The BBC did a brilliant job with their Sports Personality show on Sunday. If I had one small complaint it was in the air-brushing of any politics or politicians from the narrative.
‘Keep politics out of sport’ has a certain compelling appeal, but sport is an intensely political area. Always has been (think Eastern Europe, think America v USSR back then, America v China now). Always will be.
John Major’s Lottery. Tony Blair’s decision to go for, and role in securing, London 2012. The Manchester Commonwealth Games and the legacy of the velodrome as a home for British Cycling and, later, Team Sky. Sport yes, but with a lot of politics along the way.
As with so much of the good that was done in the Labour years, more and more evidence is emerging that it is now at risk. We won the Games in part because of the promise of a real sporting legacy. It is not happening. This non-happening is not be chance, but as a result of decisions taken by the government. Like the decision to axe School Sports Partnerships, one of the many backward-looking decisions taken by Michael Gove, whose sports policy (lack of) has the feel of a man taking revenge on PE teachers who made him run in the cold when he wanted to sit by the fire learning Latin and reciting lists of Kings and Queens.
Now his plans for the new baccalaureate have come under fire from a host of sporting bodies who fear sport is being further downgraded within the education system.
I said on Any Questions last week that Gove, far from being the success story as described by his private-educating supporters in the newspapers, and his little gaggle of followers and advisers on twitter, is shaping up to be the most disastrous Education Secretary in history.
PS, if the latest reports about ‘plebgate’ turn out to be true, I hope Andrew Mitchell is back in the Cabinet soon.