Review; The Blair Sport ProjectObserver Sport Monthly June 2009

From the man who gave us an illegal war in Iraq under the patently false pretext of ridding that country of weapons of mass destruction and resulting in an estimated half a million Iraqi deaths, comes 'Beyond Sport', one of those slick Tony Blair initiatives for, 'promoting sport as a tool for social development and conflict resolution.' The audacious hypocrisy of the man! With his neo-con mates in the Bush regime he turned the brutal but secular Iraq into an international base for Islamic fundamentalists and in true Anglo Saxon form, sought to rule the resources of the country by turning Shia against Sunni, community against community, Iraqi against Iraqi. Now he wants us to believe that he is a peace maker intent on healing the world's troubles. For my part I don't believe him but let's see what his game is.


 Tony Blair, with Desmond Tutu as his prominent side-kick, launches his global, 'Beyond Sport' next month with the aim of 'recognising sporting projects that improve the lives of communities through health, social inclusion, children's rights, and peacemaking.' When interviewed about the concept by OSM Blair has this to say: The Middle East conflict is a good example. There's a project that's twinning schools that play basketball across Israel and Palestine. They work with thousands of Israeli and Palestinian youngsters bringing them together, letting them see each other and regard each other as human beings and not the enemy. It sounds very noble until one remembers that the Blair government is fully complicit in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. Apart From a few platitudes, the Blair government sat back and watched Israel bulldoze Palestinian homes and then build yet more Israeli settlements. As a payback for endorsing this illegal occupation he gives some tacky award for a joint basketball project. I suspect the Palestinians would be rather more pleased to have their villages back. 


You know Tony; once he gets going there is no stopping him. He continues with enthusiasm, 'I've seen it work in other conflict zones, too, like Bosnia.'  Is that the same Bosnia that Britain and the USA were desperate to prize away from the former multi-national socialist leaning Yugoslavia? Would that be the same meddling that led to some particularly nasty wars right in the very heart of Europe? 



The real Blair makes himself known when asked by OSM what his views are on the countless millions going into footballer's wages rather than into grassroots sport. Blair, with one of his customary slick replies tells us; 'I'm less worried by what their lifestyle is than the commitment they're able to make to grassroots sport. It's not just about the money; it's about the time that people can give.' So it's morally ok for footballers to be making £250,000 per week as long as they put a couple of hours each month into some local footy project. It's ok for a footballer to earn more in one week than a nurse might earn in five years so long as they turn up occasionally for a local photo shoot at the local school. What a great advertisement for grassroots sport: struggle and strive year after year on tuppance and then be grateful when some big shot millionaire condescends to pay your little project a visit. Thanks Tony but no thanks! 



It's typical of Blair to dismiss the obscene wages being paid in the European football leagues. The fact that these morally obscene wages are bankrupting a growing number of clubs, including some of the biggest, seems to have escaped his attention in the same way that reckless debt within the global banking system has brought the entire global economic system to its knees. Sport mirrors life in general and it doesn't take an Einstein to see that Premier League Football is heading for an almighty crash sooner rather than later. Liverpool FC are already in the firing line. Watch this space.

End JPK 06/06/09


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