Oi Daily Mail – who you calling a “Plastic” Brit?


3:36 pm - March 10th 2012

by Sunder Katwala    


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Just who is a “Plastic Brit”? That question is provoked by the Daily Mail’s sustained campaign against some of the athletes who will be competing for Britain in the Olympic Games this summer.

The newspaper today rails against the choice of Tiffany Porter as athletics captain.

It also offers a handy montage of its previous headlines against “Plastic Brits”, such as “Team GB have ended up with a bunch of foreign wrestlers. I wish they would all SHOVE OFF!”

Being a “Plastic Brit” clearly isn’t about race. Britain has moved on in recent decades from seriously debating the question of whether those born here with Asian or Afro-Caribbean parents, could ever be truly British. The Mail has rightly been much praised for its campaign to convict Stephen Lawrence’s murderers, which changed legal and social history, and the newspaper too.

So, the “Plastic Brit” charge is against those who seek to compete under “a flag of convenience”. The very first example that almost anybody would think of is Zola Budd. The obvious irony is that the South African could never have run for Britain without a Daily Mail campaign to get the government to fast-track her into the British Olympic theme.

With Mail executives lodging the passport application, Budd was greeted by Daily Express headlines blaring “Zola Go Home” as the 19 year old became a pawn in various media and political battles, before the infamous collision with Mary Decker-Slaney at the Los Angeles Games.

But the Budd case is relevant in terms of the central question: who is, and is not, a plastic Brit? If the Mail in 1984 could campaign vociferously for her to run for Britain, and the Mail today would lambast her as the most egregious of the “plastic Brits” (on its sports pages at least) then this does raise an obvious question. What are the criteria? And who decides?

All this means that the Mail could celebrate a victory in its campaign last weekend, managing to keep out both of the female wrestlers, Yana Stadnik and Olga Butkevych, it has been targetting out of the British team, despite five year’s residence.

If we knew our history …

The “Plastic Brits” campaign may have some valid points about some governing bodies attempts to push the line – but it could also be rejected as misunderstanding a distinctively British sporting history, which has been more open to international influence than any other national sporting culture, reflecting Britain’s colonial and post-colonial history.

How many people know that the very first Brit to compete in the 1896 Olympics was born in India, Charles Gmelin, the son of a Christian missionary, who took bronze in the 400 metres?

That same year, the great Indian Ranjitsinjhi was the hero of the Ashes series. The Times had declared against picking the Indian Maharajah on what now look rather like ‘plastic Brit’ grounds: “There was some feeling about K. S. Ranjitsinhji’s absence, but although the Indian Prince has learnt all his cricket in England he could scarcely, if the title of the match were to be adhered to, have been included in the English eleven” – but the more popular papers campaigned to let him play.

More than a dozen previous England cricket captains, like the current incumbent Andrew Strauss, were born abroad, including the South African born Allan Lamb.

The Daily Mail, having made its views clear during the selection process, should promise to retire its campaign before the Games begin.

That would enable it to get on the same side as the capacity crowds, waving their flags for everybody who is competing for Britain, while also being thrilled at the achievements of the great athletes from around the world.

Personally, I am going to cheer for all of the British athletes who we have invited to compete for our teams. Once the Games begin, let’s hope we can persuade the Daily Mail to wave its Union Jack for them all too.


This is an edited down version of a blog-post first published on the new British Future ‘dot dot dot’ blog.

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About the author
Sunder Katwala is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He is the director of British Future, a think-tank addressing identity and integration, migration and opportunity. He was formerly secretary-general of the Fabian Society.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Immigration ,Media ,Sport

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Reader comments


Britain has moved on in recent decades from seriously debating the question of whether those born here with Asian or Afro-Caribbean parents, could ever be truly British.

That’ll be why I still hear the phrase “a dog born in a stable is not a horse now is it?” with depressing regularity then. Britain might have moved on from such debates, but I’m not sure ‘the British’ have come to terms with them just yet.

The obvious irony is that the South African could never have run for Britain without a Daily Mail campaign to get the government to fast-track her into the British Olympic theme.

