Let’s be good hosts

Let the games begin! The UK will be a good host. We welcome our visitors and wish the athletes well as they reach for new heights of sporting achievement.

Last night’s opening ceremony produced a superb forging of the rings and ended with a spectacular sequence to unite the flames.Many in the worldwide audience will have enjoyed the misbehaviour of Mr. Bean and the way the Queen and Mr Bond appeared to drop in, avoiding surface transport.

I will leave any more contentious issues about the historical and cultural presentation to a later day. I would be interested in your reactions now. Eurosceptics will I am sure appreciate that our various European visitors respected this Eurosceptic isle by leaving their EU flags at home.

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85 Comments

  1. fox in sox
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    It was a pretty good show; with enough humour to take the edge off the politicising. The multiculturism has always been a part of the London 2012 theme so not surprising, and just look at our GB team to see multiculturism at work.

    Nice to see IK Brunel given a central role, and plenty of scantily clad lasses to make the misogynists of the middle east apoplectic. Ramadan or Beach Volleyball? I know which is the crowd pleaser!

  2. Barry
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    I thought it was creative, quirky, funny with plenty of theatrical coups and some very inspired scenes. There was a lot going on – something for everybody I suppose. Overall, a big success and certainly not the embarrassing flop that many had predicted or, dare I say, hoped for.

    When I heard of Danny Boyle’s appointment, I feared the worst. I could have done without the self-indulgent NHS promotion, but it wasn’t quite as crude as I feared. Without wishing to run down Danny Boyle who, let’s face it, was only doing what he does best, I think the designers of some of the individual elements deserve the highest praise. The cauldron in particular was wonderful.

    The low points for me? Excessive pop, Paul McCartney’s tired voice and the excessively PC casting. A pity Danny Boyle didn’t feel that Jewish and Chinese immigration, for example, were worth including (unless I missed them).

  3. lifelogic
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I certainly did not watch it or wish to watch it.

    I see AidanBurleyMP seems to have tweeted “The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen – more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?”

    Well what would one expect from socialist Cameron and the combined efforts or out second rate state sector in the socialist UK. Political indoctrination, using tax payers own money is the name of the game it will backfire as usual with the resultant hangover debt.

    • zorro
      Posted July 28, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget that he has been made to apologise for his views with a public confession, just to reinforce the fact that freedom of expression is a chimera if it does not support the lefty, PC agenda….

      zorro

  4. JimF
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    There is no argument that it was entertaining and the presentation was first-rate; it was a take on modern-day Britain, in many ways.

    Chaotic NHS
    Denial that Britain was ever anything but multicultural
    Empire, what Empire?
    Industry is dirty and run by old blokes in top-hats
    The financial services sector is kept well under wraps

    People liked it as they like a Blair-type or Cameron-type government because it glosses up the bad bits it likes and removes anything it doesn’t.

  5. Alte Fritz
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    The good bits were very good and the bad were awful. The NHS………. Our team’s clothing, especially coming soon after the USA was an embarrasment.

    The ceremony spoke loud of the divorce between the perception of our establishment and truth.

  6. Tad Davison
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    I’m struggling to work up any enthusiasm for the games. I’m in a period of protracted convalescence, and have the opportunity to watch everything on the telly, but I’d rather look on YouTube for old British films, until such time as I can work on my lathe or milling machine.

    One thing I can say about the games though. At least it’s competitive. We haven’t yet reached the ridiculous point of the looney fanciful left, where everybody holds hands and crosses the finishing line together!

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 28, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      I am sure the all finishing together will come soon.

  7. Ian
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    A colourful presentation of how our leaders would like foreigners, and ourselves, to see Britain. Just like the Archers.

  8. stred
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Very expensive Teletubbies for lefty luvvies.

    • libertarian
      Posted July 28, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      Ha ha ha Stred

      You win my Gold Medal for the best summing up ever.

      Cheers

  9. Ferdinand
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    The political statement about the NHS was unnecessary. They could have been more realistic about the scenario with perhaps money pouring down a drain. The industrial revolution was for many the first time they ever had a job with pay however distasteful it was.The forging of the rings was a powerful and successful idea. First class.

  10. Disaffected
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    The historical and cultural distortion is to brain wash us with diversity nonsense and accept the government’s mass immigration policy.

