Tag Archive for Olympics

It’s time to abolish Sunday Trading restrictions in England

Pope Benedict XVI

God says it’s a sin to buy medicine on a Sunday

Embarrassed at the thought of the world mocking the way we pander to medieval superstitious beliefs by banning shops from opening all day on Sunday in the name of a religion that only 10% of the population actively engage in, the British government relaxed Sunday Trading laws in England and Wales during the London Olympics.  Now the debate is open on whether to tighten them back up again.

The last serious attempt to get Sunday Trading laws relaxed in England was back in 2006 when a group of companies, including the big supermarkets, petitioned the Secretary of State for Trade & Industry to relax them so they could open for more than 6 hours on a Sunday.  The Secretary of State declined.  The Secretary of State had no business making the decision because the Secretary of State was Alistair Darling, the MP for Edinburgh Central, whose own constituents don’t have to put up with the inconvenience of Sunday Trading restrictions because there aren’t any in Scotland.

Scotland is by far a more religious country than England yet they are sensible enough to realise that translating those minority religious views into restrictions on economic activity benefits nobody.  It’s a shame that the politicians they inflict on us don’t share that same sensibility but when they’re messing up someone else’s country, I suppose they don’t really care.  But if Scotland can dispense with Sunday Trading restrictions despite being a more religious country than England, why should we endure these ridiculous restrictions because of the irrational beliefs of a declining number of adherents of the state religion?

The economy is on the rocks at the moment and anything that can give it a boost should be welcomed.  We need drastic tax cuts and people spending money to create jobs.  The drastic tax cuts aren’t going to come under Labour or the Tories because all either of them know how to do is spend more and more of our money but abolishing Sunday Trading restrictions is just about compatible with today’s Tories, even if they have all but abandoned their conservative principles.

On average, those of us who still have jobs are working longer hours to pay for those that don’t, bailing out the €uro, Indian space missions, etc. so we have to do more things at the weekend.  If we want to do our weekly shopping at 9pm on Sunday then why shouldn’t we be able to?  If we need a pharmacy at 3 o’clock on Sunday morning, why should we have to drive 30 miles to find one of the increasingly small number of independent pharmacies that haven’t been snapped up by big chains that don’t have to comply with Sunday Trading restrictions?  Why can we go for a bagel at McDonalds at 8 o’clock on Sunday morning but can’t go to Tesco’s and buy a packet of bagels to make our own?  This ridiculous rule about observing the Jewish religious law of observing the Sabbath has no place in England in 2012 and it’s time to consign Sunday Trading restrictions to the history books they came out of.

Why I won’t be supporting Team GB or the Olympics

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 …

Official Olympic Sponsor London 2012There 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?

Olympics organisers offend North Koreans

Kim Jong Il

You fix dat god damn frag right now!

The Olympic Games started today with women’s football and the organisers have dropped a clanger already, displaying the South Korean flag against pictures of the North Korean players who then walked off and only returned to the pitch an hour later when the offending video had been corrected and replayed.

Given that the British Olympic Committee can’t tell the difference between the British and Scottish flag, it’s hardly surprising they’ve managed to insult the North Koreans on day one.  Even the name of Team GB is wrong when Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands aren’t part of Great Britain but are represented in Team GB.

£30m Olympics bribe for Scotland, Wales & NI

On Wednesday the British government finally announced the West Lothian Question commission that they promised over a year ago, yesterday they gave a practical demonstration of why it’s so desperately needed.

Olympic BribesScotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have negotiated a £30.2m bonus from the British government because the British government have spent money in London for the British Olympics.  No extra money will be spent in the rest of England where local authorities are facing cuts of about a quarter over the next few years.

The money is being handed over because of what is called Barnett Consequentials – the technical name for giving Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland a big wedge of cash just because the British government have spent some money in England.  Barnett Consequentials are part of the balancing mechanism to ensure Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland continue to get the same outrageous level of subsidy at England’s expense no matter how much capital investment the British spend in England.

Paying Barnett Consequentials because of the Olympics is a bloody liberty though because they’re not the English Olympics, they’re the British Olympics.  England doesn’t have a Olympic team and the British government’s investment in London is for their Olympics, not for London or for England.  Some of the facilities that are being built for the Olympics are going to be relocated to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and some of the events are even being held in those countries.  They will “benefit” from the British Olympics as much as the rest of England.

The British government shouldn’t have paid any Barnett money to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for the British Olympics but there was nobody at the meeting representing English interests.  As a consequence (excuse the pun), £30.2m of English taxpayers’ money is going to be handed over to the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish for no other reason than because the British spent some money in England for their Olympic vanity project.  This has only happened because there is no English government to represent English interests, saying “no, this is your Olympic games, we’re not paying your bribes”.

There are no details as yet on who will be on the West Lothian Commission, what they will consider and whether an English Parliament will be ruled out immediately or when they report in 2013.

Team GB? Fuck no!

Team Britain? Fuck no!The British Olympic Committee have caused outrage in Scotland and Wales by lying in a press release announcing the FA’s (or the English FA as they should more accurately be known) unilateral decision to field an English football team as “Team GB” in the Olympics.

The BOA has claimed that an “historic agreement” has been reached to allow players from all four home nations to play in a GB football team but the Scottish and Welsh FAs have both released statements saying they have been part of no such agreements and they will not take part in “Team GB”.

No Team GB

There is very little support for a “Team GB” football team in the Olympics.  Support is pretty much restricted to British politicians in England, the English FA, the BOA and FIFA.  The corrupt President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, has said on more than one occasion that there should only be one football team in the UK.   The fan associations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all opposed to the idea of a “Team GB” football team, the Scottish FA is opposed to the idea of a “Team GB” football team, the Welsh FA is opposed to the idea of a “Team GB” football team, the Northern Irish FA is opposed to the idea of a “Team GB” football team.  Which event has had the most unsold tickets for the 2012 Olympics?  Yep, football – nobody wants to see an English football team running round the pitch with union flags on their shirts.

This is a local mascot for local people

The Fortean Times merrily pointed out this morning on Twitter that the Olympic mascots “appear to be Cyclops-eyed, pincer-handed aliens“.

He may not be Prime Minister any more but we just can’t get away from El Gordo.

Anyway, what about those mascots, eh?  Very shiny, and bit angry looking and just a little bit phallic (in-keeping with the theme set by the Lisa Simpson blowjob logo).  But I can forgive their inadequacies somewhat because one of them is names after my home town.

I grew up in Much Wenlock and quite frankly the town makes very little of the fact that the modern Olympics probably wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Dr William Penny Brookes and his Wenlock Olympian Games.  Having the mascot named after the town might just be the kick up the arse they need to start making the effort to capitalise on the Olympic connection.

That said, the town council did ask the International Olympic Committee for permission a few years ago to put the Olympic rings logo on the signs at the entrance to the town but they were turned down.  Now might be an opportune moment to ask again.

The organisers of the London Olympics reckon they can raise £15m peddling Wenlock and Mandeville tat.  I’m not convinced they’re going to make much money out of merchandising although they do bear more than a passing resemblance to Crazy Bones which might earn them a few quid from special editions.

Unsurprisingly, the mascots have already been extensively photoshopped.  The chav one is my favourite.

Well, that’s about all you can expect on the great white Olympic elephant from me.  Waste of money and no English team, what is there to interest me other than the connection with the town I grew up in?  Oh, and if anyone wants a guided tour of Wenlock from a local, I’m available for a small fee. 😉