All it needed was Stuart Hall, oversized novelty costumes and jars of coloured liquid and the Olympic Torch relay through London wouldn’t have looked out of place in a 1970s TV schedule.

As it was, we had the likes of Konnie Huq, Steve Redgrave and the shiniest legs in showbiz — Denise Van Outen — ignoring their better judgment and jogging through a war zone with a big cigarette lighter.

And of course, the usual argument was brought out. You shouldn’t mix sport or the Olympics with politics. Except, historically the Olympics have been so mixed up with politics it’s become hard to tell the difference. Over the years, boycotts have been as common as Adam’s apples in a East European women’s weightlifting team.

In fact, the earliest detailed record I have to hand, Asterix At The Olympic Games, is littered with politics. In order to compete, the Gauls have to register themselves as Romans and they’re threatened with a ban when their Magic Potion is deemed to be an forerunner of THG. Sadly, Asterix At The Tour De France was canned for covering similar ground and has never been released.

So if it’s been going on since 50 BC, why we’re suddenly not allowed to have a conscious about it is a little baffling.

Ah, but we’re told that we — the West — aren’t exactly whiter than white when it comes to Human Rights violations. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, said the carefully placed Chinese students yesterday. Does this mean, then, that because our own government have their mitts in some unsavoury cookie jars, we should ignore others that do the same?

Trust me, if the 2012 Olympics had gone to Guantanemo Bay, I’d have the same reservations and might have found myself standing at a crash barrier with a soda syphon in my hand and Stuart Hall’s voice in my head.

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