August 25, 2016

The British have shown us how to become a nation of winners

Posted in Irish Independent · 64 comments ·

It’s very rare that an Irish writer will celebrate any achievements of our nearest rival on the sports field, but we must acknowledge the amazing achievements of the Brits in the Olympics. To take such a hoard of medals is impressive; to do so when you were so far behind 20 years ago suggests a management and business lesson for all of us.


There are so many overlaps between competitive sport and competitive economics that there is little doubt that the transformation of British athletics will be studied in business departments of universities for years to come.


All countries strive to enhance their economic performance in a competitive world. Small countries in particular have to find that clever trick or five that will help us achieve a better standard of living for all (or at least that is what governments should be striving for).


Interestingly, the strategy that the British used to overhaul their athletics system borrows quite a bit from former communist states, rather than from the free-wheeling Americans. This is also a salutary lesson for economic strategy — sometimes when you are small, you have to take matters into your own hands. If there is a business story buried in the performance of UK athletics, could it be more central planning and less free markets?


When looking at sport, we are not just talking about the UK but also other countries that over perform at the Olympics.


For example, although the Brits did well, they came in only 13th place when you weight their medal haul for their population.


The top five countries when weighted for population are the Bahamas, Jamaica, Croatia, Fiji and New Zealand. What is going on in these countries and what does it tell us about business and economics?


When we look closer at what drives sporting success, we see what could be described as a very Cold War, Soviet-style blueprint.


The first key aspect is women’s participation. This reflects the fact that countries with higher levels of gender equality — a sure sign of development more broadly — do better in the Olympics. Next up are specialisation and central planning.


The Brits, the Croatians and the Aussies are such countries that have completely overhauled their athletics using specialisation and central planning. Leaving sport, like economics, to chance just doesn’t work.


The Brits adopted a ‘no compromise’ rule after the 1996 Olympics, whereby they refused to support financially sports where they were not performing. This is a highly controversial move but it worked in terms of diverting cash into sports where they had some advantage or semblance of advantage. Their cycling team is probably the best example of this, where they have become dominant.


Another key to doing well in the Olympics is finding a niche.


It’s crucial to find a sport that few others play. Securing a niche obviously increases your chances of extracting a haul. In a world of huge populations playing a small number of sports, finding an obscure market is extremely clever. In business too, it’s always better to find a product or an area where there are not many competitors.


Finally, one of the key factors in common with all successful nations is central planning. This means an orchestrating body at the top that is picking winners.


This sounds extremely old school, but it has parallels in lots of successful economics. It is how Asian countries, particularly South Korea, developed their economies after the Second World War.


Borrowing from Japan, the Koreans centrally planned everything, diverting the country’s resources into certain industries where they might have an advantage over the more free-market Americans. Today, consider how many high-end products and brands come from Korea? Yes, there are loads.


In a similar way, success at the Olympics demands a central plan and money. Central planning allows nations to allocate funding strategically to different types of sports, build schools, offer subsidies and invest in research.


And finally, there is money. You need money to do well in sport. Twenty years ago, the British languished in 36th in the Atlanta Olympics medal table. So how did the UK turn its situation around?


The most pivotal change took place in 1994, with the creation the National Lottery and the decision to allocate public funds to Olympic sports. The British have increased spending on Olympic sports from £5m a year before the 1996 Atlanta Games — when the UK came 36th in the medals tables, to £350m (€410m) by Rio 2016, where it came 2nd.


It sounds like lots of money, but in truth it is only one quid per taxpayer per year.


Is that worth the glory?


Money pays off. The cycling effort is one of the highest-funded Olympic sports in Britain, getting around £30.2m. By the end of the Games, every member of Britain’s 14-strong cycling team had won at least one medal each.


We’ve had our own success in sports too. So it’s not that Irish teams can’t emulate the British.


For example, did you know that the Irish boxing team has been, per capita, the most successful sports team in the world? Over the 10 years from 2005 to 2015, in the Olympics, the World Championships, the European Championships and the new EU Championships, this team won 57 gold medals, 49 silver and 96 bronze.


Under head coach Billy Walsh, Irish boxing copied the best; in this case, what he saw on a training camp in Russia. He copied how they trained, what they ate, when they rested and he asked the boxers for total commitment.


The regime was so tough that in the first year he lost half the squad; but those who stayed got fitter, stronger, more confident and then started to win medals.


In the past, an Irish boxer would fear being drawn against an existing European medal holder and the fight was lost in his head before he stepped into the ring, but the little (and then bigger) wins meant this inferiority complex changed.


Rio was not our finest hour but still, the boxers have shown what can be done with the right set-up. It can be done.


If we are serious about sport, we can look across the water and elsewhere and do great things of which we would be rightly proud.


It is such a shame that while the Brits come home with 65 medals, Ireland’s Rio Olympics will be mainly remembered for the events away from the sporting competition, rather than on the winners’ podiums.


  1. Deco

    Very good points in the article.

    The Brits concentrate on areas where success is probable.

    The Irish Olympic quango is simply a means for enriching insiders.

    It probably has a lot to do with how accountability has become absent from the public sphere in Ireland, but largesse is provided, if the entity involved in receiving public funds can mount a campaign called “we are being insufficiently funded”.

    The OCI has plenty of money. But… seems that the insiders still want more.

    We have a problem with public institutions in this country.

    It should be noted that it was the Brazilians that launched an investigation into what is going on. The Irish media, and various overpaid busybodies on various largesse pumped state oversight quangos seen nothing wrong.

    In fact they were looking the other way for 30 years.

    Ireland is a banana republic. Brazil at least is capable of getting their act together. Ironicallyy there are scandals also in Barzil, but by getting to the bottom of “ticket-gate” the Brazilians have actually salvaged their national reputation.

