Tag Archives: olympics

In which I consume news like most people…

As I wrote earlier, I properly chilled out on my holidays. Very little work, next to no reading and lots of walks,silly games and fun. I could get used to that lifestyle…

This all meant that I consumed news like a normal person rather than an obsessive who has half an eye on Twitter and the rolling news channels at all times lest something might happen in the world and she might miss it. If the news happened to be on, I’d watch it if there was no gripping Olympic action going on at the same time, but I wasn’t too fussed about it.

I didn’t totally cut myself off. My car would probably fall to pieces if it wasn’t tuned into Radio 4, after all.

So, from my rather more normal news consumption over the past week, what sparked my interest? Four stories leapt out at me.

Of course the heartbreaking photo of Omran Daqneesh would break all but the hardest of hearts. The traumatised and blood covered little boy symbolised the effects of war on children. As these things go, though, Omran was relatively lucky. Most of his family are still alive, although his brother died of injuries sustained in the same airstrike. Children suffer horrendously every single day in Syria and other war zones across the world. The previous week’s horribly distressing footage of the chlorine gas attack showed tiny babies struggling for breath. This is a horrible, relentless reality for millions of people. We must never forget that. The pictures should provoke an empathy in us that leads us to push the Government to do more to help those still in Syria and those who have escaped. They should make us all realise that those who have fled had good reason to do so and we should challenge those who suggest otherwise.

Prejudice and punishment

I’m not a fan of anyone telling women what to wear. There’s nothing like a public figure telling women that they shouldn’t wear something to make me want to wear one in sympathy. When the mayor of Cannes banned the “burquini” it made me furious that the likely effect of this would be that those women who wear such a garment, who were guilty of no crime, would effectively not be able to access their own seaside for no good reason. And if they couldn’t go, then it would be likely that their children would be restricted, too.

Garments aren’t divisive. Banning them on a whim most certainly is.

There are few cultures in the world in which women are treated with the equality they deserve. France might want to have a wee think about how its own globally renowned fashion industry has forced unrealistic and often damaging expectations on to women, for example.

Governments should be setting an example of inclusiveness, not picking on specific group of people in a manner that effectively incites prejudice against them.

Should people start seriously arguing for similar bans in this country, I’ll be first in the queue to wear one in solidarity.

Fat lot of good that was

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

Local catch ups

In my work as Borders MP I have regular catch ups with local public services such as NHS Borders, Lothian and Borders police and Scottish Borders Council. These are valuable meetings during which I am updated on key local issues and I am able bring my constituents’ concerns to their attention. Last week, as part of these regular catch ups, I met with Chief Superintendent John Hawkins in Hawick to discuss the work of local police and the crime and policing issues.

Referendum

Ever since the Scottish Government announced their plan to hold a referendum on Scottish Independence, I have …

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How to manage volunteers? Look at the Games Makers

I have just returned to my duties at Lib Dem Voice after spending an extraordinary two weeks as a volunteer Games Maker at the Paralympics. My final event was the Athletes Parade today when we were thanked over and over again by Coe, Cameron, and Johnson, and by athletes and members of the public.  I have never felt so appreciated in my life!

So how did LOCOG persuade me and 70,000 other people to travel to London from all over the country on six separate occasions for training and collecting uniforms, then to stay for anything between eight and thirty days with friends, in hotels or at campsites in London, all the time working exhaustingly long days (in my case starting work at 5.45am), and all at our own expense?

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Lynne Featherstone MP writes… The Equality Games

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one, her last whilst at the Home Office…..

Wow! I have screamed, shouted, cheered, laughed and cried through the Olympics and Paralympics. And like everyone, I am just so proud of what we have achieved – and the friendly, cheerful way we have achieved it.

With my work on equalities issue, it is the increasing parity between male and female sports and sports stars and between the Olympics and Paralympics which has particular caught my eye. I would simply call the 2012 Games the …

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Opinion: keeping up the Mo-mentum

Many of us watched with pride as Mo Farah won his two Gold medals at the London 2012 Olympics, encapsulating the spirit that swept most of the country over two golden weeks, re-invigorating our nation, and this week saw the beautiful Paralympics opening ceremony. Mo and the Paralympians show what a civilised and diverse country we are. London 2012 has shown that this nation is great because it is open, modern, quirky, successful and brilliant, a country ready to embrace the challenges of a changed world head on.

