Wednesday 3 October 2012


Just think about the Olympics and Paralympics games. It (sic) was a triumph for Britain. And why did we succeed? We succeeded because of our outstanding athletes from Zara Phillips the granddaughter of a parachuting queen, to a boy from Somalia called Mo Farah. Mo Farah. A true Brit. And a true hero for our country.

“We succeeded because of the outstanding volunteers, the Games Makers who are here with us today, all 70,000 Games makers. They put a mirror up to Britain and showed us the best of ourselves.” Ed Miliband in his widely acclaimed speech to the 2012 Labour party Conference in England.

Wouldn't you know it? Every politician, it seems, wants to mention the Olympics like they were some magical time in British History. A time that changed everything. And yes, to be fair, they were, largely, a success, although outside London they had little effect and even inside London some of the effects were rather negative. Many shops and hotels have had a disastrous summer and there are disgruntled taxi drivers, homeowners who objected to having ground-to-air missiles on their roofs, small shopkeepers who had to stay at work till 3 in the morning to accept goods which couldn't be delivered during the day...etc.

But, overall a success, no doubt.  And because they were a success, it seems that every political party wants some of the glitter to rub off on them. And so every time they are mentioned, they seem to take on new and  magical proportions of greatness.

The organisers put on a great show. It ran wildly over budget, had a fair number of setbacks (remember that they was virtually no security in place only 10 days before the opening night; there were thousands of empty seats and thousands of disappointed would-be spectators ), but in the end they succeeded nicely for many reasons, not least because no matter what it cost it HAD to be a success. Cameron was counting on it.

Most of us had absolutely nothing to do with it. We went to work and came home and lived our lives completely normally during it. Some of us watched the Games on tv, but we'd have done that if it had been held in Ulan Bator. GB won loads of medals... but with home advantage it was always going to do well.

It doesn't actually prove anything at all about Brits, except that given an unlimited amount of money, they can put on a show. 

There was no real need to stage Olympic Games at costs of between £20 and £30 billion to prove that. A look at William's wedding, the Queen Mother’s funeral, Trooping the Colour or the state opening of Westminster’s parliament would have shown that. it was just bigger, and more expensive.

And Olympians are not heroes, Ed. Olympians work and train very hard at something that they love doing. It entirely admirable, but it is sport. Sport, Ed. It’s not fighting the Taliban or operating on accident victims. It’s not diving into icy waters to save a kid from drowning. It’s sport. Mo Farah is, I'm sure, a great guy, but he is not a hero. Paralympians are doing this out of choice too. There are some incredibly courageous people who conquer all sorts of disabilities, but they really aren't heros. There were probably some real heroes in the guys who in the end had to give up their leave to provide security for the Games after the useless muppets employed to provide security fell down catastrophically on the job. Like Gordon Brown before you, you demean their bravery by comparing them to people running round a track.

And while we are on the subject, you do realise, don’t you, that the Queen didn't actually parachute in to the Olympics? She's 86. She came in the car, like she always does. And with respect to Zara, she was a bad choice for your example. She's not one of us. She can spend her days training, with the best horses money can buy, exactly because, as you mention, she is the Queen's granddaughter. She's not fitting training in between two jobs. Actually, as a Labour leader you might want to give some serious thought to the high proportion of athletes that have privileged backgrounds... 

Apparently, then,  the volunteers made the Olympics (besides the heroic athletes). They put up a mirror to Britain and showed us the best of ourselves. It is fair though to mention that had they been holding that same mirror a year before they might have reflected something rather different. So let’s not get smug. The best was always there, and the worst is still there.

So, politicians, I'm not trying to rain on this parade. it was good; it went reasonably well. By all means be pleased; mention it in your speeches if you will, but stop making it into something it wasn't and basking in the attendant reflected glory. 


  1. Never watched a single frame and if it came on the radio with the fawning BBC presenters I had silence. Sport is money and prestige now as it has lost its soul the the same as most politicians coming to think of it.

  2. The same here CH. I can safely say I saw nothing of it.

    I'm fed up with them all crawling over it trying to make it what it wasn't. As soon as it started the press, which until then had rather gloried in their cock-ups, seemed to stop reporting anything but how incredibly wonderful it was.