    • zorro
      Posted July 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      Indeed…all the usual stereotypes were displayed. Immigration is never officially questioned in the context in which it was presented.

      zorro

    • forthurst
      Posted July 28, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

      …or perhaps to bring the rest of the world up to date with just how wonderfully vibrant we have become:

      ‘I found myself jumping for my life after being attacked by thugs and thieves. They set fire to my building without any thought for anyone’s safety.

      ‘They were happy for me to die. They were like animals – greedy, selfish animals who thought only of themselves.’

      ‘I thought London was a civilised society full of gentlemen and ladies – but it is not like that. England has become a sick society.’

      Monika Konczyk

  11. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Like the curate’s egg – good in parts. Too long for my liking and overtly portraying a view of the UK with a decidedly left-wing slant. After weeks, if not months of knocking the arrangements, the media has done a complete U-turn and is now in a frenzy of adoration and woe betide anyone with the temerity to be in the slightest way critical of the ceremony or the arrangements.

    • zorro
      Posted July 28, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      It is not unexpected for the media to be like this immediately after the event. Let us see what happens after some time for reflection.

      zorro

  12. RB
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    It certainly was a spectacle, and, I think, a representation of the political views of the metropolitan progressive left.

    HM the Queen and Bond, Bean, and other moments were great comedy.

    Branagh was great – did you notice his smiles as the industry appeared around him. Not a smile of happiness at the fantastic lifting of living standards as a result of industry, but a wry smile of the evil money maker, enriched on the back of oppressed labour.

    Ethnic minorities massively over represented, but then that might be forgiven as a means to promote the message of inclusivity that the olympics is supposed to represent.

    The NHS bit was bizzare. It is a view only of the left that we all love the NHS – it has many faults. Threatened by Voldemort, the child catcher and other baddies, but rescued by Mary Poppins. Was it an invitation to all to come and get free treatment? (j/k)

    The musical journey from 60s to present was fantastic, vibrant, happy, and uplifting.

    Sir Paul McCartney clearly had a technical issue. I think he had a backing track to be layered onto his now weak voice, that failed to sync with his performance and was abandoned. He gave it a pretty good go nonetheless, although the choice of song was a bit weird.

    There was a marked disonnance bewteen those selected to carry the olympic flag and the service men and women to whom it was handed.

    The flame was awesome.

    All in all it was humming with a political vibe, but it was a superb spectacle nonetheless. Very London-centric, though, which I thought was a slight problem, given that it was made possible by all of us and it is a British Olympics.

    • RB
      Posted July 28, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      One thing I forgot.

      Surely Her Majesty would have adressed Bond properly. He is not Mr Bond, but Commander Bond.

  13. Richard Roney
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    The ‘show’ was quirky to say the least of it. True it celebrated not only an idyllic kind of country in the starting bucolic scenes but also the power of the nation through the industrial revolution but it also celebrated some odd things like the suffragettes and the NHS. I think I get the point about the suffragettes i.e. that we are a country that sometimes needs to be brought kicking and screaming into the modern day but the NHS? Was the point to celebrate our caring nature or a statement that big Government works? Either way it was inappropriate. The pop music section was far too long and the glorification of multiculturalism was overdone. The overall theme of the ceremony took some working out and could have been confusing for foreigners but there was no doubting its vibrancy and panache through the use of clever lighting and other stage sets. I don’t go along with what your fellow MP Aidan Burley has said but he has a point about the shows leftie bent. The ceremony definitely had a socialist message about it which is a pity since few of us are socialists. It is a pity that things like Magna Carta were missed out – an event of the greatest significance not only for this country but also the world. It is a pity that it looked only inwards and did not remind the world of our outward looking global reach – this was left to the number of competing nations who started off as British colonies.

  14. alan jutson
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    You are surely not suggesting that the Queen did not really drop in from above, are you !

    • alan jutson
      Posted July 28, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Well it was certainly different.

      Thought the pop music section was perhaps a bit too long, and looked rather chaotic (unless it was the camera angles).

      Nice to have just enough of a bit of British type sense of humour included, for what is after all, a massive sporting occassion/celebration

      Above all, thought the BBC coverage once again was poor, with a lack of sensible detailed explanation of the various elements, which was a shame, as we have a good story to tell.

      Thought it a very nice touch that our budding youngsters were the final torch bearers, taking it from the greatest Olympian we have ever produced.

      Quite what other Countries may of thought of it (I assume their TV commentators were given an explanation script of the story in advance) I am not aware, and really do not care.

      Very pleased it went off well.

      Let us hope that everyone in Team GB produces their personal best, we can ask no more of them.

