Boyle’s vision matches independence
Why are we telling the world that the British team is from “Great Britain” instead of the “United Kingdom”?
I know it has a grander ring, like “Land of hope and glory… God who made thee mighty make thee mightier yet”, but for too long we have been made to admire the rich and privileged instead of the workers.
That is the significance of Danny Boyle’s Olympic salute to the British people and is echoed in the independence debate.
The No vote campaign is negative, trivial, mudslinging and conservative whereas the Yes vote invites us to strive together for a more sharing and caring society instead of the individualism and greed prioritised by our imperialist-minded neighbour.
The issue is not about breaking up the UK but about asserting our right to decide our own future, following the different path of traditional Scottish values of equality, fairness and community.
This means renegotiating the Treaty of Union over Nato, currency, taxation, the Queen and Commonwealth, oil, public funding and, crucially, Trident, sending a message to the rest of the world that there are more important values than military dominance and market fundamentalism – in other words, Danny Boyle’s vision of human progress.
I can’t understand all the criticism of the Scottish Government spending £400,000 to hire the Pall Mall Club in London for the duration of the Olympics (your report, 31 July), even though we are in the midst of a double-dip recession.
Alex Salmond is now such a global celebrity that I am sure the great and the good from other countries will be clamouring to gain an audience.
Once seduced by good wine and fine dining, I am sure they will open their chequebooks or sign numerous contracts. I wish!
I freely admit to being cynical about the chauvinism of the Olympic opening ceremony (Letters, 30 July), as charged by your correspondents (Letters, 31 July).
I am now, also, angry. On Sunday the TV commentary wittered on about plucky Becky’s bronze throughout the presentation of the gold medal (to some foreigner or other…), and Gary Lineker signed off by reminding us that Team GB had two medals and, gleefully, “the Germans have none!”
Is this the “quirky British humour” which apparently explains the more obscure and smug bits of the ceremony, or just crass and ignorant rudeness? Not in my name, thank you.
Where does it say in the rules of the Olympic Games that “if you do not like what the judges say, you can always challenge their decision and have it overturned”?
I know that this is acceptable, indeed expected, practice in present-day competition but these are “the Olympics” and I can’t help wondering what Eric Liddell would have thought.
Or am I old-fashioned?
It seems that the propensity of football commentators, especially for matches involving an England 11, to assume the mantle of fans with microphones has migrated to some of their BBC Olympic colleagues.
As the final of the women’s 400-metre freestyle swimming was reaching a nail-biting conclusion, one commentator observed that there was “a battle” for first and second places between the French and United States swimmers, before adding: “But we don’t care about that!”
Shouting encouragement into the microphone, he was ecstatic when Rebecca Adlington came third, failing to mention who had won the race in a world record time. I think some listeners may have cared about that.
General euphoria followed Adlington’s achievement, ignoring the gap of a full length, and more than a second, between her and the two swimmers ahead of her, a difference in class at this level of swimming.
Fortunately, a better balance was struck by Hugh Porter, the TV commentator on the women’s cycling road race. A pulsating last hour concluded with a sprint on the Mall won by Marianne Vos of the Netherlands, ahead of Lizzie Armitstead of Team GB, and accompanied by an excited but well-balanced commentary.
In an event over 130km lasting three hours and 35 minutes of gruelling cycling in the most atrocious conditions, the winning margin was the diameter of a wheel.
If the BBC is looking for a “true grit” heroine, my vote goes to Lizzie and, indeed, her fellow competitors.
Alan R Irons
How interesting to read all the questionable comments and innuendo surrounding the recent record-breaking gold medal swim by the 16-year-old Chinese swimmer, Ye Shiwen.
In the same pool Ruta Meilutyte from Lithuania, a mere 15-year-old, also won gold. No innuendo about her performance – but of course she’s different – she has a British connection, being trained by a Brit in Plymouth.
Given our own history perhaps we should be careful of throwing stones in our own greenhouse.
The same greenhouse in which Messrs Christie, Millar et al, not to mention our own local hero David Jenkins, flourished.
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