#London2012: What did it mean to you, then?

With barely enough time to catch breath after all those golds, there has been a glut of reflections on how the London Olympics have either redefined or exhibited a new Britishness.

Over at the Daily Mail, Dominic Sandbrook is unequivocal, calling it a rebirth of Britishness:

Coming so soon after the triumph of the Diamond Jubilee, which reaffirmed the deep bond between the British people and our Royal Family, the Games have been a valuable reminder of everything that most of us love about our country.

The New Statesman’s leader reckons that we’ve seen the rise of the new patriotism. (The emphasis is mine – ‘the’ instead of ‘a’ is a pretty prescriptive claim):

The Games have reminded us that a new, post-imperial British patriotism already exists. The London Olympics have been both a resounding sporting and a cultural triumph. Taking place against the backdrop of the Great Recession and the worst economic crisis since the 1930s (as well as one of the wettest summers in living memory), and with the secessionist Scottish National Party agitating to break up the Union in 2014, the Games have helped to redefine notions of patriotism and Britishness. A year after England was ravaged by urban riots, they have been a glorious distraction from our economic troubles and from the squabbling of our fractured, directionless and increasingly unimpressive coalition government.

But the Games have been much more than a distraction – they have created a sense of national unity and purpose and, at times, a kind of ecstatic sociality. The torch relay around Britain showed, even before they began, just how much enthusiasm there was for the Games among the general population. In an age when our lives have become so atomised, the yearning for the shared experience clearly runs deep.

Over at the Telegraph, chief sports writer Paul Hayward enthuses that London’s brilliant beautiful Games was the very best of British:

The triumph was not in Danny Boyle’s conceptions so much as the statement they set out. Britain would be itself for the next two weeks. It would not bend itself out of shape to suit the International Olympic Committee. It would not second-guess what an Olympic host should be but instead impose its identity on the Games. Some of this could be called inventor’s confidence. Still buried in the British psyche is the knowledge that we invented many of these crazy activities. London 2012 brought the Games here for the third time: no other country can match that.

and

The Olympics were an almighty advertisement for collective effort and shared experience. The binding together so many spoke of was an expression of a Britishness that excluded no one.

Over at the Daily Mail Yasmin Alibhai – Brown gives another perspective on the embrace of Britishness and the potential legacy of the games:

Of course I am not labouring under the illusion that this extraordinary festival of goodwill means racism and anti-immigrant hostility have vanished, and that all playing fields are now level. Or that all ghettoised communities are letting the walls fall. But over these Olympic days, even I found it impossible to stay on my soapbox and lament the discrimination and segregation that too often blights this country still…

There has been much talk about the post-Olympic legacy, about getting the young into sports and the health benefits of doing that. But just as important is the legacy of  Britain’s winning inclusivity.
The Games showed this country’s diverse identity in its very best light, made and re-made by natives and strangers through sheer determination. That should be the true legacy of this unforgettable celebration of human achievement: pride has beaten prejudice. And as a nation, we are all the stronger for that.

Over at OpenDemocracy.net Aaron Peters is more dismissive of finding ‘meaning’ in the games in the face of the ongoing economic issues and what he sees as a crisis of identity:

As Team GB entered the Olympic stadium during the opening ceremony on Friday night, it was to David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’. The central line from the song struck me as summing up the country’s hopes for its sportswomen and men amid a double-dip recession and seemingly terminal economic inertia – ‘We can be heroes, just for one day’. A concession in the choice of song perhaps that the Olympics represent a temporary, if somewhat spectacular, distraction from an increasingly dire reality that can only intensify over the forthcoming years.

Over at the Guardian, Mike Small doesn’t think much of the long or medium term impact of London 2012 on the Scottish Independence debate (see also Pat Kane and Mick’s chat):

The collapse in British identity witnessed over the past 30 years will not be vanquished by some strong sculling at Eton Dorney…

Now the union flag may be resurrected on the wave of genuine heartfelt goodwill at a superb event, but reality endures. Yes, the Corinthian spirit loomed large. Yes, Team GB excelled at all levels. But come September job losses, NHS breakup and divergence and the private capture of the public sphere will continue apace, as started under Labour, as finished under the coalition. No amount of bunting, pyrotechnics, choreography or dressage can change that.

On the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Tony Blair and Peter Hitchens clash over the meaning of the games and the symbolism of the ceremonies for Britishness and a ‘new Britain’ which you can listen to here.

