China goes for gold

          Amidst the understandable UK media attention to the great performances of Team GB there has been little comment on the titanic struggle at the top of the Medals Table between the USA and China. China  spent most of the Games just ahead, though faltered at the end compared to the USA.  Doubtless China was not expecting a crushing victory over the USA on the scale of Beijing, when China won 51 Gold medals to 36 by the USA, with the benefit of home advantage and the massive effort she put into doing well as host nation. This year is however important. It reminds us all that China is now the serious and established challenger to the US in sport. There have only been two teams in the competition to lead the Medals table from the beginning.  This has come to represent a wider truth, in the economy and world politics.

           Olympic Games should be a celebration of sport and its ability to unite peoples from a wide range of countries and cultures to enjoy together a shared passion. However, there is often a political message or undercurrent, intensified by the convention that people represent their country and display their flags with pride.

               The political message of the 1936 Games in  Germany  that Germany was the power to be reckoned with, was challenged by the stunning victory of Jesse Owens from the USA in the 100 metres.  The unexpected victory of  Abebe Bikila, a late entrant from Ethiopia, in the Marathon at the 1960 Rome Games also told a political story. Legend has it that he surged to victory from the obelisk taken from his homeland by the Italian fascist government during their period of occupation of his country. Running barefoot made the story more poignant and more remarkable.

                In “Superpower Struggles” published in 2005 I argued ” The EU has its global pretensions, but  is unlikely to emerge as a superpower….A much more effective competitor to the US….is rising in the Far East…” “There was no more magnificent image of China joining the first world… than the Chinese Grand Prix, held for the first time in 2004….China will make an even more dramatic statement to the world when she unveils  the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.” I charted her economic rise, predicting rapid moves into second place by the second decade of this century.

                 Much of this has now happened. London 2012 should serve to remind us whilst we still live in an American led world, the challenger to the US is now primarily China, as an economy, as a sporting nation, and in due course as a military power.

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87 Comments

  1. Single Acts
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Due to the lunatic indebtedness of the USA ($16 Trillion?) when the dollar crisis occurs in the near future the US decline will make that of Glasgow Rangers look modest.

    The US economy is dead-man walking, they just haven’t quite grasped the fact yet.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 13, 2012 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      £16 trillion is not too high per person, if the US heads the right way, towards a sensible, lower tax, cheap energy and smaller government agenda – thus getting some real growth – unlike Cameron and the UK.

      • Single Acts
        Posted August 13, 2012 at 7:53 am | Permalink

        Well that’s a hell of a big ‘if’

        And even if you discount huge unfunded and utterly unpayable future liabilities are we really believing that a US President will say

        “My fellow Americans, because of our utter profligacy we are more or less bust. We each owe about $80,000 in foreign debt and if you take that down to effective tax payers that’s a lot more. We are therefore going to have to cut services massively, really cut, not just slow the increase. Taxes will be hiked quite a lot for everyone for years to come, because….the Chinese and Saudis need their money back”

        No me neither. They aren’t even slowing down as the cliff edge approaches.

      • zorro
        Posted August 13, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        Remember lifelogic, $US 16 trillion is actually around £10.5 trillion……

        zorro

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

          Indeed I meant $.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        I see that Lord Sebastian Coe has said: “When our time came, Britain, we did it right”. Well that is not too hard given £10Bn stolen from our productive sector to fund a couple of weeks sport competition.

        Unfortunately it leaves our productive sector £10Bn plus interest even more short of capital – rendering them perhaps unable to compete in the world markets, making people redundant or just unable “to do it right” for a simple lack or capital and sensible banking.

        Most people given £10Bn of tax payers money could do something useful with it. Tax borrow and waste is the problem not the solution. Your waste, Lord Coe, is a large part of the economic problem.

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

          I see Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin, claimed the move would “damage relations between the Church and Government”, as David Cameron refused to rule out lifting the restrictions.

          Is Cameron finally going to do something else sensible other than getting rid of the M4 bus lane and nearly getting rid of HIP packs? I hope so. No one forces churches to close (or even stop their endless bell ringers) why should this tiny minority force shops to close?

          • Single Acts
            Posted August 14, 2012 at 3:54 am | Permalink

            I see Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin, claimed the move would “damage relations between the Church and Government”

            er, so?

