Ten of the silliest Tweets from #Olympics ceremony


3:09 pm - July 28th 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


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Obviously Aidan Burley MP takes the top spot for ‘idiocy during the Olympics opening ceremony’ – but he wasn’t alone.

Here were some other contenders for that title last night.

Murdoch wasn’t so brazen though…

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Really??!

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Looks like Harry Cole was (unsuccessfully) trying to do an Aidan Burley…

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(some via Tim Fenton)

And our top runner up…

Really? You want the empire back? ‘Piers Morgan is an ignorant tool’ shocker.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


The empire was great, who wouldn’t want it back

LOL @ Piers Morgan… He must have been smoking or sniffing something to come out with that crap.

Why no mention of Billy Bragg’s idiotic tweet about burning an effigy of Thatcher during the ceremony?

It’s odd, all the people who complained that it was too “politically correct”; by which they mean that there were blacks and Asians in it. The opening ceremony was made up of volunteers; so, are these people saying that if your dance troupe/hospital wanted to take part in the ceremony, then the blacks and Asians should have been denied the opportunity? That they should have been weeded out? The teacher at the school or the dance class should only offer the chance to the white pupils and tell the black ones that they are not wanted? I would like to understand how Toby Young’s and Aidan Burley’s ideal, volunteer-led signing-up process would have gone about. Maybe they would have made two lists – one for whites and one for blacks and Asians, then chucked the latter in the bin.

@ George – The rebel alliance

“Danny Boyle a creative genius” would that be the same Rupert Murdoch whose Fox Searchlight issued 28 Days Later, Sunshine, Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours and who will be distributing Trance in 2013?

The second of Master Cole’s Tweets wasn’t about the Olympic opening ceremony, but his earlier ranting about untrained teachers. Cole has formed the belief that his best educational experiences came from untrained teachers who were not unionised (figures), but how he knows this was not told.

Sadly, he rounded off his outburst with a combination of grammar and spelling failure – screen shot in this post:

http://zelo.tv/Or9gaU

As I never tire of saying, another fine mess.

8. mergin4error

Frankly – if that vision is a Labour vision – can we have an election now and vote them in? Investment in industry, support for the NHS and recognition that maybe young people are not nall scum sounds like a massive improvement on what we have right now.

9. Dave Angel

Did you see this astonishing tweet from Louise Mensch?

https://twitter.com/LouiseMensch/status/229128828155461633

“The best bit of the opening ceremony was the tribute to the NHS – says so much about PM that he protected & increased its budget 🙂 ”

I’m more convinced than ever that she lives in a parallel universe, and drops in to visit us.

10. Just Visiting

maybe it was me – but I did find the NHS thing curious.

While the NHS may be something the British value and have an emotional attachment too – I wondered what the rest of the world thought as they watched.

But maybe other countries also get emotional /are proud about their health systems.

The British Empire was the first state in history to outlaw slavery and then to actively try to shut down the slave trade, which it did with some success.

Better not be proud of that though, because Empire!

12. mergin4error

Just Visiting

Different countries are proud of very different things. The Ausies are proud of their irreverence while Japan is proud of its sense of honour. Holland tends to take pride in its sense of liberty while Saudi is proud of its religious fervour.

The incompatability of what different nations take pride in makes them no less powerful or important. And one of the few things in modern Britain that British people express any pride in is the NHS. We are no longer the most free nation on earth. We are no longer a bastion of fair play and decency. One might go so far as to say that all this corrupt and divided little island has left to be proud of is the solidarity of an NHS that looks after everyone.

13. Chaise Guevara

@ 11 DJ

“Better not be proud of that though, because Empire!”

Who said we shouldn’t be proud of it?

Or are you suggesting we ignore all the evil the Empire did, because anti-slavery!

Chaise: “Or are you suggesting we ignore all the evil the Empire did, because anti-slavery!”

