Badly done Mr Brown

Read Kate Hoey’s article Olympic ideals? It’s a grotesque charade on for a take on the Olympic torch fiasco on Sunday that Gordon Brown will not enjoy.

This heavy mob [the Chinese toughs in blue tracksuits] that charmlessly controlled the torchbearers yesterday, shouting orders at the runners, showed that even a public-relations offensive by the Beijing authorities is a brutal and heavy-handed affair. When the torch arrived no one saw the flame or even the runner – the Downing Street gates opened and the Prime Minister, in front of a small crowd of trusted apologists, participated in a gravely miscalculated photo opportunity.

Protesters were not just drawing attention to China’s oppression in Tibet but they were speaking out against its dismal record of support for the genocide in Darfur and the long-running military dictatorship in Burma.

Using a form of “spin” of which the politburo in Beijing would be proud, our powers-that-be decided to make a distinction between the thousands of pro-Tibetan and the pro-Chinese spectators along the route. Pro-Tibetans were “demonstrating” or “protesting” while the “Chinese were celebrating” (with help from their Embassy, which provided them with flags and banners praising the Motherland).

I simply cannot understand why Gordon Brown has allowed himself to be embroiled in this mess. It shows either bad judgment or bad advice.

Enough said.

Happy New Year too!

Reading Charon QC’s Blawg, he was “Impressed by the London fireworks and usually I have no interest in fireworks.” Perhaps he was in the crowd. If he had had the misfortune to watch them on TV (don’t ask: a sad admission that one doesn’t get out and about as much as others), he might have felt differently, not least because the BBC’s OB was very certainly not up to scratch. A banal commentary, camera angles that obscured the display, cutaways to unnecessary shots of fairy lighted pyrotechnicians in rubber dinghies, and no real sense of what any of this was about (other than to get across the subliminal message that this is Ken’s re-election year: but would you re-elect someone who authorised such a hideous waste of money? Thank God I live in the South West). They do it so much better in Sydney!