Thursday, March 02, 2006

As Sir "Ming" Campbell Wins An "Olympian" Victory Will Peebles High Street Be A-Throngin' With Oiled He-Men In Tweed Vests?

On the whole, I do not believe in conspiracies, unless they are silent, in which case I am rather in favour of them. However, a coincidence worthy of Messrs Woodward and Bernstein occurred this afternoon, as I listened to the results of the Liberal Democrats' leadership election. Just as Mr Simon Hughes declared that Sir "Ming" Campbell had won an "Olympian" victory (a reference to his participation in the Tokyo Games of 1964) I heard a thump on the doormat. Assuming it to be the usual flyers for assisted suicide, psychotherapy, or voodoo gardening, I ignored it. But then curiosity got the better of me.
On the mat was a manila envelope containing the uncorrected minutes of a meeting of the Scottish Affairs Committee of the House of Commons, from 15 November, 2005, concerning the impact of the Olympic Games on Scotland.
You might have thought that would be a short meeting. But no. The transcript runs on like a novel by Lord "Jeffrey" Archer (without the dramatic tension).
Fortunately, my informant had highlighted several passages, most notably the one which referred to the impact of the Olympics on Peebles.
Councillor Graham Garvie, of Peebles and District South, made the following observation: "In the real world we are 400 miles away from where the Games are going to take place, and I think that we should, as a society in Scotland, with our English colleagues running the Games, look at what we can achieve in reality on the ground, and I think that would be the exercise I would like to undertake. I think there are huge potentials for involving people in many ways. I am particularly interested personally in the training camps coming to Scotland - the spin-off from that is terrific. I live in Peebles and many teams for other sports come to stay in Peebles High Street Hotel and the youngsters are absolutely thrilled to bits; for a week they have international stars on their doorstep. That kind of involvement and spin-off I think is extremely important. It is not structured at all; it is just an encouragement to be involved in the area to which that team comes. So training camps interest me greatly in concentrating on a strategy for Britain to try to spread out the training camps from various countries throughout the UK; and some, I understand, come for months and months before the Games."
I am, pardon my French, dumfoonert. With the athletic Sir "Ming" now in charge of Councillor Garvie's party, can we expect a concerted campaign on this subject? Will Peebles High Street really be thronging with oiled Adonises, and if so, how will they be encouraged to keep running when they could more happily stop for a cup of milky tea and a fly cemetery?
There is more of this stuff, but I am saving it.

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