In his book on Soviet Russia, Imperium, Ryszard Kapuscinski evokes the socio-political caste who only viewed matters from the perspective of what things meant for the Soviet Union – disregarding all local, personal or intimate concerns. Much of the initial post-Olympic emphasis on Britishness seems to miss the more useful values. I suspect that most people who got into the Olympics made an emotional connection with some event or individuals that was grounded in the intimacy of their own life or experiences by identifying with the individual. I’m pretty sure that rarely if ever happens in the Premiership or other big money sports, like golf. Irish golfers excepted, of course, since we are still an intimate enough society that a lot of people can find either a geographic or other link to them (e.g. my sister-in-law worked with Rory’s father).

Two performances stood out for me in the Olympics – Paddy Barnes and Rob Heffernan in the 50k walk, neither winning gold. Barnes hadn’t convinced me he was a genuine gold medal prospect (sorry Paddy) until the 2nd and 3rd rounds of his semifinal which he lost by the narrowest of margins but the Antrim Rd connection made it my highlight. Similarly Heffernans long slog to 4th on the greatest 50k walk ever was mostly unheralded but epitomised that Corinthian ideal more than any overpaid footballer can. Therein lies the real meaning – human spirit and endeavour – positive attributes to stand against the crass commercialism of modern ‘sport’. Forget political allegories and promote the people.

So, who made your heart swell?

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  • DougtheDug

    The confusion between Britain and England is ever present when reading about how wonderfully British the Olympics were.

    From a Scottish perspective the perennial question of, “Do they mean us?”, is always in mind when metropolitan commentators talk about Britain because so often in terms of law, education and devolved powers Britain is used where England should be.

    The opening ceremony was really London talking to England thinking it was Britain. If it was a British ceremony why did they have children’s choirs coming in from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but no choir from England? The London choir acted as both the choir for the British part and the English part. Again Britain and England were regarded as indivisible within the ceremony

    The metropolitan commentators seem to have mistake the patriotic fervour they saw in London as an indication that the rest of England and the entire UK has had the same national outpouring of Britishness.

  • Nordie Northsider

    Fever is the key word in the media catch cry ‘Olympics fever’. Fevers die down. The media, reluctantly, will have to return to the impasse in the coalition, to increased jobless figures announced only today, and to the stagnation of the British and wider European economy. Remember, only a few months ago the riots had everyone chanting the ‘broken Britain’ mantra. That wasn’t rue and the Team GB hype isn’t true either.

  • andnowwhat

    I take it we’re separating the sports from everything else? I was listening to a vox pop a few days ago, conducted in the Trafford Centre and all but one person said it won’t change a thing. Trying to find news on the telly was a non starter with even the 24 hour news channels chock full of olympics stories, despite the 200 odd other services/channels that were covering events. I wonder how much 18 days of a virtual news blackout contributed to people feeling lighter of soul?

    There seems to be a bit of thought policing going on, as we saw with the government and Boris’ reaction to the reports that showed the west end of London with virtually empty streets and reports of restaurants and pubs being well down on their takings. Maybe Gideon will get another excuse (is anyone taking account of how many he’s used and what they were?) in his perverse logic for the August figures?

  • Mick Fealty

    Low point (both Team Ireland)… Annalise getting piped for any medal sitting on Weymouth Sands… Sorry for John Joe, but he was completely outboxed…

    High points (both Team GB)… Jessica Ennis hitting the tape in the last event of the Decathalon (even though she did not need the win)… Mo Farah doing it twice in two very different races…

  • Well organised. Perhaps the biggest boost to unionism since the National Health Service……which is of course a very bad thing. Probably temporary.
    Interestingly a certain embracing of people like Mo Farrah…but not sure if it actually means embracing a new diversity.
    High points….the USA team marching into the stadium in black berets (not actually sure if it was accidental or a deliberate tip of the beret to Tommy Smith and John Carlos)…….Jessica Ennis….Usain Bolt……and of course Katie Taylor…….and BBC co-presenters such as Colin Jackson, Denice Lewis, John McEnroe (!),Ian Thorpe, Michael Johnson and a very impressive swimming guy Mark Foster……all of whom kept the professionals like Balding, Lineker, Inverdale in place when they behaved badly.

    Low points…..some disappointment for Annalise Murphy & Rob Heffernan (4th is a lonely place), the Closing Ceremony and the “Rule Britannia” singing at several points during the Argentina-Britain Womens Hockey Match. That was tacky.

  • I saw very little of the main London 2012 action; just the final of the cycling 3000m women’s team pursuit and highlights of the 3rd/4th play-off for bronze in women’s hockey.

    In the first, the winners blew the opposition away and, in the second, the special moment for me was one of the forwards courageously crashing through a melee of bodies and bodies and sticks to finally deliver a pass that was converted into a goal.