The obvious point is that the right has changed much since 1984 and the rise of globalisation and self-centred no-such-thing-as-society individualism. Thus the Mail no longer has an interest in maximising Britain’s chances for gold in the Olympics, by using any and all available talent that are technically British but that said ‘dog born in stable argument’ types would vehemently disagree with as being British, and are instead more interested in policing racial and cultural purity so those encountered as ‘British’ tend to be be people like them.

It’s funny when lefties get all patriotic – the properly-vetted kind, of course.

It does seem strange that people now appear to have more rigid conceptions of identity having to correspond with specific geographical areas than they did in the past. I wonder if the Mail would now consider the British Guiana born, world’s first black association footballer to play at international level to be a Plastic Brit ?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Watson_%28footballer%29

Plastic toilet paper – Daily Fail.

Can’t we persuade people not to buy the Mail so it goes out of business instead?

That paper is an enemy of the workers.

6. the a&e charge nurse

“But the Budd case is relevant in terms of the central question: who is, and is not, a plastic Brit?” – who is, and is not a plastic Brit?

Do I sense another gratuitous bout of self loathing coming on, or will we be seeking refuge in concepts so amorphous that they can mean all things, to all people?

Anyway, supporting nations amounts to no more than an accident of geography once we begin to over-analyse it.

Perhaps we should simply ignore the ‘accident’ that determines the country of one’s birth and stop pretending that it matters. The England cricket team has for years been more of a ‘rainbow coalition’, the current rugby team more resembles the Barbarians than an ‘England’ team. Not so long ago it was only necessary to cross the Severn Bridge or holiday in Tenby to play rugby for Wales.
Let us instead replicate on a global scale the Indian Cricket League where teams (sponsors) bid for players, solely on a highest bid wins the best players.
Surely that would more accurately reflect the world we live in?
Instead of nation playing nation, Coca Cola could play RBS and Pepsi compete against Goldman Sachs.
Naturally, the taxpayer would provide the venue, the security, infrastructure, pay the players and compensate the losers.
The gate money, the winnings and TV rights going quite naturally to the sponsors.
Surely, no one would have a problem with that?

The whole concept of an athletics “team” is ridiculous anyway, and it makes no difference who the “captain” is.

“Perhaps we should simply ignore the ‘accident’ that determines the country of one’s birth”

In what way is it an ‘accident’?

10. Chaise Guevara

@ 9 JoJo

“In what way is it an ‘accident’?”

Maybe not quite le mot juste, but from the point of view of the person themself it is pretty much an accident. It’s not like anyone decides where they’re born.

‘Plastic Brits’ for a plastic occasion.

All that patriots who care about Great Britain so much ….How come they so passionate about reduce chances for their country to get more medal on Olympic Games 2012???And again if you are proud to be British and you proud to have democracy. . so why that democracy just for you only ???As that athletes are the same human and have human rights to be treated like a HUMAN not branded Plastic Brits as you have named them… this is the link (so you can educate yourself a bit) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_groups_in_the_United_Kingdom -Ethnic groups in the United Kingdom and how many people are not born in Britain but become one …so why being disrespectful to people who is just one of yours HUMAN…

@1, “Thus the Mail no longer has an interest in maximising Britain’s chances for gold in the Olympics, by using any and all available talent that are technically British”

Now, as a Britisher, I want Britain to win as many golds as it can at the Olympics and I suppose I will get a kick of (obviously vulgar right-wing nationalist) pride when we win anything. But I fail to see how I could get a kick of pride when someone who was born in the US, continues to live in the US, and who obviously only took up competing for Britain because she wasn’t good enough to get on the American team and was rejected by them, does anything under a British flag.

She obviously takes no pride in being British and is only using the UK as a convenient entry point to the Olympics, so how can I take any pride in anything she does for Britain? I think I’d rather we lost with someone who gave a stuff about who thet were competing for.

Note to trolls: race doesn’t come into it one bit.

14. the a&e charge nurse

[9] ‘in what way is it in accident’ – in the sense that people have no choice over the country they are born in.

