Sunningdale and Wentworth used sometimes to be referred to, rather unfairly, as the Sodom and Gomorrah of British golf, by which their detractors meant to imply not so much that they were dens of iniquity as that they revolved too much around money. I wonder what those detractors think now, as Wentworth enters a brave new world revolving entirely around money courtesy of its new Chinese owners.
Members already pay a hefty £8,000 a year to belong to the place; now they'll have to fork out a further £80,000 to buy a "debenture" share, according to The Mail on Sunday: either that or leave, as plenty have already indicated they will. Indeed, only 250 of the current 3,000 members are expected to stay, and the rest, so we're told, will be replaced by about 600 "ultra-high-net-worth" individuals with assets of £20m or more. What's happened to Wentworth is part of a trend and it's not a healthy trend, as Simon Kuper says in the FT. Money now dominates sport in a way inconceivable even ten years ago, and poor old Wentworth is just the latest extreme example of it. What a shame.
It'll just seem longer
I think we've all got the message by now that we shouldn't drink too much. Last week, however, researchers cranked it up a notch or two by proclaiming that there is "no safe level of alcohol consumption" and that doctors should tell patients "to reduce the amount they drink as much as possible". Then, on Monday, the Daily Mail reported on another study recommending that we all take a month off alcohol to prevent illness in later life.
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Well, perhaps we should. Or perhaps we shouldn't. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says that "100,000 lives could be saved if people drank less alcohol". What it really means, though, as Matthew Syed pointed out in The Times, is that 100,000 deaths could be postponed if everyone stopped drinking. It's an important distinction. As Kingsley Amis famously remarked, no pleasure is worth giving up for another two years in a nursing home in Weston-super-Mare.
New Bond lacks class
The new Bond film has had good reviews, though Camilla Long, in The Sunday Times, found it all a bit too glossy and formulaic. She also objected to Bond's seduction of Lucia, the beautiful widow (Monica Bellucci). "Lucia has barely taken off her veil before 007 smooshes her up against a heritage mirror and snogs her like a camel trying to retrieve dates from a hanging basket."
In The Daily Telegraph, Charles Moore says that Daniel Craig's Bond looks more like a security guard than the character Ian Fleming conceived, ie, a man who moves easily in high society. According to the Daily Mail, Craig was chosen by Barbara Broccoli daughter of American film producer "Cubby" Broccoli. She spotted him as a potential 007 in the film. "I'm in love with Daniel Craig," she announced. "He's going to be our next Bond." Who can blame her though my own view is that he looks more like a Bond villain.
Tabloid money: "I want my country back. The only way is Brexit"
"Charles Moore laments the ban imposed on Eton pupilsbuying copies of his biography of Margaret Thatcher (as aChristmas gift for parents) and putting the cost on the parents'school bills," says Ephraim Hardcastle in the Daily Mail."He said in a recent address to Eton's Political Society: About120 boys turned up to hear me. It's a credit to them that theybought eight copies; but under the old dispensation they wouldhave bought 80'."
"Ah, gotcha!" says Rod Liddle in The Sun. "We now know howmuch it costs to resettle a migrant in the UK. The figures wereleaked from a Home Office document. The government estimatesthat each Syrian migrant costs the country up to £24,000 per year,every year. Our government is planning to let in 20,000 of thesesupposed refugees. So that's half a billion quid of taxpayers'money every year. Labour wants us to let in even more unlimited numbers, imagine the cost. And those are just therefugees immigration in general is already costing us billionsand billions every year. But it's OK none of us are feeling thepinch, are we?"
"Brexit looks more likely than ever after the EU coup inPortugal," says Louise Mensch in The Sun. "The euroscepticleft has a coalition with a majority. But to protect the euro thepresident won't let its leader form a government. Stuff the will ofthe people. I used to believe we could negotiate with Brussels.We can't, and we must get out now. Last week the Bank ofEngland governor, Mark Carney, and the president of China both improperly told us to bow to Brussels. I think we'll make ourown decisions If we vote to leave the EU, China will still behappy to make deals with us. So too will all the booming "tiger"economies. The future is India, not Italy. It's time to stop listeningto the consensus.... and to bet on Britain. I want my country back.And the only way to get it is to show Brussels the door."
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