The Anonymous Widower

Doha’s Disgrace

The World Athletics Championships in Doha is being ruined by the lack of crowds.

It should also be remembered that this may be partly due to the political situation between Qatar and its neighbours, which mean there are no flights, to allow those in the Emirates to come over to watch the action.

Those who decided to give Doha these championships, should hang their heads in shame and open their affairs to Fraud Squads around the world.

Will we be seeing empty stadiums at the ridiculous World Cup in Qatar?

Some of the athletes seem to have been affected by the heat and withdrawn from events, so will we see some footballers decide not to go to the World Cup?

September 30, 2019 Posted by | Sport | , | 4 Comments

First Qatar Airways Flight From Doha Lands In Cardiff

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

The story is also reported in the Business section of The Times under a title of Direction Of Travel Brings Qatar Airways To Cardiff Airport.

This is the first paragraph from the latter article.

Trade winds from the Middle East have brought a whiff of what a successful Brexit might look like: a 300-seat, state-of-the-art Qatar Airways jetliner carrying a full business-class cabin and several tonnes of freight that has travelled from the 35C of Persian Gulf heat to 10C of Welsh drizzle.

To some it might seem to be a surprising new route.

As a former private pilot, who knew many of the UK’s airports pretty well, Cardiff Airport has many advantages.

  • It has a long runway.
  • It is not very busy.
  • Air traffic control and other services are top class.
  • It has a terminal capable of handling a large number of planes.
  • British Airways have a large maintenance centre at the Airport.
  • Ground transport to Cardiff includes buses and a railway station at Rhoose Cardiff International Airport station.

It could be an airport, that just needs more airlines and passengers to take advantage of its facilities.

The two articles suggest various reasons, why Qatar are going to run a service, that will be daily by July.

  • It gives Cardiff a direct link to the world’s fastest growing hub airport at Doha.
  • Qatar have lots of investments all over the UK.
  • Doha gives direct access flights to to Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand, to give six examples.
  • Cardiff Airport wants to develop as a warehousing hub and Qatar Airways is big in freight.
  • The export market for Welsh food and other perishables could be transformed.
  • The Times reminds us there are nine million sheep in Wales.

The Times also has this memorable phrase.

Quite why the flights have been launched has as much to do with Welsh lamb as it does with not being Bristol.

But I think there are other reasons.

New Routes For Qatar Airways To North America

Look at Qatar Airways routes to North America.

  • They serve mostly Eastern seaboard destinations from Doha.
  • Chicago and Los Angeles are also served from Doha, but they are long flights of over sixteen hours.
  • San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver are not served.

So would Cardiff with its top-class facilities make an excellent hub for Qatar Airways?

Would a pos-Brexit UK be free to allow Qatar Airways to run services from Cardiff to selected destinations in North America?

Remember, it’s also about freight!

Improved Rail Access

This Google Map shows the Airport.

Note.

  1. Rhoose Cardiff International station is South of the Airport at the bottom of the map.
  2. The main terminal is on the North side of the Airport.
  3. The Vale of Glamorgan Line through the station and then skirts past the Eastern end of the runway on its way to Cardiff.
  4. The Vale of Glamorgan Line is double-track with sections of single-track.
  5. The Vale of Glamorgan Line was scheduled to be electrified.

It would appear that providing better passenger and freight access would not be the most challenging of problems, if they were to become needed in the future.

Improved Passenger Services

The current service at Rhoose Cardiff International station is as follows.

  • An hourly service to Bridgend.
  • An hourly service to Cardiff Central, Cardiff Queen Street and Aberdare.
  • On Sundays the service is only two-hourly.

The service needs to be improved.

It would be possible to run a service from Cardiff to Swansea along the Vale of Glamorgan Line.

  • The service would call at Rhoose Cardiff International station.
  • The service could be run by trains designed for an airport service.
  • The service would connect to all the Cardiff Valley Lines at Cardiff Central station.
  • The service could be extended at the Western end to Llanelli and Fishguard.
  • The service could be extended at the Eastern end to Newport, Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads.

If bi-mode or diesel trains were to be used no new infrastructure would be needed.

Two trains per hour are needed and may be possible, but it might be necessary to find a solution to the two single-trac sections of line.

Freight Services

After reading, the two articles, I’m convinced that both Cardiff Airport and Qatar Airways are backing the use of the airport as a freight hub.

But all freight would have to leave the airport by truck, as there is no rail connection.

Because of the closeness of the Vale of Glamorgan Line to the airport, it would be possible to create a high-quality cargo-handling facility, with rail access.