    It was too, I have no doubt. But, as I say, anyone can make a good job of something like this when there is no limit to the money they can spend and the powers they can apparently use.

    And athletes are athletes. That's all they are. It's a good thing to be, but it is not heroic.

    We are in danger of making that word meaningless.

    Of course, as you say, it was all about business and money. All the way through I called it the Coca Cola Olympics, although clearly many other companies were involved.

    I was somewhat amused to see that Cadbury, one of the sponsors, saw a large drop in sales in the last year. Ho hum.

  3. I never watched a single episode of the Olympics either. I made that decision the minute that muppet from L.A. Galaxy got involved.

    The way that "our" broadcaster fawned over Beckham and all the other "stars" day after day was enough to make you want to throw up. Don't even mention that absolute debacle with "Hitler's matchstick."

  4. It's not the Olympics as a sporting occasion but the fact that they were a British team rather than a Scottish, English, Welsh or Northern Irish team that gets Ed, Dave and the Lib-Dem nonentity excited.

    The all out British nationalism of Ed's speech only becomes apparent if you think of Alex Salmond spouting the same stuff about Scotland and Scottishness as Ed did about Britain and Britishness. Alex wouldn't even try it.

    Brit, Britain and Britishness got a combined total of 60 mentions in his speech along with 46 One nation's.

    Along with the altered Union Jack to make the Cross of St. George much more prominent Labour have now morphed fully into a right wing patriotic party which can't see the difference between England and Britain and likes it that way.

    Not that they ever could to be honest.

  5. Team GB came 36th in the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 and won one gold medal.
    I don't remember any claims from Labour that this showed Unionism had failed.
    Mind you we did get devolution shortly afterwards.....

  6. I’m wondering if his grace the Lord Coe is looking at the “made in great Britain” train cock up and getting a similar warm glow at the “quality” of all things purely made in Britain? He must be getting a double whammy of a “glow” on, as this fiasco is not only a Great British “achievement” but a testament to his beloved Conservative Party as well, as the whole privatisation nonsense was their half-baked idea in the first place and its was Tory ministers in charge when they “forgot” about passengers and inflation.

    So let’s see how the tally of Britishness stacks up since the Olympics. That’s one achievement (the Olympics), one cover up (Hillsborough), one gaffe (plebgate) and one fiasco (west coast mainline). We are so lucky indeed to be part of this greatest Union in the history of time!

  7. I'm not even sure if I can say the Olympics was a success, it was definitely a spectacle and the athletes did well, if you're into that sort of thing.

    I suppose it enthused people, I'm not sure how long that will last.

    I'm actually sick of seeing Mo Farah's grinning face and I've never been a fan of the patronising motivational posters you get so am not personally enthused by what Hoy or even Murray did.

    I'm just not interested in watching sport on the telly and as I child, could never understand why people watched athletics in particular, its just boring.

    Basically, it was a 20 odd billion pound PPB for the British State.

    It may well be seen as a success but by what measure?

    PS: Ed Miliband is a spiv in a shiny suit with his Team One Nation chat. I mean, who falls for that shit any more?

  8. I think they were all used, Arbroath, to promote this United Britishness thing...

    We all know that underneath it was about money and money and money, and advertising Britain, and better together and all that rubbish. All of which is mince.

  9. tris and other snp malcontents

    I just want to mention the Olympics
    and how great it was to see us the British people as one big happy family.........yes indeedy the Olympics showed us all we the People of these diverse and happy Islands are........Better Together.....

    And we will stand as one nation against the separators and hold true the United Kingdom we all love..

    Niko -wipes tear from eye whilst gazing wistfully at the Union Flag fluttering in the breeze.

    Taz- toddles up to flag pole lifts leg and has a pee

    Niko-(through gritted teeth) Bloody dog!!

  10. Thanks for the catch phrase count Doug.

    I'm fascinated by the idea that some psychologists have come up with that if you say a phrase over and over the audience will come to identify with it.

    If I had listened to his speech (instead of taking advantage of the Rev Stu's printed version, with highlights) I would have been counting the number of times he said "One Nation".

