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A silver medal with the olympic rings inside

A silver medal with the olympic rings inside (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finally they have arrived. The whole world witnessed one magnificent spectacle last night when the Olympics were officially kicked off.

More than 11000 athletes are competing. Well, watching the archery today I thought, umm maybe the word athlete is abused here. Whenever ‘athlete’ is mentioned, I for one expect a specimen of physical fitness, evidence of hard work at the gym, running swimming or whatever. The Olympics motto is ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’ and I am sure the Olympic family embraces all those who take part.  But looking at the archers,well! It doesn’t matter anyway. The Queen apparently parachuted herself into the Olympic Park! Who would have ever thought or imagined that possible. Whether it was the Queen or not is secondary. David Cameron was in attendance too. What he made of it I will always wonder. The best bit for me was watching the athletes walking into the stadium. They are the performers, without them there will be nothing to watch.

Mark Cavendish (cyclist) did not win the gold medal as everyone expected. He didn’t get any medal at all. After Bradley Wiggins‘s victory in France last week, we all expected Cavendish to triumph on home soil as well. He is a very, very good cyclist.It wasnt meant to be. Michael Phelps could not get a look in as well. He came fourth in the 400m Individual Medley. Ryan Lochte,had the cheek to beat him. The American part of the Olympic Village must be a fun place to be tonight. Team GB ladies football team is doing well and I hope that will be replicated by the male team.

Football/soccer

Just been watching English teams playing or showcasing the ‘beautiful game’, in the USA and Canada. They prefer calling it soccer in those parts. Liverpool just played a 0-0 draw with Spurs,and that got me wondering whether the Americans enjoyed it at all. Or how much they are enjoying it. Of course there is a significant proportion of fans who have always watched ‘our football’ or migrated from the hotbeds of football and they will of course enjoy watching the teams from England and Europe. Liverpool have a massive fan base across the globe too. The English teams have every right to invade those ‘virgin’ territories to develop more marketing opportunities. How is the market responding?  The MLS seems to be getting stronger and more competitive too. It’s a good thing the MLS never thought they would name their competitions a ‘world Series’ like the MLB does. Is soccer proving to be a major competitor to MLB, NBA, NFL, NASCAR etc? As a football lover, I really hope soccer becomes big in America. The other side of the same coin though, is that I would also love to watch say the Boston Red Sox playing the White Sox or the Dodgers in the UK. The NFL have a game annually at Wembley. Surely MLB could also have something similar, at Lords or the Oval! After all even NBA has exhibition ,matches, plus, there is the Harlem Globetrotters!

Darts.

It is indeed a very good weekend for sport. We have got darts tonight as well. We have got the World Matchplay at Blackpool. Here is to Hoping Phil ‘the Power’ Taylor is victorious. Whats in a name anyways? All these sports like to call their tournaments ‘world’ this and that. Americans do that for competitions involving not more than 2 countries. Yes Uncle Sam that’s true. Darts now have also got onto the act and proclaim to have a ‘World Matchplay’. Possibly involving more than 5 countries. The mind boggles. But does that give these sports the right to add ‘world cup’ to their competitions? At least with football (or soccer we know every country in the world gets a look in. Why is darts not an Olympic sport,any road? Surely it is a sport and you are very unlikely to find anyone taking performance enhancing drugs in this sport. Moreover, there would have been a guaranteed Gold Medal for Team GB – Phil Taylor would have won it. It time the IOC reviewed the games on offer. Talking of performance enhancing drugs, Hysen Pulaku from Albania has all ready been thrown out of the Olympics for using anabolic steroids. At least two other athletes from Morocco and Hungary have been precluded from taking art in the Olympics because of the use/abuse of these illegal substances.

Formula One

Congrats to Lewis Hamilton getting pole for the Hungarian Grand Prix. The boy is made of sterner stuff. The British tabloids have been relentlessly trying to make his personal life a nightmare of late. If not discussing the ins and outs of his contract with McLaren, they are busy trying to turn a mole hill into a mountain – Apparently Lewis Hamilton had the temerity to hang out with mates (including girls)  when Nicole Scherzinger was away working.Therefore his girlfriend is either (1) going to give him a stern talking to, or (2) Dump him. Well,well, well,I bet the same journalists are allowed to go out for drinks with friends of the opposite sex without asking for explicit permission from their other halves! Ignore the barracking Lewis, and win the Hungarian Grand Prix for all the millions who follow you and McLaren. Admittedly McLaren have had a bad time of late with pit stops, mechanical faults, weather et al. Hopefully they have turned a corner! An interesting fact I just felt I had to throw in: Sebastien Vettel has never won in July. He doesn’t win in July. Therefore the competition for first place tomorrow will just be Alonso, Webber, Schumacher and or Button. Those are my bold predictions. Ladies and gentlemen.

It is quite exciting at the moment.London is doing well. We hope the weather decides to take a back seat and not rain on this parade. Oh and we hope Mitt Romney and his apparatchiks are watching: ‘YES WE CAN.

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I was trawling through youtube and stumbled upon this gem.It made me think long and hard about American politics. I have always been fascinated by the politics of our cousins across the pond. I do not think there is any other country in the world that knows for certain when the next Presidential or Prime Ministerial elections are to be held. Americans know that every 4 years on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November they will go to the hustings to choose the President. They also know that the elected President shall only serve a maximum two terms, and that his first day in Office is January 20th. (Its only been since 1951 when term of office was limited to two terms). It seems like everything is etched in stone, and it is actually quite admirable. The British PM will only call elections when they are certain they will be voted back into office, and or when the term office is officially coming to an end.I think the American method is worth considering, especially for new democracies. Especially in the Third World.

Admittedly, there is no perfect electoral system. A few years ago a film called the Manchurian Candidate, starring Denzil Washington and John Voight was released. It showed the unseemly side of American politics. There are probably 1000s of conspiracy theories when it comes to electing politicians and the President. People well-versed in Political Science would be experts in this field. Be that as it may, the American system seems relatively open. Come November, there will be another Presidential election. It will be a straight fight between the current incumbent President Obama versus the Republican candidate Mitt Romney. The only fact that’s certain is that one of the 2 will be taking the oath of office come January 20th. Campaigning has all ready started and the two parties are all ready spending millions on media campaigns.

Do the voters really choose the President? Or do major corporations actually control the mechanisms of power? The big military-industrial complexes have in the past been accused of exerting disproportionate influence in the selection of the President. However, being an outsider looking in, it still appears like a system that works, and does allow voters an opportunity to have a say in who becomes the President. Albeit via an Electoral College.There are many countries where democratic elections are a farce. Wouldnt it be ideal to copy the good bits of the American system and build a good system that allows for a free and fair system of governance. It would also be ideal to limit the tenure of office to 2 terms thus doing away with the ‘life presidencies’ that seem to be the monopoly of African ‘democracies’.

The election of Prime Ministers or Presidents in the Third World is a subject that has bewildered many a people. Once someone is elected into power, they will try everything within their power to stay put. Constitutions are routinely changed or manipulated to make sure power is never transferred to anyone else. In some countries power is transferred from father to son. Like we are still living in the medieval age. Or as if they are some Royal Family. Look at Syria for instance. When Hafez al-Assad passed on, his son Bashir al-Assad, assumed power. The father was accused of massacring Syrians. The Hama Massacre of 1982 for instance, was described as the ‘single deadliest act by any Arab government against people in the modern Middle East’. Thousands of people were massacred during his reign. His son has continued this callous and brutal trend. Children, women and other innocent people are being killed everyday. North Korea has also imposed royalty on its people. When Kim il Sung (The Great Leader) passed on, his son Kim Jong-il (The Dear Leader) took over. Following the death of the Dear Leader, hi son Kim Jong-un also succeeded him. The cult of personality has been brutally foisted upon the people of North Korea. Children are taught to deify the leaders. In Africa, there is ample evidence of ‘life presidencies’ too, with octogenarians hanging on to power as if it were a life support machine. President Mugabe in Zimbabwe is a case in point. These systems of deifying ordinary men does not work It is high time the leaders are made to realise the national cake should be shared by all. They tried at Tiananmen Square,but the Government quashed the protests. The Arab Spring has been more effective in forcing the leaders to relinquish their hold on power. Libya, Tunisia and Egypt are three prime examples. However, this has come at a high cost as hundreds if not thousands have died as a result.

No electoral or political system is perfect. Britain now has a Prime Minister who wasnt even elected by the people. He is a result of a marriage of convenience between two parties. The electoral impasse meant either Labour or the Tories could form a government with the help of the Liberal Democrats, a party that has not been anywhere near gaining power for years.The Liberal Democrats could not believe there lucky and quickly jumped into bed with the Tories, their erstwhile nemesis. However, at least the political environment is free and open. people can vote for whom ever they want and Government is held accountable.

Democracy as a form of government is not perfect. Winston Churchill once described it thus: “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.” It is a system that will put some limits to the abuse of power, and to make sure that any bad government can be deposed and replaced peacefully.Every citizen must be allowed to peacefully take part in selection of their representatives. Voting should be a sacrosanct right for every adult. People should be allowed to freely vote who they think is the best leader, or the party whose ideologies and beliefs they subscribe too. Above all else, we should universally have fixed terms of office with no single individual (or a cabal) being allowed to circumvent constitutions and staying in office ad infinitum. Tyranny should never be allowed to fester. In an ideal world, the United Nations would have been like a policing force to safeguard people’s rights. Only in Utopia though.

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