The grandmother of all compromises

The news appeared at 10.15 last night, in a bland announcement by “Odious” Adam Raoof:

I am pleased to announce that Lara Barnes has been appointed as the Manager of the British Championships for 2012. The ECF Board has full confidence in her and looks forward to working with her to make the 2012 Championships a success.

I want to thank Alex McFarlane and David Welch for their service as co-managers and I hope that they will continue to play a part in the event.

No, your eyes are not deceiving you – Lara has been appointed, in place of her partner Alex McFarlane, as Manager of the 2012 British. Only in the mad, mad world of the Egregious Chess Federation…

Of course, it is all a massive compromise, designed to provide a fig-leaf, with which to cover the ECF’s embarrassment. From Lara’s viewpoint, it represents the nearest thing she is going to get to an endorsement from the Egregious lot, which is vital to her personal and professional reputation. In addition, it means she can ensure that next year’s British, in her Northumbria backyard, will be a success. It is an incredible tribute to her, after the way in which she has been comprehensively shat upon from such a great height by the toe-rags at the ECF, that she is still concerned, first and foremost, with the success of the championship, and is prepared to put in many months of unpaid work to ensure that this is the case.  Very few would have felt that way in her position. From the viewpoint of the British Championship, it is just about the best possible outcome, in the circumstances.

“Of course, if I had been consulted earlier, we could have concluded the 1918 Armistice five years earlier”. 

What distresses me is that I suspect it is also the best possible outcome for the Egregious Chess Federation and its Dear Leader. They have succeeded in sacking Alex McFarlane, who had the impudence to question the DL’s divine goodness. whilst still effectively retaining his services, in an unacknowledged capacity. No doubt they now hope that they can draw a line under the whole affair, and go serenely on. I am not an optimist by nature, but in this instance, I have the encouraging feeling that they may be mistaken, and that the Dear Leader has not heard the last of Alex McFarlane or T-shirtgate.  Of course, it is also possible that the Farthing-Raoof axis think that, as a “mere woman”, Lara will be easier to control and manipulate than her Highland predecessor. I don’t think even Farthing and Raoof are quite that stupid, although, to paraphrase H L Mencken, nobody ever went broke through underestimating the intelligence of ECF Board members. If that really is what they think, then they are in for a very rude shock.

Anyway, in the words of Barry Norman, “there you have it”.  We must watch this space and see what transpires. The most important thing is that Lara is apparently happy, and after all that de Mooi and the rest of the ECF leadership have put her through during recent months, that at least is to be welcomed.

Entirely coincidentally, of course, the Dear Leader put out an announcement of his own last night. Was it his resignation, or an apology to Lara, perhaps?  Was it fairy cakes. It was the announcement of a celebrity blindfold simultaneous display by Nigel Short, at Simpsons next August. I wonder why they decided on blindfold?

Perhaps so that nobody will be able to see what’s printed on CJ’s T-shirt?

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