What is even more problematic is support of the British team is tantamount to a form of nationalism-lite – and nationalism is generally frowned upon amongst the liberal intelligentsia (look at some of the hilarious threads on LC by those who end up tying themselves up in knots trying to describe what does or doesn’t make somebody english).

At the same time competition is also inherently problematic since it is essentially an adversarial process defined by winners and losers – another sphere that liberals are usually uncomfortable with?

Sport is tribal, partisan and driven by survival of the fittest – trying to wrap it up in fluffy liberal sensibilities will kill the very values that make it meaningful.

15. Dick the Prick

@13 – it’s been happening in football and rugby for ages. If one of your grandparents was born somewhere you can play for them when you haven’t made the grade for your 1st choice. Ironically, the greatest controversy was Ryan Giggs who refused to play for England because he’s Welsh and acknowledged that it was a bit optimistic that they’d win anything and the lad could have played for anyone; maybe even Brazil. It is kinda dodgy but if those are the rules, if they’ve not changed recently then so be it. I guess some sympathy should be afforded to people not picked but it’s a hard knock life etc etc.

‘Plastic Brits’ for a plastic occasion.

Yep – that’s it. I just hope Jessica Ennis wins though. Because she’s such a lovely British woman. I wouldn’t feel the same about any American who was in the British team, because they’re not ”one’s own” in the same sense.

Kelly Holmes was another great example of someone you could get behind and cheer for.
Because she was such a homegrown Brit.
Unlike Kevin Pietersen and all the other imports.

Chris re: Comment 5:

“Can’t we persuade people not to buy the Mail so it goes out of business instead?
That paper is an enemy of the workers.”

In 2012 isn’t it quaint to find someone so certain about what is good or bad for workers.

Chris re: Comment 5:

“Can’t we persuade people not to buy the Mail so it goes out of business instead?
That paper is an enemy of the workers.”

In 2012 isn’t it quaint to find someone so certain about what is good or bad for workers?

19. Chaise Guevara

@ 14 a&e

You’re probably right about patriotism, but the rest of it? Seriously? Are you defining “liberalism” as “any attitude satirised in Harrison Bergeron”? I really don’t think that a significant number of liberals (or anyone else) dislike the Olympics because they think it’s unfair that every competitor doesn’t get a gold medal at the end. Put the straw man back in the box.

20. Abdul Abulbul Emir

Mrs A Says

Abdul that nice Mr Hitler recruited foreigners for his SS didn’t he ?

They were honorary Aryans. Even us Muslims.

So how dare people call those who help us ‘plastic brits’.

I say to Mrs A

Silence woman. Don’t forget Hitler LOST the War.

Peace

21. Abdul Abulbul Emir

Mrs A says

Abdul. That nice Mr Hitler recruited foreigners into the SS .

He made them honorary Aryans.Even us Muslims.

So how dare the DM call those who help us ‘plastic brits’.

I say to Mrs A

Silence woman. Don’t forget Hitler LOST the war.

Peace

22. the a&e charge nurse

[19] “I really don’t think that a significant number of liberals (or anyone else) dislike the Olympics because they think it’s unfair that every competitor doesn’t get a gold medal at the end” – I’ve heard it said that such attitudes now prevail in most english schools but I might be wrong?

In any event I was thinking more about gauche affiliations.

Imagine the two fastest men on the planet happened to be Israeli and Iranian – that would make for an interesting final, although security costs (which have already escalated from £282 to £553 million) might need further tweaking?

‘in what way is it in accident’ – in the sense that people have no choice over the country they are born in.”

But I couldn’t have been born anywhere else, or else it would not be me.

No accident at all.

I prefer terming people like Tiffany Porter as sporting carpetbaggers.

If I am expected to support or identify with a national side (which I tend not to) then I would at least expect members of that side to be people who identify themselves as British on a long term deeply held basis. If it is a flag of convenience then it negates the whole Team GB yay! idea.

26. Chaise Guevara

@ 23 JoJo

“But I couldn’t have been born anywhere else, or else it would not be me.

No accident at all.”

Eh? Firstly, that’s not actually true. Secondly, I don’t see what it has to do with the fact that people don’t choose where they’re born.

