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Red Arrows banned from 2012 Olympics


Randonneur

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I have just received the following email:-

 

 

Have you seen this yet? It is a pity that we seem to have become ashamed of things we do well in this politically correct world in which we live.

 

 

The world-famous Red Arrows have been banned from appearing at the 2012 London Olympics because they are deemed "too British".

 

Organisers of the event say that the Arrows military background might be "offensive" to other countries taking part in the Games. The display team have performed at more than 4000 events worldwide, but the Department of Culture, Media and Sport have deemed the display team "too militaristically British". Red Arrows pilots were said to be "outraged", as they had hoped to put on a truly world class display for the Games, something which had never been seen before. Being axed from a British-based event for being "too British" is an insult - the Arrows are a symbol of Britain .

 

The Red Arrows have been excellent ambassadors for British overseas trade, as they display their British-built Hawk aircraft all over the world.

 

The Arrows performed a short flypast in 2005 when the winning bid was announced, but their flypast at the Games was to have been truly spectacular.

 

It is to be hoped that common sense prevails

 

If you disagree with this decision, sign the petition on the link http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/RedArrows2012/?ref=redArrows2012

 

Forward this on to everyone you can.

 

 

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I’d like to play “Devil’s Advocate” on this issue for a few moments.

 

 

 

Before anyone goes off on a jingoistic knee-jerk reaction, I would ask people to think.

Analytically. Without their emotions getting in the way of their rationality.

 

 

 

 

 

To my mind at least, the Olympic Games are meant to symbolise a peaceful and joyous convocation between athletes from all over the world.

One can argue as to whether the Games actually delivers on that mission, but I think when it’s choice time on any issues involving the London Olympics, you should start from First Principles and endeavour where possible to remain true to them.

 

 

 

 

So here’s my personal take on this particular issue:

 

The Opening Ceremony should symbolise and demonstrate this objective.

 

The Hawk aircraft is a fighter-trainer aircraft. It is a piece of military hardware, ultimately designed and used in order to train people in how better to kill other people.

 

The Red Arrows display team are (correct me please if I am wrong) made up of serving British Air-Force pilots. Military personnel.

They are seconded to this niche team for a while from their primary and obvious role of being available and ready and good at going and killing people from other countries as and when the UK Government tells them to do so.

 

I personally don’t think that Trainer war planes and military personnel should have any role to play in such an event.

Thus I think the decision, when taken out and examined from a principled and global viewpoint, is entirely correct.

 

As a comparator: what I wonder would have been the reactions from other countries if at the Chinese Olympic Games there were to be organised displays by elements from their military forces. Massed tanks performing delicate manoeuvres. Ranks of their fighters or bombers making low passes over the stadium.

I know what my reaction would be. I would find it extremely distasteful, jingoistic, and totally against the spirit of the Games to be showing off parts of their military strength in such an offensive way on such a supposedly peaceful stage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Others may be proud that the UK is rather good at designing and building and operating machines that are just incredibly good at killing simply vast quantities of other human beings. And that we are also rather good at selling them to virtually any other Government in the world so that they can use them for this purpose whenever it suits them.

I am not.

 

I am deeply ashamed at such a sickening prostitution of our humanity in the pursuit of profit.

And I have no wish for it to be paraded, however well-disguised by pretty coloured smoke-trails, at the biggest peaceful celebration of athletic prowess and international friendship.

 

 

 

Please. Take a moment to sit quietly, and think it through.

 

 

 

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This beggars belief. I'm British and bloody proud of it. Though with t*ssers like these idiots running the country I sometimes wonder why. >:-) >:-) >:-)
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Although I can quite see BGDs point about not attaching an expression of 'military might' to the Olympics I really can't let him get away with his comments about our military pilots.

He says that their obvious role is "..........of being good at killing people from other countries"

 

Although it's true that these days they are sometimes sent off to conflicts that we may or may not agree with , their primary role is the protection of this country,and as one who is old enough ( just about ) to remember our fighter pilots in the Battle of Britain " killing people from other countries"

I can only say that I am pleased that someone had been trained to do their job.

