Saturday, 28 July 2012

Political Perspectives #3: Some Thoughts on the Olympics Opening Ceremony (Guest Blog)

This is the third in an occasional series of posts on the various political perspectives of those involved in activism in the Bath/Bristol area. The views expressed are those of the respective authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Standing Stone.

Some Thoughts on the Olympics Opening Ceremony

by Katy Gent

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few months, you will, in some way or another, have witnessed the opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics last night.

Many have taken the Olympics this year as a beacon of hope and celebration amongst hard times, much like the Jubilee earlier this year. Whilst others have decreed it a waste of money and a complete farce to disguise the turmoil that is reaping our green and glorious Earth.

Firstly, I'd like to talk about the ceremony itself. I watched it at my boyfriend's house with his dad. I had intended to watch it, purely out of curiosity and for the fact that it's a part of history. Regardless of the tax evasion, regardless of the fascist police forces and the blatant disregard for human rights; it is a part of history. I have to say that the ceremony itself was fantastic. It was funny, it was impressive and it was British. Danny Boyle did a fantastic job (although like all Doctor Who fans I was a little disappointed to see that David Tennant did not carry the flag into the stadium but I digress...). The inclusion of children's literature, James Bond, Mr Bean and many others highlighted what it means to be a part of this country. I was very happy to see the suffragettes involved too and also that this is the first Olympic games where all participating countries have a female team. To quote Jacques Rogg "it's a brilliant step for gender equality". I also don't think anyone could have predicted a 50ft inflatable Voldemort either.

Unfortunately, although the opening ceremony was a fantastic display of British culture and history, that is all it was. Why the pointless Queen had to be involved is beyond me. I am the last person who would support Cameron but at least he's elected and he SHOULD have been the one to have opened the games. Not some tax avoiding anachronism. Usually I will keep quiet about my blatant republicanism on occasions like this because I feel it's unnecessary. To highlight her involvement would overshadow the fantastic job that the performers did. But I couldn't help myself. She didn't smile once, she didn't even watch the ceremony, she didn't give a fuck. Phillip and she sat there with a disinterested look on their faces throughout the entire evening. They don't give a toss about these Olympics. Just like they don't give a toss about this country. They did not deserve to play a part in it.

Much like the jubilee, it was fantastic to see so many people united behind one cause. To celebrate something that unites us all in a time when the entire world is suffering under a less than ideal economic climate. However, it is under this economic climate that thousands are losing their jobs, their pensions, their welfare and their union rights. Why on Earth were we celebrating the NHS when there's nothing left of what it used to be?! Why pretend to maintain this charade of Britain as the factory of the Earth and the green and lush pasture of times past?! A better portrayal of this country would have been the Occupy movement surrounded by homeless people with a giant inflatable pig shadowing everything. That would have been a better representation of what this country is about at the moment.

So, do not think for a second that I am a cynic. I found the opening ceremony a fantastic celebration of what it means to be British. I thoroughly enjoyed every second. But it is a shame, that underneath this celebration of the best of humanity's abilities, is a murky swamp of poverty, greed and despair. It is a shame that we cannot celebrate our unity as a country. Our unity behind equality, liberty, gay rights, gender rights and democracy. That is what this country should celebrate. That is what this country needs to do to show the rest of the world how fantastic we are. Take the first step forward out of the swamp, into a new Britain, that stands for something that we WANT to celebrate. Something that the rest of the world can follow in making our Earth, our planet, a better place.


Political Perspectives Series:

Part 1. What is Anarchism? (B.A.R.F.)

Part 2. What is the Zeitgeist Movement? (Bruce Galliver)

Part 4: Thoughts on Cambodia (Dave Stephens)

Part 5. Thoughts on Meditation and Revolution (Simon Jilley)

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