            I agree with you, I couldn’t quite see why it was wrong to inconvenience ‘olympic visitors’ but right to do so to ordinary residents.

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 13, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

          Borris Johnson has just thanked everyone involved in putting the games on (spending the £10Bn). He neglected, of course, to thank all the businesses and tax payers who will have to sacrifice jobs and investment and pay for it all for years to come (through their taxes and jobs and under threat of imprisonment should they not do so).

          He also bumbled around looking for some real legacy, but could come up with nothing of substance. Just pie in the sky nonsense of projected returns. The history of all the Olympics shows no real financial returns (indeed large losses) nor any meaningful legacy beyond the very large debt. Rather like wind farms, PV Bling, space exploration (beyond earth orbit) nor any of the other government PR gimmicks/distractions.

          • outsider
            Posted August 14, 2012 at 12:33 am | Permalink

            I must say that the Olympics has proved an excellent litmus test for identifying fringe right-wingers who are completely out of touch with ordinary British people. It has allowed me to eliminate several blogs from my occasional reading list. As I understand that you Mr Lifelogic live in France, I suppose you can be excused on the ground that you are merely reflecting French sour grapes. Have you actually worked out who paid the £10 billion and what we have left ? Not sure that Coca-Cola or BMW, for instance, would agree with your reasoning.

            The Games have engendered a wave of we-can-do self-confidence that, if retained and followed through, would be priceless for this country. Of course, there is a high probability that it will all be forgotten by autumn, but one can hope.

          • lifelogic
            Posted August 19, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

            I do not live in France but I do have a house there, I live outside the EU, thank goodness.

            It is not that hard to spend £10Bn on a sport competition but it is quite hard for stressed businesses to find the taxes to pay for it all – jobs/exports are clearly lost as a direct result.

      • Bob
        Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        They will pay their debts by printing money (aka Quantitative Easing).

        Google “Mugabenomics”.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted August 17, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      And if the markets pull the plug on American bonds before the Presidential election, I would laugh like a drain. Mitt Romney has enough negative campaigning ability to make it happen – if he wants to.

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Comrade, I am surprised at your naivety!
    The overall winner in the Olympic Games and indeed the host of the Olympic Games was our beloved European Union. Together we garnered far more medals than any other nation. USA and Russia and China were far behind our noble striders and sailors.
    At Brasil (note spelling) we will again triumph.
    Long live President Rumpuy! Long live Secretary Barroso!

    • Stephen Almond
      Posted August 13, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      Wrong!

      Not one European country has offered its medals to the EU.
      Nationhood reigns!

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 13, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        Stephen

        Would be interesting to know what all of the European competitiors would say, if asked would they like to compete for the EU, instead of their own Countries.

        Wonder what anthem the EU would suggest ?

        I did notice that there were three so called stateless people choosing to compete under the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted August 17, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

          The EU anthem? (perhaps just the German one?ed)

    • zorro
      Posted August 13, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Yes John, very disappointed that you didn’t notice that the EU was clearly top with all the medals of the 27 countries which are the EU…..I shall have to report you to Comrade Barroso for inflammatory statements.

      zorro

    • David John Wilson
      Posted August 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Why do people imagine that it is just the churches that want to stop Sunday trading? There are a large number of people who hold no strong religeous views who regard it as important that one day a week should be free of the continuous commercial presures.

      It is not just a matter of individual choice. More and more people are being forced to work on Sundays. One of my neighbours, who was reliant on public transport. had to give up their job because she had no way of getting to work on a Sunday. She asked to work just on the other six days but was told that this was not possible because it was unfair to other staff.

      • Mark
        Posted August 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        Indeed: the atheist Soviet Union toyed with trying to make every day a work day, but decided that t was best to restore proper weekends (which they did during WW II – so hardly a time when leisure was easy).

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted August 17, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

          The flint miners of North Wales worked six 12 hour days in conditions of badly supervised underground dynamiting. Their reward was compulsory Chapel attendance on their rest day. I wonder if anyone smuggled any dynamite out of the mine.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 13, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        No one, on my side of the argument, is stopping anyone, who does not want to, from not shopping at any time at all. It is a matter of freedom of choice. Not ramming historical “belief systems” down other peoples throats.