 

The 'Peaceful celebration....and international friendship' has been won at a price.

 

 

With respect, BGD, perhaps you too should think it through.

 

 

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foxy - 2008-01-28 10:29 PM

 

I like it Bruce, I 1st went off on one and ready to sign the petition, but on reflection you could be right, I`m still pondering.

 

 

Thank you for thinking.

 

I'm NOT telling anyone else not to sign it.

 

I'm simply asking that you think about it seriously, in a global, human, rational way rather than as a blinkered "By some complete fluke of nature I happened to have been born in the small island of Britain so am better than the rest of the human species and we can do what we want but they can't do the same, sort of approach".

 

If, having thought through all the global (not just British, but global) implications for humanity, you conclude that you would like to see the Red Arrows doing an aerial display at the Olympics opening ceremony, then do as your conscience permits.

 

Peter's view is just as valid here as mine - at the end of the day this is a discussion forum, and is all the better for a range of views.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Although I have signed it I am not sorry but i have though about what you say Bruce. I agree with some of it and the rest I dont .

 

If the chineese were to do a dance in teinaman square that would purely be a dance of a military kind a look at us thing . As you say our Red Arrows do let off Red smoke and they are often used for celebration such as the queens birthday .

They are not only used for war I dont think watching airoplanes dancing and showing off there ability and skills should be seen as anything other than a show of skills.

 

But thats just my opinion. ;-)

 

Of course the otherside of it is, we may need them to fire on London to keep the peace .I mean after all they might have to fly over stratford east London and watch the Hundred meter handbag dash and gun down a few :D Have you ever been to stratford ?

 

Only joking, am I ? ;-)

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malc d - 2008-01-28 9:05 PM

 

Although I can quite see BGDs point about not attaching an expression of 'military might' to the Olympics I really can't let him get away with his comments about our military pilots.

He says that their obvious role is "..........of being good at killing people from other countries"

 

Although it's true that these days they are sometimes sent off to conflicts that we may or may not agree with , their primary role is the protection of this country,and as one who is old enough ( just about ) to remember our fighter pilots in the Battle of Britain " killing people from other countries"

I can only say that I am pleased that someone had been trained to do their job.

 

The 'Peaceful celebration....and international friendship' has been won at a price.

 

 

With respect, BGD, perhaps you too should think it through.

 

 

 

OK Malcolm - I'll take up the gauntlet of reply. I have indeed spent many many years thinking it through.

 

It is not the primary role of the British Air Force to protect Britain (or England, as I'm assuming that England is your country of birth). I am really really unclear as to why you state that it is.

I suggest that not to have moved beyond such a view in the face of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary and indeed the fact that what you state is consitutionally incorrect, is naive in the extreme.

 

 

The single, the only, the one strategic role of the British Air Force is to use military force, whenever and wherever required by the British Government, against whichever other human beings the British Government decides they should kill.

If necessary that would include Britons. In Britain. They are not there to protect the British Isles, and never were. They are there to protect the British Government, and to enforce the British Government's political will by force of killing, anywhere in the world.

 

 

 

 

Still don't believe me?

Go and have a look at where the British Air Force has actually been deployed for the past 5 years.

The previous 10 years.

The ten years before that.

The twenty years before that.

 

A few examples.

Falklands war - absolutely nothing whatever to do with protecting the British Isles. Pure political jingosim about the retention of a small islet that the British stole many many years before.

 

Iraq war (number one) - absolutely nothing whatever to do with protecting the British Isles. The British Governmnet simply obeying the USA's instructions to use force to kill people in order to protect the West's access to Middle Eastern oil supplies.

 

Afghanistan - absolutely nothing whatever to do with protecting the British Isles. Simply obeying the USA's instructions to invade and kill people and then occupy that independent foreign country because they decided that "we don't like the Government there any longer".

