The Mangle: Ken Bates, Man of the Moment Gary November 21, 2011 The Mangle 14 Comments Austerity, austerity, austerity: it’s all we hear these days, banging into our skulls like a claw hammer on a piece of string or Ken’s regular Yorkshire Radio diatribes. A not unintentional link, as you may have already assumed. The bearded one’s spent most of the last decade largely out of step with the times – living a life of sun, sea, and tax-evasion somewhat akin to an older, less sanguine Ray Winstone in Sexy Beast, with a few added court cases and hotel/leisure facility master plans. Judging by his track record of desperate stabs to stay in the public eye as a media rent-a-quote on almost any topic, you can safely assume he’s seething with resentment while the younger, richer, hipper, but invariably less garrulous rule football’s roost. But things are changing. Roman’s been throwing away billions in bad loans, top division outfits with proud histories can’t find a sugar daddy for all the coquettish glances on earth, and the a-word just chimes on and on. It’s gone from individuals to entire nations being urged to batten down the hatches, tighten those belts, sew up those wallets…oh just stop f***ing spending, alright. We know how that feels. We can only assume the fabled Warchest was buried for safe-keeping on a Greek island. With the Keynesian economics of spending your way out a recession clearly out of vogue, Ken, on the other hand, is surfing the zeitgeist like a man half his age. Recent stats you can find buried lower down in this blog proved what we’d all suspected anyway: our turnover’s massive, our wages as a percentage of that are low, and when sales and purchases are totted up, we’re well in profit on that front too. Who cares that the defence is still more than somewhat shaky, we could use quality competition in the middle and more pace in the side, when we’re kerching-ing it in during a global meltdown, right? Right? Ken’s like Robert Peston and Martin Lewis rolled into one – he’s got this recession game down. While everyone else is getting bailed out, Ken’s sitting up on high accusing the masses of being freeloading morons. What’s nonetheless surprising, though, is that he doesn’t seem to be reaping full advantage of his moment to shine – a chance to project himself as some kind of recessionary hero for the masses. This age of sweeping cuts and entrenchment seems to be calling for a mean, sweary Santa telling us all there will be no presents this Christmas, it’s all for our long-term benefit, and we should be thankful for him stepping in to tell us this before we reached the abyss. Ken doesn’t often miss an opportunity to puff himself up to anyone or no-one listening – Christ, the guy went to the trouble of buying our football club for seemingly exactly that reason. Incidentally, this leaving of a quiet life of ill-gotten gains for ‘one last job’ – to our bad luck – also quite nicely mimics Ray Winstone in Sexy Beast, but I digress. What I’m saying is this: if Philip Green, a fat, tax-dodging, Monaco-loving curmudgeon can be appointed as an advisor on national spending, then there’s little reason why our fat, tax-dodging, Monaco-loving curmudgeon has been overlooked for such high office, despite his obvious credentials in grinding the bargain basement. Maybe the reason he hasn’t made his pitch for immortality is simply the fact that Ken’s all about Ken, and anything that could potentially detract from Ken – the macro-economic issues of the world at large, for example – would only muddy the waters. Why be Austerity Hero first and Ken second, when you can be Ken first and Ken second, on a radio station owned by Ken with Ken as producer and script editor? Yes, it’s all for one and one for one at the lighthouse in the economic storm that is Elland Road – Atlas Shrugs, Grayson works his balls off; we lurch on with him, more in hope than expectation.