Starting with the positive, with England’s men’s team becoming World Champions in 50 over cricket.
In Adelaide four years ago, England suffered a humiliating exit. Their progression to the knock out stages was assured given the format of the tournament. As Stuart Broad put it: England would need “to have a shocker not to get to the quarter-finals”. They did have a shocker.
It prompted a major restructuring. A plan was devised, using New Zealand as a blue print for what England wanted to be. Despite set backs, England maintained that vision and the style of play they wanted, and are now World Champions after one of the greatest games of cricket ever.
To copy Tom Fordyce for the BBC:
A match that ended in a tie to produce a tie-breaker that also ended in a tie. A final over that contained a six that was a six and also contained a six that wasn’t a six at all but actually a two and a four [but should have been a one and a four], which meant the final over wasn’t the final over any more either.
When you try to navigate your way through those 60 hallucinogenic minutes you keep coming up against these impossible riddles: New Zealand’s Martin Guptill facing the first ball of the match and the last one too; a tournament that England’s men had never won before won with a winning margin that wasn’t even a winning margin.
Seven weeks of cricket and it came down to the final dusty half-metre at the spiritual home of the sport. A final that for so long was slow-motion cricket ending at a pace that took the breath from your lungs and the strength from your legs. Cricket that was a throwback to 20 years ago suddenly leaping into the unknown.
It was unprecedented and it was also a very English way to win a World Cup.
A few plans maybe not thought through quite as well have also been in the news, as it has emerged that there has been a significant spike in transgender prisoners in England and Wales.
One in 50 male offenders in prisons are self-identifying as transgender, according to a survey by the official jail watchdog, amid concerns inmates may be attempting to secure extra perks. Among offenders from traveller communities the number self-identifying as transgender or transsexual rose to one in ten inmates. To put that in to context, that one in 50 is four times the number of recorded transgender men in the general population.
While one conclusion might be that these people are statistically more bad / dangerous than their cis counterparts, transgender prisoners are entitled to shower alone, separate cells and can apply to switch between male and female jails, leading Mark Fairhurst, chair of the Prison Officers Association (POA) to say that there “would always be some trying to abuse the system” and Harry Fletcher, director of the Victims’ Rights Campaign, to say that he was convinced that “for some this is a total try-on”.
However, last year David Gauke, the justice secretary, said women would be sent to prison only for the most serious offences; and some reports suggest that almost no women should go to prison.
You’ve done it too late, lads! You needed to realise you were female before your trial.
And then we have a story that combines a ridiculously good idea (I suppose) with a really bad one.
Belle Delphine, the social media star and so-called “gamer girl”, made headlines this week for selling her used bath water online.
Delphine, 19, who has a global following (4.2 million on Instagram), announced she would be selling $30 bottles of “bath water for all you thirsty gamer boys” in an Instagram post that garnered more than 500,000 likes.
Sounds stupid, but it sold out.
While some have apparently made mac and cheese from it, YouTuber Pyrocynical ignored the bath water’s warning label, choosing to drink it on camera for his fans, and presumably to get more fans too. “It’s so salty,” he said, sniffing the liquid. “That’s definitely been in a bath, 100%, that is rotten, that is stagnant water.”
Pyrocynical then gulps the water, before explaining: “Thank God we have free healthcare over here because I’m going straight to the doctor’s after this video. I feel really sick right now.”
In an article for Spectator, Charlie Nash writes about his experience purchasing and consuming the water. He described it as:
The water had a light, sweet candy-like taste with traces of salt, and my stomach started to hurt just a few minutes later.
So there you have it. A plan to become world champions, a plan for an easier life and a plan for fame, all with their own type of success.