 

Iraq War (number two) - absolutely nothing whatever to do with protecting the British Isles. The British Government simply obeying the USA's instructions to invade, kill people, and occupy that independent foreign country because the leader whom we and the USA had previously supported and had sold arms and planes to was now out of favour because he didn't support the West sufficiently any longer.

 

Wanna go even further back?

Korean War - absolutely nothing whatever to do with protecting the British Isles. Purely invading and killing people in an independent foreign country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nowadays you don't need ground-strike aircraft to protect the British Isles.

You don't need an Air Force at all.

Really.

You don't.

Technology has moved on hugely since WW2.

 

You could argue the case for a few nuclear tipped missiles on nuclear subs.

That's actually a deterrent against another countries invasion of the Britsih Isles. (Although why you think another country would want or need any longer to invade the British Isles in the year 2007 isn't absolutely clear to me, when all they need to to do is win the global economic war, as China, India and other emerging countries are doing very nicely thankyou)

 

 

The ONLY practical purpose for ground-strike aircraft nowadays is to very effectively kill huge numbers of other humans on the ground in foreign countries, in overseas "operations" or "skirmishes".

And of course to sell them to make big profits, to other Governments whose policies we like at that moment..eg Saddam Hussein, the previous Afghan regime, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What about the airforce delivering supplies to the suvivers of the tsunami, airlifting sick and wounded refugees in Sierra Leone and if you want to go back the Berlin Airlift and any relief operation between

 

Jjust a few good points to be proud of the RAF and the RED ARROWS are the show piece of a professonel airforce

 

I may not be very good at spelling but I hope the above is able to be understood and this is my view and I am not trying to push anyone into not doing what they feel is right

 

Geof

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Geof & Angi - 2008-01-28 11:37 PM

 

What about the airforce delivering supplies to the suvivers of the tsunami, airlifting sick and wounded refugees in Sierra Leone and if you want to go back the Berlin Airlift and any relief operation between

 

Jjust a few good points to be proud of the RAF and the RED ARROWS are the show piece of a professonel airforce

 

I may not be very good at spelling but I hope the above is able to be understood and this is my view and I am not trying to push anyone into not doing what they feel is right

 

Geof

 

Admirable events.

Achieved with propellor driven Hercules transport planes.

Exactly the planes that ARE needed nowadays by the United Nations and other International Relief organisations.

Not jet fighters.

 

 

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michele - 2008-01-28 11:22 PM

 

Bruce how in the hell could I argue with you . I dont have a clue .

Why cant it be seen for what it is intended on the day men flying machines in a display of skill . Why does it have to go deeper would any one care about us ?

 

By all means have the display if you'd like one to commemorate this forthcoming international peace event.

 

Use Chipmunk or other civilian aerobatic planes, flown by an international team of skilled civilian pilots.

 

Just don't use it as a forum to show off a host countries military muscle.

 

 

 

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Is the intention a display of skill and undoubted spectacle; or a demonstration of military prowess?

In these circumstances I rather think the former. I would have a different view if the team’s planes were genuinely combat aircraft and adorned in deployment ready paint schemes. But they aren’t.

I’d much rather see political will being used to solve domestic problems, increase prosperity, and build an international reputation for equity, rather than preventing what at the end of the day is an air display.

Bruce’s points are in the main valid and indisputable; but he has fallen for the flaw in logic where an air display is considered inseparable from a posturing of military might.

Should we hide the entire Queen’s Foot Guards as well, just in case they are perceived by visitors as a threatening extension of the Army?

British icons or military might?

Icons – of course.

There are plenty of genuine atrocities to spend energy rectifying, why are we meddling with minutiae?

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BGD:

To clarify my point about what the Air Force is for,perhaps I should have said that that their primary role is the protection of Britsh interests and not just 'this country'

(British interests being a government perception).

You may not agree with that view but that does not make it naive, and I'm disappointed that you found it necessary to include that insult.

 

Why you brought up all those other wars I really don't know as I have not expressed any support for any of them.

Indeed I clearly said that our military are sometimes sent off to conflicts that we may or may not agree with.