  15. Malcolm Edward
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I found it so cringing I turned the TV off. The numbskulls who organised this made us appear a crackpot nation. Not true of many of us, but clearly true of some.

  16. Amanda
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    A Marxist utopian delusion, that ignored and mocked the enormous, life enhancing contribution, our ancestors made to the world”; whilst celebrating the dead hand of the NHS, where a child of world war 2 will be triaged into the ‘exit’ ward, in favour of an illigal immigrant drug dealer with bullet wounds – but brilliantly done, showing we are still inventive, and creative at heart.

    Loved the inclusion of ‘ordinary’ people in the ceremony – shame we’ve all been shut out of the event with authoritarion practices and Z lanes.

    Much of it reminded me of visits to the Commonwealth Institute, and our great legacy to the world. But thought our ancestors were a tad underrepresented, throughout!!

    Fantastic cauldron to fan the flames of Olympic spirit, in contast to the jingoistic, entrance of our’crunchie bar’ clad team to a ticker tape parade and Bowie’s Heros !!!! Very unBritish, and very unsporting: but I wish the athletes well in all they have worked hard for, they, and others will hopefully be an inspiration to all.

    Sensitive remberance of the victims of the British Muslim bombers; shame so many of our real hero’s who contributed to a better world were forgotten – and as for two of the Choices of the Olympic Flag carriers, pure Orwell. What does a Champion of the Earth do? And is that earth as in planet, or earth in people? Expected a Batman character.

    Not sure it rivaled China, but Mr Boyle has certainly given Leni Riefenstahl a run for her money. Only time will tell who got the gold !!

  17. outsider
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    A night to be proud of. Billions will have learnt for the first time that we started the industrial revolution but no longer live in Dickensian times, that an Englishman gave the world its www as a gift and that HM the Queen (and what’s left of the nation) had a good sense of humour. And that we can still be good at design engineering. So a good ad for UK. Now for the sport.

  18. Electro-Kevin
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed the spectacle.

    Compared to Beijing is was a bit of a messy rave – people doing rather too much of their own thing for it to make much sense. I don’t think this country has the discipline to produce mass performances of great precision.

    It turned out to be the Leftist multi-culti pap I thought it would be and we certainly weren’t going to get the Bisto Family as representative of the British people.

    A harsh focus on the industrial era with scarring of our landscape and a rosey coloured soft focus on the Rock ‘n’ Roll era minus litter, guns, weapons dogs and street violence.

    Yes please. Let’s welcome our visitors wholeheartedly and ‘big up’ our own sports stars and be proud of them.

    Above all let’s ‘big up’ our troops who have saved the day but who are being treated like dirt as usual.

    Allow politicians to treat you with contempt and that is what they will do.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted July 28, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Paul McCartney.

      I find his control over the music industry a bit creepy. Then again who’da thunk that being a Beatle was twice as dangerous as being a Rolling Stone ? There is something of the night about him and so I’m not surprised that he has survived.

      He has become and embarassing part of a selfish establishment that any healthy kid would want to rebel against and I wouldn’t blame them one bit if they did.

      He can’t sing and his hair makes him look like a cheap rubber doll. Bald politicians might be clever enough to use him to make hair unfashionable.

      Also …

      The NHS – the raison d’etre of which is not to cure people but to validate and provide political cover for the Labour Party. The Labour party, the raison d’etre of which is to control the political language and lure the Tory party into fighting on their territory by having the ability to call it the ‘center ground’. (Way over to the left in fact)

      The McCartney’s of this country helped Labour in this regard.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted July 28, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        The Queen landing on Cherie Blair’s head would have enhanced the event for me somewhat.

      • lifelogic
        Posted July 28, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Certainly spot on with the NHS paragraph.

        • lifelogic
          Posted July 29, 2012 at 5:38 am | Permalink

          Let us hope the NHS bit warns the world how not to run an efficient healthcare system. Free at the point of non delivery, incompetence and rationing.

    • Barry
      Posted July 28, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      “I don’t think this country has the discipline to produce mass performances of great precision.”

      Speaking purely for myself, I don’t want to live in the sort of country that seems to excel at that sort of spectacle. That’s not to say that other trends are not cause for concern.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted July 29, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        It was a Nu Lab triumph, Barry. It was as though they’d never gone away.

        Personally speaking I’d rather we hadn’t participated in this sort of thing at all. It was saying “Right. We’re in charge. This is what Britishness is about and you’re a bigot if you don’t go with it. DO NOT MESS WITH THE NHS !”

