England lose World Cup!

Now we play the blame game . . .

After a torturously long introduction, Sepp Blatter announced that Russia and Qatar will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, respectively.

Pah. Russia gets our World Cup, we get their weather

According to various tweets, England went out in the first round. So what went wrong? England rolled out their biggest guns: the heir to the throne, the Prime Minister and David Beckham (who will now have to wait a while for that knighthood). Who should we blame?

BBC

The main candidate so far is the BBC. A Panorama special looked into the allegations of corruption that have persistently dogged Fifa for the past two decades. Jack Warner, whose family firm allegedly earned £1m from reselling tickets at the 2006 World Cup, and whose votes England had to get to have even an outside chance of winning, was said to be especially displeased by the programme. Investigative journalism and FIFA do not sit well together.

Mail on Sunday

In an undercover sting, the Mail on Sunday triggered the resignation of the England bid chief, David Triesman, after he was recorded claiming that other bids were corrupt. See above comment re: investigative journalists.

Sunday Times

Muckraking journalists are not friends of Fifa. They really, really aren't.

The Sportugal bid

Persistent rumours surround the joint bid of Spain and Portugal, the main one being that they cut a deal with the Qataris to swap votes. Spain and Portugal missed out, while Qatar succeeded.

These are probably the main candidates (along with financial clout from both Russia and Qatar). But who else can we blame?

Prince William

Could have invited all the Fifa delegates to his wedding. Didn't.

David Cameron

The PM gave a slick performance on stage, but was his backstage schmoozing up to scratch?

The weather

An English summer does not contain the 50-degree Celsius days that the Qatari summer does, and which Fifa obviously prefers.

Julian Assange

Well, why not?

David Beckham, however, summed it all up quite neatly.

Reporter: "What went wrong?"

Beckham: "We didn't get enough votes."

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Donald Trump vs Barack Obama: How the inauguration speeches compared

We compared the two presidents on trade, foreign affairs and climate change – so you (really, really) don't have to.

After watching Donald Trump's inaugural address, what better way to get rid of the last few dregs of hope than by comparing what he said with Barack Obama's address from 2009? 

Both thanked the previous President, with Trump calling the Obamas "magnificent", and pledged to reform Washington, but the comparison ended there. 

Here is what each of them said: 

On American jobs

Obama:

The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift.  And we will act, not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.  We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.  We'll restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost.  We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.  And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.

Trump:

For many decades we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.

Obama had a plan for growth. Trump just blames the rest of the world...

On global warming

Obama:

With old friends and former foes, we'll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

Trump:

On the Middle East:

Obama:

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. 

Trump:

We will re-enforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.

On “greatness”

Obama:

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned.

Trump:

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

 

On trade

Obama:

This is the journey we continue today.  We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth.  Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began.  Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week, or last month, or last year.  Our capacity remains undiminished.  

Trump:

We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our product, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.

Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never ever let you down.

Stephanie Boland is digital assistant at the New Statesman. She tweets at @stephanieboland