27. Chaise Guevara

@ 22 a&e

“I’ve heard it said that such attitudes now prevail in most english schools but I might be wrong?”

Said by whom? In any case, going out of your way to ensure every child feels like a winner (whether or not that’s actually a good thing in this case) hasn’t got much to do with the idea that people would be actively offended by the very idea of competition. I think your claims need better evidence than hearsay about a different topic.

“In any event I was thinking more about gauche affiliations.

Imagine the two fastest men on the planet happened to be Israeli and Iranian – that would make for an interesting final, although security costs (which have already escalated from £282 to £553 million) might need further tweaking?”

Sorry, but what on Earth has this got to do with your allegations @14?

Andrew Strauss is english, his parents are english, he lived in england nearly all his life.

Allan Lamb is an interesting one. There was something of a sporting boycott on Apartheid era South Africa. Lamb was a talented cricketer, the only way he could of tested himself at international level was the move to england. Now whether you think that should of been allowed is a different debate, but it was not Porter or KP esque of blatent opportunism that guided the switch of countries. So bringing up examples of non-uk born sports people should be valued on a case by case basis.

29. the a&e charge nurse

[27] ‘said by whom’ – MPs like Sandra Gidley, Chaise.
http://antonylittle.blogspot.com/2006/12/libdems-want-to-abolsih-competition-in.html

Now I’m not saying the utterance of one MP equates to the end of competition in our schools, but I’m sure I remember something about the idea of ‘inclusiveness’ trumping excellence, presumably because only a minority of children would benefit if sport was geared toward being the best.

Having said that I think there IS a minority of children who are taught, or should that be coached, to be hyper-competitive – think of those, who even at the age of 8 are getting trials for footy teams, or those who take their swimming seriously.

The hypothetical 100m final was merely to illustrate that sport is a vector for deeper feelings, not all of which are friendly or healthy – sure we can wave our plastic flags for British team members but the real excitement comes from a more primitive place.

@29, the a&e charge nurse – The blog post you linked to conveniently excludes any actual quotes, which always raises my suspicions a bit, so I did a bit of googling to dig up what she really said:

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/1066958.school_sports_days_put_children_off_sport_mp/

The point she actually made is that too much emphasis on competition discourages kids who are bad at sport from taking part in PE at all, causing them to avoid exercise entirely because they’re worried about making twats of themselves. It’s not about making everyone feel like a winner, it’s about tackling childhood obesity. Which is, IMO, a fair enough point – whether it holds up in reality or not is another matter, but it’s a little bit more nuanced than “she wants to ban competition” as that post would have it.

“Eh? Firstly, that’s not actually true.”

Of course its true. I am me. I cannot be anyone else. If I were anyone else, I would not be me. That is a simple fact.

And parents choose where thier children will be born. No accident.

Hmmm, Daily Mail in “Not consistent” shocker.

Never going to be a headline, is it?

33. Steve Williams

Tiffany Porter has a British parent. She is half British. If I was half American and half British, I’d choose to represent Britain too, and I don’t see why this is something to condemn her for. Also, she has in fact run fast enough this year to have qualified for the American team.

34. Chaise Guevara

@ 31 JoJo

“Of course its true. I am me. I cannot be anyone else. If I were anyone else, I would not be me. That is a simple fact.”

So? We’re not saying you’d be someone else. You’d be the same person, born somewhere else.

“And parents choose where thier children will be born. No accident.”

I already explained that people mean it’s an accident from the POV of the child. If you can’t or won’t understand that then there’s not much I can do for you.

35. Chaise Guevara

@ 29 a&e

Fascinating, but I’m still waiting for you to explain how you get from “some people think inclusiveness should be pushed in education at the expense of competition” to “liberals hate competition and therefore don’t like the Olympics”. This is like the third time of asking, so to be honest I think you keep meandering off at a tangent to avoid answering the question. Answers, please.

Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail today. It’s worth reading just to get the facts straight.
I agree with him.

Authenticity differs case to case …… distinction should generally be made between changing nationality for personal reasons and changing purely to gain sporting advantage.
Aldama’s settled life in Britain makes her current state more palatable, for instance, than her six years as a wholly convenient representative of Sudan.