        I can remember where I used to live I could not even sit in my garden on Thursday summer evenings due to 3 hours of bell ringing practice, at the church at the bottom of the garden.

        I have no objection to their practices until they start affecting my person choices, then I object very strongly – especially when they have unwarranted preferential political representation.

        Anyway it does not stop commercialism on Sunday it is everywhere anyway on Sunday – on the internet, at the sports centre, the tv, the telephone and at the church too.

      • Single Acts
        Posted August 14, 2012 at 3:56 am | Permalink

        “There are a large number of people who hold no strong religeous views who regard it as important that one day a week should be free of the continuous commercial presures”

        Data which supports the claim can be found where?

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 14, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

          Do they perhaps want to ban fishing, swimming, sport, health care, factories, the police, or just doing your washing and cleaning on any particular days too? Perhaps we should ban going to church at certain times of the week too?

      • Single Acts
        Posted August 14, 2012 at 3:57 am | Permalink

        “One of my neighbours, who was reliant on public transport. had to give up their job because she had no way of getting to work on a Sunday”

        Right, so restricted sunday trading means a restricted bus service so the way to deal with that is more restrictions? Surely not.

  3. zorro
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    It is good that the USA is not the only power to be reckoned with. It is also good that China are Russia are providing a counterbalance to the USA and its proxy wars and latent imperialism/spreading ‘good democratic government and human rights’….Last time I looked, I didn’t see countless Russian and Chinese troops in foreign countries. The USA always needs an enemy – now it is Syria and Iran, then they will move East……..

    zorro

    • zorro
      Posted August 13, 2012 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      By the way, winning badges at sports day doesn’t guarantee economic success…..Remember USSR and East Germany?

      zorro

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

        Indeed not, it usually goes with the reverse as they need the diversion.

        At least Cameron is not suggesting we put a gay, black, British, woman on Mars or similar lunacy, all at tax payers expense. This to divert attention from his appalling economic mismanagement. Perhaps I has better not give him ideas.

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

          They would never put a woman on Mars.

          It’s not like it needs cleaning or anything is it ?

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 13, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        Would the UK be better off now with a £10Bn debt plus interest for the games (heaped on the backs of UK industry) or 10,000 of our SME’s having an extra £1M each to invest in better plant, new jobs and expansion?

    • Mark
      Posted August 13, 2012 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      You should look a little harder. There are lots of Russian troops in Georgia. When revolution broke out there were more Chinese evacuated from Libya than people from any other nation: they are mainstream economic colonists in many resource producing countries, often with protection militias attached.

      http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/06/in-zimbabwe-chinese-investment-with-hints-of-colonialism/240978/

      • zorro
        Posted August 14, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

        Of course there will be Russian troops in parts of Georgia bearing in mind disputed territory, but there are none in Canada or Mexico…..and of course if the Chinese are investing money they are entitled to secure their goods.

        zorro

  4. Steve Cox
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    The nations that used to form the USSR actually still took the greatest number of medals. As one famous Nigerian writer said, “Things fall apart,” something that China would do well to remember.

  5. John Fitzgerald
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    I feel one point is missed from your opinion of China. Yes I will agree that China is a force to be reckoned with. However is it not also true that the reason they are such a force in the world of commerce is the cheapness of their labour force. They can produce an item for a price well below that of the country they are exporting to! However throughout history, starting with our own industrial revolution, once the people become more educated and realise what fortunes are being made they inevitably “want a larger slice of the pie”. I believe that has started to happen already in China.

    Also it can be said that whilst China is so strong and the west remains so weak the market the Chinese sell into will reduce. I believe that is also happening already.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Yes and no, one can only improve if you know that life can be better, most of the recent problems seem more to do with working conditions than rates of pay, other than for the privileged in China (read, most likely party members and their families) few actually know that there is a better world to be had, even those who have access to the web don’t actually have access to the world-wide-web [1], just a national -party approved- Intranet.