    • Pedro Nunez

      “Society is a contract… the state is a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are yet to be born.”

      This quote from the 18th Century Irish political theorist and philosopher Edmund Burke summarises much of the argument put forward in the 2012 Reith Lectures by economic historian Niall Ferguson

      “England”, he writes, “was the first country to move from having ‘inclusive’ or ‘pluralistic’ rather than extractive political institutions” and to evolve a system of representative government. Such a system has the virtue of making government responsible to the people, but what happens if the people as electorate become irresponsible, not only in defiance of their own best interests but in terms of their responsibilities to future generations, and if governments acquiesce to their demands in order to placate them? The result, Ferguson argues, is massive public debt, which allows a generation of voters to live at the expense of future generations, thus breaking what Edmund Burke regarded as the fundamental social contract between the generations.

      Ireland is a post colonial gombeen ridden kleptocracy dressed up as a republic, its is still an extractive economy, with the expectation that the outsiders will court the favour of and kowtow to pay the toll to the gombeen man. Its no different to a lot of failing African and ‘arab spring’ states in that respect, which may partly explain why so many people from those countries appear to be seeking temporary reprieve here?

    • Sideshow Bob

      Romario ( who is a socialist party senator ) brought up about about Hickey 3 years ago. They saw him coming and had an eye on this. Hickey & co. clearly thought themselves to be immune and above the law.

      Brazil has a lot of internal problems and tolerates a high level of corruption ( and it is going through an illegal yet peaceful coup at the moment ), but that doesn´t mean they have to take any illegal behaviour from gringos who breeze in there and lord it over them.

  2. ex_pat_northerner

    And the most successful franchise in US sport – American Football is based on a system that ‘evens up’ the teams – giving the weaker teams first draft pick and wage caps. Compared with Premiershi* where 3-5 teams have any chance of winning it, Leicester’s 5000-1 shot having the appropriate odds.

    btw – there was one person in GB cycling team that didn’t win a medal – Ciara Horne was sub for the womens pursuit. Ciara qualified for Ireland, and attempted to get funding – she broke Irish and Ulster records in time trials while she was part of cycling ireland – but the funding wasn’t there. She reverted to her Welsh ancestry, and was a key member of the womens pursuit squad over the last 2 years, winning world championship and world cup golds as well as commonwealth success. Its going to be hard for Irish cycling to compete with British Cycling given we don’t even have a velodrome over here. It was noticeable that in the road events – where there’s a far less controlled environment – the Brits were off the pace, with only a bronze by their Kenyan born, Tour de France winner.

    The fact we’ve got some of the top coaches and fitness/physios working with the top teams – shows that we can perform at the highest level. The GAA however has a stranglehold on funding in small communities. When one considers it costs approx 20-25K to keep a small rural club going in Fermanagh — that’s a lot of money being taken out of rural community which can’t be used to develop athletes, cyclists, rowers, sailors etc..

    The GAA used to complement all these sports in the days of true amateur. Now its in direct competition, and being the biggest sporting organisation in the country outspends its rivals to maintain that position.

  3. Deco

    Concerning the economics of investment, we should scale back sport funding on areas that are merely wasting money.

    Fast – Ireland is better at competition that involves individual achievement, than at team achievement.

    The gold medal performances in Irish sport, tend to be involving golfers, boxers, showjumpers, and jockeys. We do individual endeavour.

    At team sports we are wasting our time. In fact the only team sport that we were successful this time….involved two brothers.

    So we need to review why we are throing vast sums of money at team sports.

    Top of the list is Football (soccer). A complete and vast waste of money. We are NEVER going to win anything big in Football. It simply is not going to happen. That is not a problem. Unless, we continually throw millions at it. It is a complete waste of money. Football gets accomodated, for one simple reason. A very dominant near-monopoly level brewer has enormous power, and must be accomodated. Enough power to see Roisin Shortall removed from government and her previous political party.

    I have played football for recreation, and that is grand. But it is obvious that the tens of thousands of obese Irish males following the national football squad are building up expensive work for the HSE. And none of them are capable of playing. They simply use it as a means of large scale binge drinking.

    Second on the list, is GAA football. Not as expensive, because there are 26 counties, and most of them are not entertaining any silly fantasies. [ for silly fantasies, try the Irish soccer fans]. GAA football produces a large volume of injuries. It also feeds vendettas, and a lot of male macho stupidity. It produces a lot of dysfunctional, and troubling male behaviour. It’s Aussie cousin has tackled the issue. But Gaelic Football is ignoring it. It is filled with players who regard aggression as the prime virtue. It is Wall Street on a grass field in jerseys.

    Third on the list Rugby. Yes, we do sometimes win at rugby. But only by effectively, designing four regional monopolies. Rugby produces serious injuries. Serious injuries. It also contains a belief system that regards arrogance as a virtue. The cost of winning is being swept under the carpet. How many spinal injuries, or broken knees follow every Heineken Cup victory ?

    I have now pissed off substantial numbers of people. But, I think the comments above needed to be produced.

    We are entertaining expensive fantasies with regards to team sports in Ireland.

    • People don’t want to compete in these obscure individual sports like sailing.

      And if you are looking for a sport that receives massive funding, try something a bit closer to the “jockies” you mention as being successful. I presume you are talking about the horse that was on drugs?

      • Deco

        The horseracing “industry” ( a misnomer, surely) is rotten. It is also sustaining a lot of fantasies.

        I am getting second thoughts here. Maybe this has also been allowed to develop into a sacred cow.

        The gambling problem is serious. And the “industry” is ignoring the problem.