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.
Those who believe the Plastic Brit debate treats them as one and the same are either deliberately misunderstanding the argument or just not very bright. Don’t rule it out. Dummies abound.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/article-2113608/Plastic-Brits-If-best-best-whats-point-Martin-Samuel.html

“You’d be the same person, born somewhere else.”

And how could that happen? I wasnt born anywhere else! Nor could I have ever have been. It just wouldnt have been me.

“I already explained that people mean it’s an accident from the POV of the child. If you can’t or won’t understand that then there’s not much I can do for you.”

If you can’t or won’t understand that where people are born is no accident at all then there’s not much I can do for you.

38. Chaise Guevara

@ 37 JoJo

“And how could that happen? I wasnt born anywhere else! Nor could I have ever have been. It just wouldnt have been me.”

Yes you could. If, for example, your parents had gone to a different hospital. Or any number of other bleeding obvious scenarios.

“If you can’t or won’t understand that where people are born is no accident at all then there’s not much I can do for you.”

Indeed, there is no hope of me blindly accepting your illogical position, or of me going along with you in misrepresenting what the person above said when they said “accident”. Such a shame…

“Yes you could. If, for example, your parents had gone to a different hospital. Or any number of other bleeding obvious scenarios.”

But I wasn’t born in a different hospital, nor anywhere else. That just wouldn’t have been me. Everything that make me, well, me, is set in stone.

“Indeed, there is no hope of me blindly accepting your illogical position, or of me going along with you in misrepresenting what the person above said when they said “accident”. Such a shame…”

No misrepresentations and no accidents either.

40. Shatterface

“Perhaps we should simply ignore the ‘accident’ that determines the country of one’s birth”

In what way is it an ‘accident’?

My parents were pretty explicit about my conception being an accident.

41. Chaise Guevara

@ 39 JoJo

“But I wasn’t born in a different hospital, nor anywhere else.”

I know that. I said if you HAD BEEN born in a different hospital.

“That just wouldn’t have been me.”

Why?

“Everything that make me, well, me, is set in stone. ”

Only in that we can’t change the past. It could have happened differently – and if you won’t accept that as a hypothetical, why are you arguing about the outcome of the hypothetical scenario?

More to the point, none of this changes the fact that people don’t choose where they’re born, hence the phrase “accident of birth”.

42. Chaise Guevara

@ Shatterface

I feel I should have called Poe’s Law on JoJo about three posts ago. Thoughts?

43. Shatterface

@ Shatterface
I feel I should have called Poe’s Law on JoJo about three posts ago. Thoughts?

Don’t think I’d heard that expresion so just looke it up. Fantastic, I’ll definitely be using it again!

44. Chaise Guevara

@ 43

It’s a good ‘un!

“I know that. I said if you HAD BEEN born in a different hospital.”

But I wasn’t and I couldn’t have been.

“Why?”

Because I was born in the hospital I was born in, in city I was born in, where my parents choose. That is who I am. I can’t be anyone else.

“Only in that we can’t change the past”

Reality you mean. I live in reality, you are living in fantasy.

“and if you won’t accept that as a hypothetical, why are you arguing about the outcome of the hypothetical scenario?”

What if aliens with 6 arms and web feet invaded, and the only way to defeat them was to dress in monochrome, join arms and sing “Kumbaya my lord” whilst juggling small sharks?

What if that happened? It could happen, hypothetically, could it not?

And what if a cat called Tiddles had actually been born a dog? Would it still be that cat called Tiddles?

“… none of this changes the fact that people don’t choose where they’re born, hence the phrase “accident of birth”.

Their parents do. And that is no accident.

46. Chaise Guevara

@ 45 JoJo

Riiiight. So you don’t accept the hypothetical concept, yet you’re arguing about its outcome. And still equivocating a la “accident”, of course.

I am bored of your trolling. See ya.

