In 1976 at the summer Olympics the USSR took 49 gold medals and 125 medals in total, East Germany 40 and 90, the USA 34 and 94, and Great Britain 3 and 13. In 2012 the numbers were: USA 46 and 104, Great Britain 29 and 65, Russia 24 and 82, and Germany 11 and 44. London 2012 cost roughly £9 billion. What is the purpose of the Games? Why did the UK government spend £9 billion of taxpayers’ money on building stadia etc. that will never be used again? Why do we pump millions into sport at all?
Athletics, cycling, swimming, equestrianism, sailing, fencing, judo, kayaking and so on are only ever in the minds’ eye once every four years, when all of a sudden the whole country becomes an ‘expert’ on clay pigeon shooting or synchronised diving. The sports that we really follow like football, cricket, rugby, and golf do not really feature in the Games, or if they do it is in a modified form, like 7 a side rugby. So why do we pour money down the drain to prop up minority sports and buy medals, just like East Germany?
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has an annual budget of at least £5.5 billion and the Lottery similarly spends funds on sporting facilities (please do not think that the Lottery is anything other than a tax). Why is the State involved in the business of sport and entertainment? I remember as a youngster smirking at the Communists trying to prove that their political methods were better than that of the Western democracies by buying sporting success, and here we are doing precisely the same. I find it worrying that our Government is ‘showcasing’ Britain by apparently trying to produce better specimens.
The interesting thing is that sport can happily exist and succeed without State intervention, just look at football and golf. It is time that we began to realise that the role of the State is defence, and maintaining property rights, and any extension of powers beyond these is wasteful and inevitably leads the country down the path of Nationalism of the worst sort.