Mark Steel: Cyclists, women, refugees – vindicated at last

If immigration continues at this rate, we'll win every medal in everything

Share
Related Topics

It may not admit it, but conservative Britain is taking a pasting at these Olympics. To start with, some of the country's most revered heroes are now cyclists. This is marvellous, as there must be millions of Top Gear fans who see Chris Hoy whizzing round the track and think, "Look at him blocking up that bloody velodrome. What if I wanted to drive across there? And the council have put all these cycle lanes round it, but if I smashed into one of those sprint heats with my 2.5 litre V6 Audi A4 and broke all their pelvises, I'D be the one to get prosecuted. It's political correctness gone MENTAL."

There could have been a special London set of rules for the road race, with trucks cutting across the riders while a bloke with a red face yelled, "Pay your road tax you sideburned arsehole", and the commentator said, "Now they're coming to the tricky bend where sales reps zig-zag through the peloton while talking on their mobiles and Jeremy Clarkson reverses into them all, while shouting "Oy, Cavendish, you'd better not touch my wing mirror."

And one of the greatest British victories was the astonishing run by a man who came here as a Somali asylum seeker. So presumably the newspapers who, up until now have campaigned daily against asylum seekers with headlines like, "They're Literally Pouring Into Britain Like Asylum-Seeker Orange Squash" and "Now They're Planning to Eat the Queen" will now say, "When we insisted they should be sent back immediately, we meant sent back to the start of the track and encouraged to do one more lap so they're fit enough to win us a gold medal."

Politicians will make statements such as, "When we said we will be more vigorously menacingly ruthless than ever with any asylum seekers coming across the Channel, we meant we won't allow any lorry in unless it's bringing at least six. 'Go and grab a random bunch from Sangatte' we'll tell the drivers, 'You never know, one of them might end up getting silver in the archery'".

And Migration Watch will produce figures that prove that if the rate of immigration continues at current levels, by the next Olympics we'll win every single medal in everything including sports that haven't been invented yet like dressage on a forklift truck.

Another success of the Games has been the growing enthusiasm for women's football. I went to the semi-final between France and Japan, where the fans were so gleeful they'd be evicted from the ground at an England men's match for being too amicable.

But there was something unsettlingly unfamiliar about the game. Because the women appear to have different rules from the men, in that as a free kick is awarded they don't all surround the referee and pull that "Oh, my God I can't believe it, how can that be a foul, I wasn't even in the country at the time", expression, and no one dives on the floor clutching their head claiming the defender has just given them brain surgery without an anaesthetic and therefore must be sent off and executed.

You could no more complain about the lack of skill in women's football than moan it's not worth watching women's athletics or tennis. There were 61,000 fans at this game, yet it's only 18 months since two of the most prominent football TV presenters in the country believed women had no place in the sport whatsoever.

Even more surprising is the sudden overdue affection for Andy Murray. Up until now, traditional tennis fans have seen him as not tennisy enough, and non-tennis fans have seen him as "not enough of a laugh", as if their coaching advice would be, "Stop worrying about winning so many points, and instead run round the court wearing plastic tits now and again."

But in this Olympics, his gold medal and the raucous non-Centre Court atmosphere in which he won it, appears to have buried the cynicism.

Much of the cynical attitude many people had towards sport in general has evaporated, and people who've never shown an interest before, are desperately applying for last-minute tickets for events such as upside-down canoeing through a swarm of bees or vaulting over an ostrich.

Boris Johnson and others have claimed that the British success is a triumph for "conservative values" such as competition. But if medals were awarded on the competitive rules that Boris and the Conservative leader attained their privileges, they wouldn't bother with the racing as competitors would just inherit the medals, then give an interview saying the trouble with the other runners was they expected something for nothing.

So a more reasonable suggestion is that there should be two medal tables shown each day: one showing the number that Britain has won, and one showing the number conservative Britain has won, omitting the cyclists, the people they'd have prevented from coming here in the first place, the people who had to move abroad to train as facilities here were cut, leaving them with the one for the dressage. They can have that if they want.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Resourcer

£18000 - £22000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Recruitment Resour...

HR Business Analyst, Bristol, £350-400pd

£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Account Manager (Junior)

Negotiable: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Account Manager (Junior) Account ...

Javascript Developer

£40000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Voices in Danger: The innocent journalist kidnapped by Russian separatists for 'spying'

Anne Mortensen
A Bengal tiger captured by a camera trap in Nepal  

Save the tiger: The success of the Bengal tiger in Nepal shows you can make a difference

Harvey Day
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried