The Olympic Truce–London 2012

Lord Bates


In all the preparations for the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games the Olympic Truce is often overlooked and yet Truce was at the heart of the ancient ideal of the Olympic Games. I believe that London 2012 provides a perfect platform to rediscover that ancient ideal and to light a torch of peace which can be passed on the future Hosts.

The Olympic Truce transcends the games and is the subject of a Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly calling on all member states to ‘pursue initiatives for peace and reconcilliation during the period of the Games’. The Resolution of the UN General Assembly is duly signed by every member state and then, sadly, ignored. In fact there is no record of any government taking any initiative for peace during the Games at any time.

The Ancient Games started in 776 BC were held every four years for nearly twelve centuries. The Truce was sacred and violations were extremely rare and punished by suspension from the following Games.

In the modern era the Olympic Truce has been seen as merely symbolic despite being backed by a UN Resolution. The modern Olympics have been running for just over one century and yet during that time they have been cancelled due to war three times, subjected to mass boycotts five times, terrorist attacks twice and the Truce have been violated on virtually every occasion.

What is it that we have lost in three thousand years of civilisation that we should find it so difficult to exercise restraint in the conduct of warfare and can we rediscover it in time for London 2012. I believe we can, but we need to start now.

To support this campaign encourage MPs’ to sign Early day Motion 893.

9 comments for “The Olympic Truce–London 2012

  1. Gareth Howell
    14/12/2010 at 9:13 am

    Isn’t it that Truce should be observed whilst the games are being played?
    I am a huge fan of everything athletic.

  2. Lord Bates
    Lord Bates
    14/12/2010 at 12:45 pm

    Thanks Gareth–the original plan was for the Truce to run from sevn days before the Olympic Games until seven days after the Paralympic Games, but in the case of Beijing (2008) and Vancouver (2010) this was as you say for the duration of the Games only. There is a move to extnd the period of Truce covering the London 2012 Games from the start of the Cultural Olympiad (June 21, 2012) until International Peace Day ( September, 21 2012).

    • Gareth Howell
      14/12/2010 at 4:27 pm

      The whole point of the truce was not to be fighting when you were endeavouring to do something more leisurely!

      I did not know anybody had tried to apply it in modern Olympics. Vain cause!

  3. Senex
    15/12/2010 at 12:27 pm

    Welcome to the blog Lord Bates, find here a level playing field; banished are the limitations of corporeal form, only the anonymous with their correctly spelled words set in perfect grammar prevail here?

    The first 100 posts are the worst so best get on with them. As a tory heavyweight I presume you have been mustered to balance out the emergent left on the blog? The blog has a tradition of being non partisan.

    As for athletics, well I tried them all at school and could never as a thinker see the wisdom of it. It seemed to be a load of balls and the only game that did appeal to me was cricket. Competitors in the Olympics are fine but like football it has become big business and national pride now finds itself a competitor too.

    We have similar interests’ country wise so I look forward to your views on them, diplomatically you understand. I also notice that you are a ‘contractor’, a micro business, something I want to see consolidation of into smaller businesses; acorns to oak trees.

    No reason at all why such smaller businesses should not eventually compete with the likes of the ‘American’ Accenture or maybe the French Cap Gemini with proper encouragement. The latter supports the infrastructure of Treasury tax collection whilst the former on the same basis deals with National Insurance.

    Ref: HoL Register of Member Interests
    Parliament Biographies: Lord Bates
    Accenture: Formation and Early Years

    15/12/2010 at 6:01 pm

    ODD, I posted something and it seems not to have shown up.

    • Senex
      15/12/2010 at 8:04 pm

      Z: Sounds like it went into the moderators spam can? Or unlikely, it fell foul of blog rules. I noticed that Lord Soley had to block an offensive post recently because it broke blog rules.

      This raises the question of whether the author should be published with “[Post removed as it breached blog rules]” or whether it should just disappear and nobody is the wiser? The problem is that the blog could easily fill with removed post messages so it’s a tough call for the moderators.

    • Gareth Howell
      15/12/2010 at 8:20 pm

      ODD, I posted something and it seems not to have shown up

      That would be a field event then; discus or shot or even javelin.

  5. Carl.H
    16/12/2010 at 11:01 am

    ” Hello is that Mr. Bin Laden, my names Mr. Smith from the Olympic truce committee. We`re having a few sporting activities and want to know if you`d like to send a team. We would of course require you called a truce on your Jihad until the games were over…..Mr.Obama ? No I haven`t spoken to him yet…Nor the CIA. Can I give them a ring and get back to you ? Byeee”

    ” Hello is that the Real Real Real Real Real IRA…….”

    “The Truce was sacred and violations were extremely rare and punished by suspension from the following Games.”

    BBC News July 2012

    America were today suspended from the Olympic games for killing a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. An Olympic spokesmen stated that following Russia`s suspension for invading Chechnya the games would continue. Great Britain now leads the medal tables though Scots, Welsh and N.I. members are unhappy as they want to be devolved.


    It seems Britain has now been suspended from the games after Prime Minister Ed Miliband stated his refusal to call a truce to his war on poverty. Sad news there as Britain had hoped to do well with only three teams left.

    We go back now to our Sports team and Kate Adie who reports on the latest in the Taliban team effort at roadside bombing…Kate

  6. 07/01/2011 at 11:51 am

    The proposed Olympic truce in my view is a welcomed and valuable symbol of addressing the ongoing conflicts that we confront in the world that we live. Having read most of the comments in response to Lord Bates motion I believe we are missing the point and more importantly, a major opportunity. Whilst we may not b e able to bring about the expulsion of participating nations for terrorism and war crimes, we might want to consider how the Olympic Truce could be used to deliver the 2012 Games legacy pledge of diversity, health and community safety. With ongoing gang related violence claiming yet another young a life of sporting potential in the Games host capital city as we approached the end of 2010 we might want to consider an Olympic Truce that can deliver something of real social, cultural and lasting benefit this year and dare I say it a peaceful legacy and message to young people and communities nationally and internationally. There has been a considerable amount of work contributed by the Youth Charter ( and if there is a genuine and committed interest to seeing peace on our streets, locally, nationally and internationally, I would welcome entering into a constructive and meaningful dialogue.

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