back to article 500,000 oppose Red Arrows Olympic ban

The government has finally responded to an online petition demanding the Red Arrows be allowed to fly at the 2012 Olympics - an exercise in Democracy 2.0 which attracted a staggering 502,294 signatures despite the fact that a reported ban on the RAF gracing the skies above London was a load of complete cobblers invented by the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Half a mil' signatures

    This will be because this will have spread through one of those moronic Facebook or viral emails that get punted by braincell deficit muppets too clueless to check up on before they hit forward to ALL their address book.

    I hit delete whenever I see anything like this shite.

  2. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Red Arrows planes

    How old are they now? Won't every other country in the World just piss themselves laughing that we'd be flying such relics?

  3. Mike Crawshaw
    Thumb Down

    If only...

    We could get that many people to care about something that's:

    a) important

    b) not come from newspaper making random stuff up to boost flagging sales.


  4. Ian
    Paris Hilton

    I can see the headlines in 'The Sun' tomorrow

    Government caves in to pressure from Sun Readers over Red Arrows.

    It will have the same footing in reality as most of the 'newspaper' does

  5. Dave Edmondston
    Thumb Down

    Seeing it's costing so much...

    ...for the country to subsidise the london tourist industry, we may as well pay our MoD for this tosh as well.

  6. Luke Wells


    I can't believe they are still going ahead with the ban despite the 500,000 signatures.

    Where do I sign this petition then?

  7. Linbox

    Future article, posted backwards in time...?

    "On 27 September, the government weighed in with.."

    "by mid-October 165,000..."


  8. Anonymous Coward


    I know, it's too much to hope for a "Sun apologies for wasting 500000 people's time - and the governments" headline isn't it? Not to mention the other 5m people who had to waste 3 seconds deleting each and every forward that came into their inbox.

    I'm waiting for the Daily Mail to have a sister story, headlined "Government wastes taxpayers money responding to hoax story", followed by a balancer rant^H^H^H report on the failing of the online petition system, inevitably leading into other IT debacles such as the NHS IT system and ID cards.

    Taking bets at 2:1 on - step right up

  9. Nigel Callaghan Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Ban them all!

    Two sensible options for the opening ceremony:

    1) Build on the Chinese approach but this time use CGI to create the entire ceremony (or at least get Aardman to do it - Wallace and Grommit do the Olympics?) . Pretty cheap and good for the IT industry, and does save on costs of the ceremony. No need for anyone to turn up at all (except for someone with a match to light the torch). We could take it further and do the entire Olympics as a computer simulation - probably a lot cheaper than the real thing, and would anyone actually notice (or care?)

    2) Don't try and outdo the Chinese - go minimalist: a random competitor marches in to light the torch, then everyone goes home. A very sensible use of government money and may mean that the Lottery will actually have a bit of dosh available for other projects.

    Paris - cos I wish the Olympics were going to be there and not London - let the French bankrupt themselves!

  10. pastamasta

    Time travel?

    >> On 27 September, the government weighed in with: "This allegation is not true...

    Really? Will they? What sort of hats will we be wearing in the future? Will we all be flying personal turbohover jetpacks to work? And, perhaps most importantly, will our alien overlords permit Morris-dancing?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    The numpties have it......

    These people never heard of Google ?

    2 minutes and half a brain cell would make it clear its a hoax.

    Paris. Obviously.

  12. Ash
    Thumb Down

    Anyone who signed that petition...

    Should be deported. Morons.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Sun...

    The Sun should come with a warning for the hard of thinking:

    Warning: This organ may contain news.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    So half a million opposed

    something that never existed.

    Sounds about right for tub thumping little englanders.

  15. Anonymous Coward



    It has been proven with science that jumping off small cliffs leads to stronger bones.

    Litterally thousands of totally 100% non-Communist males have signed up!!!

    Want to find out more? Text: LEMMING to register your commitment! (£15.89 per txt)

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to GB

    Tilt your head backwards and get a load of our aging obsolete military hardware.

    Screw that namby pamby nonseance we should have a soviet style military procession complete with intercontinental nuclear missiles, that will make Johnny foreigner feel welcome. I mean when I have visitors the first thing I do is wave a kitchen knife at them just to help put them at ease, don't you?

  17. Nev Silver badge


    The origin of this story was a BNP stir-it-up "press" release.

    People are so gullible.

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I had to laugh at this

    "To their millions of fans, the Red Arrows demonstrate all the best elements of being British of which we are so rightly proud."

    Yes, because flying fighter airplanes with coloured smoke trailing out the back of them is what every Briton does on a regular basis - in fact, it's what distinguishes us from those heathen bloody foreigners...

