So, this happened and this is the only place I could find a video of the opening ceremony. The IOC seems to be very, very keen on taking down anything that appears on Youtube or the other more conventional video sources.
We didn’t bother watching it last night. Couldn’t give a rat’s arse about sport and the whole patriotic fervour and corporate plastering of everything is something of which we are ‘not fans’ either.
I thought I’d better give it a look afterwards though. Given all the right wing huffing and puffing. After all, if something upsets people like that it’s generally a good indication that there’s something good to say for it.
So, I sat and watched the opening ceremony and, to be honest, it kinda made me sad. It’s a positive, brilliant narrative of Britishness and all that. It’s just that it doesn’t really exist. It’s a nice story and it resonates with how we view ourselves, or at least how we view our history, but it’s bollocks.
At the same time as that was going on, cyclists from Critical Mass were being arrested and their bail conditions are draconian. Inside the arena it was videos of smiling bobbies and a multicultural rainbow of tolerance, respect and self-deprecating humour. Outside it was the more familiar bully-boy tactics and thuggish zero tolerance that’s been the target of satire for decades.
We have troops and armed cops all over the place, drones in the sky and missiles on house roofs. All those volunteers dancing and drumming and telling a tale of British unity and competence while the private security firm is a much more relevant narrative, one of incompetence and exploitation.
How can we celebrate rural Britain when farming is being fucked over on every level? Farms are consistently screwed over and villagers are being priced out of living where they have for generations by legions of commuters and upper-middle class second homes.
How can we celebrate industrial Britain when it’s all but gone?
How can we celebrate multiculturalism and togetherness when even the Scots and Welsh reject the concept of Britishness?
It’s all very well celebrating the NHS, but it’s being dismantled and fucked over as well. It may not remain in any recognisable form for much longer.
It would be lovely if all that stuff, the self-deprecation, the multiculturalism, the humour, the history of ‘doing the right thing’ was a) true and b) currently accurate, but it ain’t. It’s nice that it’s how we like to see ourselves and I wish we were more like that.
I suppose it was Mr Boyle sticking two fingers up at the current state of society and governance, but it did just make me sad.
I’ll quit whining now, I just found the contrast between the uplifting show and the crappy reality soul-crushing.
Back to writing fiction again now.