      Don’t be so sure that anything will change economically in China, the only thing that China has to fear is if the west stops buying on price and starts buying on worth, in other words moves their industries production back on-shore. I expect that China even has that base covered, hence why they hold some of the largest reserves of certain currencies (the depressed price of gold after Mr Brown announced he intended to sell off part of the UK gold reserve might start looking like a storm in a teacup…

      [1] unless one takes great risks and attempts to tunnel through the “Great Firewall of China”

  6. Electro-Kevin
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    They country they call the European Union probably outstripped America and China’s combined medal tally.

    It means nothing.

    The real question is whether or not America intends to pay China what it owes.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted August 13, 2012 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      I watched the Olympics from abroad. Extremely proud of our elitist and drugs free athletes – loving the spectacle of our opening and closing ceremonies but utterly confounded by their leftist message… particularly the inclusion of the internationally unrecognisable Russell Brand in the closing ceremony.

      His is clearly the official face of drugs policy which is the antithesis of the drugs-free, get-up-and-go Olympian spirit.

      He gets massive amounts of air time and is allowed to say that ‘the war on drugs has failed.’

      It has not failed. Barely 5% of our population use narcotics – certainly not those who go for gold.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        I do not think the 5% figure has much to do with its being illegal. The legal position makes so very little difference to drug availability (or even drug prices) not even in prisons. Indeed you could argue that having the trade in the hand of illegal gangs make growth in drug use rather more likely not less.

        If it cannot be stopped in prison what chance is there anywhere else?

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

          I presume that legalised drugs will be subject to tax.

          In which case there will always be an illegal drugs trade just as there is an illegal tobacco and alcohol trade. What line of country do you imagine that unemployed drug dealers will go into once their market has been regulated ?

          • Electro-Kevin
            Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

            It could be stopped in prison btw.

            The reason that it isn’t is because our political establisment doesn’t want it to be.

          • alan jutson
            Posted August 14, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

            Kevin

            Believe me they try to stop it entering prison, you would think it should be easy, until you hear some of the methods used.

            No, I do not speak from personal experience, but a very close family friend who works within the service does.

            However I do agree every effort should be made to avoid such drugs from entering prisons and the like.

      • Bob
        Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        Brand has the full support of the BBC. They recently employed him to make a documentary on drugs, a subject on which they consider him to be an expert, (etc etc)

        See Peter Hitchens’ transcript recent debate with Brand on Newsnight:

        http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2012/08/no-kiss-took-place.html

        • Bazman
          Posted August 13, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

          He does have some first hand experience which I’m sure in any other field you would laud over and praise, but he is a comedian and a left wing one too. I’m still waiting to hear which right wing ones are funny. Thought of one yet? Keep trying and give us a laugh. Drug dealing is one of the few businesses ventures the proprietors have to try to stop from growing, so don’t start getting all socialist with us. Where there is need there is demand etc. Don’t forget your prayers and mantras when it suits you. Even lifelogic is with me on this one. Does a large G&T count as a drug. Self medication for sure.

          • Electro-Kevin
            Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

            I have first hand experience of drugs too. As does Peter Hitchens. They are easily available to everyone in fact.

            I am far more expert and successful than Russell Brand in how not to take drugs.

            My advice on how not to take drugs will not be sought by Govt commissions.

            Peter Hitchens is wheeled out by the BBC as some old fashioned fuddy-duddy for professional lampooner Brand to lampoon.

            The whole point of using the man is that he lampoons those who disagree with him – this is the most potent way of disarming political opponents.

            Not reason. Not argument – just plain old ad hominem and ridicule.

            That is why Brand features so prominently on this subject – not because of his so called ‘expertise’.

          • a-tracy
            Posted August 14, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

            How do you know what comedians personal political views and voting intentions are e.g. John Cleese, Sean Lock, David Baddiel, Lee Evans, Miranda Hart, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders? the only time I know is if the comedian takes part in a political broadcast because taking the mickey out of any current government is par for the course. Let’s face it to work in the arts you wouldn’t admit if you were small c conservative or right wing anyway if you want to work for our left wing monopolies!

          • lifelogic
            Posted August 14, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

            @Bazman – As I pour myself a large G&T I think that perhaps you will come round to my other entirely rational points in due course.

