Sunday, 14 June 2009

A sense of proportion

So Christiano Ronaldo is going to transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid for a world record transfer fee of £80 million.

In Britain, the Department for International Development has paid £12.5 million in aid to Sri Lanka since September 2008. You may remember that there was some recent unpleasantness in the north east of the island, involving shortages of various creature comforts such as clean water, shelter, food and medical supplies. There were also quite large numbers of displaced persons to look after. I suppose it’s a good thing that we’re making a contribution amounting to over a seventh of what it costs to displace one person from Manchester to Madrid, if that person is the FIFA footballer of the year.

The media have given mixed reports on the Ronaldo transfer. His skills will be missed in the premiership, but the player perhaps less so: the fans and, by most accounts, his team mates never warmed to him that much. It seems that his own high opinion of himself was not universally shared.

A common point across the media seems to be breathless admiration at the sheer size of the fee. A new world record, my dear. You don’t see that every day.

In the meantime, the British media have continued to delve into the expenses scandal involving our Members of Parliament. The European election results showed that the scandal has seriously damaged established politicians. Labour has suffered more than most, but others have been hit too, leading to significant protest votes for non-mainstream candidates, including a number from the extreme right.

The total amount involved in covering MPs’ expenses, if they all claimed every penny, would be a shade under £16 million a year.

Ronaldo is set to make £106 million over six years at Real. That works out at a shade less than £18 million a year.

And just what do MPs do for their money? Very little more than tackling questions such as the worst economic crisis since the great depression or the threat of global warming.

Ronaldo scored 118 goals for Manchester United over six years, an average of just under twenty a season. For the best team in Europe. Sorry – second best. When it came to the Champions League final, Ronaldo couldn’t quite deliver.

Still, that only takes a little of the shine off his achievement.

It’s a matter of pride to belong to a civilised, Western Society. Above all because we have our sense of values sorted out. We’ve got out priorities right.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am surprised you did not mention that the transfer fee amounted to 57 times the weight of the man in gold!