Sunday, August 19, 2012


I'm not as a rule much of a man for Peter Hitchen's Why Oh Why Oh Why articles in the gastric band for the brain that is the Mail on Sunday. Today he reports that "puzzled by hearing about ‘Team GB’ during the Olympics" he "sought to find out exactly why the entire United Kingdom wasn’t represented at the Games". I remember that I always had to be very careful to distinguish British and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland construction statistics when I worked at Wimpey so I also raised a quizzical eyebrow at the name Team GB during the games myself.

Here's what he says:
The International Olympic Committee, that politically correct body, doesn’t seem to recognise the border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. Could that be why the Olympic Torch veered down to Dublin at one point? I’m not sure.
It’s quite well-known that athletes from Northern Ireland can compete in the Irish or British teams, as they wish. The rule was made in 1952 after two Northern-born swimmers were barred from the Irish team in 1948 amid some bitterness.
The gradual departure of Northern Irish athletes from the British team is a sensitive measure of Britain’s diminishing power. The process is not over.
The red rag waving in paragraphs one and three remind me why I try not to read the Mail, but paragraph two is intriguing and certainly not previously "quite well known" to yours truly.

Point of order Mr Chairman - the Irish rugby team is made up of players from Eire and Northern Ireland. I had long thought that was a unique arrangement. Apparently not.

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