Run with Eric + TIME

Manchester United, racism, diets and breastfeeding (not in the same story)

All right then, a quick one before the year is out. New Year's Eve on the South Bank can wait.

First, though, a quick word of thanks to anyone still reading this blog; to those who put up with the epic early posts; to those who bookmarked it, RSSed it or remembered to return every Sunday night; and to those stuck with it through the regime change into its current non-weekly format. It's been great to know I'm not just prattling into an empty universe, as I usually am. Thank you all.

So why am I posting now, when I'm running late for a train? Because there are a couple of things I want to make clear before 2009 begins with a swirl of fireworks and anti-climax.

i) Manchester United are not out of the running for the Premiership. I keep reading interviews, match reviews and analyses saying, "United are still in the hunt" as if it's a surprise. Of course it isn't.

For one, United are never out of the running. As much as it pains me to say it (I hate United with a red devilish passion surpassed only by a recent revulsion towards Arsene Wenger), they are a good team that never gives up - hence their tradition in grabbing points from games at literally the last minute. The same goes in the longer run, and they'll fight this tooth and nail.

Secondly, they have the depth to cope with the injuries that naturally plague any team with title aspirations. One look at the depth of talent in the United midfield - Ronaldo, Giggs, Park, Carrick, Hargreaves (admittedly out for the rest of the season), Nani, Anderson, Scholes, Fletcher, O'Shea and any I've missed - is enough to know they can survive an injury crisis far better than the likes of 13-man squad Arsenal can.

Finally, have these naysayers even seen the points difference? United are seven points adrift of leaders Liverpool with two games in hand. If they win those two games, both at home - and they will - they're only a point behind. All it takes is a few dropped points by Liverpool (very likely) and they're top. Not asking much.

My prediction for 2009: Manchester United to win the Premiership.

ii) Facebook is right to ban photos of women breastfeeding. It is. The only problem is that it's gone the wrong way about it.

Breastfeeding photos shouldn't be banned because they're supposedly disgusting, or because nipples shouldn't be on show on such a widely-used website, but because there are some very dodgy people on Facebook who go around stalking women with public profiles. Believe me - I know some of them. Pictures of women liberally breastfeeding are enough to have some sick men reaching for their Kleenex, and for that reason - to protect the people in them - the photos should be banned.

iii) Raymond Blanc, the famous chef, has been a bit irresponsible in my view.

There's not much on it here, but look past the stuff about family mealtimes to the bit about diet books. This is what The Telegraph focused on in their print report today, and quite rightly so.

Blanc has said that diet books make people fear food, rather than enjoy it. He seems to be of the 'live to eat, don't eat to live' party, claiming that British people are so worried about what they should and should not eat they don't eat nice food any more.

This is a tad dangerous in my view. Yes, diet books can be irresponsible too in giving people overly negative images of themselves, but at least they are trying to curb the obesity problem in this country. What we don't need is a leading chef telling people to stop worrying about their weight and eat whatever the hell they want.

iv) This man should resign.

And that's it for 2008! Thanks again for sticking with me. Here's to controversial stories in 2009.

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Manchester United, racism, diets and breastfeeding (not in the same story) + TIME