 

In a reply to Michele you say we shouldn't use the Olympics to show off our " military muscle".

I'm sure if we wanted to show off our "military muscle" we could come up with something better than little bright red jet training aircraft.

 

In my view,civilisation, like law and order, is a very thin veneer and can easily break down, and no-one knows what skills we will require from the military in the future.

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Malc - I did not mean it as an insult to you personally, and if received in that way then I readily apologise.

 

What I meant to try to stress is that the view that the Air Force is there to protect the Bristish Isles is a very naive and, when measured against the facts, an incorrect view - not that you personally are a naive.

 

The reason I brought up all those foreign attacks by the British Air-Force strike aircraft was to demonstarte that far from them being "occasionally sent off" to kill some people in foreign lands, since 1943 that's the ONLY military enforcement things they've done. In other words, EVERY time they've been used by the British Government in the past 3 or 4 generations (65 years) it has been to enforce other people in other countries to do things that the British Government has decided they should be forced to do.

 

 

 

 

Anyway - back to the core of the OP:

 

The showing off military equipment (by ANY host country) at an Olympic Games is either morally OK, or morally not OK.

For me it is not a question of how much or little military might is displayed - it is simply morally wrong to do so.

 

The athletes from all around the world, the TV viewers all around the world, will see Air-Force military aircraft and pilots displaying at the event. It matters not that in Britain the aircraft are currently used by the British Armed Forces as trainers, because when sold to other countries air-forces they are often armed.

TV viewers around the world do not make such fine distinctions. They see what they see: the British Military showing off in military aircraft (whether armed or not), whilst the event purports to be celebrating all that is peaceful between sportsmen and women.

I believe that it is simply morally wrong. Others may feel that that is morally right. In all conscience I do not.

 

As I have suggested before, there are other fine ways to achieve exactly the same sort of air display (if you feel for some reason that there simply must be one at an Olympic Games opening ceremony) without using the military - and setting an appalling precedent for other host countries to be able to capitalise on in future years if they so wish.

 

 

 

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BGD - 2008-01-28 7:53 PM

 

To my mind at least, the Olympic Games are meant to symbolise a peaceful and joyous convocation between athletes from all over the world.

One can argue as to whether the Games actually delivers on that mission, but I think when it’s choice time on any issues involving the London Olympics, you should start from First Principles and endeavour where possible to remain true to them.

 

 

 

 

 

Err Actually the Olympic games were invented so that warriors from different cultures in Greece could display their ability as warriors, hence the events like the javelin and wrestling. So sorry Bruce, That really puts pay to your reasoning about the first principles of the Olympics.

 

The Red Arrows are a display team, nothing more, the aircraft they use or the fact that they are serving pilots is irrelevant. Their skill during aerial displays brings joy to thousands. There are enough killjoys around, without pathetic PC brigade campaigns to ban what amounts to our entertainment.

 

 

 

I for one will be signing the petition. This is our country, if people from other countries are offended by our acrobatic air displays put on for free for the benifit of thousands, then they should stay away, or maybe we should be multi-cultural to the extreme and put on bull fighting for the Spanish, public beheadings for the muslims, public executions for the Chinese, cock fighting for the Jamaicans,bear baiting for the indians, any more ? No doubt the list is endless.

 

 

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You may be surprised,BGD, to know that I am completely neutral on the subject of a display by the Red Arrows at the Olympics, but I personally do tend to see such displays as a celebration of flying skills rather than "military might".

To me, it is no more aggressive than the changing of the guard, another regular military display, mostly put on I would suggest, for foreign tourists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I think it would be fitting to put on the Hundred Meter Handbag Dash down the Romford Road.

 

The Equestrian Team could put on the Equestrian Event on Dagenham Heath to quickest one to mount and steel the horse wins.

 

The Triathalon could be The husband who gets battered and bruised shoved out of the pub .

 

Stratford what a lovely place :D

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I actually don't know why they have bothered inviting other countries to it .

