What has been a disappointing week for the England national team, taking a battering on court at the last moment, continued to create negative headlines in the sports pages here in Britain Saturday.
A short time after news leaked that England had fired captain Joe Root, and replaced him with Stu Broad, English cricket sought to get a win underway in an informal tournament at Trent Bridge, 10 miles from Manchester, that is being watched by other teams around the world. England, a T20 side led by Eoin Morgan who had been crowned world T20 champion in 2016, beat a relatively green team from Rwanda, 75-67. Sri Lanka and Scotland will be the other teams competing in the World Cup tournament here in England.
But tomorrow, England face South Africa in the much bigger game of the three – a T20 tournament that will stretch over the next week in which there are seven teams playing over three days.
England’s play-off hopes were not helped by a report yesterday in the London Evening Standard newspaper that Prime Minister Theresa May will make a keynote speech in Birmingham on Wednesday announcing a package of Brexit concessions to the EU that should assuage the EU’s concerns that Britain will go into immediate default into World Trade Organization status after March 29. The EU is very concerned about this and, with no more than a few months before the European Parliament votes on the final Brexit deal. The Guardian, which has a good track record of reporting on the EU, has reported that EU officials are pushing for a delay to the March 29 deadline.
Any such delay could help push England’s T20 victory to an irrelevance, though West Indies may still hope that a win will help build momentum for their World Cup campaign. It may well be that victory for England is less important than Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar giving his speech in Birmingham at lunchtime Sunday.
All throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland and elsewhere, there is considerable concern about the date set for the Irish government to become a full member of the EU. The pound has fallen against the euro and is being traded at a year low.
That uncertainty has been compounded by the events of the last week, a week in which riots over Brexit in Birmingham, the capital of England, have been seen by many outside England as a flashpoint of social turmoil as great as the causes of the Great Depression. The increase in violence in England over the last week is being widely reported. The riots caught a lot of people, largely outside England, by surprise, that is the surprising detail.
The idea of Ireland in the E.U. is a widely held notion, one that has been promoted heavily by the E.U.’s chief propaganda machine, the European Commission. The country has been removed from the EU’s official criteria for any future E.U. membership, according to its criteria, by it not having fulfilled the parliamentary requirement. Ireland would have to go to a referendum to raise its status.
Referendum victories are generally accepted as essentially irrevocable in many European Union countries. Prime Minister Varadkar, who is hoping to drive Ireland’s membership to the forefront of the political agenda, faces a confirmation process by Irish MPs in the British Parliament before he can even ask for a referendum.
There are strongly dissenting voices in Britain over Brexit, and there is no certainty that, the next general election in Britain is on the horizon. Prime Minister May will face party rebels at a meeting Monday demanding her resignation.
As Ireland wakes up this Sunday, Irish Prime Minister Varadkar will be counting down. His speech to the World Cup will be starting his T20 campaign — surely with a shrug and a smile on his face.