Inside Lines: The party's over, but why has the PM missed a trick?

 

As the Olympic and Paralympic bandwagon rolls to a halt, it seems those who leapt aboard waving the flag at Westminster six weeks ago are already jumping off quicker than you can say Jacques Rogge.

Sport is back in the toy department as far as politicians are concerned. Or so it would appear from a ministerial reshuffle which now sees a new games mistress in charge of supervising the legacy of 2012 and the nation's fitness.

The appointment of Maria Miller to succeed Jeremy Hunt at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has sports chiefs scratching their heads, asking: "Who is she? What does she know about sport?"

The 47-year-old MP for Basingstoke's CV does not suggest any great interest in the subject (housing, education, media and Canada are listed as her specialities on her website). Could the Prime Minister not have found someone with at least a working knowledge of what goes on when the whistle blows? (Ken Clarke, now a minister without portfolio and a genuine sports lover, comes to mind). Or doesn't David Cameron care now that the gold dust has settled and the reflected glory fades?

At least Miller's predecessor knew his Arsenal from his elbow, having qualified as a junior football referee. Fortunately, Miller will still have the able and deservedly reappointed Sports Minister Hugh Robertson to hold her hand, though Cameron left it late to confirm his post.

Before Labour start pointing fingers, Miller's opposite number, one Harriet Harman, is hardly known for her sporting passion. And hands up who knows the identity of the Shadow Sports Minister? It's Clive Efford, MP for Eltham and a Millwall supporter.

Time he emerged from the shadows if sport is not to be relegated to Westminster's back benches.

No golden horse boxes

Gary Lineker OBE says he didn't deserve one, and Amir Khan wonders why he hasn't got one. We're talking gongs, of course. Apparently there will be plenty after all for Olympians and Paralympians following the great gold rush now that the PM decrees they should have their own honours list.

Doubtless among the recipients will be those equestrians who triumphed in both Games. But what about the horses? Not even a rosette, poor things.

At least Bryan Payne, the mayor of Holt in Norfolk, has backed a call for one of the town's postboxes to be painted gold in honour of the nine-year-old stallion Big Star, who is stabled there. Royal Mail are daubing postboxes gold in places associated with gold medal-winners and Big Star's rider, Nick Skelton, already has one in Alcester, Warwickshire, where he lives.

Says the mayor: "What's good for the rider should be good for the horse. Big Star's an athlete, albeit with four legs." No response received from Royal Mail – though it may well have got lost in the post.

Duck this one, Fred

So, Andrew Flintoff wants to be Britain's next heavyweight hope. The former England cricket captain says he is in training to make his ring debut at Manchester's MEN Arena on 30 November.

Apparently he is being mentored by Barry McGuigan, though the Board of Control must give him a ring test before issuing a licence and so far secretary Robert Smith says they haven't heard from him and there isn't a show scheduled for that date or venue. Supposedly it is the subject of a Sky documentary, though the bout itself is said to be televised by Frank Warren's rival channel BoxNation. How odd.

Flintoff, who has sparred with Ricky Hatton, is known to be a fight fan but he needs to be told that ducking bouncers is one thing, dodging right-handers another. Mind you, if it does happen he could have a ready-made opponent should Audley Harrison get whacked on the whiskers by British champion David Price next month. He would surely be ready to be clubbed over the head by Fred.

insidelines@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas