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

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

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.