Saturday, March 15, 2008

Not House Points: China, Tibet and the 2012 London Olympics

There is no House Points column in Liberal Democrat News this week.

I have been struggling with bronchitis for a fortnight and a few days ago was contemplating the grind of writing a column. It suddenly occurred to me that the editor had the Lib Dem Spring Conference to report and would probably be glad of the extra space. That proved to be the case when I phoned her, so I decided not to be a martyr.

What you would have got was another rant about the Olympics. I would have made my usual points: that if you want to revitalise sport in Britain you would be better of giving a chunk of the Olympic budget direct to community sports clubs; and that it is absurd to believe that modern Britons are insufficiently active because there is not enough sport on television.

But I would also have talked about the way that the prospect of hosting the 2012 London Games is stifling British government criticism of repressive regimes. In particular, it would be natural for us to use the 2008 Peking Olympics as a way of highlighting our concerns about China's actions in Tibet. But we are terrified of doing that in case they threaten a boycott of London in 2012 as retaliation.

Now visit the Free Tibet Campaign.


John Reardon said...

First, can I refer readers to the totally inaccurate comments made about me in January regarding the BNP?

Amnesty International are currently running a campaign on China in the run up to the Olympics, which is a good opportunity to publicise the Tibet issue and raise awareness of how a abour Government is becoming a serial abuser of human rights. See to order a China campaigns pack and for more information.

Jonathan Calder said...

John's mention of the BNP is a reference to the comments on this posting from January.

The Amnesty site is here.

dreamingspire said...

This morning the Dalai Lama is reported as saying two things: China should host the Olympics, and he wants to leave it to the younger generation in Tibet to go their own way. I take that as a hint that we should avoid becoming even more bossy.
(Soon I have to go to somewhere north of Northampton on business, and working out exactly where led me to find out where Market Harborough is and also discover the existence of the A14 connecting it to the busy places. Apologies that I had not done that before.)