JUST think - barring an “unbelievaable Jeff ” twist - there’s only another 1,820 days to go to the next General Election.

Yippee or phoeey, you might exclaim depending on your political persuasion, but let’s not think that sport will be exempt from the effects of five years of now exclusively Tory control.

There are a huge raft of spending cuts to come, most of which will descend like a guillotine on welfare. And besides the poorest and vulnerable paying for the hob-nobbing lords of misrule, you can bet sports provision in this country will also be hit.

You can almost hear the grass on school-fields groaning in antici - pation of being ploughed up for development - posh private houses, office space (when there’s already more of it than you could shake a spirit level at) and the absolute folly that is HS2, which will enable all our dedicated businessmen and women and other makers of wealth, to get to Birmingham ten minutes earlier. Why, anyone would want to get to Brum any earlier is beyond me?

Any increase on expenditure on sport is about as likely as Messrs Milliband, Clegg and Farage forming a new pop combo - Lost Direction, perhaps?

For sports to thrive, they will no doubt have to again depend on cash from their own governing bodies, not government, and on their own local associations, not centrally funded.

Oh aye, there’s always that steadfast stand-by, the National Lottery, to stump up cash for Britons wishing to prevail against nations, whose governments do not hesitate to provide national aid.

But, come on you rag-tag hoi-polloi, we’re still having to make “tough decisions” because we are having to deal with “tough times”.

“And don’t forget, in these scept’red fair isles of ours, we’re all in this together.” (Too true, Sherlock, the few get the bulk of all the wealth).

Yet you can bet your last ha’penny (remember them) that at the same time as imminent swingeing cuts will impact on the least fortunate, our Bullingdon bluster-brigade will be the first to board any bandwagon that is trundled out on the back of any sporting success.

Should our athletes succeed in Rio next year, there will be an Olympus-sized rejoicing from the likes of Cammo, Osso and Bozzer, all hailing our heroes and heroines.

Should our cricketers re-discover the way to reclaim the Ashes and beat the Aussies, or our ruggah union fellows rule the world later this year, then the yahoo cheers will echo from Downing Street to Eton and Windsor, via Lord’s and Twickers, of course.

And should - though this has to be the most remote scenario - our footballers make the most of their Euro 2016 expedition, then it will surely be down to our “splendid chaps from Aston Villa, or West Ham, or Burnley, or Scunthorpe, or Dringhouses. Well, I know my favourite boys are clad in claret and blue”.

It’s not as if previous administrations have been any better in providing for sport. Over the last five decades sport has been the poor relation of government expense.

But in times of austerity then expect little or no help from our rulers, though even that will be infinitely more preferable than those who will soon be at the sharpest end of an imminent £12 billion of cuts to the welfare budget.

Ace Pope and glory

York Press:

MAYBE there is a saviour for sport.

Pope Francis has been a busy Pontiff this week as shown by this selection of pictures - holding a tennis racquet, accepting a shirt from the Lazio sporting association and taking tips from a Harlem Globetrotters basketball player.

Now before anyone gets their tabernacles in a twist, I too am a Catholic (greatly lapsed, mind), obviously, the leader of the globe’s left-footer legion is going to excel at cross-court volleys, will be adept on both wings, and can hoop a Hail Mary. Go Frank, go.