Blatter (verb: copyright Wired868)
To mask ruthless, calculating intent behind veneer of simplistic incompetence;
To play the sap until opponent is exposed and then strike with clinical precision.
In the media, there were reports of a climb-down from the political leader and an about-turn in the face of persistent and escalating condemnation of an unforgivable and costly decision. But, for the keen observer, it was nothing of the sort.
A wily leader had suddenly bared teeth; and a political friend of convenience had been ‘Blattered.’
Mr Live Wire is referring, of course, to Herr Sepp Blatter’s concession that the decision to take the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was a mistake.
“Yes, it was a mistake of course, but one makes lots of mistakes in life,” Blatter told the Swiss broadcaster RTS. “The technical report into Qatar said clearly it was too hot but the executive committee—with a large majority—decided all the same to play it in Qatar.”
Blatter, who is believed to have voted for the United States, said that “political considerations” had influenced the Executive Committee’s eventual decision and named France and Germany as leaders of Qatar’s push.
Blatter, the 78-year-old FIFA president with a walk-in closet full of skeletons, knew full well that UEFA president and Frenchman Michel Platini, who was the only executive member to openly support Qatar, had already hinted his intention to run for the presidency of the global body. He understood the level of global dissatisfaction with the decision to take the World Cup to Qatar. And he deduced that Platini could not distance himself from it now.
The UK Guardian article further suggested, as if incidentally, that Blatter would attempt to retain his FIFA crown. The story was written in reverse. Mr Live Wire would have said that Herr Blatter announced his intention to keep his FIFA presidency by skilfully saddling his main challenger, Platini, with the blame for a bitterly controversial Qatari World Cup.
And that brings us to Frau Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC and her about-turn in the face of criticism of the amendments to the Judges Salaries and Pensions and Retiring Allowance (Legislative) Bills.
“It is rare that the Government and the Opposition ever agree on anything,” stated a release from the Prime Minister. “The Judges Salaries and Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2013 and the Retiring Allowances (Legislative) Amendment Bill 2014 were passed in the House with the full support of the Opposition… Notwithstanding this level of agreement, there have been strong objections in some quarters to the Bills.
“Consistent with my policy of always allowing views to be ventilated and decisions arrived at after such due consideration the government’s current position would be not to proceed with approving the Bills until all perspectives and opinions are ventilated…
“At the end of the day, the national interest is what must be served.”
It is laughable to suggest that Persad-Bissessar has any policy of bowing to the national interest at all.
From the swearing-in ceremony, the Prime Minister ignored the howls of disapproval about giving Jack Warner a place in her Cabinet while he was still a FIFA vice-president. And she has barely bothered to consider public opinion ever since; not least when she accepted the title of Senior Counsel or retained Sport Minister Anil Roberts.
It is worth remembering too that the amendments were proposed by the People’s Partnership and not the PNM.
But, like Sepp, Kamla’s reputation is already so tattered that she has less to lose by taking another hit. Rather than try the near impossible task of salvaging her own reputation, she preferred to drag her opponent into a muddy embrace.
Blatter will ask: “Do you really want to replace me with the man who decided to put the World Cup in a microwave built by slave labour?”
And Persad-Bissessar will ask: “If the PNM was in charge, would Rowley have bowed to the will of the people? Or would he have done the Kama Sutra with the Treasury?”
Rowley, like Platini, reacted by accusing his political opponent of playing games. But, tellingly, he felt compelled to reiterate his support for a deeply unpopular course of action.
“Is the Prime Minister trying to hide behind the Opposition? Is she saying that if we had not voted in favour of these bills, the bills would have fallen?” he asked. “We (the Opposition) chose to stand up and take responsibility for putting in place a pension plan for parliamentarians and judges…”
Now Rowley knows how that constituent felt when he went for a meeting with his MP and ended up getting his cookolooks inspected and nipples nibbled.
Pull up your pants, Sir; you have just been Blattered.
The respective amendments now have little to do with constitutional fineries; they, like the controversial World Cup bids, have come to symbolise reckless greed and deception. Rowley’s failure to spot the way the wind was blowing—notwithstanding his judgment in supporting the amendments in the first place—does not auger well; even if this might prove to be just one of many battles in the 2015 General Election war.
And who was the only Member of Parliament to abstain from supporting the amendments?
None other than the controversial Chaguanas West MP, Warner, who may have sensed something in the air.
Once Blattered, as the saying goes, twice shy.
Editor’s Note: Click HERE for columnist Rhoda Bharath’s dissection of the controversial amendments to the Judges Salaries and Pension Bill and the Retiring Allowances: Legislative.