Amongst the excitement of the week, the announcement that the Athletes' Village has been handed over to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games has slipped somewhat off the radar.
As part of LOCOG's final preparations for the organisation of the Games, they have issued a list of policies, some of which relate to the behaviour of spectators at Olympic venues. One condition of ticket sales, for example, is the eminently reasonable suggestion that spectators don't enter venues with
firearms, ammunition, dangerous weapon or object, explosive, chemicals or incendiary device.
Less reasonably, but in keeping with the Olympics as a money-making rather than sporting venture, is the instruction that fans don't wear
objects bearing trademarks...promotional signs or messages.
However, the Devil, as always, is in the detail of these things. In Section 19.2.3 of the terms and conditions, amongst such prohibited and dangerous items such as sandwiches, umbrellas, Bibles, Trade Union activity and lighters, lies the condition that spectators must not bring to the Games (the games for all of the UK, remember?)
flags of countries not participating in the Games
As Scotland remains banned from competing in the Olympic Games, despite the proud Olympic traditions and success of Scots, we are now in a situation where Scottish fans, supporting Scottish athletes, in an event taking place partly in Scotland, will be ejected from an Olympic venue (even in Scotland) for waving the Scottish flag.
Scottish Olympians celebrate medal successes at Beijing 2008
The London Olympic games have already been a public relations disaster for the Unionist movement, with the announcement that despite the objections of the Scotland Football Association, the Football Association of Wales, the Irish Football Association, and supporters of all three teams, they would force through a "British" team for the Olympics despite genuine concerns that it would compromise the footballing independence of the so-called Home Nations.
Fans protest outside British Olympic Association headquarters
Not only this, but the very hosting of the Olympic Games has led to charities in Scotland being deprived of 70% of their National (sic) Lottery funding in order to fund sporting, transport and social developments in Britain's richest city to the tune of more than £10,000,000,000. This money, in the midst of the Unionist Parties' recession, would fund NHS Scotland for a year and still have money left over to buy an ice lolly for every man, woman and child in Scotland.
Is this the Respect Agenda? That Scotland's sportsmen are prohibited from taking part as Scots, that the desire of our national sporting associations are ridden over, roughshod, and that the flag of our nation is banned from being waved by our own people in support of our own athletes in a competition paid for by Scottish money and taking place largely in Scotland?
And in these days of southern whining about the Barnett Formula, and the idea that it may somehow be used to calculate an Independent Scotland's share of the Unionist generated UK debt, what does Scotland get in Barnett consequentials for this lavish investment in Britain's richest region?
None. It's a UK event.