dick whittington

How fishwives and football fans demonstrate the wisdom and power of crowds

Those who describe football as ‘the beautiful game’ have usually never been anywhere near a terrace. Much the same as those who describe the open seas as ‘majestic’, have never stood on the open-deck of a trawler at midnight in the face of a 50ft wave.

Football can be enthralling, breathtaking, nailbiting – yes. But beautiful? Not often. As a barometer of economic wellbeing it is also proven to be an unreliable instrument, with fans continuing to shell out for season tickets and merchandise despite soaring prices and falling wages. Hardly a yardstick for realistic economic forecasting.

Why Dick Whittington is no longer looking to London to seek his fortune

Virtually every traditional children’s nursery rhyme sung in crèches across the land has its origins in a gruesome medieval tale of woe – Ringa Rosie is an early warning system for bubonic plague symptoms; London Bridge is Falling Down stems from a brutal Viking attack; and Mary Mary Quite Contrary is an account of the otherwise charming Queen Mary’s tendency for homicidal rages.