    • Daithi7

      You may have missed it but Ireland has been spectacularly successful at rugby over the past 10years. 5 European Cups (Yes 5/10), a Grand Slam, the last was in 1948, numerous championship wins,etc, etc

      Also, people need to step back, is the objective of your sports funding to fund individual athletes in obscure disciplines just so you can do better in the medal league table in an Olympics every 4 years. Or is the the objective of your sports funding to encourage participation of many in playing, organising and supporting (team) sports. and to have meaningful competitions in these sports every year not just every 4. On the second criterion, Gaa, Rugby and Soccer deliver hugely whereas 50km walking remains an individual, quirky, oddity that most of its only look at the highlights ever 4 years cos an Irish guy competes in it.

      Just drive around gaa neighbourhoods and towns any evening all summer and you will invariably see well supported local derbies in football and hurling with 100s of people involved….. That is sporting success actually, the Olympics are just a carnival.

      • Deco

        What is the cost of rugby success ?

        The cost in injuries, with young men being paralyzed for life. I remember a previous employment location, where a worker across from me was organizing a fund raising event for a young man paralyzed in rugby. This occurred in South Dublin. A lot of the calls featured the comment “we must keep this hush-hush”.

        I don’t want this type of “success”. It is not worth it, if we have a culture of cover-up and dishonesty with respect to what is happening to young men who are brainwashed from a young age, and who then have their lives ruined.

        Better off having kids playing golf or doing something which will not screw them up for life.

        I know I am being controversial. I am speaking against a tide of media coverage and feel-giddy feelings. But I am opting out of the official script.

        I want an end to these hush-hush wheelchair-for-the- rest-of-your-life debacles. Success at something should not elevate it to sacred-cow status.

        • Daithi7

          Sorry this complete Bollox ,

          Hush hush about a hurt rugby player, yet organising a fund raiser. Sure!!

          I’ve been involved in playing and coaching rugby for alot of my life and I’ve never seen a hush, hush, cover up or anything like it if a player was injured. Far from it, there are fund raisers, awareness campaigns, lunches, etc, etc, etc

          You are talking crap!

          • Deco

            I am telling you the truth. I was there. I listened to this. And I realise that ultimately it was nonsense. There was NO awareness campaign. This was about looking for businesses run by rugger players, to donate money for a paralyzed former rugby player.

            The point of it all was to make him feel that he was looked after.

            That is the real BS. Here is heap of money. No shut up, and don’t say anything that might stop other young lads from starting.

      • Deco

        And I have similar sentiments with respect to the macho aggressive culture that is prevalent in Gaelic Football. It is vile, disgusting, and dysfunctional.

  4. Deco

    Areas where Ireland can excel. Based on past performance, and the fact that we are better at sports that involve individual scale competition.

    And I mean this in the context of wider sport success, not just the olympics.

    Golf. We are successful here.

    Horse based sports (though it should be added that this is subsidised via tax policy).


    Watersports involving technique. (sailing, rowing, etc).

    We should be realistic about certain sports, where the competition is always going to be better resourced. In other words there is no point in throwing money away in vain.

    I propose to gradually veer away from sports that involve drug comsumption. It is not worthwhile. The medals are not worth it.

    • Tull McAdoo

      Would it be fair to say that we do well in sports, where prize money / pay can be collected once the individual turns professional after a grounding at the amateur level ?

  5. Deco

    The biggest misallocatoin of funding, in relation to sports in Ireland – the vast amounts of money that cross the tavern counter during Premiership and UEFA championship matches.

    It is also very obvious that those involved do not play any sport.

    In fact, the misallocation of resources does not end there.

    It merely commences.

    Because, following on from Ireland’s binge drinking problem, is Ireland’s substance abuse problem, Ireland hospital A&E crisis, the road deaths, and so on.

    The dominant brewery profit maker in the island, has managed to tie spectator sports into purchasing their (Type 2 diabetes inducing) product (on a scale that is truly type 2 diabetes inducing).

    That represents a serious problem. Just ask anybody who works in A&E.

    Sport should be about health. Instead it is the possession of the marketing department of a near monolopy whose motives are greed and image.

  6. A lot of the lads who are going to the boozer to watch English football are the ones driving kids around Ireland every Saturday and Sunday morning for schoolboy football games.

    Do you think all the kids playing in the schoolboy football leagues in Dublin are being transported around in government-funded minibuses?

    • Deco

      Or right, so these lads drink in the middle of the week and stay sober on a Saturday night. Because the pubs are more filled on a Friday and Saturday than mid week. And if these grown-ups might be bring their kids to more risk driving whilst not operating in complete clarity.

      I am actually completely unimpressed by nonsense/fantasies that get entertained with regard to sport in Ireland.

      It is like as if advertising and PR has been pumped to saturation levels, that people really do obey.

      Let’s be honest here, in sport, everything else is becomming secondary to the commercial needs of the publicans and the dominant brewery firm on the island. These are the main profiteers of the racket.

      If it were the US, it would be like sports being controlled by fast-food. Except, in the US, there are enough independent voices to take on any such takeovers.

      Now most Irish people would poo-hoo their noses in the air, if the US fan base gorged themselves on Supersize-me specials in McDonalds or Burger King.

      I think that we should be honest about what sport is really about in present-day Ireland.

      After Katie Taylor won a gold medal in the last Olympics, the Minister responsible brought her to a pub to celebrate the official beer that you must drink if you are Irish (unless you are from Cork). And Katie Taylor did not drink. But he brought her anyway.

      And there it was front and centre. We have gobsh!tes running Ireland.

      I wonder was that jail-bird in Rio, present. Were any of his cronies hanging aroung in the background ?

  7. McCawber

    “Burn everything British except their coal” used to be the missive.
    Armed with that mind set are you surprised, David (or any your blogger acolytes) that we are still a potato republic.
    Closed mind syndrome.

  8. Prionsias

    I must congratulate the Brits on their Olympic performance. I also single out the Kiwis for special mention, they did remarkably well as they are a country with similar population and climate to Ireland.

    I also think the strength of the GAA might be a factor in our medal haul.

  9. michaelcoughlan

    Hi David,

    I was wondering if we could manage to get one of the croatian immigrants you mentioned in a previous article to take over from Billy?


      Michael Conlon was obviously “robbed”. It was a fix.

      A similar thing happened to me in an international at Albert Hall. My opponent was awarded a verdict that caused the crowd to storm the ring. Two made it into the ring as they tried to accost the referee. We , the boxers, were escorted by police form the ringside to the dressing rooms. My opponent took so many shots that he was unable to compete again, reportedly, for 3 weeks. I was unmarked.

      Corruption reigns universally and always will.

      These experiences caused me to reject the corporate route for a living but to rely on myself as much as possible and not on others “judgement” of success. I spent over 30 years self employed. I an not an advocate of central planning in any form as is our host.

  10. StephenKenny

    The UK spent £5.5m per medal and we’re supposed to be impressed? Not only does that not impress, it’s actually a bit sad. Sad in the same way that the USA’s and USSR’s obsession with winning lots of medals at any, and huge, cost, was always a bit pathetic.
    What does it say? I mean, any country with $400m to spend could win a lot of medals, so all it says is that the UK has become obsessed with presentation over substance. It says nothing about the athletes, about the state of national interest in playing sport, or about talent. Just about cash and PR.

    • Deco

      Britain spent UK5.5M per medal, and has a chronic obesity problem, and a massive substance abuse problem.

      • Sideshow Bob

        And the Labour Party hierarchy is seen to be celebrating the disenfranchisement of 130,000 members in the leadership vote. And where the main blairite challenger to Corbyn is advocating a second Brexit referendum.

        A real democracy indeed!

        Looks like team GB are the new `royals´ and have taken over from where rugby football or cricket ought to be. The British people can invest their patriotic feels in them and bask in the reflected glory while forgetting about the mundane problems, class war and hopelessness.
        Maybe they can take hope that hard work will get you places. Hope is the last thing to die remember!

        Look on the bright side of all of this though: at least these team GB athletes who now serve as role-models aren´t filthy rich like her Majesty or like some over-rated under-performing premiership footballers who don the English jersey. There is at least some correlation between effort and result.

  11. The Olympics, to me, are all about personal achievement. The country claims ownership by wrapping a flag around the individual achiever. The country can set up infrastructure to enable training toward excellence. This is similar to the providing of infrastructure within a country to enable economic activity.


    Then again how many athletes train in a foreign jurisdiction. How many obtain sports scholarships at a university and live and train in one country but represent another at the Olympics. ??

    It all comes down to the obsessive desire of the individual to dedicate the time to gain the excellence needed to be a Champion. Structured around that is the support of family and spouses and not least the time and effort of dedicated coaching staff who have no allegiance except the handing down of skills to the athlete concerned.

    The provision of infrastructure and the personal voluntary dedication of the individuals and the support staff will.

    The fixation on central planning and the glorification of central planning is counter productive in a free society which voluntarily gets the job done far more effectively.

  12. This is what the oligarchical attitude brings. The ultimate in CENTRAL PLANNING. It is the derelict disposition to advance the agenda of one world government. anything goes for personal gain.

    • “”Of course, it could matter not how Americans vote. Those who program the electronic voting machines will determine the vote, and as the establishments of both political parties totally oppose Trump, the programmed machines can elect Hillary. We know this from our electoral history. The US has already experienced elections in which exit polls show a winning candidate different from the candidate selected by the electronic machines that have no paper trail and no way of affirming the vote.” Paul Craig Roberts”

    • “”That Americans permitted the rise of unaccountable power tells us all we need to know about the dereliction of duty of which United States citizens are guilty. The American people failed democracy, which requires accountable government. The American government has proven that it is not accountable to the US Constitution, to US statutory law, to international law, or to voters.”"PCR

      Central Planners are in control, they hope. It is time for all people to resort to self reliance rather than acquiesce to more government centralize powers.

    • McCawber

      Just as worrying is that the EU establishment are totally on board with Hillary.
      Trump is the Ogre.
      IMHO Bush Jnr. is the worst president of the US, in the last 50 odd years, but Hillary shows all the signs that she could be capable of trumping his performance.
      European could do well to step back and send a subtle signal that there are no automatic or rubber stamped free passes for US foreign policy.

  13. Truthist

    In a very recent conversation with a former athletics trainer of mine, he stated that I had the makings of being a world class sprinter.
    He should know ;
    After all, he was involved in producing a number of world class athletes from our club.
    And, “NO” facilities !
    I reminded him that I could also have been equally as good at being a 1,500 meter runner.
    Also, I could have been a successful international soccer player for Ireland ;

    In my case, I see that I could have been a winner in all 3 ;
    Olympic winner no less.

    The problem was, my sterling efforts & opportunities were robbed from me at a crucial age by “State Intervention” & “Intervention by others” in this “Sham-Rock” Republic.

    And, such interference has even continued to assail me now in my “loser” role.

    Yes, the Irish Civil Serpents, the are our misfortune.

  14. Truthist

    But, real “losers” in my book are those who believe the B.S. from the main-stream media [ M.S.M. ]. has decided that Trump is worse than Hillary Clinton.
    Hence, the main reason for the mentioning of Trump in the following link about Turkey & Syria & that wonderful little democracy in the middle-east.
    I believe that Hillary Clinton is actually worse than Trump.

    Notwithstanding, Aanirfan’s opinion on Trump, this feature is a must-read ;

    WW 3 coming folks !

  15. AlfieMoone

    Economics and Sport are both are predicated on the ‘feel-good factor’ or the absence of it. You will NOT win either the Premier League or a major Corporate or Entrepreneurial prize unless you commit to training, are dedicated to your goals, prepared to sacrifice through ‘deferred gratification’ &, above all,have self-belief & resilience.

