Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Blame Game over the Flame of Shame

If I were any kind of cartoonist, I'd drawn a picture of an athlete surrounded by two thousand police carrying two immense fingers in an "up yours" gesture through the streets of London. This was the message that the Olympic torch relay conveyed to me anyway.

It was reminiscent of a "rolling maul" from Rugby Union - blue Chinese guards and yellow police doing synchronised jogging around someone without the nous to be ashamed of what they were doing.

It was gratifying to see that the police had to crowd in so tight that no-one could recognise the torch-bearer - could be Ellen McArthur, could be Geoff Capes.

Fortunately there were a few principled people who turned-down the chance to carry the torch, and it was obvious from his face that Gordon Brown didn't want to be within a country mile of it. I thought it was a sign of the organiser's desperation that Konnie Huq got her over-exposed hands on it.

And then after a hard day watching the coverage on BBC News 24, we went out for a Chinese meal. Because my grumble isn't with the Chinese people, it's with the fascist head-cases who are currently oppressing them.

I don't believe that the demonstrations will have any effect on the Chinese government and certainly will not directly help the Tibetan people. But it's good that our elected leaders get a taste of the strength of feeling on these issues, and they will hopefully act accordingly.

Oh, and I don't justify any law-breaking in pursuit of even such a good cause. Anyone actually found guilty of a public order offence deserves to be fined. Count me in if anyone's doing a whip-round to pay the fines though.

Update 07/04/2008 : Well, it seems the French ran up more points today despite there being 3,000 police on duty in Paris. I say the Brits scored four points:-
  • Touching the flame (Konnie Huq incident)
  • Fire Extinguisher near-miss
  • Flame forced off the road and into a bus
  • General obscuring of the flame
Compare that to the French, where the flame actually had to be extinguished three times and a big ten point for the premature cancellation of the relay. Formidable !

The action now moves to San Francisco on Wednesday - can the Americans get close to the French score despite the fact that American police are armed ?


Kenny said...

I'm still undecided as to what the most farcical part of the whole thing was. The aftermath is even more amusing -- I listened to Konnie Hug on the radio this morning and her commentary on her experience and stance was worthy of an olympic gold in linguistic gymnastics.

Okay, it would be amusing were it not for the sheer hypocrisy of both camps.

BTW -- shouldn't that conservative in the title be Conservative? ;)

Kenny said...

As someone drolly put it on the radio last night, "The French should be congratulated for protesting and putting out the flame. They normally protest by setting fire to things. This shows great strides towards becoming a great nation."