A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Monday, April 07, 2008


A simple change the IOC could make when awarding future Olympic host status: instead of giving it to countries with a poor human rights record like China on the vague promise of an improvement if they become host, why not require a clear basic level of human rights and democracy as a pre-qualification criteria before you are even entitled to submit a bid to be a host?

The Olympic Charter says:

"The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man,with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity."

The current situation in Tibet is not compatible with "harmonious development", "a peaceful society" or "the preservation of human dignity."

I felt ashamed by the participation of British Ministers and sportspeople in the torch relay yesterday and by the co-option as auxiliaries of our police force into helping what appeared to be a goon squad from the Chinese security services to protect the flame.

Well done to the Free Tibet campaigners for the scale of their mobilisation.

The relay was a farce and we should have told the Chinese where to stick their torch.


Anonymous Rodney said...

Did you see Tessa Jowell's jacket?absolutely hilarious. Think Harriet harman got it for her on Rye Lane Packham

12:46 pm, April 07, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

At last, your shame accurately reflects the reality of events.

Now, how long will it take you to declare your shame over Ken Livingstone, Gordon Brown ....

1:48 pm, April 07, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

Completely agree, Luke. Although there must also be economic action on an international scale.

2:21 pm, April 07, 2008

Anonymous Ted Harvey said...

But Luke surely you were the same one a few weeks/months back who posted that now we were in for the Chinese Olympics, we should fully go with them and leave the protesting/ boycotting out of it? A sentiment, on purely pragmatic grounds that I agreed with at the time.

We are supping with the devil and when he farts all over your plate there's no point gripping about it. Either come to the banquet or not - but don't expect to attend and then prance about on dainty little points of holding torches or the PM being present.

The Olympics farce provides much the same lessons as the G8 Against Poverty marches showed - that the political elites here in the UK are just totally out-of-touch with what the public really feels and thinks.

6:58 pm, April 07, 2008

Blogger Quink said...

Yes, I agree - it was deeply shameful.

7:07 pm, April 07, 2008

Anonymous jdc said...

Merseymike, what sort of economic action? The Chinese own us. If they dumped their dollars and bonds, they could break the US economy and render the dollar less valuable than the paper it's printed on.

The UK is not much safer from it, and they could turn that money in for oil if they really wanted to play dirty. Bluntly, no matter how unacceptably they behave, we can't afford to upset them any more.

7:38 pm, April 07, 2008

Blogger Robert said...

Lets be honest it should not go to any country which has poverty Indian China wales America, this week when I was told that all disabled people work in some states in America, the one used by Brown to stand up for his new regime, has just paid out a world record 28 million food stamps and coupons for the poor, after saying it has no poor since the sick and the disabled now work.

But the real problem is we cannot keep on spending vast amounts of money putting on a show which has become the dream of all drug addicted athletes.

It's time to say the games should go home and then each country which takes part should pay a percentage of money to build and run the games, the UK will spend near enough twenty one billion by the end, and who will make the money are the large firms who will use over seas bank accounts to pay no tax, who will lose are the idiots who pay for a ticket.

11:30 pm, April 07, 2008

Anonymous Dyanne Costello said...

Robert said " ... who will lose are the idiots who pay for a ticket."

Correction Robert! The Olympics is going to be heavily subsidised.

Who will lose are . . . the idiots (myself included) who are obliged to pay for the Olympics through council tax supplements (and through their loss of local sporting facilities).

Sadly this fiasco will haunt the Labour Party for decades to come.

3:17 am, April 08, 2008

Blogger Shamik said...

Here, here! The most displeasing aspect was seeing the Chinese OGPU lording it in Downing Street.

Brown should never have allowed the whole sorry saga to have been played out. For him to say "well at least I didn't hold the torch" simply won't wash.

As usual, he's dithering and trying to have it both ways.

2:44 pm, April 08, 2008

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

I agree with you comrade on this one (are you getting more left wing in your old age?), however Mike and (to his credit) Rich are right unless business decides to take a stand against them I am afraid a sporting boycott would fall short.

Anyone know who those men in blue are?

5:25 pm, April 08, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

I see no reason why our sports people should boycott the Olympics when so many of us are more than willing to buy the cheap products made in China.

If people want to make a statement then simply don't watch it. This will impact on any future sponsorship deals.

I do think though that Gordon Brown could of been more critical of China. If our own PM won't speak out then why should our Olympians. It's times like this when strong leaders make there views known.

9:05 pm, April 08, 2008

Anonymous rich said...

Browns Words

Mr Brown said: "I will not allow house prices to get out of control and put at risk the sustainability of the future." He said he was determined that the UK should not return to the "instability, speculation and negative equity" of the 1980s and 1990s.

9:27 pm, April 08, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I don't want a sporting boycott - I think it's very unfair to expect athletes to give up their once in a lifetime opportunity to compete.

However, I don't want to see our PM etc. at the opening ceremony given the context of what's going on in Tibet, and the more protests and demonstrations that happen the better.

9:23 am, April 09, 2008

Blogger Chris Paul said...

The thing is the torch relay is an absolutely marvellous anti-PR for China. Unbeatable. Calling for it to be stopped because of the strength of the protests and the weakness of China's human rights record seems a bit dim Luke to be honest.

Every Jesus needs their Judas, and most of those taking part in the torch relays don't even qualify for that comparison as they are happy to diss China when they get a chance to do so.

They are surely supporting the Olympic ideal and the efforts of those sportsmen and women? Not Chinese oppression in Tibet.

In my view the IOC should try to stop China pushing the relay through Tibet but should not even think about cancelling the protestors' platform for their views in the rest of the world.

Although it reads as a bit of an in joke between two Huqs and a Paul my take on Sunday's events was here.

5:01 pm, April 11, 2008


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