22 AUGUST 2016

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Article from BTNews 22 AUGUST 2016

COMMENT: No gold for the EU

Even non-sports fans, and there are a few, can fail to have been moved by Team GB’s marvellous performance in the Rio Olympics.

As the closing ceremony took over the TV screens, it was a time to reflect on what turned out to be a rousing two weeks. Team GB are coming home with 67 medals, including 27 gold, 23 silver and 17 bronze. Second only to the United States and its 225m population. Great Britain has 63m.

Not bad for a country dismissed as an insignificant has-been or worse by certain EU figures after the Brexit vote. And we won’t even mention Germany’s tally of 41 medals, a mere 17 of which were golds, or France running in with 40, of which ten were golds.

What has Brexit to do with the Olympics? Probably not much but for an attempted PR coup by a German communications company, whose name we will not mention but whose clients include the European Commission and the European Parliament.

This company produced a medal table which imagined a Games where all the countries of the EU competed under one flag. 

Applied to the Rio result, this would have put “Team EU” at the top of the table with 81 golds, 76 silvers and 76 bronzes, a total of 233. The US would have been second with 30, 32 and 31, total 93. Team GB is not mentioned, despite the fact it has just accounted for more than a quarter of the golds awarded in Rio.

One could argue that Britain was the most successful Olympic nation with its medals spread over 19 sports. And we did not even enter the soccer tournament as the four home nations could not agree a team, as if that made any difference.

Reported by The Huffington Post among other media, the story produced a predictable barrage of Tweets, some branding the stunt “shameful”. As one correspondent wrote: “The sheer arrogance of the EU producing their own idea of the Olympics medal table sums up the whole project! Thank the Lord we saw sense!”

It calls to mind similar publicity over the cable-car crossing of the Thames between Greenwich and Royal Docks, which ended up costing some £60m. 

It is now known as the Emirates Air Line after the carrier stepped in with a £36m, 10-year sponsorship deal.

Next time you’re there, take a close look at the plaque at the entrance. Probably the first thing you see will be a large EU flag, followed by the words: “This project provides a unique and ground-breaking regeneration for London and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.” If you don't see that, the in-flight video repeats the same message as soon as you take off.

One could ask what Boris Johnson, then the London mayor, was up to when he allowed Emirates in. Why not BA, which originally sponsored the London Eye and is now busy promoting the £42m Brighton Tower, a wonderful piece of engineering, but hardly getting the attention of the Air Line? BA's nearest airport to Brighton is Gatwick.  And while there is nothing wrong with Brighton (and the tower is in Hove, actually!), the view is not the same as the South Bank ferris wheel. The British Airways i360 may look good on every map in Brighton, but it is hardly the same as being plastered all over Transport for London.

For its money, Emirates Air Line can be found on every Tube map and is being promoted by TfL, whose chairman is London's mayor. It is a great and cheap day out if you want to educate the children in the summer holidays. But as sponsorship, it could be branded as another own goal by the EU. Well spotted, The Huffington Post.

If the Olympics are something to judge Brexit by, congratulations to Team GB. 


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OUR READERS FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum


Andrew Sharp, United Kingdom

Rod Hoare was an inspirational leader and manager. Among many other things, he thought of (and led) the concept of the International Air Rail Organisation, seeing that airport railways could profitably exchange ideas, successes and failures.


Don MacCallum, United Kingdom

I am not clear why you continue to use the COMMENT section in BTNews as a platform for your anti-EU sentiments particularly as they have little or no relevance to issues concerning Business Travel. Who exactly are these EU figures who have dismissed the UK as an insignificant has-been or worse? Other than an over hasty decision not to take up its scheduled presidency of the EU Council next year, the fact is that the UK is still a full member of the EU and the precise ramifications of Brexit for Business Travel are yet to be encountered.


Paul Bondsfield, United Kingdom

Oddly, the writer doesn\'t seem to realise that his/her arguments about EU arrogance are pretty much the same as London arrogance. Thinking that BA\'s sponsorship of a Brighton landmark is wrong, presumably because BA is a "London company" so should sponsor London icons - is ridiculous. I\'m fairly sure that residents of Brighton also travel with BA on occasion when they have saved up enough to head to the excitement of the big city an\' all. I live on the Hampshire/Surrey border - and even we, sometimes, are customers of the "London airlines" and would welcome BA, Emirates or EU funding or sponsorship if they so desired.


Don MacCallum, United Kingdom

I am not clear why you continue to use the COMMENT section in BTNews as a platform for your anti-EU sentiments particularly as they have little or no relevance to issues concerning Business Travel. Who exactly are these EU figures who have dismissed the UK as an insignificant has-been or worse? Other than an over hasty decision not to take up its scheduled presidency of the EU Council next year, the fact is that the UK is still a full member of the EU and the precise ramifications of Brexit for Business Travel are yet to be encountered.


Don MacCallum, United Kingdom

I am not clear why you continue to use the COMMENT section in BTNews as a platform for your anti-EU sentiments particularly as they have little or no relevance to issues concerning Business Travel. Who exactly are these EU figures who have dismissed the UK as an insignificant has-been or worse? Other than an over hasty decision not to take up its scheduled presidency of the EU Council next year, the fact is that the UK is still a full member of the EU and the precise ramifications of Brexit for Business Travel are yet to be encountered.


Laurie Price, Horsham

Whilst not wishing to denigrate the achievement of Team GB, with over 350 million investment in the team, it would have been an even more dubious investment if we had not done so well. Its nothing to do with the unfortunate BREXIT based on lies by the LEAVERS. Its about priorities and targeted spending. Pity that could not have been on stopping municipal swimming pool, tennis and sports facility closures that affect the many, rather than funding the self aggrandisement of the few. Please stop crowing about a narrowly "won" referendum based on lies and flawed data from a now absent LEAVE group! BTN is good at own goals and flawed analysis sometimes as many of us know!! So be careful in what you promote.


John Morris, United Kingdom

Sorry, I'm confused. What point are you trying to make?


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