  20. simon

    When has the Gov taken any

    notice of the e-petition system anyway???

    Even if the rumour was true (and let's face it - it's easily believable in this overly PC society), only half a million supported it, peanuts as far as the Gov is concerned - after all, 50% more people actually walked the streets of our capital to oppose the hunting with dogs bill but that cut no ice.

    I should imagine that you'd need at least a couple of million signatures to get a junior ministers eyebrow to even twitch!

    Luuurve, because deep down we all love to see the arobatic finesse of the Red Arrows.

  21. Matthew Ellen


    Another success or the democratic system.

  22. Craig

    A better reply to the petitioners would be:

    "Thank you for providing contact details for the entire Daily Mail readership. You're absolutely right, we have banned the Red Arrows and replaced them with the Hungarian Pink Arrows, a gay and lesbian aerobatics troupe. On completion, we have guaranteed them immigrant status with full rights to steal your tax money.

    "Have no worries about the security of your data, we've securely stored it on an unencrypted CD and posted it to our outsourced call centre in Iran via second class post. This will help us with the takeover of England with Sharia law as you'll be the first up against the wall.

    "Or alternatively you could just STFU and stop being so bloody stupid."

  23. Neil
    Paris Hilton

    Got to love the unwashed masses

    It'd be funny if these knuckle-draggers didn't have the vote

    Paris, cos she does love a man with a shiny helmet.

  24. Ralph B


    > However, the Prime Minister has made clear he would be delighted to see the Red Arrows

    > perform in the celebrations in 2012.

    Yebbut, he didn't sign the petition, did he?!

    Eh?! Eh?!

  25. Sergie Kaponitovicz
    Paris Hilton

    Sun Readers

    "While it is up to the 2012 Organising Committee to decide what form the ceremonies in 2012 should take and who should participate, I am very clear in my own mind that the Red Arrows should be part of London’s welcome to the world in four years time."

    A forty-eight word sentence, targeted at Sun Readers?! The minister should know better. Perhaps if she does a page 3 piccy with a board proclaiming "Red Arrows Ain't Band", she will stand more chance of getting the message across.

    Paris, because if Tessa won't do it .....

  26. Elmer Phud
    Black Helicopters

    Nothing from Boris?

    Oh where are the comments from our tousled-haired Eton boy?

    Has he run out of advisers to tell him what to say?

  27. Random Noise

    Jet Fuel

    Of course by 2012 the cost of jet fuel will be so high that the red arrows will be wasting MILLIONS of your tax quids on this display. And just think of the penguins melting away in the hot sun thanks to all the Co2.

    Won't anyone think of the children?

  28. Richard
    Paris Hilton

    How dare they!

    I demand that the government ban the Red Arrows immediately, so that we can all get really worked up and shout at the PM as load as a online petition will allow. How could they even think of being reasonable about this, it's despicable! Rhubarb rhubarb etc.

  29. Nermal
    Thumb Down

    Smoke and Mirrors

    Has anyone read the full responce from the govement? I tried to read it last night and it seemed empty and badly constructed.

    "The Red Arrows flew over London the day we won the Games in 2005 - and they took to the skies again in August, on another special day for London 2012, as we marked the end of the Beijing Olympics and the start of the run-up to our Games. "

    "The Red Arrows flew over London the day we won the Games in 2005" So we won the games did we?

    "- and they took to the skies again in August," They probably took to the skies several times in August.

    Why is "on another special day for London 2012" been put in a historic context?

    ", as we marked the end of the Beijing Olympics " ok, getting lost here.

    "and the start of the run-up to our Games. " So they will be flying in the run up to our games.

    At no point do they actualy say "Yes they will be there at the opening" There is a lot of dancing and chipper wording in there, but they are also denying that anyone said anything anyway. I'm sorry but I will put this down to smoke and mirrors again.

    I'm not Normal, I'm a nermal.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    I think the sad thing here is 500k people actually read and believes the Scum.

  31. Anonymous Coward


    You appear to have omitted the word "morons" from the title of this piece. Just thought you'd like to know.

    PS. Yarrrrrr!

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @Mike Richards

    The Red Arrows fly Hawks, these are still in production and being actively sold as advanced jet trainers and low cost combat aircraft. They are still actively flown in at least 16 air forces. Interestingly, for formation display teams like the Red Arrows you actually want a small light aircraft, and jet trainers are ideal. You won't be pulling more than about 6.5g in a display team anyway, and you aren't going to be doing any of the crazy thrust vectoring moves that modern aircraft can do, because you can't do them very well in formation. It is worth noting that the 3 best aerial display teams in the world (Patrouille de France, Frecce Tricolore and Red Arrows) all fly 1970s designed aircraft.