That’s a timely reminder. Did the slave trade or the outcome of the Opium Wars feature in the celebrations? Try this on the Zong Slave Ship:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cUQi6RSiZQ

We can appropriately celebrate Wilberforce and the earlier judgement of Lord Mansfield in R v Knowles, ex parte Somersett (1772), which held that slevery was unsupported by existing law in England and Wales (although not elsewhere in the British Empire). The judgment made by Lord Mansfield decided that:

The state of slavery is of such a nature that it is incapable of being introduced on any reasons, moral or political, but only by positive law, which preserves its force long after the reasons, occasions, and time itself from whence it was created, is erased from memory. It is so odious, that nothing can be suffered to support it, but positive law. Whatever inconveniences, therefore, may follow from the decision, I cannot say this case is allowed or approved by the law of England; and therefore the black must be discharged. [Wikipedia]

If the right had their way they’d probably have paraded a giant statue of General Franco around the stadium.

16. Chaise Guevara

@ 14 Bob B

“We can appropriately celebrate Wilberforce…”

Damn right we can. I don’t think any serious person denies that the empire had some good effects. That is not, however, an argument for a return to empire.

@16 Chaise: “I don’t think any serious person denies that the empire had some good effects. That is not, however, an argument for a return to empire.”

Wilberforce became engaged in an existing campaign to prohibit the slave trade c. 1787 but Parliament did not legislate to stop the trade until 1807, twenty years later, notwithsatnding the Mansfield judgement of 1772 that slavery was unlawful in Britain.

Part of the explanation relates to whether Britain had sufficient naval power to be able to enforce the prohibition. The Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 established the supremacy of the Royal Navy over potential adversaries and made Britain into the superpower of the 19th century. There are interesting issues as to how and why the Royal Navy came to establish and maintain this supremacy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wilberforce

18. Chaise Guevara

@ Bob B

As ever, you provide a history synopsis and some sources. What point are you making?

@18 Chaise: “What point are you making?”

Understandably, we tend to be selective about aspects of Britain’s history we choose to celebrate.

If we look at the detail – such as the commercial debate about the respective economic merits of tight versus loose packing on slave ships – it’s impossible to resist the conclusion that the trade was unspeakably cruel and evil, yet British shippers and enterprise were major players in this international trade. Some ports – Liverpool, Bristol, London – flourished on the returns from the trade.

A standard argument deployed against prohibition was that others would fill gaps left in the market were British flagged ships to withdraw from the trade. It took Wilberforce twenty years to convince Parliament to legislate to prohibit the trade in 1807. Slavery in the British empire wasn’t abolished until the year of Wilberforce’s death in 1833. Those dates put the morality of abolition into a better informed perspective. Of course, it took a civil war in America several decades later to abolish slavery there.

Its a sign of how nasty Burley and others are when in one of the most freemarket deregulated economies in the western world, anything that is socially owned (the NHS) is seen as “socialist”. They abhor anyone and any institution that is for the collective good. These even more ardent heirs to Thatcher (there is no such thing as society) are closer to facist or even nazi ideals than we may dare to imagine! AND there are lots of these bigots about!

The thing that the British are proudest of is WWII. There was a brief glimpse of Winston Churchill, but recapping the blitz with searchlights, sirens and St Pauls standing above a burning London would hardly be tactful – though very spectacular.

What do these people want – Nelson’s victory and the battle of Waterloo? It’s meant to be a time of peace between nations. Quite rightly, the British celebrated creativity, humour and music. Good for them – though I take the science point.

“Its a sign of how nasty Burley and others are when in one of the most freemarket deregulated economies in the western world, anything that is socially owned (the NHS) is seen as ‘socialist’. ”

That’s not all. I’ve commented here before in other threads that street lighting is collectively purchased because no one has yet figured out how to charge those who benefit from it while excluding those who don’t pay. Evidently, news of this has belatedly reached some Conservative councils. Affronted by the revelation that street lighting is incompatible with their ideology, some councils are now switching off local street lighting – I joke not:

“BRITAIN’S streets are starting to look as gloomy as its finances. North Yorkshire started switching off street lights in the middle of the night earlier this month and wants 60% of its lights to go off between midnight and 5am.”
http://www.economist.com/node/21559651

Btw other west European countries manage to have functioning national systems of healthcare without social ownership of the means of providing healthcare. Besides, according to a recent news report in the Indy:

“Almost 12,000 patients are dying needlessly in NHS hospitals every year because of basic errors by medical staff, according to the largest and most detailed study into hospital deaths ever performed in the UK.