    “I get knocked down, but I get up again” as the classic Chumbawumba track ‘Tubthumping’ exhorts. That’s part of my daily playlist to vibe up before I begin work, training for the future. And every single athlete in any arena knows that without joyful surrender to the work success is unlikely. “Follow Your Bliss” as the anthropologist Joseph Campbell exhorts. “Look to this day” as the ancient Indian sage Kalidhasa exhorts. Each day I do my Salutation To The Sun whilst Kalidasa’s word ring in my head. Then once the missus & kids are out the door to school and work, I pick up my guitar, ramp up the amp and kick off with Blur’s Song 2. There’s a reason that “Woo! Hoo!” has become ubiquitous, it just uplifts. And it’s a shame that the primal invocations of Gary Glitter can no longer be used with even a ton of irony, except perhaps to soundtrack the woman’s gymnastics….ooops!….my bad…..There’s a reason why ‘London Calling’ by The Clash is used at the Emirates to dissipate the ennervated Corporate Prawn Cocktail anondyne expense account bollocks before kick-off…

    Nietzsche wrote “Without music, life would be a mistake” but I think he went mad because he missed out adding Dance to his aphorism so went mad when his uber-brain got disconnected from his body. Same applies in business which is why some, like me, are experimenting with stand-up desks though I’m lying in a hotel bed as I type this because: Hungover…but I’m on holiday. Sport is a form of music and dance, so is business. I know it might seem a stretch to envisage analysing profitability models, cash-flow and NPV calculations as ‘dancing’ but if you don’t you will turn into an accountant and then you’ll be really sorry. Sex goes in the mix too. Usain Bolt likes shagging. Who knew? LOL!
    Again, if Nietzsche hadn’t been banjaxed by his sexuality and venereal disease he might have made it….

    Sport is Triump Of The Will, so is any business endeavour. It’s Will To Power at the most fundamental biological level. Last summer I was in Utrecht for Le Grand Depart of the Tour de France & Kraftwerk played 3 shows in 24 hours: 8pm,midnight the night before the start of the Tour and 8pm the night the tour had left Utrecht. There was an atmosphere of total bliss in Utrecht as everyone there was totally focussed on the ubermensch Man-Machine cyclists pumped up on adrenaline, discipline, drugs and…….that’s the next bomb to drop in cycling but not now, not here….LOL! Some footie managers won’t let WAGs shag the players before the match but everyone is different. In business, art and sport sublimation of sexual energy works for some and totally annihilates another. Aleister Crowley. Leonard Cohen. JFK. John Maynard Keyne: all were very productive whilst in a sexual whirlwind whilst others need celibacy, need to retreat from the bedroom to function in the boardroom or artist’s studio.

    This is an excellent article which has triggered an avalanche of ruminations but…

    I’m in Kolding in the ‘deep south’ of Jutland, watching Danish DR2 Morgen. Since flying in to Copenhagen all anyone wants to talk about is Brexit and the British Olympic triump. The Danes are hurting. They won the Euro ‘soccer’ tournament in 1992 & are smarting with just the right level of envy as they congratulate me on being right over both Brexit and the Olympics. They are safe, they kept the Kroner, but they are fanatically ambitious about the Danish Cultural Algorithm and they ain’t having it, they will not sit back and sink into the EU mire and end up part of an EU Olympic Team singing ‘Ode To Joy’ wearing tattoos of Jean-Claude Juncker. They are fuming but,like in Ireland, it’s early days yet for DENexit and the Dansk Folk Party can cloud the debate. But an EU official I met at a Sharon Robinson show here the other night told me last night that he felt a shiver when he saw the final medal’s table with US/UK/China at the top. He joked that if you added all the EU medals….but I told him to fuck off! Sharon Robinson is Leonard Cohen’s main songwriting collaborate and his Muse. She is rich and could easily retire to the beach at Malibu but I was fortunate enough to bump in to her whilst drinking with this Danish EU official around midnight on the terrace in the balmy scorchio heat. She said that playing to 200 people in Kolding at Godset by the fjord was as much pleasure at playing to thousands at Kilmainham as part of Leonard’s show. She lives, breathes and believes in the power of music to heal and bring joy so the travel and the other irritaions are compensated for by the 2 hours on stage, just as the years of slog to get to the top of the boardroom, Premier League or Olympic medals table compensate for the years of dawn sessions at the pool, gym or track. There is no lazy way to follow you bliss, it isn’t about lying about on the chaise longue eating grapes. Some people ask me what I do all day as I don’t have a recognisable job. I tell them I’m in training for the big match, for the big prize and that I have been since my life was capsized as a 10 year old boy…”I get knocked down but I get up again”….last time I punched a bloke he was on liquid food with a wired jaw for a month. Anger is an energy but you have to channel it whether it’s in the bedroom, boardroom or track and field. Either be the best you can be in your present circumstances or boil with rage. The Danes are boiling with suppressed rage because they know what’s coming from Great Brexitan, from Team GB. And they also know Paddy is totally fcuked unless he/she wakes up from the trance….The Danes founded Dublin…that’s why I’m here to figure out how they ended up with this remarkable societal Cultural Algorithm whilst both the UK and Republic of Ireland compete to become Texas In The Rain. But I know the answer, it’s visible everywhere, from shops to library to custodianship of ancient castles, to Nordic food to music & sexual politics: Only the best is good enough for the Danes and the ‘best’ is not a static target. Perfection is a journey not a destination. And despite the fact they are so rich, admired and emulated in so many areas, once Frank and Casper have had a few drinks, it all comes spilling out: How jealous the Danes were that the UK won the world, that their failed colonies in India and the Caribbean didn’t lead to a Commonwealth to re-ignite after DENexit. And how they already know that they too are leaving the EU to join us in a Nordic/North Atlantic trading block outside the EU. But they are not bitter,unlike some Irish & Scottish commentariat casualties in the Axis of Eejitry who are already formulating their future victims script: Blame The Brits for the inevitable collapse of the EU/Euro because: Brexit…

