Councillor Chris Ash, Deputy Mayor of Peterborough:
I always aim to try to be a bit upbeat when writing my contribution for this column.
It is not always easy though having suffered with a rotten cold. Then there is the usual ‘we are all doomed’ stuff from the national news. Will Brexit negotiations ever get sorted? Then we read of another killing at a US school. So before I do try to be bright I need a quick rant.
When we have tragedies in the UK we rightly demand action. The time taken can seem to stretch from fairly quickly to years of costly but extensive enquiries. I do believe here in Britain on the whole lessons are learned. So they should be - making the same serious mistake should not happen. From our gun tragedies we have tighter gun laws. Lessons were learnt from Dunblane 1996 and Hungerford 1987.
I took a quick look on the web and the US have hundreds of gun tragedies each year. Yet in the US a powerful firearm can be won in a raffle. No lessons learnt there then! Their President, Mr Trump tells us how we should be running our health service yet millions there can’t afford health care. He then tells us how we should organise Brexit.
Yet he can’t even seem to deal with his own gun lobby and reduce mass murder. It would be great if we lived in a perfect world but sadly we don’t, and we do have to look at the balance between laws and proper policing to allow law abiding folk to go about their reasonable daily activity without worrying. I am tempted to touch on visible policing butI will leave that one for now. Okay that’s my rant done for now.
Even with March just around the corner and the lighter evenings just creeping in, it does not quite feel like spring yet – after all we do still have the Winter Olympics on. The winter sports do leave me really cold. The joys of watching a couple of folk brush the ice in front of a stone as it slides towards a target really are lost on me.
Mind you, I reckon you’ve got to be pretty brave to hurl yourself off a ramp into a void and hope you land safely on the ground hundreds of feet below, or charge head first on a fancy tea tray down a slippery slope at breakneck speed. Sometimes life can feel a bit like that. Mind you, it seems a bit like life in general sometimes. I can’t though help admire the folk that do put in the time, dedication and effort just to be good enough to take part. We can also have some empathy with individual athletes and I am sure many a heart has gone out to Elise Christie.
In spite of political differences the fact that there is a joint (North /South) Korean team can’t be a bad thing. Sadly though, I read there has been a little internal bullying. Nevertheless, it’s got be a step forward and well away from their respective political leaders who seem to want to chuck abuse at each other, and possibly worse. Perhaps they could learn lessons. I think I will need to dream on for a while.
It does bring me to wonder if we have team games then of course we need to have teams. So, if we have joint teams how do we define them for international sport? If we look at the Olympic spirit do we need national teams? Just asking!
The purpose of the Olympics and other international sporting events is often billed as being in the pursuit of harmony and well being. I am all for that. I’d like to think through these columns I have put forward the idea of harmony and togetherness, as well as the personal aspect you find in sport and community activity is something we should all be aiming for.
I really do think it is important that we celebrate diversity and not be afraid of it, and if the spirit of togetherness is offered, then return it. It must be a two way thing. This is something the Mayoral team has been aiming to promote.
I hope by May we will have something really solid to show for it, and others can expand on the theme for a while to come. Only a few of us can be budding Olympians or get to the top but we can, each and every one of us, aim to do what we do, do as well as we can, and to do it with thought and consideration for those around us.