It has indeed been a horrible week. For those of us on the political left it couldn’t get much worse. But before discussing the world’s depressing lurch to the right there was one glimmer of left-wing hope.

Did you see the New Zealand Herald report that, “It’s a bitter pill to swallow to learn that while the people in this corner of the world were enthusiastically welcoming the prince and his wife, she allegedly “hated” that tour.” Someone has revealed that Meghan Markle was not at all impressed with her visit to these shores. She thought the visit was “pointless”.

What brilliant news. I guess it means she has no plans to come here again. New Zealand will be spared the indignity of hosting a piece of Hollywood trash and her pathetic husband. “Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! “

But now the not-so-good news. First let’s consider what America has done to drag the world backwards. Did you see their Supreme Court has leaked a decision to do away with the Roe V Wade protection of a woman’s right to have an abortion? If the leak is confirmed, what a cesspit that country has become. Grey haired old bastards in Washington DC, spouting religious platitudes, treating women like breeding cattle.

I listened to a discussion that took place between two senior American members of my swim team.

One of them, an Olympic Gold medallist, asked, “Would you still be against abortion if the foetus was the result of a gang rape by a dozen drunk, drug addicts, two of whom were the woman’s father and brother, and a scan of the foetus found no legs and a twisted spine, and a blood test showed provable intellectual disability. Would an abortion be alright in those circumstances?”

Unbelievably the other American swimmer replied, “No abortions ever. Not even in the circumstances you have described.” What a revolting piece of vermin. Explain to me – where is the Christianity in that?

And for some who may be thinking, “That’s in America. It will not affect us here.”

Don’t be so sure. I can hear New Zealand’s right-wing nutters, buzzing with delight at the American decision. I bet Brian Tamaki has already prepared Sunday’s sermon on the subject. I just hope New Zealand has more respect for women’s health and their right to choose than listen to the evil empire or their disciples in New Zealand.

And then New Zealand has another opinion poll that shows a bit more support for the Luxon, Willis, Hosking cabal that run the right-wing reactionary sect in New Zealand. The press and especially Newstalk ZB report the poll in a fit of delight. A coup-d’état of good over evil according to Heather du Plessis-Allan.

What not one of those dishonest morons cares to report is that Jacinda and the Greens and the Maori Party (if needed) would still form the next government ahead of National and Act.

However, I guess the point is, opinion polls come, and opinion polls go. As a million politicians have said, “There is only one poll that matters.” Let’s hope Willis and Luxon get stung badly in a little over a year’s time.

Away from politics and back to sport, most of New Zealand will know that my preference for an Aimee Fisher win over Lisa Carrington did not happen. I was pleased to hear Fisher confirm she intended to continue training away from the centralised programme used by Carrington and her coach. In that respect Fisher is a far better example to athletes in Wanaka, Wairoa, Clive and Pahiatua than the cosseted, privileged clique that populate Canoe Racing New Zealand’s centralised programme.

Congratulations to Carrington though – she sure knows how to paddle a canoe.  

On the subject of centralised training, I see the report on cycling’s problems is going to be published in May. About time, should be our reaction to that news. It will be interesting to see whether the physician is going to heal itself.

My bet is the report will be a whitewash of monumental proportions. Raelene Castle is an expert at using the privacy of others to protect herself. And even when the central subject is dead my guess is Olivia’s family will be in deep need of Castle’s privacy protection. The more fresh air this subject gets, the better it will be for all sport in New Zealand. But hold your breath. There is not going to be much fresh air around when this report finally appears.

And to end with a bit of really good news, Eyad is in the middle of preparing to swim in the Mare Nostrum series of swim meets in Europe. Arrangements are a bit more complicated in his case because of his refugee background and permanent residence, rather than citizenship, in New Zealand.

However, Swimming New Zealand (SNZ) has been helping. Don’t anyone tell me SNZ has not changed for the better. Their help has been terrific. Amanda, Jerry, Gary and Andy (North Shore Club) have bent over backwards to get Eyad on the airplane. My guess Eyad is going to have a fantastic trip to Monaco, Barcelona and Canet – especially Canet, one of the world’s top towns.

Swimming has become fun again. Ever since, I guess it must have been, Steve, Garry and Nick, did away with that central control of the swimming world the sport has improved in leaps and bounds. Without question good results are close behind. SNZ does not need to hear this from me – but, bloody well done.    

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