    I wouldn't have heard anything else. Already the phrase is beginning to get get right up my nose.

    Particularly because if you think about what it means it is clearly bollocks.

    We are not one nation. We are four. We are not all in it together. There are decent hard working people who can barely feed themselves and there are people who can light their cigars with £100 notes.

    We are the most divided society in the EU. One nation is a pile of bloody blethers.

  11. LOL Monty.

    I wonder what coming third will do for GB. Let's hope it brings independence.

    Mind you, with the Commonwealth games coming up, you can bet that secretly the Tories will be pouring money into English sport so that they will beat the pants off us in Glasgow... just to prove that we can only operate as part of Greater England.

    I wonder what happened to "it's the taking part that counts".

    Another load of blethers. Pip Pip.

  12. Very good points Munguin. If Miliband was actually wanting to encapsulate all that 'Britishness' means in his speech, it might have a good idea for him to include these things which have come to light, and indeed you could add the fact that the BBC and police have been covering up a fair amount of sexual deviance from one of our popular disc jockeys (now deceased), the investigation of which will almost undoubtedly lead to unveiling of a good deal more of the same thing, including, rumour has it, a VERY prominent figure from the a certain party of government (also deceased)...

    I'll just say Haute La Garenne...

  13. I say success, Pa, because we have been told over and over again it was a success.

    I suspect that if I had been organising something at work which had gone maybe 6 or 7 times over its original budget, had a massive security cock up, had events with thousands of empty seats and disrupted the economic life of a large city, I'd probably be sacked and the whole thing considered a failure.

    However, the government and the press have used the Olympics as a propaganda exercise and therefore all the good things have been exaggerated and the bad things have been hidden. It's a bit 1984.

    Like any other sporting event, it does enthuse people for a few weeks. (The tennis courts are always full during the Wimbledon fortnight, when you can't switch on the tv without seeing tennis. But within a fortnight most people have forgotten tennis altogether.)

    (Btw, I note in his speech Mr Miliband also said that Britain, together, as one nation, won the war. He seems to have neglected the fact that many other nations were involved in this effort and that we might like to say a small thank you to Commonwealth countries, the USA and massive thank you to Joe Stalin for diverting so many of the German troops, money and equipment to the Russian Front.)

    Anyway... I don't really think that people other than devoted supporters fall for this stuff.

    If they do, they are a bit dim, as it was jam packed with lies.

    Did he have a shiny suit...? Yuk. He sounds like an adenoidal Tony B£air.

  14. LOL @ Niko... That dog knows a thing or two.

    He'll put you right.

    Dogs for Scotland


    This is inspiring stuff.

  16. tris

    Nicola doesn't have any support in her??? constituency,

    And as deputy liar in chief avoided answering how giving oodles of cash to the better off helps.......Pensioners etc who have less of the National cake due to the snp stuffing gold in rich peoples mouths.

    She says 'have no power to influence the overall size of that cake.'

    surely then even more of priority to be fair in the allocation of resources and let those with the means allow those without to have more help.

    how can she say giving equal amounts to people on unequal incomes is Fair.

    She like to say bring it on well more and more informed and fair minded people(like mike Russell)
    are coming round to the truer meaning of universal benefits and not the bastardised version of vote bribing which the snp are engaged in.

  17. Niko,

    I've recently grabbed an enormous commission and I want the tax from it used for killing people rather than for keeping people alive. I think I'd rather have Iraqi and Afghanistani children blown to bits than help the poor children and the elderly in Scotland. Can I rejoin the Labour party?

  18. I enjoyed the Olympics because i enjoy sports. I would have enjoyed it no matter which country it was held in, and probably more so if i wasn't paying for it.
    I never watched the opening or closing ceremonies, because i knew that had nothing to do with sport.
    Everything written by folk claiming that it was anything other than sport, is just wishful thinking pish.

  19. It would be a much better idea to ensure that Scots have the right to control the whole of its economy.

    I realise that universal benefits have detractors, but I would have thought that Labour would have done ANYTHING rather than make the poor beg for their benefits.

    My biggest worry would be that it would not be long before you wouldn't be getting a pension unless you were a pauper.