  33. Sordid Details

    The sands of time

    "...We are still planning our 2008 season at this stage..."

    They'd better get a move on then, unless they're only planning a Christmas appearance...

  34. Richard
    IT Angle

    @AC 12.56

    "Not to mention the other 5m people who had to waste 3 seconds deleting each and every forward that came into their inbox."

    My method of dealing with the brain-dead is to reply to everyone, including any email addresses I can find in the multiply-forwarded mail, and tell them that the mail is viral, and a hoax, and cite a URL for the hoax. It's wonderfully cathartic, as are the emails of apology I sometimes get. I really do wonder how these people are allowed a vote, or how they're able to breathe without instruction: "diaphragm up, diaphragm down, and repeat." No, they won't know what a diaphragm is.

  35. Paul

    Augh! The stupid, it's hurting my brain.

    So we have proof positive that there are at least half a million utterly gullible twats in the UK.

    What's more disturbing is that the half million were the ones intelligent enough to get online and sign an e-petition before they viewed the "ecard from a mate" or "McCain caught in bed with Palin" emails and hosed their computer. Again.

    But how many more Sun readers saw the article, foamed at the mouth for a while and then slipped back into their reality-TV induced coma? How many just smiled blankly and drooled on the page a little before going straight to the footy pages (or page 3)?

    Then again, it also suggests that there are at least a half million people who realize they can't trust the government and won't believe a word they hear from it. That's good, now we just need to find some way to get these muppets worked up over something that's actually important, like civil liberties or endless wars.

  36. Steve Babb

    Liven up some events

    If they scheduled the fly past whilst the Javelin contest is going on it could make things a lot more interesting.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    To Linbox… No time travel involved.

    READ the start second paragraph:

    "In September last year"

    Me thinks there are some apprentice Sun readers amongst us.......

  38. Anonymous Coward

    @Tony Chandler

    "smoke trailing out the back of them" Erm, well; actually I do, and the sprog don't appreciate it at all.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    This is why...

    ...I stopped reading The Sun. Now I read The Star instead.

  40. Burch

    Track them down

    and remove their voting rights. All Sun readers I mean.

  41. Richard Cain
    Thumb Up

    @ Anonymous Coward Posted Friday 19th September 2008 13:25 GMT

    Well said / written.

  42. Linbox

    AC15:30 - Fucksocks!

    In my defence, beer may have been consumed.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What are the chances ...

    ... that the Red Arrows will still be flying in 2012?

    The government statements above are just about what you would expect if they were planning to sell the planes to Wazziristan next year.

  44. Captain DaFt

    Why is this surprising?

    As the late, great George Carlin observed: "Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that."

    Kind of puts this little tempest back in its tea kettle, doesn't it?

  45. Allan Dyer

    In the interests of saving precious fossil fuel...

    I propose two alternatives:

    i) the team performs in red, child-sized peddle cars (should be utterly hilarious)

    ii) as archery has a strong tradition in Britain, make it a formation archery display. Getting bowmen to shoot nine arrows in a diamond that loops the loop would be *really* impressive, though there may be a few casualties when they do the low-altitude crossover.

    Mine's the one with the bowstring in the pocket.

  46. Ishkandar

    @What are the chances ...

    Wazziristanis don't buy planes. They buy Silkworm SAMs instead !! The better to shoot em down !!

    Anyway, why bother with the Red Arrows. Just get a bunch of kiddies to bring along their R/C model airplanes, bribing them with alchopop if need be !! Cheaper in the long run !!

  47. Charles Manning

    @Mike Crawshaw

    "If only we could get that many people to care about something that's important"

    No no no no no no no.

    It isn't the quantity of people that matters, it's the quality.

    I think it would be great if the Sun keeps making up bullshit like this to keep the Great Unwashed busy so that they don't poke their ignorant noses into important stuff. If they run out of ideas, then I propose:

    *Stuff to ban during Olympics:

    -- Warm beer and pickled onions,

    -- Keeping East Enders and Coronation St off the telly.

    * Non olympic

    -- Start a Fight Global Warming day, requiring all households to leave their fridge doors open for the day to spread the coolness.

  48. brian murray

    Stand by for the headline..

    Knowing the arrogance of papers like the Sun, it seems to me highly likely that instead of running an apology they'll have a headline saying 'Sun readers get our flyboys reinstated at Olympics'. I am told the Sport ran an article claiming there was a London bus on the moon, then responded to criticism with another front page article 'London bus disappears from moon'.

