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If you think Wimbledon was a BBC boreathon, try the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham which opened tonight.

The Beeb is broadcasting more than 200 hours of running, jumping and throwing things over the next 11 days – a telly marathon that beats anything on the track.

Some of the events are frankly ludicrous, like beach volleyball. Beach? Brum? The nearest seaside is Weston-super-Mare, 125 miles away in Somerset.

But Beeb bosses, smarting from criticism of “too-little” coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, are determined to win gold for synchronised tedium across all channels, all day and half the night.

Some 270 medallists will get “podiumed”, and anybody who watches the lot gets the Clare Balding Cross for Endurance. Last night’s spectacular “Peaky Blinders” opening ceremony got big figures, and 35 million UK viewers – half the nation’s population – are predicted for the tournament. I doubt it.

The opening ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games ( Birmingham Live)

Anyway, even that figure pales in comparison with the £778million of public money poured into the event.

Hard-pressed council taxpayers, already in for a £184million hit, must now fill a newly discovered £25million black hole in partner contributions.

As if the people of Birmingham haven’t got enough to put up with starting with a scary, neon-lit dungeon for a station – they must now dig deep for an event that first-choice Durban, South Africa, rejected because of cost.

You may have noticed that I’m not on the PR team for the sports fest. In a cost-of-living crisis like today’s, I think it’s an indulgence that the UK cannot afford.

Brum 2022 is costing over £200million more than the similar extravaganza in Glasgow in 2014, which I said at the time was a waste of time and money. In a poll, Mirror readers agreed by 57% to 43%. My view remains the same, only stronger.

Prince Charles shakes hands during a tour of the Commonwealth Games ‘Festival Site’ at Victoria Square in Birmingham ( REUTERS)

Strike us a better deal

Talk of a general strike is so much hot air. The cautious TUC, to which most unions belong, would never call one.

And, anyway, such a walkout would probably be deemed an unlawful political act under Tory anti-union laws.

Having said that, workers are perfectly entitled to withdraw their labour in defence of jobs and for decent wages.

And unlike Sir Keir Starmer, who should make up his mind about whose side he is on, I will always support those struggling.

With the press virtually united against them, and the BBC terrified of upsetting the Tories, it’s hard for strikers to get a fair hearing. RMT leader Mick Lynch is a lucid exponent of the railworkers’ case. But he knows only stopping the trains will deliver for his members.

This is a trial of strength with a hard-line government that controls the purse strings. Good luck, railwaymen and women!


Beer-drinking pony Patrick, a therapy worker, has been voted mayor of Cockington, a village in Devon. The choice was welcomed by bumptious local Conservative MP Kevin Foster. Yes, but which of the two donkeys standing for the Tory leadership does he support?


Next year’s Eurovision Song Contest is moving from the Ukraine to the UK. Our entry features Boris Johnson reprising Connie Francis’s hit Who’s Sorry Now? while doing a Cossack foot-kicking dance. Nul points guaranteed.

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