Been to see Frost-Nixon tonight. Enjoyed it. Particularly enjoyed the references to Sardi's in New York as the restaurant where only the very special find a welcome. Well, Mrs D and I've eaten there, and I had oysters for starters. But back to Richard Milhous Nixon. Both he and political wrongdoing are in fashion. Bankers have been behaving like casino hustlers - as a result of Gordon Brown's creation of an ineffective and complex regulatory system. Reckless fat cats did wrong for money. There must be better regulation is the cry - and the people applaud. Politician's expenses should be better regulated is another common theme. Sadly, it can be no other way, though personally I reckon transparency is the best disinfectant. And now shock-horror, some of their Lordships are accused of wrongdoing for money. Again the answer is said to be better regulation of these 'ermine clad rippers off of the system'. The BBC even offer us all an opportunity to have our say on all this regulation.
I don't believe that regulation is all its cracked up to be. It cannot cover all the angles. Sure, it might catch the odd hapless Lord who can't see the difference between being paid for giving political advice, and being paid for trying to amend laws. But it won't catch the worst offenders - those who know how to cover their tracks. Effective regulation requires some genuine self regulation as well - with buckets of shame. The current focus on regulation as if its a complete answer means that if its 'approved' or 'within the rules', its seen as OK. Well, its not. You know when its wrong. It takes a rugby player to know that there has to be the self-regulation supplement. Only way the game can survive. The depths of a scrum is a murky fetid place, where devilish deeds are done. Its possible to put a man to death, and pretend its an accident. The game depends on self regulation, with help from the ref and the camera.
I will admit my guilt. I have stamped on helpless opponents - and punched them on their noses. I remember the No 7, (went on to play for England) who had forgotten his boots and played in trainers. I stamped on his foot at every lineout. And I once bit a second row, though in my defence he was threatening my manhood at the time, and I had no other means of defence/attack. And I've had these things done unto me. But even in the midst of the most fierce battle, there was self regulation too. I never kicked anyone in the back, or stamped on anyone's head, or gouged anyone's eyes. Temporary discomfort was OK, but permanent injury was not. Which brings me to Martin Corry.
Corry was England captain. That's a special position. Young players look up to him. And now he's been cited by the Ospreys for gouging. If he's guilty, I hope they throw the book at him. Brian Moore wrote a good article condemning the gougers in Monday's Telegraph. Moore is one of these commentators that I 'love to hate', but he writes well - and knows his stuff. He shares my view that there can be no greater crime than gouging (trying to blind a fellow player) on the rugby field. Though Australia's Rugby League's Tom Hopoate comes close. To quote Brian Moore "After one game three North Queensland players claimed that during tackles, Hopoate had tried to ram a finger up their anus in an attempt to make a quick play-the-ball. Once the claim was made public, several of Hopoate's previous opponents came forward saying this had happened to them, but they had been too embarrassed to mention it." In his defence Hopoate claimed that he was only administering the schoolboy prank known as a 'wedgie', as if this was perfectly OK. Glad I didn't go to the same school. Rather like Nixon he felt able to justify to himself the most despicable act - until it was put to him in a way he couldn't avoid. That was Frost's skill. Tom Hopoate was found guilty of 'unsportsmanlike behavior'. In my opinion there must have been a case for the sharia approach - amputation of the offending finger.