Remember Broken Britain? It was a refrain taken up by David Cameron when campaigning to become Prime Minister of Great Britain, trying to convince us that our nation was, at it’s core, deeply broken and that only a Tory government led by him could fix it.
I wonder now, as the same Great Britain that David Cameron insisted was so broken has had their most successful Olympics ever (pre-war it was a very different beast so it doesn’t really compare), not just with 29 gold medals and 65 medals in all but with 70,000 volunteers from across the country helping out (Sound broken to you?), what answer Cameron would give if a journalist was clever enough to ask him the same question.
When the Venezuelan fencing team took the tube after one of their members won gold, people on the tube applauded and were quickly taught Venezuelan chants to congratulate him. Sound broken to you?
Now Cameron is inevitably seeking to capitalise on this, although he’ll have to do a better job than an appallingly staged photo of him watching the boxing.
He’s right to look to secure a legacy for the games, though as I’ve said he’s leaving it late and his decision to blame teachers for not teaching competition in schools is disgraceful.
Regardless, surely these games have nailed once and for all the fallacy that Britain is broken. Yes, it has it’s problems, but the test now as the Olympics becomes a memory (though I’m well excited for the Paralympics) is how we harness this collective spirit for the future.
Britain has shown it can run a huge event, perhaps the biggest in the world, and do it on time, on budget (sorta), with efficient and well designed infrastructure like transport making it all run smoothly and we can do it with a superb amount of grace, humour and professionalism.
We should remember that the next time a politician from any party tries to talk us down into scaring us to vote for them.
But as the Olympic memory fades we’ll be reminded of the harsh realities of the world around us, we’re still in a double dip recession and facing a decade of minimal growth.
It’s going to be a struggle for many people, from my perspective as a Labour politician far too many people because of the actions of this incompetent Tory and Lib Dem government, but perhaps after the last two weeks it might feel like their is light at the end of the tunnel.
Though of course, in my rather biased Labour opinion that tunnel would be a heck of a lot shorter with a Labour government making the right decisions instead of this incompetent Tory/Lib Dem one!