          • zorro
            Posted August 14, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

            Most left wing comics I see are smart alec and puerile….

            zorro

          • zorro
            Posted August 14, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

            I would love one of your left wing comics to say something comedic about a certain faith though……I gues he’d be really ‘edgy’ then, if you get my drift…..

            zorro

      • Bazman
        Posted August 13, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        Just say no. No. Unless it’s good stuff. No. I’ve already had some. No.I’ve got to go to work. No. I’ve been drinking. etc. In many areas buying drugs is as easy and convenient as buying pizza and cheaper than alcohol. Where do you get 5% from?

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

          I quote from a Radio 4 debate which featured Richard Branson (pro legalisation) Vs a drugs expert (anti)

          Mr Branson did not do a good job of making his case.

          • Electro-Kevin
            Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

            Alchohol is legal ?

            Yes. And look at the police resources and NHS resources directed at it.

            Unfortunately that genie is already out of the bottle – pardon the pun.

            (The primary function of alcohol is not meant to be mind alteration by the way)

          • Bazman
            Posted August 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

            There has to be something to ridicule in the first place. If the opponent could be ridiculed he would be. Interesting to hear your views on ‘how not to take drugs? Right wing views are just not funny and the idea that it is only because of the party in power is seen as right wing and the arts are left wing luvvie duvies who only find ‘right on’ ideas funny pushing the bounds of creditability. The crowd is naturally left wing and for the underdog. If you are a comedian and your act is a bit thin on the ground and the heckler was bald the crowd would laugh. However if the person held to ridicule was vulnerable in some way as a woman or an ethnic minority the crowd would turn against the comedian unless he possessed great wit. ie he was funny. Name any funny right wing comedians? You can’t. Personal political views? Get real.
            (The primary function of alcohol is not meant to be mind alteration by the way)
            Fine wines from Tuscany or me in the pub with quality local !! How much? ciders. Pretentious crap and I do get your point. Would the same apply to vodka? Tell in to the rough cider drinkers of any age and background.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 16, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

            It depends on how you mean by legalisation. Heroin in supermarkets like sweets would lead to mass addiction for sure. Decriminalisation making it a medical problem not so.

    • Single Acts
      Posted August 13, 2012 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Intention is irrelevant without the de facto ability to do so.

    • PayDirt
      Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      So long as it’s dollars they owe, they can just print more of the stuff, no problemo over the long term.

    • David John Wilson
      Posted August 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      To compare the EU with China on medals tally is stupid. Each EU country could enter usually three competitors in each event. China, if we ignore Hong Kong was only allowed three. Hardly the basis for a fair comparison.

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 13, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        David

        Very good point.

        Just like we were limited to the number who could take part in the cycling events.

  7. lifelogic
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    I see that the governor of the Bank of England has said that the Olympics had “spread good cheer” and that the impact on confidence “may give the economy a boost”.

    I am not sure why wasting £10Bn of money on such a jumped up sports day should do anything positive at all. Surely is it just more tax borrow and waste by the state that is the main cause of these economic problems in the first place.

    Real confidence will come when there is some vision of on end to, the over tax, borrow, QE and tip down the drain of this government and governor. There is no sign of this whatsoever for at least 7 years (or even more) in the UK it seems.

  8. alan jutson
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    What you say about China in sporting terms is true at the moment, but then Russia with their huge regimented, state controlled training camps of the past, were also huge medal winners.

    Should China become more democratic, then you may see they also slip away a little from the medal table in future years, as people make a choice.

    What they certainly have got going for them, is strength in numbers, from who to choose.

    I agree that from an economic and financial point of view they are certainly a huge threat, but then they have seen the mistakes made by the so called developed Western Country’s and economies, so should know what policies to avoid.

    Me thinks we are going to struggle to keep on improving our standard of living (for the majority) in the developed West.

    • Mark
      Posted August 13, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      The biggest thing the Chinese have going for them at the moment is their attitude. After decades of economic repression under Mao they are building a future for themselves. For those of us used to thinking of Chinese in boiler suits the transformation is truly astonishing in its speed and scope. It’s not just Shanghai and Beijing, but in cities across the country.

      Perhaps one way to put it most clearly is that next year, on current trends, Chinese per capita CO2 emissions will exceed those of the UK, and their energy consumption is doubling every 8 years, while UK energy consumption is about the same as it was in 1965, when Chinese total (not per capita) consumption was just 2/3rds of that in the UK.

  9. Alan Wheatley
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    I am pleased that you have chosen to support the idea that “the Olympic Games should be a celebration of sport and its ability to unite peoples from a wide range of countries and cultures to enjoy together a shared passion”.

    Watching the Closing Ceremony on TV (in 3D from the BBC) my thoughts were that with 300,000,000 people watch from around the World the shared enjoyment had to be good for international friendship, and the more of the same the better.

    Our next big opportunity is the Commonwealth Games, often known as “The Friendly Games”. Lets hope all the Commonwealth countries can show everyone, and remind ourselves, just what a great bunch we are.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Watching the Closing Ceremony on TV (in 3D from the BBC) my thoughts were that with 300,000,000 people watch from around the World the shared enjoyment had to be good for international friendship, and the more of the same the better.

      Assuming that they understood any of it, sure, music crosses both borders and cultures but song lyrics and meanings never mind ‘trivia’ doesn’t always. How many in the USA probably thought that “Super Nanny” was arriving to take charge when that first black London taxi appeared can only be guessed at!…

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 14, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        Jerry

        Yes and with all of this musical talent, which millions all over the World listen to and enjoy.

        We still come last in the Eurovision Song Contest.

        Proof if any is needed that it has been fixed against us for years.

        Mates voting for mates, and we do not have many left in Europe.

        We have pretend mates that want our money, but nothing else.

        • Jerry
          Posted August 14, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

          To be fair Alan, most western members of the EBU* (nothing what so ever to do with the EU in case anyone is wondering) are in that boat, it takes something out of the usual to break through the more recent eastern block voting that has more to do with local politics than music!…

          * European Broadcast Union

  10. Alan Wheatley
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    China is an interesting case. An obvious question is whether the country can sustain the momentum or will it fall apart due to internal dissent, as has oft been seen with other super-powers.

    The big difference with China is that it has been a coherent state for a very long time. This contrasts markedly with fabricated states, such as Yugoslavia.

    If China does sustain a position of dominance for a generation or more it will be interesting to see whether the rest of the World becomes more Chinese-like or whether the Western-European lifestyle continues to dominate and be the aspirational ideal for most peoples.

    And what will be the position of the English language in such as aviation and the World Wide Web?

  11. Pete the Bike
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    China really doesn’t have to bankrupt itself to challenge America militarily. It could stop the US in it’s tracks in a matter of days by selling all the dollars it holds. That would cause an economic crash so bad that most western economies would cease to function at all. Possibly one of the reasons why China is making trade agreements with many countries- Russia, Brazil, Iran, Japan and others- to use other currencies or gold between themselves. Another reason might be they the US is intent on inflating it’s debts away and destroying the dollar in the process.

  12. colliemum
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Wasn’t it the grandson of Queen Victoria, the erstwhile Kaiser Wilhelm II, who warned of the (Chinese-ed)peril these hundred years ago?

    Measuring a country’s international status by the amount of gold medals won is very dicey. I recall the tiny (17 million inhabitants) communist German republic winning extraordinary amounts of gold medals before the wall came down.
    We now know how they achieved this – and as long as China does not allow internationally accredited, independent drug testers to check their athletes between competitions, it is of course acceptable to harbour doubts about China’s prowess.
    These doubts are not unfair – in the interest of sport the Chinese only need to comply with the rules all other countries comply with.

    • zorro
      Posted August 14, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

      John,
      Please tell me that you did not censor the word ‘Yellow’ above in its historical context?

      zorro

  13. oldtimer
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    There is also a strong political dimension to the Games in this country – not least the decision to commit such a huge sum to staging them and the professionalism of the sporting participants courtesy of lottery funding. In the end the country has presented a confident and friendly face to the world despite earlier glitches. Whether it will produce the long term economic benefits claimed by some politicians is a matter of doubt. But I do expect the people responsible for the spectacular light display at the main arena to be kept very busy indeed.

  14. Atlas
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    “He who owns wanted raw materials is the short-term winner”; this in the great race that is the global economy.

    Over the centuries ‘wanted’ has changed – remember the lucrative market in flint axes?

