The Great Divide Part 2
I have been immensely proud of my country, Great Britain, over the last couple of weeks.
I think this is, in part at least, due to the fact that most of our politicians are on holiday rather than our TV screens. During the House of Commons recess the most bizarre political “news” story seems to have been some Tory think-tank’s bizarre advice that people in Liverpool should “emigrate” to London because the North West economy is unsustainable. I mean, come on! They don’t even speak the language. Think of the crime surge 😉
But largely my sense of pride is the result of the Olympics. Firstly, the excellent BBC coverage has meant that Bill Turnbull has been moved to some backwater on one of the Freeview channels, so that I have not had to endure him and his ginger banality first thing in the morning. Secondly, and most importantly, I have been hugely impressed with the performance of Team GB, currently lying in third in the overall medal table! They have done us proud and made us proud.
Most impressive has been the professionalism that the whole team has shown. The commitment. The drive. The desire to win! When I was watching the Olympics as a kid we were a team of well-meaning amateurs. Of course we had our heroes such as Coe, Ovett, Daley Thompson and the like, but athletics, and occasionally swimming aside, we were largely bit players in most sports. But look at us now. Heroes all.
John Major, be proud of your legacy! No not peace in Ireland or your extra-curriculas with Edwina Currie, but the National Lottery. The National Lottery funding for sport has turned us into a true sporting nation with the desire and ambition to win. We can feel pride in our nation again. And I do. While I am a little anxious about London’s ability to put on a show to rival Beijing in 2012, I am, nonetheless, looking forward to it already.
Incidentally, I also think that the BBC coverage on TV, radio and the net has been great – with the exception of Nicky Campbell on Radio 5. A couple of mornings ago he was asking Chinese people on the street how they felt about the injury to the great Chinese medal hope, Liu Xiang, while being hooked up to Shelagh (pronounced Sheila) Fogarty back in the UK. Nicky could not resist a little schoolboy attempt at a racist joke by asking a Chinese lady with heavily accented English to say “I love you Sheila”. She spoke it perfectly, no doubt much to Campbell’s chagrin as he clearly had hoped to elicit a giggle, expecting her to say “I ruv u Sheera” instead. Shame on you Mr Campbell.
But last night my British pride took a dent. I watched Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire. The programme followed multi-millionaire, Nick Leslau, to the most deprived part of the most deprived city in the UK – Possil and Milton in Glasgow. Now Nick proved himself to be a caring, generous, thoughtful individual. You could tell that he was moved. You could tell that he was changed. Indeed the ladies who ran the disability forum and the riding school for the disabled are saintly. But, what struck me hardest was the abject poverty of the town itself. Nick himself described it as something out of East Germany, but, I suspect that that would be doing East Germany a disservice. How do people live in a place such as this? It made Wythenshawe and Walsall look almost desirable. And, I think that the link between the poverty of the area, the crime, the drugs, and the disabilities and poor health of the inhabitants was plain to see.
There is something very wrong in a country as great as ours, with an economy as strong as ours, that we “allow” our own citizens to “live” in a place such as this. So, while I do not begrudge the funding for sports, I would like to think that maybe our holidaying politicians, especially certain Scottish politicians, might also have seen the programme and shared my opinion. Perhaps, on his return (however brief it might be), Mr Gordon Brown might find a little more money to help people such as in Possil and not just suggest that they all move to London!
Entry filed under: humour, Politics, TV. Tags: 2012, beijing, bill turnbull, daley thompson, edwina currie, great britain, great divide, john major, liu xiang, liverpool, London, milton, national lottery, nick leslau, nicky campbell, olympics, possil, poverty, pride, racist, sebastian coe, secret millionaire, shelagh fogarty, steve ovett, team gb, Walsall, wythenshawe.