In The Go-Anywhere Express Parcel And Pallet Carrier (HSPT), I proposed using four-car Class 321 trains as parcel and pallet carriers.

  • These could serve anywhere in the UK from Cardiff Airport.
  • If from the Airport to Cardiff were to be electrified, electric freight could go fast to London and the South East.
  • Cardiff could be used as an alternative freight hub,, for an over-crowded Heathrow.

I shall be interested to see how Cardiff Airport develops a cargo terminal..

Conclusion

Qatar Airways may have more money than Croesus, but they seem to be spending it wisely, in developing a route to Cardiff.

 

 

 

 

May 3, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grenfell Tower Gas Pipes Left Exposed, Despite Fire Safety Expert’s Orders

The title of this post is that of an article in the Guardian.

Read the article and you’ll see the standard of the work done on the gas system in the tower by National Grid.

This is a paragraph.

In March, three months before the blaze, residents told the London fire brigade (LFB) that people living in the 24-storey tower were so scared by the pipes “that they are having a panic attack”.

There is a lot more like that.

Interestingly, Cadent Gas; the division of National Grid that did the work was spun off and is now owned partly by the Qatari government.

Agas system, when it is installed by nincompoops is a disaster waiting to happen.

Workmanship of the quality shown in the pictiures would have been rejected by the inspectors on the chemical plants, I worked on in the 1960s, so why when the consultant rejected the installation, was action not taken by Cadent?

The gas may not have caused the Grenfell House fire, but I wonder if the unprotected gas pipe fractured in the heat of the fire and then just added to the inferno.

 

July 6, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , | 3 Comments

When Will We Ever Learn?

One of our mistakes in 2008 was to rescue banks, rather than let them go bust! Retail customers up to the savings limit should be compensated, but for everything else, that’s business!

This article on the BBC is entitled Santander Rescues Rival Banco Popular From Collapse.

One of the things, I was told by my friend, who rose to be Business Banking Director of a major Clearing Bank, was to never bank with a bank, that was headquartered and/or owned outside the UK. I would change that to England after Royal Bank of UK Taxpayers and Bank of Scotland.

So who will eventually pay for Santander’s purchase?

Incidentally, with Qatar’s problems at the moment and their stake in Barclays, I personally will be staying clear of that bank.

June 8, 2017 Posted by | Finance, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Pakistan’s Response To The Terrorism

According to this report on the BBC, the Pakistan government is ending its  suspension of the death penalty.

He also announced an end to the moratorium on the death penalty for terrorism cases, which correspondents say is a move aimed at countering a view held by many Pakistanis that many terror suspects end up evading justice.

No wonder the Taliban just gets worse and worse.

I have got so fed up with all the problems in the Middle East and Pakistan, I now rarely use any shop or business that is owned by people from the area, who are obviously Muslims.

As the Qataris seem to be one of the funders of Islamic State, I also steer clear of anything they own if I can.

I’m beginning to feel very sorry for the average hard-working Muslims, who will feel the backlash of the nihilists in the Middle East.

I must say, I’m glad to see the old price going South, as it’s hurting some of the most odious people in the World. But sadly they’ll just have to not buy the sixth Bentley or Lamborghini.

December 18, 2014 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Did Jack Warner Take A Bribe To Vote For Qatar?

It is being reported in the Telegraph, that Jack Warner took a bribe of over a million pounds to vote for Qatar in the bidding for the 2022 World Cup.

I file stories like this under the heading of Is The Pope A Catholic

March 18, 2014 Posted by | Sport | , | Leave a comment

We Will Not Overlook The Tragedy which Is Currently Unfolding In Qatar

The title of this post is taken from a quote in this report on the BBC website. Here’s the first two paragraphs.

Representatives of a global players’ union will seek talks with Qatar’s football authorities over claims of the abuse of players’ rights.

French-Algerian player Zahir Belounis is in dispute with Al-Jaish over unpaid wages and cannot leave the country.

After reading reports like this, I do wonder why FIFA voted to have the World Cup in Qatar.

November 26, 2013 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

Greg Dyke On Qatar 2022

Greg Dyke, who is the new FA Chairman, can always be relied on bucketfuls of common sense. His pronouncements this morning on holding the World Cup in 2022 in Qatar are forthright and should be taken seriously by the bunch of elderly time-servers, despots and bribe-takers called FIFA. Here’s an extract of the report on the BBC.

“Even if all the stadia are air-conditioned, I think it will be impossible for the fans,” Dyke said.