Recently, Conservative minister Damian Green said he wants Tories to pass the ‘Danny …

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Opinion: Spectators are as important as athletes to develop a sporting nation

Only in Britain could we end up having a debate about success and its ongoing legacy that sounds both ambitious (let’s seize the moment) and a like a moan (well we won’t do as well again)! Of course it is right that we start the debate now and ride the momentum whilst sport is on the front pages and the nation is discussing more than football.

Of course, participation is the key goal but evidence shows that the presence of an Olympics alone does not create a huge change …

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Opinion: Creating a legacy for UK sport from London 2012 – lessons from Jamaica

Politicians of all colours are running around to claim credit for Team GBs success at London 2012. Similarly sporting figures are also running around to trying to gain funding for ‘their sports’ from the Government. How can we build on success in 2012 to gain even more medals in 2016?

I want to use the example of Jamaica, a country which has produced some of the best sprinters in the world. Since 1964 (way before Usain Bolt), Jamaica has won a medal in every summer Olympics – all of them but one in athletics.

As some of you know, I was born …

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Nick Clegg invites ‘Golden Dozen community Team GB’ to Olympics closing ceremony

We don’t normally publish press releases in full on LibDemVoice — but I’m very happy to make an exception for this announcement from Lib Dem leader and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg:

    The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has invited 12 guests to attend the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics on Sunday evening. All the guests are people he has met over the last year and who have made a major contribution to society, their local communities and the country.

    The guests will all attend a reception for Olympic VIPs hosted by the Deputy Prime Minister before taking their highly sought-after seats for the ceremony, marking the official end of the Games. Guests include:

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69% of Lib Dem members say London right to bid to host the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 500 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

11.5% swing in favour of the Olympics among Lib Dem members!

LDV asked: All things considered and with the benefit of hindsight, do you think London should or should not have bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games? (Compared with June 2012 results in brackets.)

    69% (+12%) – It should
    23% (-11%) – It should not
    8% (-2%) – Don’t

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore MP writes a regular column for newspapers in his Borders constituency. Here’s the latest edition.

Olympics

I think everyone would agree that the Olympics have been absolutely fantastic so far with medals won by Team GB in rowing, gymnastics, swimming and cycling and many other events. The team has done exceptionally well and it has been brilliant to see Scots such as Andy Murray, Heather Stanning, Chris Hoy, Katherine Grainger and Michael Jamieson winning medals. The support of Britons up and down the country has been brilliant and I know it has given …

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Menzies Campbell in celebration of Olympians in Parliament

BBC Parliament has shown a documentary, “First past the post”, which celebrates parliamentarians who are Olympians. Needless to say, our own Sir Menzies Campbell, once one of the fastest men on the planet, is featured liberally in the programme.

Menzies reveals the exotic mixture which his mother used to feed him on race days, and shows viewers his old team blazer. He tells us he can still get into it, but the buttons don’t do up.

Until the end of …

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Rennie questions Salmond’s £400k on “London embassy” for the Olympics

The Scottish Government, understandably enough, has decided to showcase Scotland to the representatives of business and government from all over the world who are currently visiting London for the Olympics. Showing Scotland off is never a bad thing, especially when we are hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2 years’ time.

They have, bizarrely, blown £400,000 on hiring the Army and Navy Club in Pall Mall and renaming it Scotland House. There, according to First Minister Alex Salmond, visitors can see:

what a great place Scotland is to have a holiday or do business in, and what wonderful food and drink and

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LibLink: Stephen Tall: Liberal Hero of the Week: Danny Boyle

There were tears, laughter and wide-eyed wonderment at Liberal Democrat Voice Towers on Friday night as we marvelled at Danny Boyle’s innovative Olympic opening ceremony. While some of us will remember Boyle as the guy who persuaded the Queen to “jump” out of a helicopter, our own Stephen Tall has looked a little deeper.