“The researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
and colleagues found something went wrong with the care of 13 per cent of the patients who died in hospitals. An error only caused death in 5.2 per cent of these – equivalent to 11,859 preventable deaths in hospitals in England.”

22

Here’s some good news from the USA re; their healthcare:-

195,000 die in hospital from preventable medical errors
Medical News Today (2004)

7,000 people were estimated to die each year from medication error
22,000 (22%) of Americans report that they or a family member have experienced some kind of medical error.
Only 55% of adults receive the recommended care
30% of care is unnecessary
Agency for Healthcare Research (2002)

If we are to believe the economic text books, market forces are far better than central planning using public money.

23

For the last decade and more, I’ve consistently been a frequent online critic of American healthcare, which is hugely costly as a percentage of America’s GDP as compared with other affluent countries while leading to a marginally lower average life expectancy at birth compared with Britain and to an exceptionally high rate of infant mortality compared with almost all other OECD countries.

The intelligent comparison to make is not between Britain and America but between Britain and other west European countries. In comparisons made by independent healthcare think-tanks, Britain’s NHS comes out as rather mediocre – on the evidence, there is nothing much to be said for the social ownership of the institutions providing healthcare:
http://www.healthpowerhouse.com/files/Index%20matrix%20EHCI%202009%20091001%20final%20A3%20sheet.pdf

I’ve personally experienced serious NHS administration errors so the finding of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine came as no surprise.

This may come as a terrible cultural shock to many but credit for first implementing a national insurance scheme for personal healthcare costs goes not to Britain for creating the NHS in 1948 but to Count Otto von Bismarck, first Chancellor of the German Empire.

“The Health Insurance bill . . was passed in 1883. The program was considered the least important from Bismarck’s point of view, and the least politically troublesome. The program was established to provide health care for the largest segment of the German workers. The health service was established on a local basis, with the cost divided between employers and the employed. The employers contributed 1/3rd, while the workers contributed 2/3rds . The minimum payments for medical treatment and Sick Pay for up to 13 weeks were legally fixed.” [Wikipedia]

Surely dismantling and selling off the NHS is a more truly ideological statement, @RaheemJKassam

26. Chaise Guevara

@ 20

“Its a sign of how nasty Burley and others are when in one of the most freemarket deregulated economies in the western world, anything that is socially owned (the NHS) is seen as “socialist”. ”

In fairness, it IS socialist. It’s just that “socialist” is not a dirty word. It’s a good form of socialism, serving the public good as you say.

27. Chaise Guevara

@ 22 Bob B

“Affronted by the revelation that street lighting is incompatible with their ideology, some councils are now switching off local street lighting – I joke not”

Have you got any evidence that they’re doing it because socialised street lighting “affronts” them, rather than just for cost reasons? Not that I support the move.

I am not a ‘opening ceremony’ type of person. Not at the Olympics, not World/European Cups, even in the long distant days that Scotland used to (however briefly) take part in such things. As a Scot, watching an overpaid diva, who has obviously no idea about football miss an open goal, is just too emotionally scarring for me.

To be honest, I am a get the ba’ into the centre circle and blaw the whistle, type guy. I find all this pre match stuff grating. One year Thatcher turned up and to the cup final and wasn’t allowed on the pitch and was forced to meet the teams inside. Fine buy be. Another year a minor Royal came up and the Airdrie boys all gave her a friendly peck on the cheek.

