Eton eclipsed at the Olympics by Coleraine Inst, a Northern Ireland grammar school

Late adds  I’ve struck a new headline which just might draw the attention of an aggregator to the story and give a well deserved boost to Slugger’s profile. You never know, with the debate going on about the disproportionate role of English private schools in contributing to Team GB’s victories. See for example Lord Moynihan’s orginal comments here, Alastair Campbell in the Observer    and a contrary view from  Telegraph blogger Brendan O’Neill. 


Am I surprised that the Olympics have scarcely dented the gloomy surface of the Slugger agenda? A bit, I admit. Perhaps it goes to show that pessimism is the parochialism of choice these days.(Easy up guys, they’re in a different category of experience but  they are  actual, really).  Or does it mean that we no longer need a Mary Peters to give us a lift because things have really got better and we can afford to keep moaning?

Anyway three cheers for Alan Campbell and the Chambers brothers for their stunning achievements on the water. And two for my old school Coleraine Inst for producing them ( and US Open winner Graeme McDowell too). The austere shade of school rowing coach and head of Maths (shudder!) Mickey Eyre will be giving a rare smile of satisfaction. The Slugger thought police may be interested  to note that even in the depths of exhaustion in that memorable interview just after the race, Alan still had the presence of mind to have succeeded  for “all parts of the  British Isles,” not just GB.

It’s another medal for our wee part of the country – the Chambers brothers yesterday with the silver, myself with the bronze and I’m proud to be from there and proud to represent all parts of the British Isles.

“To have three medals from the one town is pretty exceptional and I’m very happy about that.”

For some this may not have been the perfect insular formula but the all-Ireland message was not in doubt.   How very interesting too that David Cameron visited Coleraine boathouse on the day of the final as part of a UK wide tour to encourage sporting legacy. And really nice to note to that my old school has been achieving more sporting successes than his.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London