to become politically active, to protest against the way rape victims were treated. We went on Reclaim the Night marches with the slogan, ‘Whatever she wears, wherever she goes, yes means yes and no means no’.
Back then, many believed that sexually active women could not be raped, that husbands could not rape wives, that the only rapists wielded knives and wore balaclavas. This week’s retrial of Ched Evans risks turning the clock back to those days.
Those accused of rape deserve a fair trial and no doubt some are not guilty. However, the way this retrial was conducted erodes the hard won legal protections women have gained. Firstly, the woman involved had her right to anonymity blown away on the internet and has been persecuted as a result. This will intimidate women who have been raped from coming forward.
Secondly, intimate details of the woman’s sex life were heard in court. Experts have argued that this does not set a precedent for future cases as there were specific reasons why the woman’s sex life was relevant in this case. This is rubbish. The issue was consent, whether the woman consented, or whether Evans believed that she had. There is no way that who she slept with before or after could affect the issue of consent at the time.
Thirdly, the judge gave the jury a ‘route to a verdict’ which included her opinion that, ‘drunken consent is still consent’. A Crown Prosecution Service guide states that prosecutors should focus on what a suspect has done to seek consent and the extent to which a victim is capable of giving consent. It is reported that Evans did not say a word to the woman before, during or after the incident, so one obvious way of obtaining consent was ignored. He did not ask her.
We have a very serious problem with rape in this country. We have one of the lowest conviction rates in Europe, with something like 100,000 rapes every year and only 1,070 convictions, according to the Ministry of Justice. This is despite the fact that 85% of women know their attacker. The same report suggests that women do not report rapes or drop out of legal proceedings because they feel embarrassed, or fear that they will be blamed.
While recorded rapes have doubled in the last four years, the percentage resulting in a conviction has fallen. The police are often resistant to pursuing rape cases. Figures from 2014 revealed that 1,500 rape allegations had simply been filed as ‘no crimes’. A strong media focus on the very low number of false rape accusations creates a climate in which victims are systematically suspected of lying. Rape within marriage was only recognised in 1991 and many still see so-called ‘date rape’ as a lesser crime. Attitudes that blame women for being drunk, flirtatious or dressed in a certain way persist in our society.
The issue of rape cannot be separated from a society that commodifies women and sexuality, and demeans both men and women. We have to challenge the sexist attitudes of the media and the courts toward rape cases. There are many willing to campaign to defend women’s right to choose whom they sleep with and to defend rape victims’ anonymity and right to be believed. We must also raise the possibility of genuinely free and equal sexual relationships, free from the alienation and oppression bred by the system we live in.
Whilst wholeheartedly agreeing with the article and the points it makes, I have a bit of a problem with this particular case. Ched Evans was never accused of rape; he was accused of having non-consensual sex with the young woman. She claimed that she had been drunk and could remember nothing of the incident. She suggested that her drink had been spiked. It was the following day that she was persuaded by friends to report the incident to the police.
Okay, there was something untoward went on that night. As I mentioned, Evans wasn’t the only person to have indulged in sex with the girl. That is definitely wrong. Even so, if she was bothered by what had taken place, I cannot understand why she waited until listening to friends before speaking to the police. Was it anything to do with her realisation that Evans was a top level footballer?
You may suggest a typical Grambler cynicism here, but what if? What if Evans was, indeed, innocent of any crime? His career as a footballer was brought to an abrupt halt by the charge. He was jailed for two and a half years after being found guilty. Five years after the incident, he has been declared innocent of the charge. He has lost five years of a career that is short-lived, anyway. Those five years were when he should have been at the top of his game. His career was ruined. If he was innocent, the whole affair was a serious ‘miscarriage of justice’ as journalists would say.
I want to tell you a little story. Years ago, a friend of mine was a rookie policeman, pounding the beat in a less salubrious part of Glasgow. On one particular nightshift, after closing time of the nearby public house, he and his partner, a more senior officer, heard noises coming from the entry to a tenement block. As they got closer, they realised that the sounds were from a young couple making love. Both were definitely enjoying the moment... Those involved in the sexual act, not the policemen. My friend then made a mistake which, in hindsight, he wishes he hadn’t have made. He shone his torch. The couple saw the two policemen and immediately stopped what they were doing. What happened next came as a shock not only to my friend and his colleague but, more especially, to the young man involved in this coupling. The girl claimed that she was being raped. Thus, the young man had to be charged. The girl stuck to her story throughout questioning and the subsequent court case. The young guy was jailed for four years.