Over at CentreForum’s blog, he’s awarded Danny Boyle the accolade of Liberal Hero of the Week. While Labour supporting Boyle may smart at this, Stephen talks about what the Ceremony conveyed to him:

First, the human potentiality which has formed Britain, made her what she is today: from music

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Opinion: Stop the national carpathon – we should be proud to offer free seats to service personnel, local school children and Games Makers

Locog calls in the army (again)” goes the headline of the Guardian report saying that Olympics seats left empty by the “Olympic family” are being offered to the military and, potentially, to local school children.

So yet another cock-up and we fall back on drafting in the army, goes the story.

I take the opposite view.

Posted in Op-eds | 9 Comments

James Bond escorts The Queen to the London 2012 Olympic Games – BBC

Nothing political – just a lot of fun.

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Jeremy Hunt rings in a gaffe-free Olympics

Have you recently suffered an accident which wasn’t your fault?

Were you nonchalantly strolling past the Culture Secretary on HMS Belfast one sunny morning when you were abruptly hit on the head by a heavy brass bell?

If so, please contact “Messrs Sue, Grabbit and Runne” as a matter of urgency….

Jeremy Hunt is 97.

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Nick Clegg: Olympics belong to everyone

As some members of the Liberal Democrat Voice editorial team prepare to go a bit daft over the Olympics, watch sports most of us have never heard of and cheer on our favourite athletes, we were pleased to see that Nick Clegg went to welcome Team GB to their new quarters in the Olympic Village.

He told them that the people of Britain wouldn’t just be watching them, they’d be right there with them, backing them all the way:

The nation is gripped by Olympic fever in a way it never, ever has been. Because, when you host the Games, you

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LDVideo: Nick Clegg – Syrian human rights abusers to be banned from London Olympics

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg appeared on the Andrew Marr Show this morning to say that those guilty of abusing human rights in Syria will be banned from entering the UK for the Olympics:

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Dee Doocey writes: Vigilance over Olympic tickets

With just 100 days to go to the London Olympics, you might be interested to read this quote about the interaction of sport and commercial interests:

“Of course sponsors have to receive value for money, but sport has to remain sport, a concept rooted on the track and not in the balance sheet. It must not become another consumer-entertainment package. In all sports we have to protect the fundamentals of sportsmanship, self-determination of the individual and the pursuit of excellence free of commercial expediency, and as Voltaire said ‘the price of freedom is eternal vigilance’.”

You might be surprised to discover that …

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Boris Johnston breaks promise on free Olympics tickets for school children in London

Last November the Mayor of London announced that 125,000 schoolchildren in London would be given free tickets for the Olympic or Paralympic Games. That would have been enough to provide tickets for one in eight London children aged 10 to 18.

But, as reported in the Evening Standard, Lib Dem London Assembly member, Dee Doocey, has asked the Mayor how many tickets were actually allocated to children.  The answer came back: just 95,761 tickets. The remaining 30,000 or so tickets have been given to teachers to accompany them. 

That raises at least two questions:

Why did the Mayor overlook the fact that

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Jeremy Browne MP writes… The Olympic Games are just 200 days away.

In London and across the country, preparations are reaching fever pitch. As Minister for the Olympics in the Foreign Office, I have been involved in the planning and preparation since May 2010. While many people are excited about the torch relay across the country and the huge variety of sporting events, the Olympics also offer a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our country.

It has been 64 years since the Games was last held in the UK. In 1948, fifty-nine nations attended. This year, over two hundred teams will be representing their countries. This is an opportunity for Britain to …

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Opinion: In the name of the Olympics

With the summer 2012 drawing ever closer, it is no surprise that the amount of column inches devoted to the London Olympics is increasing. What has surprised me, though, has been how much of this coverage has been of the controversies that seem to be multiplying around the Games, and just what may be done in the name of the Olympics next year.