    The Danes don’t waste energy on hate. They just want to win and want to understand how and why they failed at becoming world class forever at Fodbold ‘soccer’ despite being given the launch pad in 1992. They are looking very, very intently at the central planning model the UK has used to ramp up ‘Olympic animal spirits’ and they just will not let it go so I’m hiding in my hotel room because my head hurts after the last 48 hours of non-stop cafe society debates on all this. They all speak fluent English but have their own hidden culture encoded in their wonderful, bizarre language. I’m trying to learn it but they just won’t let me speak as they want to ‘perfect’ their English. It’s not paradise because: Janteloven and other issues and i’m not sure most Brits or Irish would sign up to their taxation levels but I guess they’ve done a deal with the devil, you can either be Danish or super-rich. I don’t see many of their young folk emmigrating unlike their Irish cousins. Or Icelandic cousins…

    The London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony was an homage to an Irish father by Danny Boyle. Once it started I knew we’d Brexit. And once the Brazilian opening ceremony revealed how they’d toned down their ambitions because of the political and economic rancour caused by Olympic corruption and cost inflation, i knew Brazil wouldn’t rise to the top of the medals table even if they did redeem their World Cup humiliation to Germany in the Maracana. As for the Irish Olympic issues….how could anyone possibly be surprised? But just as kissing Juncker’s arse won’t save Enda no amount of sleveen gombeenism over tickets saved Ireland from being robbed in the boxing ring by nefarious Olympic politics…

    I am dreaming of a time when GAA sports and Irish dancing are Olympic sports. Ive been saying for decades: unless and until the Irish drop their envy and resentment towards the Brits, they will fail to rise to their hidden potential. They will fail to carry out the blueprint which the ancestors of the Danes I am here to meet left as a legacy on the banks of the Liffey. If Denmark has evolved a cultural algorithm that doesn’t simply ape the USA, why have their Norman transplanted elites on the islands of Britain and Ireland also done so? Because the US is the bastard child of both the UK and Ireland which has grown into a truculent teenager. One is not a ‘Viking’, one goes ‘Viking’ as my friends here will do as weekend warriors over the next 48 hours. Viking is release from study, work and training. And from the rigours of family life. However, the rogue Viking Normans who rampaged around the British and Irish islands were expelled for violating the Viking Code same as you would be today if you acted like it was ‘Distortion on the streets of Copenhagen’ on a Monday morning. Work hard, play hard. But for some of us, there’s no distinction, it’s all the same Flow, it’s all part of Follow Your Bliss..and every day is a gold medal day in every area of life, in business, sport, family and love, if we live up to the promise of that day as Kalidasa exhorts:

    ‘Look to this day:
    For it is life, the very life of life.
    In its brief course
    Lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
    The bliss of growth,
    The glory of action,
    The splendour of achievement
    Are but experiences of time.

    For yesterday is but a dream
    And tomorrow is only a vision;
    And today well-lived, makes
    Yesterday a dream of happiness
    And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
    Look well therefore to this day;
    Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn!’

    I came to Jutland to chill out but my friend here has other plans…they’re having a weekend festival here and the atmosphere is building already even though it’s another working day and TGIF doesn’t kick in till the day’s work is done. I have a feeling that the Danes are taking the UK decisions on Brexit and the Olympics very, very seriously whereas I have an equally strong gut feeling that the Irish are using it to evade the challenges they face on the track and field, in the boardroom, and…in the bedroom…LOL!

    My Danish EU official friend has invited me to Brussels to discuss my ideas with his colleagues. It’s all rather amusing. These mad random meetings just keep on happening…or I’m making this all up and I’m at home on antidepressants pretending I’m a fascinating genius. Which one is it?….place your bets if you’ve even given enough fcUKs to finish reading this…I told this Danish EU official that “everybody knows” the EU is doomed. He looked at me and said “Anders! That’s not even funny. Leave Sharon and Leonard out of Brexit, you bastard!” Then we LOL’d and raised our glasses to toast each other “skål!” As Mrs Merton used to say “Let’s have a heated debate!” [RIP Caroline Aherene] I have to report that the quality of intellectual discussion and debate in Denmark is orders of magnitude above what I’ve found possible on either the island of Britain or Ireland. Maybe there’s a bit of Dane inside of me….or soon will be….culturally…LOL!

    FcUKEU? Yes, because “Everybody Knows” it’s finished…

    Alfie Moone

    26/8/2016 11:28 CET

    Sharon Robinson “Everybody Knows”
    Malmöfestivalen, Malmö, Sweden August 19 2016

    ‘Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
    Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
    Everybody knows the war is over
    Everybody knows the good guys lost
    Everybody knows the fight was fixed
    The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
    That’s how it goes
    Everybody knows

    Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
    Everybody knows that the captain lied
    Everybody got this broken feeling
    Like their father or their dog just died
    Everybody talking to their pockets
    Everybody wants a box of chocolates
    And a long-stem rose
    Everybody knows

    Everybody knows the deal is rotten
    Old Black Joe’s still pickin’ cotton
    For your ribbons and bows
    And everybody knows

    And everybody knows that you’re in trouble
    Everybody knows what you’ve been through
    From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
    To the beach of Malibu
    Everybody knows it’s coming apart
    Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
    Before it blows
    And everybody knows

    Everybody knows, everybody knows
    That’s how it goes
    Everybody knows

    Everybody knows”

    • AlfieMoone

      erratum “why HAVEN’T their Norman transplanted elites on the islands of Britain and Ireland also done so?

