PM Boris Johnson is ‘pondering’ what to do about the Beijing event but a full-scale snub would spark Chinese retaliation, says Paul Routledge
Image: Getty Images)
Team GB is putting on its skates for the Winter Olympics.
Curlers – the ones who slide big stones on ice, not the ones you put in your hair – are already selected.
More than 50 athletes are going to Beijing for the Games, hoping for more medals than the five won in South Korea in 2018.
But who will go with them? Boris Johnson is under mounting pressure to stage a “diplomatic boycott” of the February event.
He is said to be “pondering” the idea, which means he can’t make up his mind, as usual.
Such a move would mean no British royals or politicians going to Beijing, in protest at the dictatorial rule of the Chinese Communist Party, and its repression of Uighur people.
MPs unanimously passed a boycott motion, and so has the European Parliament. US President Joe Biden faces similar demands from US lawmakers.
It’s all turning rather nasty, in true Olympic spirit. Complacent sports supremo Lord Seb Coe thinks snubbing Beijing would be a mistake, while an alliance of human rights groups insists the boycott must go ahead.
Sanctions can bring about political change. The long sporting boycott of South Africa helped to accelerate the death of apartheid.
But that was a stayaway by sportsmen and women, not just the great and the good. A diplomatic embargo of the “genocide games” would be half-hearted by comparison.
Gesture politics won’t upset hard-faced tyrant Xi Jinping. The usual people would feel a whole lot better, and the rest of us would watch the women’s monobob, whatever that is.
If it came to a total boycott by the West, that would be different. The Chinese would lose face, and retaliation would be brutal. They’ve already threatened “serious sanctions”.
We’re not really a winter sports nation – not enough snow – so we’re only bit-part players in this drama. But we shouldn’t walk off the stage.
Boris Johnson’s Brexit boast of “taking back control of our borders” sank with the Channel dinghy tragedy and the loss of so many lives.
After two-and-a-half years in Downing Street, he has failed to fix the migrant crisis while his Home Secretary Priti Patel condemns her own department as “not fit for purpose”.
Her civil servants call her a “moron” and an “idiot”, a slur on all decent morons and idiots.
This isn’t government. It’s student politics, playing with people’s lives. They promise action, but nothing ever happens.
Why don’t they set up reception centres in France to deal with applications for refugee status in the UK?
Those who succeed can come in. Those who fail can seek asylum in France or another EU country, as most do already. If they fail both tests, they can legally be returned to their country of origin.
This issue is fast becoming number one on the political agenda. Tory MPs fear it could cost them the next election.
Patel will never “take back control” of our borders. The bullying Home Secretary can’t even control her temper.
Johnson should sack her and take back control of the chaos he calls his government.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab (I can’t write that without smiling) says: “We flagellate ourselves too much.”
Quite right. The current lot are a big letdown. They should pay Miss Whiplash to flagellate them, like proper Tories always did.
Heineken is to sell zero-strength lager on draught, hoping to reach parts of the wallet others can’t. We’ve had this stuff on tap for years. We call it water.