“Just go out there and wander around in that sort of heat. I just don’t think it’s possible.”My position, and I suspect the FA’s position, will be: ‘You can’t play it in the summer.'”

I think the whole tournament is already dead-in-the-water and that it probably won’t take place in Qatar. If it does, it will be in fully-enclosed air-conditioned stadia, with virtually no spectators and absolutely no real fans or atmosphere.

August 10, 2013 Posted by | Sport | , , , | Leave a comment

Gay Footballers

There are no openly gay footballers in the UK, although there are others in countries such as Sweden and the United States.

It is relevant to look at the history of black footballers to get a handkle on how gay footballers will appear in the UK.

Viv Anderson was the first black footballer to play for England and he burst on the scene in the mid-seventies with Nottingham Forest.  His rise had a lot to do with Brian Clough, who I suspect didn’t give a care about anything other than your ability to play football.  And Anderson could certainly play!

At the time Anderson made his mark, Other black players also made the breakthrough.  Notably, this was the three players Cyrille Regis, Brendan Batson and Laurie Cunningham at West Brom. But now black players are commonplace and we’re even seeing the sons of black players entering the game and being successful.

I first saw black players in the early 1960s.  There weren’t many and they did get abuse. The most notable was Albert Johanneson, who played for Leeds.

It has been a long journey from the 1950s and 60s to where we are today.  And I don’t think that there are many, except those on the Far Right, who regret it.

It will be a long time before gay footballers are in the same high position. Judging by the time scale it took for black players to be fully successful and accepted, it will probably be somewhere between ten and twenty years.

One of the differences between black and gay players, is that although black players are obvious, gay ones are not. So how many are there out there at the moment.

There are probably more than you think!

I don’t have any evidence, but news stories over the years have constantly found quite a few gay policemen.  In fact, in one case, the Chief Constable of Sussex police made an appeal for gay officers, to help solve a homophobic murder and was totally surprised at the response he got.

So I wouldn’t be surprised if there are quite a few gay footballers. I suspect too, that many of their team-mates know the truth and keep the secrets of the dressing room. After all, all footballers know how their eccentricities or problems are reported in the tabloid press.

Some months ago, I wrote this.

I was at the Ipswich Inter Milan match in the San Siro, when I found myself sitting next to a journalist, who worked for one of the more outrageous tabloids. We chatted about various topics concerning football and Ipswich in particular and I can’t remember how it came up, but we started discussing my coeliac disease.  I then said that the statistics indicated that there must be at least one footballer, who must be a coeliac. I suggested it might make a story, as it might help those with the disease. He then said that the readers of his rag wouldn’t be interested.  But if I knew a footballer who was gay, then that would be a very valuable story.

THe full post is here. The last bit may well be the key. Despite what is generally thought, there have been a large number of intelligent and very savvy footballers. I always note Derek Dougan,  who was not considered very bright by the press to be very bright in his early years, but went on to be an author and a very good chairman of the Professional Footballers Association. So I do not think it unlikely, that one of the current crop of footballers, who is coming to the end of a good career, who just happens to be gay, will come out.  I suspect too, that he won’t sell his story to the tabloids.  After all with the coming out of Gareth Thomas, they can now see that the support from most people and the media is very strong.

This article in Wikipedia, discusses the issue of gay footballers and is well worth reading.

So I agree with a survey from the University of Staffordshire, that found that 90% of football supporters expect there to be an openly-gay footballer by 2015.

If you look at the dynamics of the long road to success of black footballers, I would actually think that 2015, might even be a bit pessimistic.

But just as this process is happening in the UK, it is also happening across the world. So I suspect that by the time of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, one of the major football nations will have an openly gay footballer in the team. As homosexuality is illegal in that enlightened country, let’s hope that it has the right effect on the Qataris’ attitudes.

But then I live in hope that FIFA will see sense and realise that they are risking players lives and health by playing in the summer in the desert.

November 23, 2011 Posted by | Sport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Farewell Bin Hammam

Unlike Amy Winehouse, Mohammed Bin Hammam is still with us, even if FIFA have given him his just desserts.  He has just been on Radio 5 and has said that everything he did was in line with FIFA policy. But then they are full of organised corruption. If you can, listen to a replay of the morning sports program with David Davies.  I suspect none of the reasoned arguments, I’ve just heard went on at FIFA.

Now that we’ve said good-bye to Bin Hammam, how long can we sustain the farce of giving the World Cup to Qatar?

I wonder what odds I could get, that the Qatar World Cup doesn’t happen! Probably only very short ones, I would think!

July 24, 2011 Posted by | News, Sport | , , , , , | Leave a comment