        The back of Danny Boyle’s fag packet said:

        We English were blissfully happy peasants dancing around May Poles on sunny uplands, plague and famine free.

        Then came the industrialists and turned our land into a sooty hell on earth and turned us all into slaves.

        Then came sufferage, The Windrush, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Punk … Rappers … the NHS … and we were saved !

        The End.

        (Peter Hitchens says this today – I’m recorded on CityUnslicker as having said it yesterday. Attributable to my brother.)

        Lifelogic – Thank you for your endorsement. Much valued.

  19. Richard1
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I thought the show was imaginative and spectacular, with a couple of very witty moments as you describe. I thought it was a pity that the ‘cultural’ aspect, if you can call it that, was dominated by pop music of the last 40 years. I thought having the Artic Monkeys and Paul McCartney doing a sing-along as the musical climax was a very poor way to end. When the footage is looked at in years to come the musical choices will seem bizarre.

    The historical/political slant was of course left leaning – the industrial revolution message was confusing, though the staging impressive, votes for women came about through protest (probably the protests delayed it), a celebration of the NHS (interesting that the nurses were dressed and seemed to be behaving as nurses used to in the pre- and early NHS days, not as frequently happens now!). Almost nothing about the 2 world wars, the spread of parliamentary democracy throughout the world due to the British Empire and Commonwealth, and very little about the triumph of capitalism and free markets in spreading prosperity. At least we escaped a surmon on global warming.

  20. Ian Murray
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    I’m afraid I don’t share the general euphoria. By the time we’d experienced the exploitation of the workers by the wicket capitalists, the Queen being humiliated into taking part in the James Bond escapade, and an arena full of girating nurses (as though the NHS somehow represented the pinnacle of British achievement) I’d had enough and switched off in disgust. Britain, through its painters, architects, poets, writers, composers, philosophers, engineers, scientists, its language and democracy has made contributions to world culture out of all proportion to the number of its citizens.
    Nobody would sense it from last night’s depressing nonsense

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 28, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      I did not watch it, but I am sure that would have been exactly my reaction. If only some of the money had been spent re-organising the NHS properly so it did not kill thousands every year through total incompetence, bad rationing and negligence. It is a complete joke. Try the Swiss one if you do not believe me.

  21. James Matthews
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    “Last night’s opening ceremony produced a superb forging of the rings and ended with a spectacular sequence to unite the flames”

    A visually impressive piece of theatre (on televisionat least), though with a clear left wing political bias. No point in carping about the bias though, with Danny Boyle in charge that was a given.

    Whether emabarking on this Roman circus in the first place was a good idea is another matter, but we have already paid for it so we must do our best to make it a success.

  22. Matthew
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    I’m pleased that the opening ceremony went well and it’s a tribute to Mr Boyle.

    For my slant I would have rather that it focused on what The UK has given to the world, by discovery and invention

    Sir Isaac Newton – Newtonian physics, calculus and the laws of gravitation.

    Jet engine

    Penicillin, birth of pharmaceuticals

    Discovery of DNA (3 UK 1 US)

    Splitting of the atom

    Robert Watson – Watt’s Invention of radar

    Invention television

    World Wide Web

    Darwin’s theory of evolution

    Faraday – electromagnetism and induction

    Andrew’s Liver Salts

    They weigh more heavily in the balance as positive contributions than the NHS and the Jarrow March..hint of left politics

    HM looked a bit bored, she only appears to smile at Ascot and The Derby, now if Mr Boyle had put a few racehorses out there instead of goats that may have done the trick. But then not many monarchs or indeed 86 year olds would jump from a helicopter. So well done to her.

    • Lenny
      Posted July 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Like you I thought that the Queen did her own stunts – it appears she had a double!
      Royals aren’t what they used to be

      • lifelogic
        Posted July 30, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        I am assured the Duke of Edinburgh stood in for her as I am sure he would do.

    • forthurst
      Posted July 28, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      You have left out James Clerk Maxwell, second only to Isaac Newton as a mathematician and physicist in world history.

      I’m not certain that abstractions are so easily represented by son et lumiere; most of the world’s population including, sadly now, the British, would not now understand such concepts in any case..

      Andrew’s Liver Salts would, I think, would be more amenable to a memorable visual display when coupled with surely the greatest invention our civilisation has bequeathed to humanity, that of John Harrington, often misattributed to Thomas Crapper, in the same way that the genius of Lorenz, Poincare, Grossman, Hilbert et al has been misattributed to Einstein.

