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Even if Tories milk it, am longing for Olympics to be success

Posted on 15 September 2010 | 12:09pm

If there are any proper journalists out there, I wonder if one of them could check out something interesting I heard from a usually reliable source the other day – namely that in every democracy which has hosted the Olympic Games, the ruling party at the time has always won the next election.

If so, the Labour tribalist in me might be tempted to hope London 2012 is something of a disaster. But the Brit in me, and the sports nut in me, and the memories of one of the best nights of my life at the Athens Games in me, all combine to make me long for the London Games to be a success, and feel both hope and confidence that they will be the best ever.

Ok, it will be a bit galling, after all the effort the last government put into getting the Games, and preparing for them, to see Tory boys David Cameron, Boris Johnson and Colin Moynihan milking it for all its worth, but so what? As Harry Truman said, it is amazing what a small group of men (and women, though Harry was not aware of Tessa Jowell) can achieve provided nobody cares who gets the credit. I didn’t include Seb Coe in the Tory boy list by the way because though he was once an MP, and William Hague’s right hand man, I still see him first and foremost as an athletics legend, not a Tory.

Every time I drive out East past the stadium, and see it getting closer and closer to reality, I feel a little bit more excitement about what is coming our way, an unforgettable experience and opportunity for our country.

Another big step down that road was taken today with the launch of the chance to apply to become a London 2012 Games Maker volunteer  I hereby volunteer to tweet, blog and generally blather about how great the Olympics are, and how fantatic London 2012 will be, provided the Tories don’t mess it up from now on it.

I also volunteer to take part in any sport that will have me. This was the attitude that led me to turn out for Camden Labour against the Camden New Journal last night. I was baited and bullied into it on twitter by journalists from the paper who claimed I was only interested in turning out with Diego Maradona and the like at Old Trafford.

Duly stung, I turned out in the wind and the rain, took along my son Rory, (level 2 coach, good player ha-ha-ha) and between us we scored well over half of the ten goals we hammered past the hapless hacks in our 10-4 triumph. I am claiming a hat trick, though for reasons best known to the CNJ, they want one of them to count as one of their four own goals! Here is an early example of the biased and one-sided anti-Labour, anti-me reporting of their thrashing. Just can’t take a simple beating, can they. How can they call that a push?

Now that the game is over, I can however confirm that one of my goals may have touched my hand rather than my head as I lofted it over the keeper. You see, that time spent with Diego wasn’t wasted.

A couple more sporting observations from last night. First, I suppose Burnley were bound to suffer an injury time defeat after our amazing comeback on Saturday v Preston, but did it have to come so soon? Second, sympathy for Antonio Valencia who did to his ankle what my daughter did to hers. It was bad enough for her .. what it is like for a professional footballer doesn’t bear thinking about. Third, as I tweeted this morning, I really do think Scottish footballers are more articulate than their English counterparts. Rangers’ David Weir, who gives hope to all us oldie football types, was brilliant in his after match interviews. So was Lee McCulloch. The response to my tweet suggests I am not alone in spotting the superior eloquence of the Scots.

  • Blakedw

    Not true about elections. The 1976 olympic Games was in Montreal. The next Canadian election was in 1979 and the conservatives won ending 11 years of Liberal government.

  • One handball goal, one shove in the back… it’s not ‘anti-me’ reporting, just a true account of the roughhouse tactics used to secure a close win. And the picture says it all. Diego would be disappointed.

    Thanks for turning out, though. Great sports. A good amount raised for the Pakistan flood relief appeal. If anybody else wants to make donations, please contact Labour councillors in Camden, Awale Olad or Tulip Siddiq.


    Richard Osley
    Deputy Editor, Camden New Journal

  • I’m not a proper journalist, but a bit of a trawl of Wikipedia shows that since 1948, only Canada’s bucked that trend – the Olympics were in Montreal in 1976, but the Liberals lost the 1979 Federal election…

  • Olli Issakainen

    By 2012 there will be a Labour government.
    Ed Miliband´s objective is to stop the coalition serving full five-year term. He is the best person to take on David Cameron. Recent poll puts him 2% ahead of David once second preferences are taken into account.

  • Whilst I also hope that the Olympics are a success, I worry that even if they are, as per usual it will only be London that sees any benefit. I think it’s a real shame that most of the big international events that this country gets have to be centred in the capital, whilst the rest of the country gets ignored. Hence why I hope that we get one of the upcoming World Cups. That at least would be spread around the country.

    But aside from my non-London griping, it would be a real shame if all the hard work that the Labour government put into the games was spoilt by Tory ineptitude. Whoever takes the credit for it, I think we’ll all know that it was Labour who started the ball rolling, and without whom it would never have happened.

    Roll on 2012!

  • Sarah

    The Olympics, I’m sure, will be a great success. As a copper’s wife, I know that all police leave has already been cancelled for that period. Just better bloody hope that cuts to the Police budgets – anywhere between £20- £40 million for my husband’s force alone – enable us to have as safe, secure and wonderful a time as these great and historic events should allow.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for such swift checking out by non journalists. I will now go back to my usually reliable source and tell them. Good job I did not name them … rather embarrassing for this particular person not to know

  • Not a proper journalist, but a bit of a dig on Wikipedia shows that since 1948, only Canada buck this trend. The 1976 Games were in Montreal, but the Liberals lost the 1979 election.

    Data before the war’s patchier, but the “Liberal Coalition Party” went from largest to second-largest party in the Swedish Riksdag in 1914, after the 1912 games in Stockholm, and in 1921, the Socialists in Belgium lost out to the Catholics after the 1920 Games in Antwerp.

    In 1924, the French Legislative Election happened while the Games themselves were on in Paris, and the Cartel Gauche (The SFIO, and the Republican-Socialists) beat the right-wing parties who’d had more seats before.

    And, of course, FDR beat Hoover in 1932, after the Los Angeles Games.
    Phew, that was a bit geeky!

  • Malcolm Crowther

    Just read Blair’s book. He was full of praise for Tessa Jowell’s role. Have heard you in the past saying would never have happened but for Blair in Singapore. Heard IOC delegates say that too. Important coalition does not try to make it their event. It is the country’s and the world’s. If they overtly milk it it will backfire. Well done v the press. Sweet victory

  • Hilary Curtis

    I saw your tweet on the volunteering and immediately went on there. I think the whole country will want to be part of this. Like you I hate the idea of the Tories making hay with it. But I so want the Games to be a success. I want my kids to feel the same too

  • Anonymous

    Did you see Clegg with the World Cup bid people? Sport clearly not his thing I would say. High on cliches, low on authentic commitment. As for Cameron the Villa fan? Yeah right

  • Teresa.

    I’m suddenly interested in football, I’d love to see this great win:)

  • David Peirson

    Surely you’ve not thrown in the towel for the 2012 London Mayor election yet?

  • Chris L

    I’m hoping the next election will be before 2012. Who knows, the Lib Dems might recover a conscience.

  • Richard

    Do not worry Al, even if New Labour may not get all the cudos associated with the Olympics, you will for ever be associated with the mountains of PFI debt nobody talks about, but will be round our necks for 30 years…..oh and the £1.4 trillion accumulated national debt. Your legacy will never be forgotten.

    And M/s Jowell, bless her, can spend more time with her family.

  • Ted4999

    ur sad m8