Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Why talk of a political "Olympic Bounce" is facile

"Labour lead narrows as Tories enjoy Olympics bounce"

"Boris uses Olympic bounce to taunt government"

Bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce.

Talking about whether or not a politician or a party has had one as a result of the Olympics is the epitome of silly season nonsense.

Firstly, any "bounce" is bound to be transitory. I'd be amazed if any blips in the polls were sustained beyond the next few weeks. And the next general election isn't until 2015. Even the Corby by-election and the PCC elections are not for another 3 months by which time any poltical Olympic feel-good factor will have petered well out.

More importantly, staging the Olympics was a massive effort from hundreds of thousands of people across all walks of life, politicians, engineers, architects, security services, entertainment, sports people and of course the tens of thousands of volunteers who did such a wonderful job stewarding the event. The idea that all of this effort can be distilled down into a political advantage for Boris or Dave is utterly risible. In terms of high profile politicians I would suggest Tony Blair (whose eleventh hour intensive lobbying of the IOC in July 2005 is likely to be the thing that tipped the balance in my view), Tessa Jowell, Seb Coe and even Gordon Brown (who as a powerful Chancellor enabled it to happen) should be in line before Cameron anyway. And as for Boris, Ken Livingstone should get at least as much credit for similar reasons to Blair; his motives were around regeneration but his commitment to this was admirable. Most of those politicians you will note are Labour, not Conservative.

All in all, the fact that the narrative is now shifting to whether the PM and the Mayor can get political brownie points from any of this shows how shallow our discourse has become.

The Olympics was a fantastic spectacle and a great example of what this country is and can do. Any kudos should be for the UK as a whole, not any one individual.

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