    The hockey brought back memories of the huge enthusiasm there was for the game in my old school, Bushmills Grammar, and those who went on to greater things for Portrush, Ulster and Ireland but, especially, that match between the junior boys and the senior girls where the boys won on goals and the girls won on injuries inflicted to boys’ shins 🙂

  • Greenflag

    Olympics come -Olympics go . For the cities and countries that host them they bring worldwide focus and a few weeks of attention . Some have left behind massive debt problems but some new sporting infrastructure .It’s too early to judge the London games of 2012 but from a purely spectator and visitor perspective it has been a resounding success and even more for the British athletes and sports contestants who benefitted from home advantage . Even Ireland I believe benefitted from ‘home ‘ advantage . Thers nowhere closer than London from an Irish perspective .

    As to any political ramifications for the ‘union ‘ one way or the other ? Probably not . The economic , social and fiscal problems will remain much as before the Olympics .It was a good couple of weeks before the the autumn leaves fall and it’s get ready time for another winter but perhpas one with less discontent due to the good vibrations left by Britains Great Olympics 😉

  • Actually I think Womens Football was a big winner. Most football club websites have noted that individual athletes are supporters of “our” team…….but in the case of Manchester United (my own team) it all rang a bit hollow when the club website showed Alex Morgan (a USA player) wearing a United replica shirt….and the website joyfully told us she was one of us.
    Alas not…to Man Uniteds shame it is the only major Premiership club without a womens team and it is ironic that a young boy can visit the Threatre of Dreams and dream…..but a young girl cant.
    Britains women footballers raised the profile…..behaved with dignity and deserve better than being marginalised.

  • HeinzGuderian

    A few Sluggerites seemed to be surprised by the welcome for the republic of ireland team ? No idea why that would be ?
    Tackiest moment had to be the irish crowd booing the Russian Boxer against taylor.
    Best moment(s) The Velodrome was was sports drama at it’s very finest. The boys from Coleraine,cheered to the rafters. Mo,Jessica,Usain,Sir Chris Hoy,Steve Redgrave was an abolute pleasure to listen to,The brothers in the Triathlon,so many,many more…….

    I look forward to dublin hosting an Olympics,that would be a spectacle…..and a half. 😉

  • Alias

    The enduring nationalism of GB isn’t British: it is Scottish, Welsh, and English. The bread and circus moment of London 2012 reveal that more than ever.

    There is no crisis of national identity with the enduring nationalisms but there is this constant crisis with what is essentially a transient (and expedient) British national identity.

    The circus always moves on to the next town and the people are no longer distracted by it.

    When the circus leaves town folks will look at back to broken Britain as they glimpsed it during the circus in the form of its dysfunctional state-dependent underclass, those who are grandparents in their 30s, and hide their murdered grandchild’s body in the attic of their council house from the police who fail to find that body.

    These declarations that the crisis has finally been resolved, and they can all be contentedly British now, are purely cathartic, pointing back to the unresolved conflict. The more the protest, the greater the underlying conflict.

    Jubilees and Olympics are not as common as they need to be for the purpose that British nationalists require…

  • HeinzGuderian

    The Circus,in dear old oirlands case,being the next ‘holey’ declaration from Rome.

  • Dec

    ‘Tackiest moment had to be the irish crowd booing the Russian Boxer against taylor.’

    Really, would that have been when threw a hissy fit during the Gold medal ceremony? Nothing like a little context, eh?

    Sad that you appear to be the only person in existence who wasn’t blown away by the Irish crowd that day, not just for the atmosphere they generated in the arena but the full -throated support they gave to Nicola Adams, before the Taylor fight.

  • jagmaster

    At least “dear old oirland” has a team which is representative of the country unlike dear old N Ireland which seems to be the poor cousin and a token entity of “Team GeeB”

  • @Mick: Not to be pedantic but – heptathlon. Sure it was a mistake. Completely agree with your high points.

    To me these Olympics meant supporting the athletes from both Team GB&NI and Team Ireland, and being completely comfortable with that.

    Supporting those athletes doesn’t necessarily mean you are validating any particular form of citizenship or constitutional make-up for these islands. It means you are supporting athletes from very close to home, and that you are a sport fan.

    Some wish to use sport as a means of furthering a particular political, nationalist or unionist identity. Whilst you can’t entirely separate it from politics – because it has an undeniable impact there – those who use it as a political tool here only serve to divide us further.

    The fact is that, for athletes from these parts, whichever ‘Team’ they play for will always be a divisive issue, as will our constitutional/ national/ citizenship position in the wider context. Those who try to paint it as black and white today are only going to create tension and division and take away from the sporting achievements that can have such great positive corollaries in the long-term.

    I am so excited to see athletes from Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Derry/ Londonderry, and Tyrone doing well on the world stage. Beyond that it’s great to see others from close to home doing well, whether they’re from Dublin, Sheffield, Cork or Glasgow. It means something to me, I support them and it has absolutely no bearing on my political or constitutional views.