Flatly, I am worried that the Government is importing dodgy methods of event management to Stratford and the rest of London. The security measures recently announced are especially concerning. I hope no Liberal in Britain is reassured by …

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Dee Doocey writes: Riots – a case for reason and not posturing

The TV comedy The Thick of It brilliantly satirised the tendency of New Labour to govern by ‘initiative’. Politics was reduced to public relations. Policies were created on the hoof with an eye to the next morning’s headlines.

If you thought those days ended at the last general election, think again. The recent riots should have given everyone pause for thought. Instead, many politicians and commentators were shooting from the hip or trotting out predictable responses.

Playing to the gallery pays only short-term dividends. Yes, “something must be done”. But politicians of all parties have a duty to think before they open their mouths, and not try to cash in on gut reactions or tabloid hysteria – despite the media’s hunger for sensational news and tendency to incite sensational comment.

Despite the pressure to meet emotionally-driven imperatives, only an intelligent, long-term, considered response will prevent a recurrence of these riots. What needs to be done?

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Dee Doocey slams Merton Council for buying VIP Olympics tickets

The Evening Standard reports,

Council bosses came under fire today for taking £4,000 of VIP Olympic tickets at taxpayers’ expense.

Merton Council asked for two tickets – for the Mayor and a companion – for each of the opening and closing ceremonies at a total cost of £3,980.

At £995 a time, they are the most expensive of the tickets offered to London boroughs, which are each entitled to buy 100 prime seats worth £50,000 from Games organisers. Details of Merton’s move comes just weeks after the borough ordered…

Lib-Dem London Assembly member Dee Doocey said: “I am astonished that Merton council plans

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Dee Doocey writes… Getting Olympic ticketing right

At one minute to midday on Tuesday 15 March, applications for tickets for the 2012 London Olympics will open.

Over the past twenty years, ticketing arrangements for every Games have created bad headlines. Controversy has ranged from empty seats to excessive prices, ticket touting and counterfeit tickets.

It’s a tough challenge to get the right balance between maximising income to cover the costs and ensuring that each event is accessible – especially as the actual running of the Games by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic & Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is paid for entirely by non-public money.

As ticketing is such a …

Posted in London and Op-eds | 2 Comments

Dee Doocey writes… Just the ticket?

The organisers of the London 2012 Olympics promised the most inclusive Games ever. We were told that the Games would be “highly affordable” and that “half the tickets would cost £20 or less”.

On 15th October, we discovered what is really going to happen.

Of the 8.8 million tickets that will go on sale, only 2.5 million (about a third) will cost £20 or less. Of this 2.5 million, 1.3 million will be reserved primarily for schoolchildren, leaving just 1.2 million £20 tickets for everyone else in London, the UK and the rest of the world.  And of those 1.2 million …

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Daily View 2×2: 14 February 2010, featuring news from India and the easiest delivery round ever

It’s Sunday. It’s 9am on the day when in 1984 Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean won gold at the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. You want to see the easiest leaflet delivery in the world, don’t you? But first, the news and blogs.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here’s are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

You probably know the news from the UK. So here’s the news from India.
Blast breaks lull – Foreigners among bakery bomb victims

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Why would watching someone swim fast inspire you to mow your lawn?

I’m all for encouraging gardening. More gardening can make people healthier, benefit the environment and improve the local area. And, far more importantly, for many people it’s a great source of enjoyment.

I’m also relaxed about the idea of government in some way being involved in such encouragement; for example, by local councils running gardening courses.

But I really can’t see how the government can claim with a straight face that encouraging more gardening is one of the objectives for the 2012 Olympics. For as the Financial Times reports:

Ministers sought to dig themselves out of an allotment-sized hole on Friday to

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Brake: fears Olympics will turn into new Millennium Dome

The Times reports:

Taxpayers face a multimillion-pound maintenance bill at the Olympic Park after organisers admitted that they had failed to find a commercial operator to take over the main venue after 2012. … The Times has learnt that the Olympic stadium will cost at least £800,000 a year to keep open. Projected revenues from athletics events and a proposed sports academy will leave a big funding shortfall at the venue, where building costs have already spiralled from £282 million to £547 million. There are fears that the final bill could be much higher.

As Tom Brake, the Liberal Democrats’ Olympics …

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