The protests against the Olympic flame are both welcome and a huge success. they are a sign of a healthy democracy and a chance to put the suffering of a long oppressed people of Tibet on the world stage.
Its for that reason therefore, that whilst I would encourage the protests, I am not convinced that boycott of the games themselves is the best course of action, for three reasons
1. Why do we ask our sports men and women to give up something precious to them for which they have worked incredibly hard, when I hear no calls for a boycott of all things Chinese or, for example, for a reduction in trade links with the worlds fourth largest economy
2. By staying in we can continue to embarrass China about its human rights record, by not going, we are seen to be looking from the sidelines in a fit of pique
3. The Dalai Lama has not called for a boycott and its his lead we should follow, for its his people we are trying to support.
This is not my natural instinct. Boycotts can and do work. But here I am letting my head rule my heart. But we should protest, again and again, we should protest, because that's a fundamental of democracy
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