What point am I making? Basically, don’t indulge in casual sex. There could be serious repurcussions. Many lives can be changed by a simple act of indulgence. Both of the above stories should provide a warning to any budding young Lotharios. To finish, I will direct you to a link of a short message from Charlie McDonnell. Who, I hear you ask. Charlie McDonnell is a young YouTube ‘personality’. Here, he gives some real wisdom regarding this week’s topic, consent .
Did any famous or notorious folk come into this world on the 22nd of October? I think there might be a few. Franz Liszt 1811 (Composer often associatred with Brahms as an example of rhyming slang.), Carl Fuchs 1838 (Another composer. Think it’s pronounced foosh. Hope so.), Sarah Bernhardt 1844 (Ectress Francais. ‘He who is incapable of feeling strong passions, of being shaken by anger, of living in every sense of the word, will never be a good actor.’ Yeah... right.), Joan Fontaine 1917 (Another ectress. Sister of Olivia de Havilland. Apparently, they hated one another... ‘I married first, won the Oscar before Olivia did, and if I die first, she'll undoubtedly be livid because I beat her to it!’), Doris Lessing 1919 (Author. Won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007 making her the oldest ever recipient.), Timothy Leary 1920 (Pot head... Time to ‘drop out,’ ‘turn on,’ and ‘tune in.’), Bert Trautmann 1923 (Goalkeeper who famously played on after breaking his neck during a match. A factoid I’ve told you before. Here’s another, then. Because he played his football for Manchester City - 545 appearances in 15 years - German Trautmann spoke English with a Lancashire accent.), Dory Previn 1925 (Sir Andrew Preview’s wife.), Lev Yashin 1929 (Another goalkeeper. Actually, not just another goalkeeper; he is widely acknowledged to have been the greatest goalie ever.), Derek Jacobi 1938 (Ectaw dear leddie. Done all the great roles...Yes, my name is Iggle Piggle, Iggle Piggle wiggle niggle woo.), Tony Roberts 1939 (Member of Woody Allen’s troupe of ectaws.), George Cohen 1939 (Footy bloke), Catherine Deneuve 1943 (Ectress Francais. Has never actually appeared on stage.), Mike Hendrick 1948 (Crickety bloke.), Arsene Wenger 1949 (‘No matter how much money you earn, you can only eat three meals a day and sleep in one bed.’ Is that what you told those greedy f******* Ozil and Sanchez when they asked for a pay rise?), Orville Richard Burrell 1968 (Who? Shaggy? What? Scooby Doo’s pal?), Spike Jonze 1969 (Dyslexic film director.), Mitchel van der Gaag 1971 (Ex Motherwell footy bloke.) and Zac Hanson 1985 (Mmmmm bop.).
Let’s move on to grambling matters. What happened last week? We won. Yay! No. not yay. We won £1.79 pees, so we actually lost 41 pees on our £2.20 bet. How did that happen? Read on...
West Bromwich Albion vs Spurs - Prediction Away win
Result - West Brom 1 Spurs 1
Ooh! ’It the bar!
Dele Alli's equaliser a minute from time ensured Tottenham maintained their unbeaten start to the season and remained within a point of Premier League leaders Manchester City.
Nacer Chadli's late goal for West Brom seemed set to inflict an unlikely first defeat of the season on in-form Spurs.
Wimbledon vs Swindon - Prediction Home win
Result - Wimbledon 0 Swindon 0
Ooh! ’It the bar!
AFC Wimbledon's Lyle Taylor saw a first-half penalty saved as Swindon Town earned a goalless League One draw at Kingsmeadow.
Off the back of three wins in nine days, the atmosphere was one of huge excitement as in-form Wimbledon took on the struggling Robins.
And while they stretched their unbeaten run in all competitions to seven games, the Dons were unable to get all three points, with Taylor's missed penalty the best chance of a tame game.
Bristol Rovers vs Gillingham - Prediction Home win
Result - Bristol Rovers 2 Gillingham 1
Substitute Ellis Harrison volleyed an 90th-minute winner as Bristol Rovers came from behind to beat Gillingham in a competitive League One clash at the Memorial Stadium.
The striker met a left-wing cross from fellow replacement Cristian Montano at the far post and hammered a right-footed shot in off goalkeeper Jonathan Bond from the corner of the six-yard box.
Gillingham had taken a 62nd-minute lead when Rovers failed to defend a long throw from the right and Josh Wright popped up unmarked at the far post to fire low past Kelle Roos.
