Sunday, 25 June 2006

"Hypocrites, xenophobes and plastic patriots

On 12 March 2012, Martin Samuel reported thus in The Mail Online:

"Hypocrites, xenophobes, plastic patriots, we’ve been called a few names this week for daring to question Great Britain’s competitors of convenience. UK Athletics says we’re banned. Although they didn’t say it directly to us, at first. They told the cheerleaders. Almost dropped their pom-poms, some of them.

We’re ranting and raving, according to one newspaper. We have a right-wing agenda. And all for saying it would be better if international sport had meaning and the Great Britain team reflected the true standards of British athletes and coaches, shorn of false achievement…

The Plastic Brit debate… will not go away because it cuts directly to the spirit and meaning of competitive sport at national level and addresses ITS DECREASING WORTH IN AN AGE OF NAKED OPPORTUNISM. IF EVEN INTERNATIONAL SPORTING BODIES REFUSE TO EMBRACE THE PRINCIPLE THAT NATIONALITY MATTERS, THAT EVENTS SHOULD COMPOSE THE BEST OF YOURS AGAINST THE BEST OF THEIRS, THEN WHAT IS THE PURPOSE?

Many of these enterprises are government-funded. They are financially supported because international competition is perceived to have significance, to make a statement about the sporting strength of a people.

If Yamile Aldama can win medals for three nations, country of birth (Cuba), country of convenience (Sudan), and country of residency (Great Britain)— then WHY BOTHER WAVING FLAGS? Admire the athlete, but don’t claim the reflected glory. The country is a vessel, no more.


Tiffany Porter, who became British only after finding her professional ambitions thwarted in America, can be accused of narrow-eyed resourcefulness in a way that Mo Farah, who progressed through the British system having arrived in this country from Somalia at the age of eight, cannot.
If Charles van Commenee, Great Britain’s head athletics coach, has the opportunity to adopt several world-class athletes, HE WILL, BECAUSE THEIR PERFORMANCES MAKE HIM LOOK BETTER. He is in a symbiotic relationship with sprint hurdler Porter, who was not getting the support to match her ambition in her native America. She gets the status of an elite British athlete, with all the encouragement and investment that entails, meaning her times improve; VAN COMMENEE GETS A NICE SERIES OF PODIUM FINISHES TO MAKE IT APPEAR AS IF HIS COACHING OPERATION MERITS CONTINUED OR ADDITIONAL FUNDING. His figures are built on a basic falsehood, because the groundwork on Porter was done in the United States, but the system demands it.

That is what British Wrestling was attempting with all those dubious Ukrainian acquisitions: increase their funding through success, increase their slice of the pie. Yet, take the Plastic Brit phenomenon to its logical conclusion and THE WEALTHIEST BRITISH SPORTS WILL BECOME LITTLE MORE THAN COLONIALIST ENTERPRISES.

When the outstanding Whitgift School in south London has £5million to spend on scholarships and bursaries, what is there to stop scouts of various competing independent educational establishments scouring the Pacific Islands for the best teenage rugby talent, and tempting the boys to Britain with the promise of free private education? A whole front row of Manu Tuilagi brick-outhouse types, imported almost to order...

Dai Greene, world champion 400 metres hurdler, put this most succinctly. ‘I can understand and sympathise with athletes who are trying to make teams, and all of a sudden they have new people ahead of them,’ he said.

Perhaps hinting at the added motivation of association with the home team at an Olympics in London — after all, why didn’t Aldama try to declare for Britain prior to the Beijing Games — he added: ‘It is going to be interesting to see how many switch allegiances in the next few years. I’d like to think we won’t be saturated. IT WOULD BE NICE TO TURN UP TO CHAMPIONSHIPS WITH BRITISH ATHLETES WITH BRITISH ACCENTS.’

If this makes him a xenophobe, a hypocrite or a plastic patriot, so be it. Actually, I think it makes a few other people sound like dopes or dupes. And not for the first time, either.” Channel 4 - 11 March 2012
The UK athletics coach is a Dutch immigrant. Born and raised in Holland, Commenee's mother is, herself, mixed race. UK captain, Tiffany Porter, is a 'second tier' American athlete. The British athletics team (as portrayed in the video) was notable for the lack of Whitey and even the presenter of the Channel 4 piece, Keme Nzerem, was a black chap.

Charles van Commenee, the UK coach who wanted to 'make a statement' certainly did so. Not just by choosing a black Yank to captain the British team at the World indoor championships but also by arranging for two immigrant Blacks and a British born half-caste to represent team GB at the press conference.

They do love to take the p*** out of us, don't they? Thing is, it seems that just about everyone who revels in and benefits from political correctness is incapable of subtlety. They do not seem to realise that, the more they take, the more they gloat and the more they rub it in, the more the indigenous outrage mounts.

Perhaps they think we will never go bang. No matter what they do. Perhaps they're right.

But I doubt it.

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