It was a fresco of Britain through the ages, it looked straight out of EP Thompson’s book The Making of the English Working Class, but in this case it included aspects from all Britain.
Some Conservative MP Aidan Burley is in trouble when he tweeted that the Olympics opening was “multi-cultural crap”. He also described Danny Boyle’s work as “the most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen” (The Guardian, 28th July , 2012) Recently Burley got into hot waters when he attended a Nazi-theme stag party in France. One guest at that party raised a toast to “the ideology of the Third Reich”. This footage was filmed by the Mail on Sunday. So the Tory Party has some ghastly members in its ranks.
In fact Boyle’s script depicted both sides of the coin, the capitalists and the workers, especially in scenes of the factories and worshops.
But there was also a nod towards the suffragettes, CND, the Windrush boat, the Beatles, punks. God save the Queen by the Sex Pistols was quoted but the bit about being Britain being ‘a fascist regime’ was left out. But in any case Britain has never been a fascist regime.
Johnny Rotten today does adverts for butter and the song by the Clash: London Calling is used by British Airways. Capital is a rapacious machine, it can sell anything.
And then there was kissing on the screen, a lesbian kiss which was broadcasted all over the world, to countries like Saudi Arabia…where change is needed.
Even the Queen took part in the humour of the Boyle show. The new James Bond went to Buck House to meet her, the corgis were there following her majesty. But were not allowed on the helicopter. Bread and circuses to keep the crowd happy. That Burley cannot understand. A left card has to be played in these times of crisis. An overtly right-wing one is not on the cards.
The Boyle show employed 27,000 people, a lot of them workers in all sorts of sectors , like the NHS. The cost of it was 27 million pounds. It gave work to a lot of unemployed actors, singers, etc. The worst aspect of it all is the flag bit, which can increase nationalist fervour. At least in Ancient Greek times it was cities, but maybe they had flags too.
The only good thing about the Olympic Games is that it brings people together who will compete in the stadia, not on the battlefields.
And that was Pierre de Coubertin’s vision when he had the idea of the modern Olympiade, more than a century ago – but it did not stop the First World War or the Second and the all the wars since.
Written by a friend of Junius on the 28 of July 2012.