46
I might be wrong but I think that JoJo is talking about determinism versus free-will and the notion that things are like they are now because they were as they were then. The argument that (it was no accident) is a refutation of ‘accident’ in the sense that everything is determined.
Nonetheless, whether by accident or determination, the individual was powerless to change their circumstance, so they cannot really be blamed or praised for what they are or do.
I am assuming that JoJo is inferring that the team you support is predetermined as was your geographic birthplace.
But then again, I’m making assumptions here.

“I am bored of your trolling. See ya.”

Actually, I think it is you who is trolling, if anyone. But I don’t subscribe the simple minded school of thought that demands I call anyone I cannot either agree with or outwit, a troll.

And you can keep your silly ‘Poe’s law’ in lieu of reality and logic.

“So you don’t accept the hypothetical concept”

Why couldn’t you comment on my two hypothetical concepts above then?

Its all very simple: I am who I am; and everything in my past, in its entirety, is the sum total of who I am. Change anything at all, and it is not me. It cannot be changed in reality anyhow; I am who I am, and will always be so.

Parents decide where their children are born and that is no accident.

Stevie B – that is my position.

49. the a&e charge nurse

[35] “I’m still waiting for you to explain how you get from “some people think inclusiveness should be pushed in education at the expense of competition” to “liberals hate competition and therefore don’t like the Olympics” – the inclusiveness vs competition debate in school sport has been around for some time.
Here is a Gruniad report from 2007 discussing the matter.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2007/aug/28/schools.schoolsports

I’m sure I don’t have to explain why such factors might have crept into the way children engage with sport in schools but some of the current thinking seems to revolve around using sport as a way to tackle childhood obesity rather than for a deeper appreciation of the activity itself.

I don’t think I said liberals hate sport or the olympics but rather some might avoid looking too deeply at why they have certain affiliations for a certain country or team because such allegiances are usually driven by arbitrary factors like where you are born, or which football team your Dad supported.

Not only that such support is devisive (unless the support is token) because you want YOUR team to win at all costs – put it this way, is there a better vehicle for rampant nationalism than international sporting events?

For example, everybody was desperate for an african team to win the last world cup – why?

50. Chaise Guevara

@ 48 JoJo

“Actually, I think it is you who is trolling, if anyone. But I don’t subscribe the simple minded school of thought that demands I call anyone I cannot either agree with or outwit, a troll.”

Nor do I. I call people a troll when I suspect they’re deliberately winding me up by repeating the same shit without listening to the replies.

“Why couldn’t you comment on my two hypothetical concepts above then? ”

The second one is an oxymoron. What comment do you want on the first? I mean, yes, it’s a hypothetical concept… what does that add to the discussion.

“Its all very simple: I am who I am; and everything in my past, in its entirety, is the sum total of who I am. Change anything at all, and it is not me. It cannot be changed in reality anyhow; I am who I am, and will always be so.”

That’s a philosophical position, certainly. Another one is that you’d be a slightly different version of you. But this is all a huge attempt to draw attention away from the fact that you didn’t choose where you were born, and that your parents hypothetically might have gone to another hospital. Your continual repetition of this total non-sequitur is Reason One that I think you’re trolling. Reason Two is that you’ve been arguing about the outcome of a hypothetical situation when you refuse to accept its conditions.

“Parents decide where their children are born and that is no accident. ”

…And that’s Reason Three. Firstly and trivially, parents don’t always decide where their children are born. What if labour starts unexpectedly, for example? Or you’d like your child to be born in America but you’re not allowed to leave North Korea?

More to the point – and this is the bit that identifies you as a likely troll – I have repeatedly pointed out that the phrase “accident of birth” REFERS TO THE CHILD’S POINT OF VIEW. For some reason, you keep ignoring that and going on about the parent’s POV instead, which is equivocation.

So… you seem genuinely annoyed about being a troll, but you’re still acting like one. Poe’s Law is very much in effect. I suppose we’ll see what you say next. If you just repeat your point without listening to the reply for the fifth time, I’ll have my answer.

51. Chaise Guevara

@ 47 SteveB

“I might be wrong but I think that JoJo is talking about determinism versus free-will and the notion that things are like they are now because they were as they were then. The argument that (it was no accident) is a refutation of ‘accident’ in the sense that everything is determined.”