      Having an aversion to pop culture (an oxymoron) and multiculturalism (an oxymoron), I did not watch the performance, doubting that Danny Boyle could match Zhang Yimou for either artistic accomplishment or cultural sincerity.

      Why not an re-enactment of the Battle of Trafalgar, the greatest naval battle in world history? Being a sporting event, why not remind the rest of the world, how few games they would have to play were it not for our gifts to the world, so easily represented, as the games, together with contemporary costume could paint a picture of what we were doing whilst they were hunter gathering etc.

  23. Bob
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t watch the ceremony as I don’t have a TV licence.

    Did they include anything about “…our finest hour” ?

  24. Brigham
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I could not understand why a French commentary took precedence over an English one. Why a French one at all?

    • Martyn
      Posted July 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      As soon as I heard the opening declared in French, and HMQ being introduced in French, I switched off in disgust at the way it made it appear to be being staged by France.

      I later discovered, I think it to be correct, that it was long ago decided that a French man had ‘re-invented the Olympics’ somewhere around 1908 that from that point onwards all Olympics openings (and who knows what else?) would be in French.

      So, we spend all our money on setting it up and the rest of the world think France had the main say in the event. Outrageous!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 29, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        For a long time up to the middle of the last century French was generally accepted around the world as being the premier language for international relations and diplomacy, the preferred lingua franca for those purposes, and that was still the case when the international olympic movement was started up by a Frenchman.

    • Bernard Juby
      Posted July 29, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      I was surprised but apparently French is the official language of the Olympic Games! Surely it should rightly be Greek!

  25. oldtimer
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    It was better than I expected – but my expectations were not high. The industrial revolution segment was extremely well done. The NHS aspect got in the way of the more interesting and potentially rich theme offered by childrens literature. The section on the 60s (the pop era) did not work for us – the BBC commentators got in the way – and was a relative failure. They should have done a better job of presenting the www and Sir Tim Berners-Lee given that in other respects the use of light and lighting was excellent. There were nice touches (you mentioned Mr Bean, Bond and the Queen, and the cauldron). Overall a spectacular display but with a highly selective, none too subtle, coloured view of UK history.

  26. Bernard Juby
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    It was good to see the Union flag being waved by so many people – BUT who is it that checks these plonkers who sell it flown up-side down??? They should be banned and their stocks destroyed. How else (apart from being in the Armed Forces or the Scouts or similar) are our people able to know the difference?

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 29, 2012 at 5:32 am | Permalink

      Does it really matter which way it is flown? So long as it is not the repulsive EU flag being shown usually because they have given us a tiny bit of our taxes back for some daft PC project.

      I think it only matters to those who have had the correct way drummed in to them at some stage. No one else even notices or cares. Perhaps they should just make it so top and bottom are reversible. I assume they are all made in China like everything else.

      • Barbara
        Posted July 29, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        It used to matter, because seeing the flag flown upside-down was a distress signal. Perhaps the folk waving it were sending a subliminal message?!

        • Bernard Juby
          Posted July 29, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

          Hit the nail on the head Barbara. They were actually flying our flag upside down when I first entered the dreaded Burlaymont in Brussels. I told the attendant that this was an insult to our country and could cause a diplomatic incident. When I left my meeting the flag had been changed to the correct way.
          So full marks for listening this time. They haven’t listened to any-thing else since.

        • lifelogic
          Posted July 29, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

          Indeed – then it was perhaps appropriate.

  27. Ashley
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Some areas of the opening ceremony were very good but others made me cringe. I have been watching Olympic opening ceremonies since 1976 and cannot remember one that was so politically biased.

    Mr Bean and Bond were great touches but the very evident plugging of multiculturalism (even in Victorian times) and the NHS etc left me speechless frankly. Shami Chakrabarti carrying the Olympic flag and symbols of CND made me realise just how far this country has drifted to the left and I suspect many traditional Tories watching that opening ceremony will be very disturbed by the distinctly socialist overtones of the whole event.

    • peter davies
      Posted July 30, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Well said – i thought these sort of things were supposed to be separate from politics but this did look like a nu labour rally at times

  28. David Langley
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    A magnificent spectacle, well worth the dough. Quirky but with moments of grandeur. The sight of the people laughing and really enjoying it was testimony to that special feeling of being of one family and being able to share that with peoples of all colours race and creed. I am glad we did not have any EU nonsense and the revolting Barroso and Rompey Pompey et al were not around to spoil it. If they were I didnt spot their flag waving. No doubt they will be trying to up our subscriptions if they think we can afford it.