  15. Caterpillar
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    A slight aside on ‘place in world tables’. Comparing the top five in the Olympics 2012 medals with position in the 2012 International Mathematical Olympiad

    Olympics:

    US 1st, China 2nd, GB&NI 3rd, Russian Fed 4th, South Korea 5th

    Mathematical Olympiad

    US 3rd, China 2nd, GB&NI 22nd, Russian Fed 4th, South Korea 1st

  16. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been corresponding with some of my cyberfriends in China to try to understand how the games have been perceived there.

    What I see, and of course this may be biased by the nature of my friends, is that they are curious about the nature of the way they perceive the Olympics and how we here in the UK perceive it.

    I hear about how Chinese children are chosen at a young age by the state to be hothoused. We’ve compared and contrasted that with the spirit of voluntarism in the UK whereby in general our athletes have elected to pursue their vocations.

    We’ve compared and contrasted the Chinese emphasis on winning with the British emphasis on the nature of the competitor and our enthusiasm for noble losers. (How clearly was this portrayed after the end of the mens 10m platform diving!).

    We’ve also chatted about the nature of how we engage with that which we cannot control and there seems to be a contrast in attitude there – perhaps because there is an over-assumption in China that the individual and the state can and should fix all things.

    It’s been a fascinating subject for discussion and it’s made me more confident and happy in my British identity. While there seem to be many similarities between the old cold war positions of China and the USSR one very obvious difference is that Chinese intellectuals can and are engaging in conversations like these.

    I’m off to post one of my cyberfriends ‘Chariots of Fire’. 🙂

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted August 17, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      “Chinese children are chosen at a young age by the state to be hothoused”. We do that to tomatoes; what a fascinating cultural comparison.

  17. Normandee
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Surely it has nothing to do with how many weapons you have got, it’s down to your propensity to use said weapons. Which is why we are all concerned about Iran, or should be.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 13, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      I’m more concerned about N. Korea in that respect. Their leadership really do have so little to loose…

    • Single Acts
      Posted August 14, 2012 at 4:25 am | Permalink

      “Which is why we are all concerned about Iran, or should be”

      Really?

      How many countries has Iran attacked since 1979? How many countries do they have troops in? Are they threatening to bomb any countries currently*

      If you are concerned about people’s propensity to use weapons then simple mathematics and observation suggest there are other countries you need be far, far more concerned about, rather than some manufactured need to go to war.

      Doubtless you’ll be volunteering, or is it just others you want to send off to their deaths?

      *Before you even quote me the lies about the wipe Israel of the map stuff look at the actual translation not what the ‘news’ tell you.

  18. David Langley
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I am pretty sure I saw pictures, recently in the papers about the horrific sports camps that young Chinese children are dragged up in. Apparently there are a lot of Chinese peasants wanting to have children taken off their hands and they have the crazy idea that winning most gold medals makes their country look good.
    I believe that most athletes do well when they are managed and given both financial and sports leadership and coaching in a democratic and caring way. The need for recognition and fame drives most athletes to achieve stunning results. I prefer our kind of motivation not the fraud perpetrated by the Eastern comrades. I have spent the past two weeks free of the EU flag and rejoicing in the egalitarian attitudes and happiness of all those wonderful athletes proudly walking under their own National flags. The sum of their differences was zero.

  19. Barbara Stevens
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    When China held the games were there careful monitoring of drug abuse like we had in London? China has been found wanting before in this area, so their success at the last games I would say could be suspect. We can not however prove it so we must congratulate them on success, but the hint of suspicion we always be there. Today, a goldmedalist has been found to have cheated, it happens.
    As for a world power, yes it is, but at what cost to human life and freedom, and how long can they suppress a nation for political ends. Even their domestic market and world markets are dominated by government dictating wages for often slave incomes. Running a country so dominated, so suppressed in freedoms we enjoy will surely one day boil over. A country run by, very old men, with old ideas, and policial views; not really suitable for the modern era. Better to be poorer and free, and free to express ones views as you will. I know what I’d sooner have.
    China has a people’s so suppressed they’ve lost the will for freedom of expression which is a great shame, for they are a likeable peoples’ if allowed to be themselves. They have many problems which are not easy to tackle, we should refrain from giving aid now, its time they stood on their own two feet. That should apply to many more this silly government insists on giving to; like India for example. I see they held a meeting for children suffering from malutrition, well Cameron should be told we have kids here lacking good diets for lack of money too, and come to that proper cancer drugs as well. It always pays to put your own house in order first, I wish some MPs would tell him that.

