Do you think Britain's current success in the Beijing Olympics has anything to do with the increased investment in sport over the last ten years?
According to the Office of National Statistics, when Labour came to power in 1997 the Department of Culture, Media and Sport spent less than £50 million per year on sport. That figure is now closer to £257 million.
This means that between 2003 and 2012, Labour will spend close to £2.4 billion on sport.
This investment has gone on many things including improved community sports facilities, a national sports coaching strategy, 430 specialist sports colleges and grants and sponsorship for athletes.
It was also a Labour Prime Minister who was responsible for winning us the Olympics in 2012.
Now the Government has announced that it will spend £140 million on a Swimming Challenge Fund. It hopes that by 2012 all over 60s and under-16s will get to swim for free. It also promises that by 2012 all children will have access to 5 hours of sport a week.
Not only is this good for the health of the nation, it also helps to reduce crime by giving kids something to do and makes us feel proud when we see our athletes doing so well at international tournaments.
When Mrs. Thatcher said there was no such thing as society, many Tories applauded her. But the realisation of this belief meant that for 18 years, investment in our parks, recreational areas and sports facilities (like so much else) fell way below the European average. Our community facilities were left to rot. No wonder we did so badly in the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Our athletes are doing well this year because they have put in enormous effort and hard work to get there. But they have also done well because for the last 10 years they have had a government that has supported them.
A Tory Government would never have done that. We would do well to remember it.
This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!