    Then why would people who can afford it not pay to go to the doctor?

    And so on until you had to beg for everything; no one of any import would get any of these benefits and they would deteriorate. Benefits for the poor are poor benefits.

    Labour in Wales seems to think that universality is important.

    You mention Mike Russell. He admits he has changed his mind about universality since having experience as a minister. Likewise Mrs Lamont used to be against nuclear weapons, but her experience as a minister and leader of the opposition has persuaded her that they are necessary to save Scotland from attack.

    People change their minds Niko.

  20. John... you sound like Johann's man. I'd give her a call if I were you.

    (I know she's not Cathie, but...well, you can't have everything.)

  21. I disagree Juteman.

    The politicians did use it for propaganda about how great GB was. They've done it directly in their speech. We couldn't have done it on our own stuff...

    And of course it was about Coka Co£a and McDonald$ and €adbury et al making lots of money out of it.

  22. Sorry Tris.
    I obviously didn't make myself clear.
    I know what politicians were trying to do, but i don't believe it worked.
    As i said, wishful thinking pish. :-)

  23. Ah, sorry for the misunderstanding Jute man. It's been a long hard day LOL

    I found a new picture to put at the top of the piece!

  24. The assault on universalism: how to destroy the welfare state

    Who benefits from this progressive degradation of the welfare state? Obviously not the lower classes. But nor do the middle classes, as the new, complex, and individualised systems are more expensive than what existed previously, often of poorer quality, and invariably far more complicated. The real beneficiaries are the very rich, who no longer have to pay for services they never used anyway.

    Labour are now officially the One Nation Tory party Scottish branch.

  25. That's a brilliant quote CH.

  26. I don't think the Daily Record or it's readers think much of the speech.

    He's admitted it's a Tory idea. He's desperately trying to win over the SE of England as Blue Ed.

    Everything he says when he talks about Scotland indicates that he is talking about a foreign country.

  27. I like the LibLabTorrid party analogy for one nation in a DR comment.

  28. Brownlie

    Nah! your to much of a softee


    Dissembling but the people can see the difference thats why you lot are being stuffed in the polls.

  29. They seem to have made no friends in Scotland from the overall leader's great speech.

    It's always a risk that Labour takes when they play up to the rich in the South of England, Cynical, that they will royally piss off the Scots who still have some notion that they are the working man's party... As if.

    Question for Niko: Is Ed Miliband Mrs Lamont's boss, or is she totally independent of him?

  30. So Niko, are you confident that Johann Lamont will be the next First Minister of Scotland?

  31. tris

    I am confident there will be a next First minister of a devolved Scottish government within the UK.

    Still soon you Nats will be calling the Labour party the 'English party'
    but there you go

  32. I quite enjoyed the Olympics. It was nice having it in the same time zone and not having to watch in the middle of the bloody night.

    I was quite happy to cheer on athletes from other countries in the British Isles. Why not?

    But it was a hellish waste of money when we could have let France foot the bill.

    And when that berk Miliband starts telling me I must be a unionist if I cheered for an English athlete, I think he's gone altogether too far.

  33. Niko:

    Will it be a Labour one do you think, and, if so, will it be mrs Lamont or mr Baker?

  34. Yes, Rolfe, I guess it would have been good for sports fans to have it in a time zone that didn't mean sitting up till 4 to watch ...whatever was interesting you.

    I usually watch swimming, gymnastics, diving and sometimes weight lifting, but Cameron and Coe had made so much of it being BRITISH and they had then allowed people like McDonald's to ban Burger King t shirts from the area, and there were brand police all over the UK making sure that no one but the sponsors gained from the games (forgetting that each one of us spent a VAST amount of our taxes on this extravaganza, and so had every right to try to get something back).

    We were told and better than told that we would all gain from it, which was just a pile of crap. My only gain was that I got some waste paper blown into my garden after they had a "flame" do in the local park, where the sponsors handed out bits and pieces in bags. Naturally the local populace took the stuff, and threw most of it on the ground... so some of it blew into my garden. Apart from that I got sod all.

