Following the demise of the Dear Leader, the only contested election at the forthcoming AGM of the Egregious Chess Federation is for the post of FIDE Delegate. Nigel Short, the incumbent, is being challenged for the post by one Rupert Jones.
Now before proceeding any further, I should make a few things clear:
1. I am not, and never will be, a member of the ECF, and really don't care what happens to the vile bunch of protection racketeers.
2. I do not believe the ECF should be a member of FIDE; rather, we should have organised a breakaway by the Western democracies and formed a new organisation.
3. I have never met or had any contact with Rupert Jones, and know nothing about him, other than what I have read in the chess press recently.
Having stated these things, though, it seems very clear to me that Rupert Jones is about as suitable for the role of ECF FIDE Delegate as Joey Barton is for a job as an Anger Management Consultant.
The first thing I know about Rupert Jones is that he is registered with, and plays for, Papua New Guinea. Apparently, he was born there, which perhaps explains it. On the other hand, I am told that he has also been registered for, and represented, Botswana in the past, which is perhaps harder to account for. If I were not such a trusting soul, always looking for the good in people, I might even suspect him of having an unhealthy determination to get to each Olympiad, no matter which country he has to represent, in order to do so. Is the Bermuda Party really that good?
You may say that it doesn't matter - just because he plays for another federation, that doesn't mean he can't represent England in FIDE's corridors of power. Maybe, although I am far from convinced. But there is another, far greater problem with Mr Jones. He is also a FIDE insider. Specifically, he is Secretary of FIDE's "Development Commission". That is the body charged with doling out money to Third World countries, "to develop chess" in those countries. Naturally, the more generous the Commission is in "developing chess" in such countries, the more likely those countries are to support the incumbent FIDE President, so it is a key position as far as Ill-Lunatic is concerned. I think it safe to say that he would not wish to see the Commission fall into the hands of anyone he did not trust as a loyal supporter of himself.
It is very clear that, if elected as the ECF's FIDE Delegate, Jones would face a huge conflict of interest. England is hardly the sort of country which could ever expect to be a significant recipient of the Development Commission's largesse, even at the best of times. As it is, with our popularity within FIDE being on a par with that of a bacon sandwich at a Barmitzvah, it is very clear that a man whose job is to secure money for Third World countries is going to have interests diametrically opposed to those of the ECF. He cannot possibly represent us at FIDE.
As I said above, I don't think we should be in FIDE at all, but if we are to remain so, there is only one possible reason - to work towards the removal of Ill-Lunatic at the next election in 2014. I really cannot imagine Mr Jones pursuing that goal. Keeping Nigel Short in place is the best way to do so. Furthermore, he has clearly done an excellent job at the latest FIDE Congress - even Lara and Alex have publicly heaped praise on him for his performance, and they can hardly be regarded as fully-paid-up members of the Nigel Short Fan Club. Despite the furore over the CAS court case, and despite Nigel's occasionally less than filigree diplomatic skills, he is enormously respected around the world of chess, and is currently by far the best man to be representing the ECF within FIDE.
I am sure that the powers that be within FIDE would love to see Nigel replaced. But even for the numpties who make up most of Council, it would be a spectacular own goal to remove him now. He should be left in place until the 2014 elections. If at that point, the latest attempt to oust Ill-Lunatic has failed, Nigel can be voted out, if need be - in fact, I understand he will stand down voluntarily, if that happens. But for God's sake, give the boy a chance. It is our only hope of getting rid of the Space Traveller.
And as for Mr Jones, I'm afraid he is just PNG - plainly no good.