      • fearmcduda

        mr moon(e),

        I challenge you to explain what money is. Though shall not use repeatings from the before time. Continue if you shall to tell me what debt really is no no no makey up number stuff. Whats that who am I I I I am a whin bush waiting for the hazel to grow.

          • fearmcduda

            Mr Brogan,
            Thank you for the reply. I was hoping for something in your own words, solely because I have a feeling(Broken paranoia?)
            that few if any have really thought about it and readily accept one or other various definitions. I of course could just be wrong and quite stupid.

            Nevertheless imagine if money was little balls of energy lets say the size of a tennis ball and these were mined from the ground.
            These little things could be used as food or to run machines of any kind. Thus if there was shortage of energy balls then economists could predict a downturn in the economy.

            Anything other than the above smells like poopoo to me.

        • Imagine away. Fantasia or fact . Besides your question was directed elsewhere and the answer to your question already given several times on this forum in the not too distant past.

          Firstly, money is anything that two parties agree upon to use as money. Then a third may disagree and a forth have another opinion. . .

          It is not for me to decide but for society as a whole. Bails of tobacco, glass beads, sea shells and many other things have been used. Paper script is another and even pieces of cloth had a go. Then there is gold and silver.

          First there was trade. I give you this and you give me that in exchange. Then there is a trader who trades something for what you have then knowing someone else who really wanted your item traded it to the third party for something he really wanted.

          Then there was a commodity that everyone wanted some of and that became the basic standard for trading other items and this commodity could always be held in reserve and parleyed for something wanted later.

          This commodity became a store of wealth. One of the functions of good money. Grain did this for the Egyptians at the time of the famine in the land and made them wealthy and dominant in the region. but grain is subject to spoilage and is only good for a short span before rodents and mold take their toll. I guess that is why cats were revered in Egypt. They kept the rodents in check.

          Then again not all grain is the same so some grain would be more highly valued, so less. Grain is bulky and expensive to move around too.

          Then gold is an indestructible element that is found on the ground or in creek beds. \Just like that, it is what is is , just like Popeye so to speak.

          This gold could be polished and made pretty. It could be molded into adornments, beaten paper thin as gold leaf and made to cover other items. It was rare so it was desired by those who did not have any. It was divisible and the two halves were identical to each other as were the quarters and tenths. It did not rot or decay and was not eaten by rodents. Water did not dissolve it, fire did not destroy.

          It began to be saved as an exchange for anything else. It was a medium of exchange for any other product. It was weighed and hefted and valued. An ounce, a gram, a pound, a tonne, a ton short or long.

          It was found to have the characteristics required by most to act as money. Barter was sidestepped and trade and commerce enabled.

          Gold has a high value for a small weight.
          It it easily portable.
          It is easily divisible.
          It is fungible. Every piece of like weight is exactly to same in quality as every other piece.
          It is wide spread and recognizable.
          It is durable, does not rot or decay.
          It has intrinsic wealth as most gold is mined at great expense of time , energy and money.
          It is rare and cannot be replicated, manufactured, or created form nothing.

          It has been decided by numerous peoples to be the best form of SOUND money.

          Replacing it with the current fiat money is a trick. Paper currency can rot, burn, be produced to infinity; That is physically destroyed or inflated away to decrease its value.

          Paper fiat is UNSOUND money.

          Here, for example is Andy Hoffman’s definition of sound money

          “I CANNOT EMPHASIZE THIS POINT ENOUGH, and felt compelled to reiterate it when I came across one of Miles Franklin’s marketing pamphlets, titled “GOOD MONEY MUST HAVE SEVEN CHARACTERISTICS.” This timeless piece was taken from Richard Russell of Dow Theory Letters, and nothing proves my point better:
          (1) It must be durable, which is why we don’t use wheat or corn or rice.
          (2) It must be divisible, which is why we don’t use art work.
          (3) It must be convenient, which is why we don’t use lead or copper.
          (4) It must be consistent, which is why we don’t use real estate.
          (5) It must possess value in itself, which is why we don’t use paper.
          (6) It must be limited in the quantity that is available, which is why we don’t use aluminum or iron.
          (7) It should have a long history of acceptance, which is why we don’t use molybdenum or rhodium.
          Only GOLD and SILVER fit all seven characteristics.

          • fearmcduda

            Thank you for replying.
            I have a stupid question in my head which your reply has only made more questiony…
            Why o why is gold deemed to be so valuable?
            What does it do? I am sure you know what I mean and I am sure this is has been said before but when push becomes shove no one really cares about shiny yellow bricks, no?
            I am gonna go crazy and say that a receipt for a commodity is not “money” as is it commonly felt. What is money is a receipt denoting an incomplete trade i.e an iou. In a world where everyone has complete faith in each other then we could all instantly create money/ious, but we don’t so ……?

  16. Peter Atkinson

    Yes David if it’s just down to winning medals then yes target niche sports just like in the Leaving Cert where it’s just down to points and the kids target subjects like Home Economics et al. But you know what, the winners medal is just another item to clutter the drawer of what really is a fairly empty and unfulfilling life.

    The real winners are the kids who go out, week in week out to pursue a sporting passion and will never have a medal or trophy to show for it. What they will have is a sense of keep going when the chips are down and do what you enjoy and what you believe and sod the so called experts.

    Remember popular sports only exist at the whim of media companies and betting companies who pump billions into their operation on the expectation that they will recoup billions more for their shareholders. The notion of sport in its realist sense has long since been consigned to the scrap heap. Dreams are made to be shattered. Sentiment is a laughable notion. Muttley’s medals.

  17. Deco

    It seems that intellectual honesty, and speaking your mind, now come at a price.

    But, it seems that the debate is not allowed to venture into the unsuitability of one particular candidate.

    But now it seems that discussions about the health of one candidate are simply not allowed. Surely people have a right to know ?