    I often support other nations to win things. I have no problem supporting things England does (although when they win something it does seem to dominate the news for weeks, if not months after [cricket world cup]). But that's not England's fault. It's the fact that the BBC consider themselves to be the EBC.

    Anyway, I often support Wales or Ireland or Iceland or France, depending who is playing.

    My French friends (many of whom live in Paris) were delighted when London won. Merci à dieu...they said and continues to say as the costs mounted and the new laws multiplied..

    I think it should be remembered too that TOWNS not COUNTRIES are hosts to the Olympics. So it wasn't a British Olympics or an English Olympics. It was a London Olympics. The part that the rest of us played was paying for it.

    As for Miliband. He just makes me sick. I'm pretty certain he would make his dad and his dad's mates sick too. Another B£air.

  35. Niko... did you see the flag they used?

    The Irish part of the flag has been removed; Wales isn't a part of the union flag, so it never got a look in, and the blue of the St Andrew's cross has been faded, leaving the George Cross.

    And Miliband spoke as if he was the party of England, but he cares about Scottish teenagers who were out of work.

    "Now who was that bloke who was standing as leader of the Scottish branch? nope... can't remember."

    "Oh yes, Ken MacIntosh... never heard of him."

  36. Tris, I think the link below will answer your question:

    "Is Ed Miliband Mrs Lamont's boss, or is she totally independent of him?"

  37. Ahhhhh... that's what she got. An opportunity to feel important in the real world of BIG politics where they talk about bombs and invading places.

    What the hell is Curren for?

  38. It will give her something to do while she's waiting for orders from Miliband, ch.

  39. C.H. ROFLMAO!

    I think the REAL reason she is now "attending" these "meetings" is so that Milliband can ensure she gets his instructions first hand. He's fed up with the pigeon carrying his post constantly getting lost in the multitude of burrows she's dug!

  40. I was just being a bit cheeky as these people are the salt of the earth and mcthatcher would be unsuitable.

  41. I'm sure she's very clean CH. She always looks spotless.

    I'm sure that she has been invited so that they can 'sing from the same hymn sheet'.

    If ever there was a time NOT to have this happen, I'd have said it was now. Even Labour has acknowledged (in giving her the title that Elmer so much wanted chieftainess of the pudding party in Scotland), Scots want to have their different identity recognised. Quite clearly, all jesting aside, this is a move to get the two organisations working in harmony.

    Does the Welsh FM go to shadow cabinet meetings, does anyone know?

  42. Its this 'One Nation Labour' nonsense which confirms that she has accepted her place in London Labour calling the shots. The Welsh Labour leader will be allowed free rein as there is no immediate threat from Plaid.

    With the BBC up here using Labour press releases as factual news and after listening to the Jimmy Saville revelations puts the Beeb in exactly the same place as NI with their chasing media ratings before integrity.

  43. Clearly if she is to sit in on their meetings, there can be no serious attempt to make a separate agenda here. So Scotland's Labour party for Scotland's issues is all a pile of spin nonsense that was designed to shut up the plebs complaining that everything came from London. Now that they assume these plebs have forgotten about that, it's back to business.

    And that means right of centre One Nation Toryism delivered in a Thatcheresque way...

    Piquez moi.

    I don't believe this is really happening.

    I've been impressed by the non slavish attitude of the Scottish press to this "roll to the right".

    The Jimmy Savile thing is unbelievable too. He wasn't out of the top drawer, and he couldn't have been a HUGE star. He was only a DJ after all.

    But what he was, was a close friend of Thatcher (she knighted him) and a great supporter of the Tories. (Surprisingly perhaps given his relationship with Thatcher, he was also close to Edward Heath).

  44. I was standing outside London Bridge station having a ciggie whilst waiting for my train, and got chatting to one of the Olympics 'volunteers'. She was a National Rail employee and was on paid leave for the duration of the games.

  45. Anon, sorry your comment took so long to appear. It went into spam, as some Anon comments do.

    That is absolutley amazing... so some of the volunteers were being paid full wages to volunteer BY THE GOVERNMENT.

    How embarrassing.

    I'm actually going to introduce this on an up to date post... because I want everyone to read it.

    Cheating bastards!