Man of the match Chris Lines grabbed an 82nd-minute equaliser, exchanging passes with Matt Taylor and breaking through the middle before coolly shooting past Bond.
Carlisle vs Hartlepool - Prediction Home win
Result - Carlisle 3 Hartlepool 2
Ten-man Carlisle edged out Hartlepool 3-2 in a thriller at Brunton Park, extending their unbeaten run to 13 games and equalling their best-ever league start.
A purposeful opening from the visitors had Carlisle on the back foot, with Lewis Hawkins and Nathan Thomas fizzing shots narrowly off target.
However, it was Carlisle who struck first in the 20th minute when a quick break down the left and a pinpoint cross from Shaun Miller provided Jabo Ibehre with a simple side-foot finish from six yards.
Miller, having been booked in the first half for kicking the ball away, was shown a second yellow and sent off in the 57th minute for deliberate handball, before Lewis Alessandra cut in from the left to power an unstoppable shot past Mark Gillespie for the equaliser.
Danny Grainger restored Carlisle's lead three minutes later, belting a low 25-yard shot into the bottom corner after receiving a short free-kick from Nicky Adams.
Pools made it 2-2 in the 75th minute when Padraig Amond, at close range, was able to apply the finish after Gillespie had saved Billy Paynter's original drive, then Carlisle went straight back in front five minutes later when Michael Raynes scored with a towering header from Grainger's corner.
Queen of the South vs Morton - Prediction Home win
Result - Queen of the South 0 Morton 5
What??? 5 nil!
In what must surely count as The Grambler’s worst ever prediction, Greenock Morton stunned the league leaders Queen of the South with three confident strikes in the first half paving the way for a convincing win.
Ex-Motherwell striker, Ross Forbes had the visitors in front early before Jamie McDonagh and Gary Oliver added to the scoreline.
Jai Quitongo scored from a well worked corner kick to increase Queen's misery.
And then Morton captain Thomas O'Ware scored a penalty to wrap up an emphatic win.
Apart from that, The Grambler’s predictions weren’t too awry. He/she/it still didn’t give us a profit, though [Not the best prophet, then. - Ed.]. Ho hum. So what has he/she/it come up with this week?
Game - Result - Odds
Burnley vs Everton - Prediction Away win - 4/6
Leicester vs Crystal Palace - Prediction Home win - Evens
Brentford vs Barnsley - Prediction Home win - 7/10
Dunfermline vs Hibernian - Prediction Away win - 8/11
Falkirk vs Raith - Prediction Home win - 4/5
The bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator) and if they all go according to The Grambler’s Prediction, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping...
Seven pees more whopping than last week.
Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you what first occurred in the Second Division match between QPR and Luton Town played at Loftus Road on 1st September 1981. Actually, it wasn’t so much what happened on the pitch; it was the pitch itself. It was the very first league match to take place on an artificial surface.
One for this week? Brothers have often played together for the same country but at the 2010 World Cup Finals in South Africa and again at the 2014 finals in Brazil two brothers played in the same match - but for opposing sides. Can you name them and the countries they represented? That’s a cracker!
As usual, let’s finish with a mention of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer. If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration. Just point your doctor in the direction of http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/campaigns-policy/latest-campaigns/never-too-young-campaign
And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, I am indebted to a Mr B. Forsyth who this week has announced his retirement from the business known as show. Given that he is 88 years old, it’s not a moment too soon. There are those who think old Brucie was a great singer, dancer, musician etc. I’m sorry, I was never one of those people. He always struck me as being a ‘jack of all trades’ sort of guy, but he wasn’t good at anything in particular. In the fifties and beyond he seemed to be the British TV companies’ go-to man if they wanted someone to front a quiz show. I have to admit, he wasn’t bad at them, although I always thought him a bit of a bully with his shouting ‘I’m in charge’ at the contestants. One thing he was good at was coining catchphrases. There were dozens of them from ‘Nice to see you, to see you nice’ to ‘Give us a twirl’. I could end with a list of them all, but I realise you are busy people and you probably haven’t got enough time to read them all. The quicker option is to give you an example of a comedy sketch with Brucie (and the late Norman Wisdom) from the 1950s. It lasts over seven minutes. It is from the top-rated Sunday evening show of the period 'Sunday Night at the London Palladium' and it would suggest that audiences in those days would laugh at anything. See how long you can suffer it before switching off.