    I used to follow Richard's policy of sending a correction / clarification to everyone's address for every asinine chain email scam that came to my inbox but unlike him, I never got an apology, just shirty comments from the embarassed plonkers who had forwarded this rubbish. This once included a hoax email about women being attacked by men with fake perfume which turned out to have been passed on by work's health and safety bod! Funny how people like that have no problem with polluting everyone else's inbox, but get tetchy when someone does the same thing to try to correct the damage they cause. Someone once said 'The public, the public, how mnay fools does it take to make a public?'

  49. Anonymous Coward

    @Nermal... re "won the games"

    >"Has anyone read the full responce from the govement? I tried to read it last night and it seemed empty and badly constructed."

    I think your own "responce" is more badly-constructed than the government's. Maybe when you "tried to read" it you failed and should try again?

    >"The Red Arrows flew over London the day we won the Games in 2005" So we won the games did we?

    Uhhh yes, we did. We beat all our competitors like Paris, Madrid, New York, and Moscow, and we won them, and that's why we're having them next, in 2012. Did you really not hear? Orrrrrrr..... did you think that sentence meant something about winning *in* the games? In a year when they weren't even on?

    You were so determined to find something wrong with the statement that you blinded yourself to the completely obvious non-stupid meaning of the words and only saw the stupid one. Whose fault is that?

    >"They probably took to the skies several times in August."

    Well duhh! That's why the sentence goes on to qualify a specific occasion in August, if you hadn't interrupted it there. You can't expect one tiny fragment of a sentence to make sense all by itself out of context.

    >"ok, getting lost here."

    You mean you've forgotten that whole closing ceremony of the games when the Chinese formally handed over responsibility for the games to the representatives of London? It was only a few weeks ago. If you have such a short attention span, maybe this explains why you aren't able to read and understand a short and plain sentence.

    >"So they will be flying in the run up to our games."

    They already did, on the day in August that they're talking about, which was both the end of the Beijing olympics and the start of the run-up to the London ones, if you're capable of remembering about five words earlier in the sentence you're attempting to comprehend.

    >"I'm not Normal"

    Yes. That much is obvious.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sun reporters

    aren't they the best paid in the UK?

    The Sun tends to determine or predict the next government with unnerving accuracy.

    What appears to have happened is there was contemplation by Labour over not including the Red Arrows because they were too British. And yes this is something that this government likes to do, put the UK on the back foot all the time. Our hertiage has been sold up the swaney, by Labour - I really wouldn't put it pass them to consider this.

    Look at the response to the economic meltdown - more nursery places the tax payer will have to pay for - we are one of the most densely populated areas in the world (far beyond China), we don't need to encourage breeding, we need to actively make it economically punitive. It is all to do with that Potter lady, shove a million to pay off Labour party debts, get some free nursery care, how selfish.

    The bank collapse is just the first step, the knock on effect will start to come in shortly. I am not sure we will be able to pay for the Olympics by 2012, we will be a third world banana republic by then.

  51. Toastan Buttar

    Much as I hate to admit it...

    I think the Patrouille de France is the best aerobatic display team in the world.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Chain letters

    Chain e-mails are the reason for this not dying.

    I remember the original story coming out and then a chain email appeared on the Internet in protest. I even remembered linking the story to some people who forwarded it around telling them that its a load of cobblers.

    Fast forward a year and we have the same chain email coming around again and another gullible nitwit has made a petition on the 10 Downing street site.

    I think this story will come around the Internet every year until we get the games because chain emails have this annoying habit of never dying and always being forwarded on by people bored at work.

    Paris because well she probably does more than forward emails when bored.

  53. Seán
    IT Angle


    If they get those Italian chicks to do the parachuting there would only be about 15 -20 signatures demanding the home grown version instead.

  54. John Dougald McCallum

    500000 marrons read the sun

    "It is all to do with that Potter lady, shove a million to pay off Labour party debts, get some free nursery care, how selfish."

    I belive you mean J.K.Rowling and as her children are now grown up why do you think that she needs free child care I belive she gave it to the Labor Party because she thinks that they could do a better job of running this country than the Tories .Her money, her choice.

    "I am not sure we will be able to pay for the Olympics by 2012, we will be a third world banana republic by then." Then we wont be the last to not make any money out of the Olympics then will we I belive that Montreal took nearly twentey years to pay of the debt and any way what are you moaning about we're not the only ones in this mess are we,or did you think that the Torries would have done any better?

  55. JP
    Black Helicopters

    Did anyone check?

    I always try to check the names on an online petition. It can be so entertaining.

    I remember "Educators Against the War in Iraq" included such names as Adolph Hitler

    and Ima Twit. On one site that allowed people to upload images of their signature,

    I remember a few dozen names from the Harry Potter series that had the same

    scribble. One of the largest online petitions I found had over 1.6 million signatures with

    more than a few duplicates. Usually with about 16-20 duplicate names from the same


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