However, on this occasion, I deeply regret making a point of not watching this. Given the type of bastard that complained, not least that Aiden Burley cunt, (is their anyone in The Country less suited to give an opinion on symbolism than Aiden Burley?) then it must have been great show.

Anything that annoys the Tory vermin in such large numbers requires more viewing. So the Tories despise us showing the NHS to the World? Why? They hate NHS and so do Americans, so it should be banned?

Fuck off you despicable Tory cunts and sulk in a corner while the rest of are actually proud to be British.

My only hope is the Left do not allow these bastards to wriggle out of the disgraceful comments they have made.

Chaise: “Have you got any evidence that they’re doing it because socialised street lighting “affronts” them, rather than just for cost reasons? Not that I support the move.”

It stands to reason. Why else cut spending on street lighting which is highly likely to boost crime and traffic accidents? Providing street lighting is undoutedly Socialist because the demand is collectively decided and the cost is met collectively. Street lighting is an affront to every right-thinking cheerleader for Free Market Capitalism.

30. Chaise Guevara

@ 29 Bob B

“Why else cut spending on street lighting which is highly likely to boost crime and traffic accidents?”

Because crime and traffic accidents, unlike street lighting, don’t directly affect the local authority’s pocket?

Chaise: “Because crime and traffic accidents, unlike street lighting, don’t directly affect the local authority’s pocket?”

That’s not quite true. Not only do crime and traffic accidents affect policing costs, which add to household rates, but they are apt to affect electoral sentiments.

Besides, the LibDems, who have controlled the local council where I live for the last 25 years, like to boast about the borough being a “local crime” area. If that ever was true, the claim is doubtful lately. Hardly a week now goes by without the local press doing a splendid job of reporting another case of pensioners in the borough being robbed, swindled or beaten up as a warning to its readers.

Add to that the good cause for uncertainty about exactly what crime stats are included in the comparisons. I mention that since Glenn Mulcaire, the “investigator” commissioned by the now defunct NOW to hack into the Royal mailboxes for an annual retainer of £100,000+, is a local resident. Presumably, he works from home.

The interesting question is just how many of his hacking jobs feature in the total of the local crime stats – by reports, when the Police searched his home and seized his notebooks, these apparently contained thousands of telephone numbers. More cannot be said as he has been arrested again and charged – along with Andy Coulson, Rebekah Brooks – so the case is sub judice.

32. Chaise Guevara

@ 31 Bob B

“That’s not quite true. Not only do crime and traffic accidents affect policing costs, which add to household rates, but they are apt to affect electoral sentiments”

I did say that they don’t DIRECTLY affect their POCKET, not that they don’t affect them in any way whatsoever.

The factors influence policing costs, but a rise in crime or traffic accidents does not automatically mean spending more on the police. It just incentivises it. So I imagine the council are thinking “OK, cut street lighting, that’ll save us £XXX, and there probably will be knock-on negative effects but those are nebulous and in the future and we’ll worry about them later”. More short-sighted than anything else.

As to the methodology on the crime rates, I have no idea. Your Glenn Mulcaire example does raise the point that there’s a difference between total crime and the amount of crime that worries locals. If your neighbourhood has high crime rates because everyone there is embezzling from work, that doesn’t make you scared to walk the streets.

Chaise: “If your neighbourhood has high crime rates because everyone there is embezzling from work, that doesn’t make you scared to walk the streets.”

No – but I certainly worry about the spate of weekly reports in the local press about pensioners being robbed, swindled or beaten up.

The loca lLibDem boasting about “low crime” relates to some Metropolitan Police figure for total crime in the borough – which is impressively low, apparently because there has been a big drop in “vehicle crime”, perhaps partly because of the additional security features car manufacturers are building into cars after years of official nagging. As a matter of parochial interest, I would like to know whether all the phone hacking conducted by Glenn Mulcaire counts in the crime stats for the borough.

34. Chaise Guevara

@ 33 Bob

It’s a valid line of enquiry. As always, the devil is in the details.

