Constructive engagement?: When Rogge
mentioned ‘human rights’
The Chinese told him to get stuffed.

In the wake of the trashing of the three ring circus that passes for China’s Olympic Torch Rally – there is nothing quite so pleasurable in life as the sight of a tyrant holding a bloodied handkerchief to a rapidly swelling broken nose – the Olympic Movement’s elite are themselves twisting like so many kebabs on a spit as they seek to be all things to all men.

Take this piece of nonsense in The Times today: “Athletes who take Tibet stand ‘face Olympic cut”. Faced with scenes of people all over the world exercising their right to free speech by condemning the Chinese occupation of Tibet and spoiling China’s Olympic Torch Love-in, the flames of which have been much fanned by the Chinese Military crackdown in Tibet, Jacques Rogge, boss-man of the International Olympic Committee, has decided to have a crackdown of his own.

Terrified that some athletes might actually have a conscience and want to indulge in a bit of free speech – such as, for example, by displaying a Tibetan Flag in their, presumably private, room at the Olympic Village – then there is every chance that M. Rogge and his kowtowing chums will boot them out of the Olympics.

It is not quite as simple as that. For el Presidente Rogge feels able to draw what he thinks is a fine and subtle distinction: to wit, that competitors are free to express their political views but face sanctions if they indulged in propaganda.

This is, of course, a nonsense of the very first order.

Firstly is not propaganda simply one means of exercising free speech in a free society? Our very own Labour Government emits vast quantities of propaganda: it is entitled so to do, though one notes how often the Taxpayer is made to pay for it. It can do so because we practice as well as preach the concept of ‘free speech’ in this land, for the moment at any rate. Though we may (and frequently do) deride it, though it may (and frequently does) contain laughable mendacity, nonetheless we accept in a free society its right to disseminate such material as an aspect of the exercise of free speech. So the notion that propaganda is bad but free speech is good is a carefully contrived nonsense designed to allow the IOC to kowtow to the bullyboy Chinese Communists.

The Genocide Games: Don’t mention Darfur
or Tibet or we’ll send you packing!

Secondly, who, pray, is going to decide what is propaganda and what is a mere exercise of free speech? One man’s piece of propaganda is another man’s Declaration of Independence. Is Mr. Rogge going to get his very own Lord Chamberlain to sift through everyone’s pronouncements to decide if this one is propaganda and that one a piece of free speech?

Of course the wickedness of this is amply demonstrated by the Chinese response to the IOC’s call for Beijing to abide by its promise to address human rights was given short shrift by Beijing. In short, the Chinese told Rogge to bugger off and mind his own business.

Minding his own business is, therefore, what will come first, for the Olympic Games is, quintessentially, these days, a business, if you play your cards right. For, if you are a sponsor, there is the benefit of all that primetime TV exposure and the advertising puff that it brings. In theory this may translate into huge amounts of extra sales – imagine the value of the pictures of the man who breaks the 100m world record quaffing a can of Coca-Cola in its aftermath – and, at the least, to free advertising on an immense scale. The sponsors are not exactly charities, are they?

These sponsors pay handsomely for their association with the Olympic Brand and in turn the people who run the Olympic Movement get to travel round the world in luxury, all the while treated as if they were Heads of State, senior politicians or diplomats of a high-ranking state. None of them wishes to kill this particular goose which, every four years, lays a golden egg.

Hence the weasel words about ‘propaganda’ and ‘free speech’ currently emanating from these self-appointed Worthies who are so busily engaged in prostrating themselves before their Chinese overlords. Well, in so doing they present to the world their backsides to which the world should now administer its well-placed hobnail boot.

No amount of earnest hand-wringing is
going to legitimise Olympic censorship

If you wish to engage in a personal boycott of the sponsors, here is the list of those who are giving aid and comfort to the Genocide Games. Familiar ones include Coca-Cola, VW, Kodak, Omega, Samsung, Panasonic, VISA, UPS, Budweiser, Adidas and Staples. And remember: you have an ON/OFF switch on your remote TV control”: use it.