London 2012 Olympics

Photograph by Duncan Rawlinson

I have fallen to the ground, the scales lifted from mine eyes, the trammels of cynicism smashed from my ankles, fetters exploded from my wrists and lo, I am free!

Such has been the effect of my London 2012 Olympics experience. I am 30, dear reader, and after years of negative cynicism, bred from years of inactivity enforced by the accepted apathy of Britain, I have been liberated from this prison, this cage that I did not know held me in bonds just as damaging as the manacles that restrain the enslaved.

This may seem a little strong but let me lay the scene for you. For the last few years I have been cynical in the extreme about the London 2012 Olympics, the everyday experience of London befouled by crime, violence, excess, a ‘that’ll do attitude, and bankers fearful of a national embarrassment from the opening ceremony and snickering that the cauldron would go out or not light in the first place or that the pressure on the athletes would be too much. In my defense, our cameo at the Beijing 2008 closing ceremony was classic British cringe with Beckham lobbing hooligan fruit into the audience from a clapped out folding bus.

But, Huzzah! The Opening ceremony’s trumpets have brought my walls down and spread me wide to receive something new. Hope in the face adversity. Aspiration. Action on my neglected dreams. This is the amazing message that the Games has given to us as a nation and we owe it to the generations who are to come, as well as those who have gone before, to build upon this. LOCOG have done it, the athletes are doing it, it is all working! Let us call it the London Epiphany, the vision that shows us we can do it right.

The economy is tanking, our government is ineffective on all fronts, tribal ideology and entitlement abound on all sides and are keeping the country on its politically proscribed trajectory of decline. As a natural conservative, I embraced the ‘new’ Tory and Liberal marriage as the potential to get Britain in the black while taking care of the social and financial inequalities that are a stain on this country as well as hopefully avoiding the hypocrisy of our recent bourgeois Labour overlords. Alas, no, all have themselves unworthy of the public’s trust, from whatever walk of life they hale.

We desperately need our heroes, a lift to our national psyche as we wait on the sidelines of the Euro-crash, lacking direction or decisive action. We do have the potential of talking ourselves into a triple-dip recession but it really is not as bad as you think. People are suffering, life can be tough and very cruel but let us remember that through all of this, if you are born in Britain, you are born into the richest 10% of the world, with the poorest of our society having access to services and freedoms most of the global population can only dream off and sometimes will die for.

I didn’t like the mention of the NHS in the opening ceremony last Saturday. Now I know why it was absolutely right and joyful to include it. For the first time in a long time I feel proud to be British and even prouder that I feel British for the same reasons as everyone else I have met from across the social classes and cultures within these blessed isles.

The greatest success of the Olympic opening ceremony is that it has brought inspiration, and it must from now on be consider the world’s biggest, greatest piece of performance art as, like all great art has generated discussion. The logo design may be puerile and thoughtless with no sense of taste but London 2012 has a core of indefinable beauty and that is the people of London and Britain. For years it has been raining in my heart but now the Olympic flame is warming my soul.


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