In this multicultural society I'm sure we have more than enough of each nation to make up the teams . :D

And i still think we should have the red arrows .And in MY ignorance I think that we should be best friends with old Bushey because his country's big very big and I need him to be my mate just incase I got into a fight :D

And i agree with everything he does decrees war on other countries works for me to be honest they must of asked for it .

Still I did say I was niaeve or is it evian backwards? :D Nuke the lot of em for all I care sick of the dogooders because we have to pick up the backlash of it all Oh dont forget the English do gooders shoot that bloody lot as well. :D

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donna miller - 2008-01-29 1:02 PM

 

BGD - 2008-01-28 7:53 PM

 

To my mind at least, the Olympic Games are meant to symbolise a peaceful and joyous convocation between athletes from all over the world.

One can argue as to whether the Games actually delivers on that mission, but I think when it’s choice time on any issues involving the London Olympics, you should start from First Principles and endeavour where possible to remain true to them.

 

 

 

 

 

Err Actually the Olympic games were invented so that warriors from different cultures in Greece could display their ability as warriors, hence the events like the javelin and wrestling. So sorry Bruce, That really puts pay to your reasoning about the first principles of the Olympics.

 

The Red Arrows are a display team, nothing more, the aircraft they use or the fact that they are serving pilots is irrelevant. Their skill during aerial displays brings joy to thousands. There are enough killjoys around, without pathetic PC brigade campaigns to ban what amounts to our entertainment.

 

 

 

I for one will be signing the petition. This is our country, if people from other countries are offended by our acrobatic air displays put on for free for the benifit of thousands, then they should stay away, or maybe we should be multi-cultural to the extreme and put on bull fighting for the Spanish, public beheadings for the muslims, public executions for the Chinese, cock fighting for the Jamaicans,bear baiting for the indians, any more ? No doubt the list is endless.

 

 

 

Donna - soz m'dear but not so.

 

Err - No.

 

Nope.

 

Narry.

 

Nay.

 

The ancient Olympic Games were absolutely NOT invented for that reason - as a quick check on the Olympic wesbite will vouch.

That's the problem with myth and legend - often it drifts away from the factual truth until the two are at complete odds with each other, but is earnestly believed nonetheless.

 

The ancient Olympic Games were held over the period 776BC to 393AD.

The first Games consited of chariot races between horese breeders from several Greek cities following bets on which had the strongest and fastest horses (and thus which were worth the most when sold for breeding new stock).

 

 

 

The modern Olympics re-started, under the auspices of the IOC in 1896. These are the games that we recognise as "The Olympics" nowadays.

 

If you have a look at the Olympic Charter, you'll note that it specifically refers to promoting peace and friendship through sporting achievement worldwide. Strangely perhaps, there's not a mention of jingoistic military displays from host countries being a great way to achieve these goals anywhere in it.

 

The Rules of the IOC are also very clear about how the Opening Ceremony should operate.

It mentions specifically displays of dancing and culture from the host country as being the entertainment to be provided.........but again it doesn't actually say that displays from fighter aircraft, nor other killing machines like tanks perhaps, or intercontinental ballistic missile launchers are an integral part of such cultural and dancing displays from the host country.

Just can't imagine why. Really. The two would just go so well together in spreading the message of peace and goodwill to all people around the world.

 

 

"The Red Arrows are not just a display team and nothing more."

Really? Where on earth did that notion come from?

 

They are serving Military personnel.

They are trained fighter pilots.

Their ground crew are military personnel.

They are employed by the Ministry of Defence.

They exist to show off military hardware.

The aircraft they fly are military planes, bought by, maintained by and sold by the Ministry of Defence.

 

They are NOT a bunch of Morris Dancers.

They DO NOT by any stretch of the imagination represent English dancing and peaceful cultural displays.

They represent and are trained as a machine of war.

And if and when ordered by their bosses they do their job and fly fighter planes to other countries and kill lots and lots of people there - THAT is their job.

Their temporary secondment to the Red Arrows squadron from their normal military duties is just that, a temporary secondment.

 

 

 

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