This week our cantankerous Brits take on ‘The Greatest’s’ hometown and guns

Look, I’m not being contrary, but how long before we end our period of mourning?

What, for the Empire? Never, old chap. Damned poor form.

Not for the Empire, you pompous plank. For Ali. “The Greatest.”

Well, you’ve been here since the days of Methuselah, so you’re far more in tune with the local burial rites than I am. You’re old enough to have babysat Ali. I am sure you can work it out for yourself. But why do you ask?

I’m wondering when it’s right to start being honest about this city’s relationship with Ali. Much as the local bigwigs want to bask in the national spotlight his death provides, I’m sure they’re also keen to get on with everyday life. That being, of course, continuing to ignore Louisville’s institutionalised  segregation.

Little harsh. Even if it’s impossible to deny that Louisville is a segregated city, it has made halfhearted efforts to address the issue, which is better than most of the country. Nothing would honour his life better than meaningful action to reduce its yawning racial divide.

And on past form, nothing is less likely. Look, he was one of the great figures of the 20th century, right up there with Gandhi and Mandela. I’ve worshiped him since I was a boy, but I find the public displays of grief from city leaders hard to stomach in a city that couldn’t even bring itself to name a bridge after him. It’s like despised relatives turning up to a family funeral in the hope of getting a mention in the will. The Ali Center, fabulous though it is, is the exception that proves the rule: Nowhere was Ali less respected than here.

That’s true of most heroes, sports heroes in particular. Abandoning their hometown for wherever the money is, and let’s not forget that Ali’s anger and hatred of oppression was formed here in Louisville, not at Caesars Palace. I understand why he may have felt conflicted about this city. At the same time, it’s probably also fair to say that he could have done more for his old neighbourhood. For most of his life he was the world’s most famous and recognisable man. Even with Parkinson’s he could have done infinitely more for the entire West End.

It’s not about him or what he could have done. It’s about the hypocrisy of a city that’s already cashing in on his memory, while at the same time doing the bare minimum to change the despicable situation that half of its population lives in. Maybe it’ll take his death for people to realise they’ve been played for Muppets. As someone recently pointed out, if this city wants to really celebrate his life it should start by raising the minimum wage substantially and investing in the West End. And bollocks to what Bevin or GLI would say to that.

I’m in general agreement with anything that would make our esteemed governor’s head explode, so for once you may be on to something. Nice talk might win votes in the East End, but if people want real change, they’ve got to stop listening to Highlands liberals, and start listening to actual West End residents. It’s what Ali would have wanted. On a more positive note, Louisville hit it out the park on Friday.

Those you love the most have the greatest power to disappoint you. Which is why this city disappoints me so often. But the people. Shit. Ali got a send-off that must have ruined the haters’ weekend. Fantastic.

A proud moment, in the midst of a sea of indifference. Ruined within 24 hours by that 24-carat wanker down in Orlando. The Muslim community goes from ecstasy to agony in a few short hours, brought to you by the NRA’s insane cheerleading, and Mitch McConnell’s rank cowardice.

Don’t even get me started. Conservatives think that liberals are angry at guns. What an absurd idea — guns are inanimate objects; it would be like being angry at a shower curtain or a box of tissues. They’re not angry at guns — they’re angry at the virtually unfettered access to guns. And that it’s considered a “right” — along with shelter, food, education, and suffrage — might be the most perverted concept in any constitution anywhere on earth.

For once we agree. It’s trite to say that this will keep on happening, but I am sure we will have plenty of opportunity to discuss this another time. Until then, stay angry.

Not a problem.