35. margin4error

Bob
The phone hacking would indeed count in crime stats. We gave two counts. Reported crime (according to police figures, which would include all reported hacking by one person as many crimes). And crime survey data (which asks people if they have been a crime victim whether or not they went to the police, and so would also include phone hacking victims many times over).

Both these counts have of course been falling dramatically for years now as we’ve become a much more law abiding society since the mid 90s.

Bob b @ 29:

“Why else cut spending on street lighting which is highly likely to boost crime and traffic accidents?”

A trial in Maldon and Uttlesford in Essex found that crime and road collisions stayed largely the same where lighting had been reduced at night.

http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/9095549.Essex_street_lights_switch_off_plan/?action=complain&cid=9449224

I recall another trial elsewhere (sorry, no reference) showed a statistically significant reduction in road collisions where street lighting was reduced at night.

Now, I’m sure that all this will depend significantly on the locality, and certainly decisions on light-reduction should be taken carefully and probably on a street-by-street basis. That said, reducing street lighting will reduce CO2 emissions, reduce light pollution (making the starry heavens above more visible) and reduce Council costs. If there’s no or little increase in road collisions and in crime, what not to like?

37. Chaise Guevara

@ TONE

One possible factor to consider is that traffic accidents don’t rise for a short period after the lights are taken away because motorists think “bloody hell, it’s dark here all of a sudden, better be careful”, but then go up once people become acclimatised.

CG @ 38:

And another possible factor is that darkness makes drivers more cautious; but that is speculation, like your possible factor and Bob’s initial hypothesis…Essentially, whether we reduce street lighting or not is an empirical question. The evidence that it can be judiciously reduced without any increase in crime or road accidents is not yet conclusive but it is growing. We have trials going back to at least 2007:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/essex/6657345.stm

39. Scallybum

Street lighting is a waste of energy after about 12:00 pm in most local communities around Britain and it is also a great shame because we lose out on seeing the great marvel of the Universe spread out above our heads every night. Most British people cannot name a single constellation or even a star.

40. Chaise Guevara

@ 38 TONE

“And another possible factor is that darkness makes drivers more cautious; but that is speculation, like your possible factor and Bob’s initial hypothesis…”

Actually, I’m taking that one as a given, while I agree that mine is speculation. I’m pretty sure that driving actually makes crashes caused by overtaking and speeding on near-empty roads less likely, at least on windy country roads. You can see oncoming headlights around the corner.

“Essentially, whether we reduce street lighting or not is an empirical question. The evidence that it can be judiciously reduced without any increase in crime or road accidents is not yet conclusive but it is growing. ”

Sure. There is another argument for lighting, which is that stumbling around in the dark trying to get home is no fun at all. However, I admit that this is a lower priority.

41. Chaise Guevara

@ 39 Scallybum

“Most British people cannot name a single constellation or even a star.”

I find that hard to believe. Even if most people can’t name the North Star or Orion or the Plough, which I doubt, are you seriously suggesting that most Brits don’t even know of their own Zodiac constellation?

“Most British people cannot name a single constellation or even a star.”

“Even if most people can’t name the North Star or Orion or the Plough, which I doubt, are you seriously suggesting that most Brits don’t even know of their own Zodiac constellation?”

At least, I suppose no one is seriously suggesting that they couldn’t name Justin Bieber.

@ 41Chaise

“are you seriously suggesting that most Brits don’t even know of their own Zodiac constellation?

– is this a reference to Stephen Pollard’s “Paganistic crowd manipulation”? I trust when he was editor at the Express, Pollard was quite happy to keep an astrologer’s column, as it contributed to a few more sales.

44. Chaise Guevara

@ 43

” is this a reference to Stephen Pollard’s “Paganistic crowd manipulation”? ”

Nah. I find his comment too surreal to really comment on to be honest. I didn’t watch the ceremony but I find it hard to believe that it fitted that description. What did it feature, a druid holding a sickle to a rabbit’s throat shouting “applaud or the bunny gets it!”?

