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Thursday, 10 July 2014

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Politicians have no place in this new hope and glory

Well, that was fun. More than fun, it was uplifting, refreshing, awe-inspiring, exciting.

All of the above – and many other things we’re now heartily sick of hearing about. Cliches fail those Games that gave us the full enchilada – as Americans fond of overused cliche might say.

Goodness knows how many dozens of overused cliches will stay with us now the Olympic cauldron has been extinguished. If gold medals were awarded for repetition, we’d have to call a recount.

Proud – that’s the worst of them. The world and his wife are “proud” of individuals who, through their own hard work, sweat, tears and sacrificing self-discipline have pushed themselves to be the best they can be. The best in the world.

Picky perhaps, but how do we, who struggle to change TV channels if we can’t find the remote, feel pride in Tom Daley, Jessica Ennis, Chris Hoy et al?

Awe-struck, yes. Shamed by our own idleness; stunned by the marvel of pure, unflinching tenacity and exceptional talent. But proud?

I’m neither his coach nor his mother, I can’t dive and have never had the vaguest inclination to strive for physical and psychological supremacy in any sporting discipline.

It’s not my place to be proud of Tom Daley. He is better than I. It would be falsely patronising to offer him my pride. I remain however flushed and humbled by an amazing, outstanding young man with an unwavering will to win, even in his darkest moments.

Proud to be British? That’s different. I am and always have been. No need of a sensational Olympics played out beautifully on home turf to confirm pride in my country. But something tells me, I shall be reminded over and again now, that this is precisely what London 2012 did for all of us – thanks to the politicians who enabled them.

There are already arguments over which party did most to secure the games for London. Labour in preparation or Conservatives in delivery. That’s where the will to win is stronger even than Mo Farah’s legs. And it’s where it is most inappropriate. In party politics.

Those fabulous athletes, the real deliverers of our happy and glorious Games; they who gave us our greatest medal haul since Moses was a lad, did so in spite of politicians.

They triumphed by their own drive and courage, their own determination to reach the pinnacle of their individual ability and technique.

Politics will try to hijack their superlative performances, as sure as eggs is eggs, because in party politics, it’s always the winning that matters most – not the delivery of performance.

Westminster politicians work to win power with more vigour than they work for the good of the country. Their comparison with the pure Olympian spirit of endeavour, common good, equality, grace in defeat and triumph is a dangerous fantasy.

And to ask us to offer pride in party political trickery, on the back of the stirring optimism of glorious Olympian heroism, could only dilute the greatness that filled us with such hope these last couple of weeks.

Have your say

Yet another peculiar article from Anne Pickles.

A few weeks back she was incandescent with rage that our TVs and lives were being filled with nothing but the Euro 2012 Championship, now she's waxing ecstatic about how good it was to have another sporting event fill our lives to an even greater degree!

It seems she doesn't even notice how lop-sided and bigoted her views are at times. But then I suspect she likes to generate a little bit of controversy, at least. Afterall, it makes people like me bother to write posts like this.......she's like our very own Jeremy Clarkson!

As for her 'pride' rant, I think it's perfectly normally that people should be proud. It's called 'national pride', and people who represent the nation and do well are held in high esteem.

She rightly says that we're not one of the athletes' coaches or mothers, so we can't take too much personal pride in each individual athlete, but the athletes are from the same land, the same culture, same laws, same language, same climate, same schooling system, and pledge allegiance to the same flag as us, so it's perfectly acceptable to share in the sense of national pride that these athletes have helped bring to this country.

Posted by M. Grayling on 2 September 2012 at 10:57

That's all very well Ms Pickles, but it was only a few weeks ago you were actually blaming the politicians for the impending doom of the omnishambles that were the olympics.

Somehow, now that the Olympics actually were a stunning success on every conceivable measure, something we couldnt really have known, you attack the politicians for taking the credit for something you were quite willing to blame them for if had gone wrong.

Posted by Jim on 18 August 2012 at 21:46

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