    This is now getting ridiculous. It seems that the people must be protected from information.

    When the people cannot be kept from information, the people who provide the information must be kept from the people.

    The West is now moving into a post-knowledge society.

    The OCI mentality exists all over the place. Transparency, and discussion are unacceptable.

    This is the realm of intellectual subprime.

    • Truthist

      It could have been worse ;

      If Dr. Drews voiced grave concern about Hillary’s policies he would likely be accused of being anti-semetic.

      Ur post need only substitute the word “policies” for “health” then to be equally salutary.

  18. Truthist

    An underlying argument of our host is that sport is a mirror on how life really is ;
    The “Survivor” TV series presents the definitive sporting reflection on how the genders fare when equal ;
    There yee go ;
    So much for ;
    “When we look closer at what drives sporting success, we see what could be described as a very Cold War, Soviet-style blueprint.

    The first key aspect is women’s participation.
    This reflects the fact that countries with higher levels of gender equality — a sure sign of development more broadly — do better in the Olympics.”

    • Well it is a fact that in the first half of the Olympic schedule Canadian men had not one medal whereas the women had several.

      It is also true, in my opinion that the boys in Canada are feminized to a degree and that the academic success of young women is lacking in the men. It is beyond gender equality to negative for males.

      But is it social or chemical issues changing things. Hormones permeate the environment, water and food because of the residues of the practices of the agricultural sector and the use of feminine contraceptives. It is one of the major pollutants of civilization of far greater concern than ,for instance, global warming.

      • “It is one of the major pollutants of civilization of far greater concern than ,for instance, global warming.”

        I made that statement based on news reports I have read over the years. I decided to check the web for confirmation after posting the comment. What I now read rebuts that conclusion and so it appears to be incorrect.

        • Truthist

          Just on viewing the initial offered text of the results that opened up for ur link, ur conclusion is actually vindicated.

          Anyway, my post & the link supplied attests to the superiority of males to be the leaders of society ;
          And, this a fact even despite the U.S.A., & the Netherlands also, being rife with central planning & feminism enforcing the oxymoron which is gender equality.

          From ur argument about feminizing of boys from likely social engineering &/or modern chemical pollution, it should now mean that ;
          “Despite central planning & feminism & the other forms of misandry social engineering & feminizing chemical pollution on males, it has been proven — courtesy of real test conditions in each of the Survivor TV series — that males are the only correct leadership pool.”

          Thank u “Gender Equality” AND each of the Survivor Series ;
          It has now been been proven that leaders should only be male ;
          Exceptions such as Joan of Arc are always acceptable though.
          But not Rosa Luxembourg, nor Maggie Thatcher, nor Mary Harney, nor Hillary Clinton, nor that nasty blonde bee in the Ukraine, inter alia

          • I’d be curious if you can provide the link that validates concern.

            The only references I can find is that research warranted concern but there is no direct link established.

            For example

            ” Concern is Warranted
            Although large exposures produce known effects, impacts from long term, low level adult exposure is less clear and more controversial. It’s the kids, though, that cause the most concern. Because, even more unknown is the prospect that developing embryos, fetuses, infants, and children, whose growth and development is highly controlled by endocrine signals, may be more vulnerable to exposure at certain times and may suffer lifelong effects from those encounters. Although the 1993 global assessment found insufficient data to reach concrete conclusions about impacts to human health, it concluded there is sufficient evidence to warrant concern (IPCS 2002).”"


          • Truthist

            Give me time ;
            I am sure that I can uncover authoritative convincing evidence to support what we both suspect to be true.

            Meanwhile, I deposit for u to consider an interesting assertion from an atheist scientist friend of mine ;

            “We are at essence just Brain + Hormones.
            And, most people live to have their brain serve their body.
            But, they do not realise that the body is there only to serve the brain.”

            I think that he would consider the mind to be “the brain” PLUS “the hormones”.

            This view is a touch “soulless” I think. 8-)

      • Deco

        Young Canadian men should concentrate on taking selfies….

  19. mishco

    Olympic medals are just a bonus to the contributions sports make to a better existance. Sports can give young people some meaning in a life that seems wretched and boring. If some of that cash wasted on HSE executives had been diverted into a few velodromes (we’ve had some great cyclists) or swimming pools, we’d be a lot healthier as a nation.

    And, yes, we are naturally good at golf. So are Koreans. We have great courses, the Koreans very few and they’re much too expensive. But they have lots of private schools and driving ranges, great parental and school encoragement – and most of the world’s top female players (the men are catching them up). Why not encourage our genetic ability in this field? Get our kids on the courses more, golf societies in the schools, forget about the historical and class crap, and it won’t rain any more than on the GAA or rugby pitch. We have the innate talent, let’s feed it.

    When I was a teenager, I could play as a Junior member in a Dublin golf club for an annual fee of ten shillings. I was never that good, but it taught me a love of the outdoors, social skills after the game and also individual and team competitiveness and bonding. Above all, it gave my life some meaning and kept me healthy.

    To each his/her own sport, but let’s tone down all those academic subjects in schools and add more sports, with wider choice. If you don’t get to Olympic level, you’ll be in the vast majority, but you’ll also have friends, health and social skills – and you’ll probably look back with respect to that sports teacher.

  20. Truthist

    The question remains ;

    Of the successful attractive female Olympians, who is suitable wife material ;

    Henry Makow has some advice ;

    Politically Incorrect Advice for Young Men (Updated)
    What I wish I knew when I was 21.
    Excerpt ;

    ” Avoid women who exhibit any of the four-C’s:
    (Women who) compete, control, criticize or complain.
    Avoid women who are :

    Don’t get hung up on unavailable women.
    They’re not as special as they think.

    Choose a wife who complements you and is a good companion.
    Choose one who will be a good mother.”

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