44. Chaise Guevara

Following quote (OK Wikipedia…) on the Ancient Olympics:

“In the time of the original games within the boundaries of Olympia, the altar of the sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Hestia maintained a continuous flame.[4][5] For the ancient Greeks, fire had divine connotations—it was thought to have been stolen from the gods by Prometheus. Therefore, fire was also present at many of the sanctuaries in Olympia, Greece. During the Olympic Games, which honored Zeus, additional fires were lit at his temple and that of his wife, Hera. The modern Olympic flame is ignited at the site where the temple of Hera used to stand.”

Yes there is a pagan influence in this and all Olympic ceremonies. And?

So Pollard’s comments are as daft as the evangelicals who try and stop people marking Halloween (conveniently forgetting that Easter is basically the festival to celebrate the goddess Eostre, Christmas is Saturnalia, Whitsun/ Beltane etc). I don’t have much background in Judaism, but I would not be surprised if some Jewish festivals have identifiable influence from pagan or pre-Judaic rituals.

What I saw of the ceremony, was our current heros, physically and symbolically handing over the torch to future hopes, who then lit a beautiful cauldron which each nation brought into the stadium. Given Pollard’s wording, it was this that he found “truly unpleasant and deeply unsettling”. Most saw this as a reaffirmation of the Olympic Spirit, rather than the risk of worshipping at the alter of Mammon.

davidh

As those who have strayed upon Stephen Pollard’s journalistic tirades have come to realise, the truth is more nearly that Stephen Pollard is “truly unpleasant and deeply unsettling”. Years ago, he devoted his column in The Times to a personal attack on me by name for posting critical comments on his blog. Beware. Pollard doesn’t take kindly to criticism of his views.

47. Chaise Guevara

@ 45 davidh

Wasn’t aware that Ancient Greco-Roman religion counted as “pagan”, although I guess it fits the mould.

I agree that if that comment was a lament that some scary non-British things were involved in the ceremony, it’s, well, http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DidNotDoTheResearch .

Wasn’t aware that Ancient Greco-Roman religion counted as “pagan”

Actually, isn’t it the original definition of “pagan”? As used in Matthew 6:7 etc.

Nowadays, it’s anyone who rides a bicycle with Campagnolo parts.

“Nowadays, it’s anyone who rides a bicycle with Campagnolo parts.”

Snigger. Dura Ace man meself.

I prefer a Rohloff, though I might need to reconsider suitable gearing whilst I grow some sideburns


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  37. biyi akin

    Ten of the silliest Tweets from #Olympics ceremony.Watch out for @piersmorgan's puerile rant. http://t.co/rUIKvgO5

  38. Our Island Story (Danny Boyle Remix) « Sphinx

    […] state and culture and music. Better one that really pisses off atavistic Little Englander MPs and their ilk. And if Danny Boyle can get me feeling even faintly engaged with the Olympics, maybe this is a new […]

  39. Vladimir Verano

    Ten absurd tweets by politicos about the #Olympics ceremony whining about bias http://t.co/Rf7oTAy4

  40. Hal Duncan

    Ten absurd tweets by politicos about the #Olympics ceremony whining about bias http://t.co/Rf7oTAy4

  41. Cat Hellisen

    Ten absurd tweets by politicos about the #Olympics ceremony whining about bias http://t.co/Rf7oTAy4

  42. Bob Millington

    Ten absurd tweets by politicos about the #Olympics ceremony whining about bias http://t.co/Rf7oTAy4

  43. Sh.S.ALAhmad ®

    Ten of the silliest Tweets from #Olympics ceremony | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/yddkYTwU via @libcon

  44. Click on Wales » Blog Archive » Games put political right on back foot

    […] and Bond have been recruited into it, two unchallengeable symbols of the post-war British state. Sunny Hundel blogged the 10 ‘silliest tweets’ while later John Walker spotted and screen-saved a Daily Mail […]





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