The Polympics




The generally banal phrase “throw money at it” pole vaults to mind in light of Teams GB stellar achievements in Rio*.

Compare and contrast if you please the keen placing of Olympic teams since 1997 when John Major, in what must have been one of his last acts as Prime Minister, determined bread for circuses.

The injection of funding drawn from the National Lottery is so thoroughly proper a use of monies it’s hard to imagine why it took so long for the idea to gain traction.

And it’s a funny old thing. Both business and sport – the latter of which is HUGE business but seems intuitively different – stretch sinews to ever-lengthening event horizons to be the best, brightest, most corporately responsible …… .

Why is it, then, that Governments don’t do the same?** Maintaining power seems the goal rather than trying to outperform the last lot. Maintaining a grip on immigration, the deficit, employment, clean-energy generation, education, health appears to be the teleological summum bonum.

Can this be right? Ought there not be a shift of some kind to refocus matters enabling a framework akin to Olympian ideals? It could be termed The Democratics or The Polympics. 

Such Polympics would be measured on a league table of zenith achievement to which individual politicians could be measured, the aim being to outperform their predecessor in dispensing Good from their Department?

Were it the case, would not wringing gratitude be as real as the awe and wonder with which we regard Teams GB heroic achievements in Rio?

*  For the international readership of these pages, this one’s unflinchingly parochial.
** I am indebted to A.R. for sparking this line of thought

Rio 2016 – Spirit in Motion


You know when something occurs to somersault outmoded ideas to transform understanding?

This happened to many amid London’s 2012 Paralympics. Watching the athletes compete for the first few days was done with some unidentifiable thing lurking at the back of the mind. And then it dawned we were watching dis-and-differently-abled athletes.

Not until this realization mapped itself onto my consciousness did I fully grasp how closed my mind had been. The razor of their competitive edge sliced away anything but athletic ambition and as a spectator, focus was on pure achievement; spirit in motion.

Swept up by and tumbling over my own ignorance felt as freeing and disorienting as being dumped by a wave.

At the time of writing, in Rio, Team GB has amassed 95 medals, 43 of which are Gold: we’ll return to this later.

Won’t it be thrilling when everyone on the planet is defined by what we show ourselves to be and given the freedom to be just that?