22 July 2012

The Paramilitary Olympics

First-rate sleuthing by Nick Cohen in the 14 July Speccie.

From past tries, I'm surprised to be able to read the entire article on the Spectator site.

If it doesn't work for you, Nick Cohen ~ Writing from London will be your friend - and even more so here.

Well worth keeping tabs on and passing around.

I've been covering the farrago of public bishes that have marked CoeGate from the start: now comes the ferreting Cohen with an even more shaming (and riveting) exposé of what's going on under the hood.

  • "'London is going to host the Paralympics and the paramilitary Olympics,’ I muttered with unpatriotic grumpiness."

  • To concentrate on the interests of sponsors, however, is to miss the fanaticism of the authoritarian mentality behind the games: Priests sacrificed oxen and rams to Zeus and Pelops at the ancient Olympics. Their successors sacrifice the freedom to speak and publish to the gods of corporate capitalism and international sport. They regard encroachments on their holy space, however trifling, as a modern version of sacrilege.

  • In 2005, Britain said it had ‘won’ the Olympics. When the games begin, it will become clear that the Olympics ‘won’ Britain.

  • The organisers of the Games have been handed unprecedented control over everyday speech.

  • Britain is at the start of an experiment in the criminalisation of everyday speech; a locking down of the English language with punishments for those who speak too freely.

  • In the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act of 2006, the government granted the organisers remarkable concessions. Most glaringly, its Act is bespoke legislation that breaks the principle of equality before the law.

    Britain has not offered all businesses and organisations more powers to punish rivals who seek to trade on their reputation. It has given privileges to the ­Olympics alone.

  • Trading standards officers in Stoke on Trent told a florist to take down floral Olympic rings. Offending sausage rings vanished from a butcher’s window in Dorset ...

  • When the British Sugarcraft Guild asked the authorities if it might run a 2012 cake-decorating competition, it thought it was making a modest request.

    The Guild was not even going to sell the cakes afterwards. No matter. Only official sponsors could decorate cakes with Olympic symbols, the Olympic organisers ruled. [See Daily Mail coverage]

  • Such petty-minded strictures are not mere protection of a brand, but an obsession with control that is hard to match.

    Not even the Cuban Communist party claims the right to regulate images of Che Guevara."

  • Sobering stuff. Vaut le lire.

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