London Protest welcomes Chinese Olympic Torch – Ha Ha!

Oh ho ho – how predictable, the Olympic torch is run through London today as an opportunity for the Free Tibet Lobby to make their point, very kind of the Chinese to organise this fantastic anti-Chinese photo shoot. PR disaster – you bet, but entirely predictable – it’s one of those notable things that Chinese experts keep going on about the West’s need to learn more about Chinese culture. But the reverse applies equally. Who advised them to run the Olympic flame 31 miles through central London anyway?

The great thing is the ambiguous position adopted by the athletes/celebs who defend the Olympic spirit but disassociate themselves from the Chinese and their civil rights record. Easy. If they’d run the torch through London for the Nazi 1936 games, the story would have no doubt been the same. But then these sports people still seem to think that politics and sport are separate. Gordon Brown our great new Prime Minister is under no such illusion – but he is torn by a further political constraint that London hosts the Olympics in 2012. His solution was to divert the flame into Downing street but not actually touch it himself – how very Pontius Pilate.

The only people with any integrity are the Sugababes who pulled out of their headline slot at the end of the trail. Hold on, let’s have that again – the reason given is that one of them has a sore throat (Oh Yeah). So they didn’t even manage to make a decent political gesture out of the realisation they were about to be stuffed by giving their many teen fans the impression they were colluding with the “forces of oppression” in Tibet. That we have reached such simplistic state of affairs is a pity – what about Darfur and the rest of Africa where the Chinese are buying up natural resources, or their role in the Middle East, what about the global economy, what about the Chinese people themselves – the dilemma of a one-child policy that surely infringes their human rights, but protects the world from a population crisis that will make your pathetic attempt to be green look pain free.

The BBC of course plays a “neutral” hand – ha ha. The helicopter pictures show the flame at the centre of a circle of blue clad Chinese flame guardians, surrounded by day-glow yellow police, in turn surrounded by a further concentric circle of black clad police who rugby tackle Free Tibet protestors.  But the headlines run like a top ten of disruption and the commentators lather themselves up into a burst of excitement every time another protestor upsets the phalanx of guards which hustle the flame through London.

The flame will make it to the end of the journey. But then it’s off to France and given that Sarkozy has already said he won’t be going to the Opening ceremony, who knows what further humiliation the Chinese are preparing themselves to endure…?


Gordon Brown Plays the Fear Card – again.

Gordon Brown’s been up to Aviemore for the Scottish Labour Party huddle to spread more fear about Scottish Independence.  Thanks Gordon. We know your job and the Labour party’s future depend on the Union, but even if you can’t get beyond your own self serving interests, it would be kind if you didn’t talk crap – you diminish yourself and alienate the very public you seek to court.

When you repeat your suggestions that Independence would be a disaster because so many Scottish families extend beyond the boundaries of Scotland it makes me reach for the sick bucket – what exactly do you mean?  Are you trying to suggest that you will build a new Hadrian’s wall to divide Britain. Really? Will Ryanair, Eazyjet, BMI, BA stop all of their planes at Newcastle? Will the east and west coast mainlines be stopped at the border, like crossing from Pakistan to India at the Waggah border? Will BT cut off my broadband? How would the world view England if it made travel between Scotland and England worse than travel between the US and Cuba or China and Taiwan?

Like many Scottish families, mine extends beyond the borders of Scotland with a brother in London and a Sister in Manchester, not to mention extended family in the US, Canada, Australia, France and Spain. When Gordon Brown suggests that Scottish Independence will disrupt Scottish families, the only way this can happen is if London takes a repressive strategy and restricts my right to travel. So, Poles could come to England but Scots couldn’t – what kind of pique could inspire such a niggardly policy – just because Scots exercise their inalienable right to self-determination? How can the same prime minister who bangs on about internationalism want to build a wall to keep the Scots out of England? What Millennium is this idiot living in and why do the media not take him to task on this matter more effectively?

It’s all good fun

Pity the Chinese. Pity their vision of a glorious Olympics in 2008, a vision they’ve nurtured for years and now… Now they’ve got the curse of an Olympic flame that has to cross another 19 countires before it gets to Beijing. A journey that will be booby trapped at every opportunity. Today in Greece, where the flame was lit, it took half a dozen protestors to provide the TV images that ran round the world.

It won’t take any more, at each of the stops, to ensure that the grand ideals of the Olympic movement, the great Chinese coming out into the 21st century to take its rightful place, is tripped up, derailed, humiliated. When Kate Howie (the ex-minister for sport in the UK) gives her effective blessing to the protest, even the countries hosting the visit of the flame are compromised. Are you really going to crush a protest on behalf of the Chinese when there’s Tibet, Darfur and, of course, the unmentionable fear of a latent superpower?