Palestine football team

October 26, 2008

I don’t think anyone would argue that sport isn’t a factor in modern national identity.

Thats one reason that I don’t support Gordon Brown’s GB Olympic football team in the 2012 London Olympics.

To put at threat four nations football teams in order to promote Gordon Brown’s Britishness agenda is a ridiculuous notion.

But is Gordon Brown’s Britishness agenda beginning to unravel due to lack of public support? If reports from The Times are correct then the planned British Day has bit the dust:

“The great national day debate arrives at a consensus – let’s call it off.

“You can pack up the Union Jacks, cancel the street parties and tell the pet shop that you won’t be needing that bulldog after all. The government has quietly dropped plans to have a British Day.

“Gordon Brown had called for a day to celebrate British identity in a speech delivered in 2006, when he was still chancellor.

“Earlier this year an official report by Lord Goldsmith, the former attorney-general, had proposed that the first patriotic bank holiday should be held to coincide with the 2012 Olympics.

“However, Michael Wills, the justice minister (who says he’s responsible for something called “the governance of Britain agenda”), told MPs last week: “There are no plans to introduce a national day at this time.” ”

If anyone doubts the influence of sport in national identity then they should look at today’s historic football match between Palestine and Jordan.

It is the first time the Palestine team will be playing on ‘home soil’. Its in the West Bank in front of a capacity 6500 crowd in the Faisal Al-Husseini International Stadium in AIRam, north Jersualem.

The Palestine football team was only recognised by FIFA in 1998, after the creation of the Palestinian Authority.

In fact, sport is the only realm where Palestine officially exists, in all other areas the Palestine people are represented by the Palestinian Authority, even at the UN.

So having an actual Palestine football team playing in the West Bank must be incredibly symbolic to Palestinians. It represents another step on the road to a fully independent Palestine.

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Lord Coe: Scots and Welsh; F**k ’em!

October 1, 2008

The Campaign for an English Parliament has handily printed off Lord Coe’s outburst regarding his attempts to create a British National Football Team at the 2012 Olympics.

(Its just as well because the online version of The London Paper it seems has removed the story. If anyone has the printed edition its on Page 5.)

The key quote is:

But he said the BOA, which selects teams for the Games, has decided to press ahead with a football squad despite the opposition.

When asked last night about the opposition from the Welsh and Scots, Coe replied bluntly: “F*** em!

Thanks, Seb!

How much are the Scots and Welsh taxpayers paying into the London Olympics bid again?

As I mentioned in a previous post, a joint GB football team would endanger the survival of all the Home Nation football teams. That’s precisely why Lord Coe’s plans have met with such opposition.

Lord Coe also confirmed that Alex Ferguson, the current Manchester United manager, has assured him he will be managing the side.

The London Paper reports that Lord Coe has obviously now changed Ferguson’s mind on the matter, who was initially reluctant.

He might be even more reluctant now.

As for Sebastian Coe? Can’t say I’m surprised. I always preferred Ovett anyway.

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Political falsehoods

June 9, 2008

Well it didn’t take long, did it?

Boris Johnson, the new London Mayor, famous for his political blunders, has stumbled into another one. He has just claimed that Londoners are “forking out for things in Scotland”.

It was said that during the London Mayoral campaign that the Conservative Party shielded Boris from the journalists and the public. Most of all they were protecting Boris from himself.

When Boris Johnston won the election, First Minister Alex Salmond wrote to him saying “If there are things that we can co-operate on, let’s co-operate.” One of these areas of co-operation would have been the planning of sporting events: London is hosting the Olympic Games in 2012, Glasgow is hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Boris Johnston’s views on Scotland have been well known before this outburst.

At the time of Alex Salmond’s letter to Mr. Johnston, the First Minister refused to be drawn in a war of words with the new Mayor. Instead he merely pointed out that originally the previous Mayor of London had also held similar inaccurate views on Scottish expenditure, before being shown of the true figures. “If Ken Livingstone can see the light in these matters, even Boris Johnson will come to realise the same thing.”

Before realising the truth, Ken Livingstone was quoted: “We need Crossrail to keep London’s economy ticking over so that we can continue to pay for the Scottish to live the lifestyle to which they are accustomed”.

On today’s outburst, it seems that it’s taking Boris Johnston just a wee while longer to get his head around the figures.

The SNP Westminster leader, Angus Robertson, no doubt felt exasperated by Mr. Johnston’s latest gaffe. “When Boris Johnson gets up in the morning, he should thank his lucky stars that Scottish oil revenues are keeping the London Treasury afloat. And at bedtime, he should express his gratitude to the rest of the country for the Lottery good causes money being diverted to fund the London Olympics.

“Now that Boris is elected, it’s time for him to get real. Public spending per head is higher in London than in Scotland. Even his predecessor, Ken Livingstone, eventually realised the error of his ways and accepted that Scotland subsidises the UK exchequer. Educating Boris in financial reality might prove more difficult.”

What is clear however with both these London Mayors is an initial misunderstanding of how much monies Scotland’s economy provides the Treasury.

These “Scotland is overly subsided” views are not only held by the two Mayors but by a section of the English public too.

Its not the case in Scotland where even the unionist politicans admit that an Independent Scotland is financially viable and well capable of looking after themselves.

So the question is, why does that view persist in England? It does the idea of the Union no good in England if Scotland is thought of as a subsidy junkie. In a recent poll 59% of English wanted Scotland to be independent.

I think the problem may come from the Westminster Government’s lack of direction.

If Gordon Brown claimed Scotland was a subsidy junkie, it would inflame English independence or at the very least the demand for an English Parliament, neither of which things he desires.

If Gordon Brown claimed Scotland more than paid its share, it gives backing to Scottish independence and loses Labour’s grip on Scotland, neither of which things he desires.

Hence able to say neither, he just wraps himself in a Union flag, and continually talks about Britishness. Hence the recent flawed proposal for a British Day.

North and south of the border no-one buys it. I mean, his favourite moment in sport was the England 2-0 football victory over Scotland in 1996? The anglification of the Prime Minister has been so rapid and zeal-like, the manner would impress David Koresh.

Thats why Boris is on firmer ground with “You’ve got Scottish MPs, the Prime Minister and Chancellor, who are treating the country in an inequitable way”.

Its certainly inequitable to Scotland anyway.

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