Saturday, June 26, 2010

Margo MacDonald raises the issue that Scotland needs a dedicated sports minister, she is quite correct, we need people healthier for longer

Dear All

Margo MacDonald has had an idea that Scotland should have its own dedicated Sports Minster.

Her idea is sensible because health and fitness has many advantages not least keeping an aging population healthier thus taking pressure of the Scottish NHS budget.

One in every three pounds of the Scottish budget goes on health.

This is unsustainable in the long term.

Is there a plan to deal with this other than cuts and restructuring by the political class?

Not really, we need to keep as many people out of the NHS as possibly by keeping them healthier for longer.

Since the Scottish Parliament was formed in 1999, sport has always been treated as a ‘second class’ issue both at national and local government level.

In Glasgow, Sport is thrown in with Culture so we get Culture and Sport; this translates to poor facilities for the public.

In the mind of politicians ‘new’ means good.

‘New’ doesn’t necessarily mean good because most politicians don’t understand what ‘good’ means in the first place.

No politician impresses me on the issue of sport; they turn up at photo shoots espousing how wonderful a new project is because they don’t know any better.

Instead of providing a proper sporting framework delivering opportunities, we get quangos which generate paper but not results to the end user, the public.

The Lothians MSP said:

"With a succession of very high-profile international contests coming to Scotland over the next five years, the time is right to give a sharper edge to the efforts that are already being made by Sportscotland and other organisations interested in sport."

This statement shows how Margo MacDonald is approaching her idea from the wrong angle.

Elite sport doesn’t attract people into exercise, studies done after events like the Olympics bare this out.

What will attract people into sport are education and the availability of trained personnel.

In most facilities, like Culture and Sport everything is geared towards the lowest common denominator. Staff with poor equipment don’t enhance their teaching experience because they do little more than inductions. Although Culture and Sport offer personal training, they don’t have the facilities to give a trainee a wider understanding of knowledge.

Education is the key once the hurdle of attendance has been dealt with successfully.

If you go to a sports centre, it’s the attendants/ fitness instructors who teach but what is missing?

Let us take the Gorbals Leisure Centre, shiny and new, very small fitness suite and no classroom.

Do leaflets on a stand constitute part of the learning experience?

Not really.

After the 2011 Holyrood election an opportunity will arise for a new government to revisit the issue of sport in a meaningful way and possibly include Margo MacDonald’s suggestion of a dedicated Sports Minister.

Politicians always want to take centre stage when Scotland has sporting success, trouble is they don’t want to stick around and do the hard work.

Mind you it is a bit hard when you don’t know what you are talking in the first place.

Holyrood has failed to deliver on sport and as such failed to tackle the issue of keeping older people healthier for longer.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Too small, too poor and too stupid George for this idea to be put into effect.