I’m on Team Determinism myself. I just don’t use that as an excuse to creatively misinterpret the words other people use in an attempt to derail the thread.

“Nonetheless, whether by accident or determination, the individual was powerless to change their circumstance, so they cannot really be blamed or praised for what they are or do.”

Exactly. If anything, JoJo’s pro-determinism stance should lead to this conclusion; unfortunately the record seems to be stuck on “its not an accident its not an accident its not an accident I’m not listening I’m not listening “.

52. Chaise Guevara

@ 49 a&e

“I don’t think I said liberals hate sport or the olympics but rather some might avoid looking too deeply at why they have certain affiliations for a certain country or team because such allegiances are usually driven by arbitrary factors like where you are born, or which football team your Dad supported.”

For crying out loud… I AGREED with you RE nationalism, ages ago. This is what I disagreed with and have been asking you about all through the thread:

“At the same time competition is also inherently problematic since it is essentially an adversarial process defined by winners and losers – another sphere that liberals are usually uncomfortable with? ” – you @14

Why are you so determined to avoid backing up this statement? I’ve asked you maybe four or five times now and you’re still doing it. If you can’t back up the statement, just admit it instead of all this question-dodging.

53. Donut Hinge Party

Actually, I’m with the Mail on this one – otherwise we may as well just privatise the Olympics and have the Tesco team competing against the Wal-Mart team and the HSBC team.

The point of the Olympics has been national pride that an individual who has been raised in the same system, and has had the same opportunities as you have had, has managed to come 18th in the 400 metres (out of 19)

If someone’s being parachuted in because they’re not good enough for their own team, then you just have a race to the bottom. Heck, you’re almost playing into nationalist hands by claiming that background and heritage alone makes an individual British – I’ve certainly had discussions with objectionable types who claim that because a person is of British heritage than they’re uniquely better than others.

54. the a&e charge nurse

[52] sport (at the high end) is analogous to the kind of sensibilities one might associate with right wing doctrines, and certainly markets – dog eat dog, win at all costs, nationalistic or regionalistic, etc – such qualities are usually anathema to liberals leading to a kind of dissonance based on a clash between emotion and intellect.

Liberals worry about stuff like whether or not the American captain of the UK olympics team is perceived as sufficiently British, especially what the ubiquitous Fail readers might think about her.

If people want to fret about such things then I suppose that is their prerogative but it’s hardly the main reason why hardcore fans become enthralled with a particular sport or team?

Chaise Guevara:

I’m still me, nothings changed about that, as nothing ever will or could.

And it is no accident where I was born.

56. Chaise Guevara

@ 54 a&e

So it’s just going to blanket assertions with no backup, then? Fine, good to know. Carry on.

I check again today – I’m still me, could only be me and could only be because of everything I am and everything that was.

Its still no accident where I was born either. Checked that too – all very deliberate.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Oi Daily Mail – who you calling a "Plastic" Brit? http://t.co/x9HawjOu

  2. Jason Brickley

    Oi Daily Mail – who you calling a “Plastic” Brit? http://t.co/ikxNSaIt

  3. Patron Press - #P2

    #UK : Oi Daily Mail – who you calling a “Plastic ” Brit? http://t.co/si98MSxS

  4. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – Oi Daily Mail – who you calling a “Plastic” Brit? http://t.co/izK7BXZF

  5. Sunder Katwala

    Me at @libcon: Oi Daily Mail – who you calling a "Plastic" Brit? http://t.co/6wusn9nj

  6. sunny hundal

    Excellent > RT @sundersays: Oi Daily Mail – who you calling a "Plastic" Brit? http://t.co/KiSvAqmz

  7. Brian Stout

    'Plastic Paddy' has always been a horrible phrase and concept. 'Plastic Brit' is just as bad: http://t.co/sK7pmPOo

  8. Marc Stears

    Me at @libcon: Oi Daily Mail – who you calling a "Plastic" Brit? http://t.co/6wusn9nj

  9. Chris Hillyer

    Oi Daily Mail – who you calling a “Plastic” Brit? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/yq3ZzCc5 via @libcon





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