Saturday, February 18, 2006

Another £770m On Grandstanding Fascisti


"This is not really about sport. When the iron curtain fell I never thought that Britain, of all nations, would take up the mantle of the East Germans, Czechs and Romanians by nationalising its Olympic team for the sake of political prestige. I never thought that the home of "play up, play up and play the game" would adopt the sporting chauvinism of Ceausescu and Honecker, including the proto-fascist talk of "national heroes" and multimillion-pound elite training camps.

An obsession with sporting excellence (as with military prowess) is a feature of authoritarian regimes. Public money is blown so the leader can bask for a couple of weeks in a handsome stadium and thrill as burnished bodies, muscles rippling, bring to his feet literally piles of gold. He and they shower each other with honours. The standard rises slowly up the pole and the stadium echoes to the national anthem. Is it to this that Blairism has been reduced?"

Apart from omitting the obvious prototype, this time Sir Simon has hit the nail on the head.

And now that their secret plans have been leaked, we can all read exactly what SS-Totenkopf Standarte “UKSport” intend. They want to spend- sorry, invest- £110,457,000 of taxpayers' money every year for seven years on developing an elite cadre of Olympic super-heroes. Why £110,457,000 rather than say £110,458,000? Ah, that's because:

"UK Sport has developed a sophisticated investment model to determine the level of additional funding required...it is logical, measurable, and scalable."

Of course! The appliance of science. Why didn't we think of that before? We now know that £110,457,000 will put us into fourth medal place, compared to tenth in the last five Olympics, and our best showing since 1924. Simple as that.

I know what you're thinking: if we now understand how all this works, why stop at fourth? Why not first? After all, if £110,457,000 can lift us from tenth to fourth, then...let me see...simple scaling- assuredly well within the capability of a sophisticated model- tells us we could rise another four places at an additional cost of only £73,638,000. Brilliant!

Who was that bloke that used to go on about "the lights of perverted science"?


PS Our primer on prospective 2012 Olympics costs is here.

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