  29. zorro
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    For sure, a lot of work went into the presentation and rehearsal of this spectacle and the ‘eccentric’ British humour and self deprecatory tone was well evidenced with Mr Bean and the Queen’s energetic entrance which I thought was quite touching. It showed that we British are happy in our own skins, and are able to laugh at ourselves and not take things too seriously….at least some of us anyway. The visual transformation from rural idyll to ‘dark satanic mills’ was visually striking and well represented.

    Even the hospital scene was OK apart from the NHS symbol which I think ruined the message of the Great Ormond St story, notwithstanding the fact that JM Barrie had left money to the hospital well before the creation of the NHS, and, of course, all our great teaching hospitals had been set up well before the advent of health care nationalisation….

    As you are asking for views, I was less impressed with the obvious politicisation of the flag holding and other parts of the show. The Olympics is a celebration of sporting excellence, and it would have been nice if it had recognised that fact more obviously, instead of pandering to PC, equality, and diversity related themes….

    zorro

  30. Mike Stallard
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Wimbledon, various horse races, some golf, rugby, even cricket: we host the world quite often. You may remember the Diamond Jubilee too? We are used to playing host.

    Once the government gets involved, though the normal becomes “THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH” – with our money.

    (PS We are broke.)

  31. Tim Hedges
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    The opening ceremony reflected Danny Boyle’s political viewpoint, and in that sense was disgraceful. The worst thing though is that the principal language is French. Who let them get away with that?

    • Robert Taggart
      Posted July 31, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Agreed – enough said !

  32. Almost Ex Tory
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I watched the event and found it strangely compelling even with some of the ledft wing biase . Well done Great Britain.

    Why oh why were the announcements first made in French and then in English? It is disrespectful to the host country.

    It is incongruous and at worst it reminded one of the Eurovision Song Contest or compliance with some sort of EU requirement.

    If the use of French in this way is an IOC requirement then “the rules” should be changed. Why not use the host country and English if wider understanding is needed. A proper tribute to the modern founders of the Olympic movement could be made routinely in one of the speeches.

  33. Normandee
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Production and presentation were world class, but, as you say, the content should be discussed later. The country appears to be drowning in a tide of socialism, and some of from directions we don’t expect it.

  34. Anthony Lenaghan
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    I was appalled at the presence of Shami Chakrabarti, Doreen Lawrence and the NHS display. The former two are simply ludicrous. The National Council for Civil Liberties is a pressure group, nothing more. Why Shami Chakrabarti and not, say, the director of Amnesty? Doreen Lawrence is a bereaved parent. Why Doreen Lawrence and not, say, Milly Dowler or Damilola Taylor’s parents?

    And as for the NHS – well, why not the DWP? Why not DEFRA? Why not the Highways Agency? I am disappointed to read that the prime minister apparently had the power of veto on this sequence, and chose not to use it.

    • Bob
      Posted July 29, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      “Why Doreen Lawrence “?

      The wheel that squeaks the loudest syndrome.

  35. Hopper
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    If the object of an opening ceremony is to focus on the achievements of the host nation then I don’t think that we did that.

  36. Lenny
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    The Queen looked like she’d rather be somewhere else

  37. Jon
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    For people around the world watching I think they saw a fantastic artistic creation.

    The Industrial revolution part was inspired, the iron mongery type Olympic rings and the music was great.

    Would the world noticed the lefty slant on it all? Are they aware of our internal politics? Of course not, it was a show, any undercurrent of politics would not have been picked up, its just a show.

    However, whilst the world would not have picked that detail up its what they weren’t shown that I think was a shame. The CND bit for a country that has nuclear subs patrolling the world would just have seemed odd. To me it was time taken up by things like that which left out many of the great things that have been achieved.

    Yes Sir Tim Berners Lee, Yes the Industrial Revolution, what about our civil war that was part of the reason we have a democracy. Its not just the middle east and north Africa that is fighting for democracy, we lost countless to get the same a long time ago. The influence of the monarch in that, from the Knights to Oliver Cromwell, to the kings and queens and the if not the Empire then SURELY the Commonwealth!