    Reply China won a big tally of medals in the London games, and all their athletes passed the stringent drugs testing we are told was in place. It is not fair to allege that medal winners did not do it fairly, when they have passed tests.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted August 15, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

      You cannot “express ones views as you will” in Britain now. That was in the past. You may be arrested and prosecuted for airing your views today.

  20. uanime5
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    It’s no surprise that the USA and China achieved so many gold medals when they have such large populations, so by random chance the probability of them getting a good athlete is pretty high. However if you compare the number of gold medals per thousand people then Australia got the most gold medals while the USA and China are 10th and 11th respectively.

  21. Antisthenes
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    ” in due course as a military power.”

    What does your crystal ball tell you what that portends?

  22. Matthew
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Rise of Chinese military power.

    Good reason to stick with NATO and not get distracted into European defence forces and other pacts.

    • peter davies
      Posted August 13, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      At a time when the govt continue the labour pattern of waster whilst at the same time axing 20 infantry battalions for financial reasons….

  23. Ferdinand
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    All true but the country which did best per capita for both gold medals and all medals was New Zealand with a population of only 4.4million. They came 6th per capita for gold medals and 9th per capita for all medals. Much, much better than the USA or China.

  24. Max Dunbar
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Interesting about the rise of China.
    There are a lot of Chinese in Britain but they keep a low profile and seem to avoid or are uninterested in politics, prefering to make (and gamble) lots of money. The Chinese work hard and do well here. They do not intrude, impose or try assert themselves on others in this country.
    They have the ideal political system in China to back their economic ambitions. This must be of great concern to the West because many of the lotus eaters here still consider that the world owes us a living. It doesn’t. Furthermore, China’s military potential is enormous and it will not be used for “peacekeeping ” purposes. They have a number of old scores to settle I believe.

  25. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 16, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    China is going for gold but also has a property market bubble in some areas. US, UK, Ireland, Spain, Dubai, China …………… how many more nations are going to believe that property prices can only go up? Dubai’s crash was the worst of all but there was dear old Abu Dhabi to pay for some of the surplus property. Lucky Sheikh Mahtoum.

  26. Derek Emery
    Posted August 17, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    There is a leftish hope that China will not continue to being evermore competitive in evermore areas of the world economy but this hope is sadly misplaced. China has a problem with diminishing numbers of future workers but pro-actively already replacing workers with robots. See Business Insider article ‘China goes for gold’ which includes charts by Credit Suisse at http://www.businessinsider.com/credit-suisse-chinese-automation-boom-2012-8

    EU leaders are strongly anti business, anti-markets,anti-banks and anti-personal wealth whereas China is pro wealth generation. Chinese patents are increasing exponentially and already 9% of world patents.

    The world has a global economy where jobs and money move easily. EU salaries and wages are drastically higher that in the rest of the world for exactly the same skill levels. Hence work and jobs will continue to drain away from the EU in the future which translates to higher unemployment in the EU. I doubt many realize how much work and jobs have been already been moved outside the EU by top EU companies to preserve their bottom line.

    I do not think the EU realizes just how rapidly progress is being made elsewhere and the future downside effects on the EU economy.
    Today there are no EU manufacturers in the top ten of the ‘What Car’ 2012 Reliability Tables.

    Car production is important to the Gemran and hence to the EU economy.
    I suspect the Far East will increasingly ‘steal’ jobs and work from Germany as they continue to move up the car production ‘food chain to encompass the type of quality car production that Germany depends on. Manufacturing has a higher number of upstream workers than other sectors such as services.

    China runs a surplus and invests half of this is future technologies to enhance production and new products. This is far more than the indebted EU can hope to invest. It is impossible for the EU to win the investment war and compete with the lower salaries and wages outside the EU.

    The EU is dreaming if it thinks that it is not going to lose as there is no way present EU lifestyles can be maintained with an EU policies of being uncompetitive in world markets.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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