I don’t like the Olympics. It’s not an irrational dislike of the Olympics or an ideological objection to the Olympic ideals, it’s for a number of (in my opinion) rational reasons …
There is no English Olympic team and I’m not British. For me the British Olympic team is as foreign as the French team. Sure it’s mostly made up of English competitors but they’re competing under a false flag that I bear no more allegiance to than the Stars and Stripes or the Tricoleur. There is nothing other than a lack of political will or corporate support preventing the replacement of the British team with English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish teams which, I suggest, would get far more support than the British Olympic team. The precedent has been set with the Hong Kong team that is still competing in its own right despite having been subsumed into China in 1997. Until such time as there is an English team in the Olympics, I will continue to shun the games.
The superficial Britishness that’s on display during the Olympics is really grating. The imperial flag is everywhere and it’s even replacing the English flag at a lot homes which is something that no other British promotional activity has even managed to do in the last decade or two. The proliferation of the imperial flag and public declarations of being “proud to be British” are the result of a relentless promotion of Britishness by the British government and big business who love having one brand covering four nations that they can promote instead of all that inconvenient respecting our historic nations and identities.
The amount of taxpayers money that’s being spent on this British vanity project is obscene. I don’t know how many homeless, ill or deprived people could have been helped with just the £9bn direct cost of the Olympics let alone the billions more that have been spent by local authorities and public bodies but it’s a better use of taxpayers money than the Olympics.
The oppressive way the Olympic brand and the monopolies are being protected are an annoyance as well. Why couldn’t the Olympic Kebab shop in London continue to be named the Olympic Kebab shop just as it has for years? Why can’t schools use the Olympic rings on a poster produced by kids? Why can’t a chip shop sell chips if the Olympics have moved in next door for a few weeks? Why can’t you turn your wi-fi hotspot on on your mobile phone if you’re in an Olympic venue? Why are you forced to buy food and drink from approved suppliers? Why has the Olympics sold out so utterly and completely to corporate interests?
Why are politics allowed to interfere in the Olympics? Why does Taiwan have to be called Chinese Taipei just because the Chinese like to bully their smaller neighbour? If they’re offended by the name Taiwan being used screw them. Why does Macedonia have to be called the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia just because the Greeks get all prissy about them using their country’s name in case some people see it as giving merit to the idea that Macedonia might have a claim to the Greek state by the same name even though they’ve expressed no interest in making such a claim? If the Greeks don’t like it screw them too.
Why did the British government and LOCOG allow a bunch of French Language fascists dictate that the French language must be used in the Olympics and not only must it be used but it has to be used before English? I don’t care whether it’s in the founding charter of the modern Olympics (the idea for which was nicked from the English by a Frenchman) says that French and English are the languages of the Olympics, the French have never insisted on the French language being used until London beat Paris to the right to host the Olympics – if was a deliberate, calculated insult aimed at Les Rosbeef.
While there is a British team it should be names properly. Team GB doesn’t cut it – that name represents half of the constituent territories of the Olympic team. Great Britain is a geographic term for the island on which England, Scotland and Northern Ireland reside. Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are also represented by Team “GB” but they’re not in Great Britain, they’re in the British Isles. But so is the Republic of Ireland and they aren’t represented by Team “GB” so Team British Isles doesn’t cut it either. The fact is, there is no short and snappy title for what Team “GB” covers because it’s just not a natural, historical or cultural entity. The shortest accurate team name would be Team UK and Crown Dependencies. I refer back to my earlier use of the word “superficial” – it applies equally here.
Finally, the most annoying thing about the Olympics: Seb Bloody Coe. If ever there was a case for pre-emptive euthanasia, he surely has to be it?