    Maybe above all, a show case for all the engineering and scientific gifts to the world. Yes Mr Boyle spotted one, the internet but we have done so much more that allowed eventually something like that to happen. Would have been such a showcase to the world of the many things this country has produced that the world uses every day. Thats what should have taken up the time spent on CND and hospital beds. What business will that generate other than the world thinking they can get free treatment?

  38. Alan Wheatley
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    For something that is not exactly my cup of tea I did sit through the whole Ceremony and on the whole enjoyed it and thought it well done. Rather than pick on the weak points I like to remember all those taking part who seem to be having a great time.

    One incentive for watching was that I have just taken delivery of my new TV, which is a generous size with a superb high-definition picture and 3D capability. So this was an ideal opportunity to watch the BBC 3D broadcast, and it certainly made a dramatic impression. Sadly only the 100m final and the Closing Ceremony will be in 3D.

    Having seen what HD can deliver standard definition now looks so poor as to avoid unless the programme content is unmissable. So, BBC, more HD programming, and 3D as often as possible.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted July 29, 2012 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      BBC HD are showing daily highlights in 3D at 23:00.

  39. Jon
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    …cont, what about Professor Peter Higgs, Someone above mentioned Ernest Rutherford – splitting the atom. Well the Higgs boson will in time become just as important.
    Professor Stephen Hawkins lost that bet but there is another genius thats British. We could have sent the message that many of the finest minds are here if you want to do business. Most of the F1 teams are based here, okay he gave a nod to rugby and cricket, I think football has a following around the world, yes that was us as well. Not to forget ping pong.

  40. Backwoodsman
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Well it was spectacular ,good theater,and it had a strong ‘warm glow’ factor to it.But the
    PC political messages were strong and consistent,and the history both simplistic and dishonest.
    What worries me most about it is the use the political class will make of it.I can just see it as the basis for Milliband’s defining of Englishness(or Britishness if the Scots stay).And already we have 10 Downing street in its usual ‘Me Too’mode.Again the apparatchiks of liberalo-fascism are denouncing the many who didn’t like it as haters of modern Britain,the 50+ yesterday’s men and women.
    Perhaps we can get too serious about it,it was after all an ‘event’,and skilfully and imaginatively presented.But at the back of my mind a niggling little voice is saying…and so were the Nuremberg rallies.PC liberalism is not on par with National Socialism ,but it is developing some alarming similar tendencies towards those who are not ‘on message’,at least as that regime behaved in its early years.
    My congratulations to Aidan Burley.I dont agree with all that he said,and his timing was less than perfect,to put it mildly, ,but he is entitled to his views,which are shared by many.Above all he is clearly not the usual plasticine politician.I dont know whether you read French history in your academic years,but he reminds me of Martin d’Auch and the Oath of the Tennis Court.He had the courage to dissent,even entirely alone.It did not take long for most of the enthusiastic oath-takers to begin wondering who had got it right.Top marks to the MP for Cannock Chase for political courage.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted July 29, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      It is important. It is not harmless.

      They are in charge of the message stream. They control the language and they control the mood. They control the history and they are the ones who pick and choose who can be successful.

      This was not about the rest of the world. It was about showing conservative minded people how they should think and who is boss.

      We are not averse to laughing at ourselves or giving way – and that’s precisely what they’ve taken full advantage of.

  41. Tubb
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Aidan Burley was so very right. Apart from the first section with the chimneys and depictions of the dark satanic mills the rest was much as I had feared: dreadful dancing, amateurish tat, cringeworthy, predictably PC homage to the NHS and other left-wing icons, and the most tasteless, ghastly choreography accompanying the rather well and touchingly sung ‘Abide with me’. The BBC commentary was dire at times, particularly right at the end during the lighting of the cauldron and the fireworks: an intrusive, irritating voice spouting banalities. There were some very, very occasional touches of brilliance but overall it was generally fourth rate. Just like Britain, I suppose, so one has, perhaps, to admit it was appropriate. (And I felt insulted by the priority given to French.)

  42. Kevin Ronald Lohse
    Posted July 29, 2012 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    The EU did not enter a team in the Olympics. Therefore there are no supporters and no reason for the EU flag to be flown.

    • Barry
      Posted July 29, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      The EU hasn’t entered a team for an election either, but that doesn’t stop them parading the damn thing all over the place. Good to be free of it for a few hours though.

  43. Alison
    Posted July 29, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    I think we all need to keep this thing in proportion. It was a big party to launch a huge sporting event – nothing more, nothing less. It was largely one man’s concept – a man who is, let’s face it, an entertainer, in spite of what he might think. He doesn’t define who we are and he doesn’t dictate where we are going. His “definition” of what we are is certainly not reflected in the Olympics audience – the people who are already looking forward to their favourite sporting events and hoping for medals. When it’s all over, other more immediate things will take priority.

    I’m off to the Proms.

  44. Manof Kent
    Posted July 29, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Fantastic show!
    I suppose we had to ‘celebrate’ the NHS after all it is the third largest parastatal in the world after the Chinese Army and Indian State Railways.
    What a pity the nurses portrayed do not dress like that nowadays.

  45. Magnolia
    Posted July 29, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I loved it and watched it with my family. It’s rare for us all to sit down around the TV for three hours these days although we still sit around the table for meals. It was entertaining and didn’t bore us. I think the left wing bias criticism is overdone. There was a strong emphasis on Victorian Britain and the development of the great industrial North which was a celebration of capitalism and work rather than of any ‘leftyism’. The NHS scene was set in an historical context, as was the CND symbol, and the nurses all wore costumes that were similar to those worn by my mum in the fifties. Who wouldn’t argue today that we need to go back to the original ideals of the NHS when it was first founded? (This is a good idea from Liam Byrne and we should pinch it.) Can any one really be against the mass vaccination of all children from diseases such as polio? The surburban scene also had a northern bias which I found attractive and even rural Britain wasn’t excluded because of the opening scenes. I enjoyed the spectacle because it wasn’t aimed at SE Metropolitan Britain. I see nothing wrong with the piece on immigration which was set in the context of the Commonwealth. To those people who would want us to celebrate our empire and the wars we have won, then that would be wholly inappropriate in the setting of the Olympics which is about peace between nations and making future progress. War is not progress, however necessary.
    I particularly liked the music of Evelyn Glennie and the concentration of beat and rhythm was invaluable to including all cultures in the accompaniment. The humour was British and necessary. We laugh at everything no matter what and especially at ourselves. As always, our monarch shows us the way. It was a great ad for Britain and not an ad for Labour.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted July 29, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      A) The whole thing cost our country a huge amount of money so whatever message was put out was paid for by taxpayers whether we liked it or not (I thought the artistes and technicians did a wonderful job)

      B) It most definitely showed the Victorian industrialists in an avaricious and exploitative light.

      Perhaps they were and Danny Boyle felt the need to educate us about their shortcomings – but why then fail to add balance by not mentioning such things as the violence, misogyny and homophobia of Gangsta Rappers ?

      Clearly there’s an agenda – to besmirch our greatest generations.

      I feel awfully unhealthy in seeing it this way and feel bad for commenting – but then realise that is what Boyle intended. Shove one up Beijing over child mortality, corner the Tories over the NHS.

      Nu Labourites are masters of media control and mind control. It really is as though they’ve never left office.

      • Magnolia
        Posted July 30, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

        I do see your point but I think you’re still being too political. I saw it as a celebration of work and the working man/woman. This is something that goes to the heart of what I think Conservatives should be selling to the electorate. Labour pretend to represent the working people but they haven’t raised wages in real terms and they’ve left our country with fewer good paying jobs and a massive welfare need/bill which is now falling on a tax paying base which cannot cope. So much for Labour and lefty values while their reality lead to bankruptcy (rising debt) or the modern equivalent of ‘rigged markets’ and ‘printing money’.
        We Conservatives will never win an election unless we can improve the chances of most of the electorate to find a well paid job. Even some of the welfare/social problems would ameliorate if this were the case because the working adults would have more spare money to perhaps support their parents and grandparents a little as well as their children and grandchildren. I pay for my elderly mother to have a holiday and for my kids university fees and I wish others could do the same.

  46. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    “European visitors have left their EU flags at home.” Hurrah. But they still have their tanks on our lawn.

  47. Bazman
    Posted July 30, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Europe probably liked it and Americans though it was a true historical representation as
    when walked into the room where my parents were watching the ceremony and at first puzzled as to why they were watching some mad Euro channel.

  48. peter davies
    Posted July 30, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I don’t want to start a row here because much of the opening ceremony was good, just a shame they couldn’t base it on facts rather bring in leftist political ideology

    Here’s an article which lets the cat out of the bag

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/jul/29/opening-cermony-trojan-horse-socialism

    Quote: “tweeted that the opening ceremony was “the best Labour party political broadcast I have seen in a while”.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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