    I enjoyed supporting two Olympic committees over the past few weeks and I hope that the positives outweigh the negatives (both considerable) in the long run.

  • Alias

    “The Circus,in dear old oirlands case,being the next ‘holey’ declaration from Rome.” – Herr Guderian

    I think the Vatican relaxed its position (if that is appropriate terminology) on the use of condoms. Now if you could only find someone willing to have sex with you, wouldn’t that be a more useful advance in your life than watching over-paid athletes on TV?

  • Alias

    “It means you are supporting athletes from very close to home, and that you are a sport fan.”

    How wide is this geographical radius you used? Just wide enough to encompass ‘the British isles’ but not wide enough to cover France?

    You are being disingenuous when you loftily declare that your support is not political.

  • What’s to say that ‘close to home’ has to be a geographical consideration? When I say close to home, I mean those places that mean something to me (which I said in my post). It is similar, I suppose, to an ex-pat supporting their new place of residence and their place of birth. Or is there a rule against that – a law delineating the geographical boundaries of the nation states that you may or may not support?

    I am not trying to loftily declare anything. But there will of course always be those who choose to take it that way. If that is your perception, then I accept that – it is YOUR perception after all. Although I do think it is rather presumptuous for you to tell me exactly what I am thinking or where I am coming from. I can tell you that I am not being political or speaking from a political view point. I am speaking from a view point that gives me the greatest level of enjoyment watching sport.

  • HeinzGuderian

    ‘Really, would that have been when threw a hissy fit during the Gold medal ceremony? Nothing like a little context, eh?’

    Not sure if that’s supposed to be in English ?
    No,they were booing the Russian girl before she even stepped into the ring,and continued to do so throughout the fight.

    Tacky,no matter what way you care to look at it !!

  • HeinzGuderian

    @ Her Alias

    I was,of course,hinting at the rape of little children by paedophile priests,Circus.

    Did the pontiff relax condom laws for that particular ‘abomination’ ?

  • Dec

    Looks like the first casualty of London 2012 is Nelson McCausland nad Gregory campbell’s collective blood pressure.

    rom the Daily Telegraph editorial:

    WE ARE GREAT BRITAIN

    A strange fit of national amnesia – unparalleled anywhere in the world – had until recently overcome these islands. They had somehow managed to forget their own name. All those medal ceremonies provided a welcome reminder: we live in a country called Great Britain.

    Our Government has been stubbornly absent-minded, insisting on stamping us with the anaemic acronym “UK”. Even William Hague, our otherwise admirable Foreign Secretary, persists in announcing the “Yoo-Kay’s” position on world affairs. Henceforth, he should ditch the acronym and declare what Great Britain believes. Lord Salisbury was, as usual, entirely right when his government signed the Olympic charter in 1896 under the name Great Britain, giving our team this proud banner forever. Enough of the diminutives. Great Britain it should be from now on.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Shhhhs now.
    Some prefer to sit,mouth open,agog,barely able to contain themselves,for the next act that is holey circus,Rome.

  • “Great Britain it should be from now on.”

    Too late, Dec, ‘Britain’ was dropped from the annual digest of Government statistics about ten years ago and ‘Britain in the USA’ has been replaced by the much snappier ‘UK in the USA’. The Telegraph is bolting the stable door after the horse has gone 🙂

  • Dec

    Nevin

    You keep referring to ‘Britain’ when there’s no such place – I suggest you read the article again.

  • HeinzGuderian

    ” groans ”

    In 1896 Great Britain was The British Isles.

    ‘Team roi’ was included.

    Unionist blood pressure is fine with that ! 😉

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    It meant a lot to me. It wasn’t as some revelation of a new Britain, but of what’s been there for decades but not always known around the world.

    Nothing except the sporting success was very new – we knew we were multi-cultural and tolerant by most international standards, we knew in London we had a world-class gem of a city and one of the most richly interesting places on earth; and Britain’s always punched above its weight in the cultural sphere. It’s just been great to be able to show this to a wider world who may still see us in terms of the tired old narratives of Empire and decline.

    As a sports fan who also has a very similar taste in music and popular culture to Danny Boyle, it’s been bliss. I capped it off by watching Julien Temple’s “London Babylon” last night which rams it home about our national capital – fantastic. But yes the whole thing reinforced my feeling that this country is really not such a bad place to live, for all our failures. But I came to that conclusion 20 years ago after travelling around the world – we’re as good as anywhere on our day. It’s not so much national pride as not feeling inappropriate national shame. We’re no better than anyone else but no worse either. And we have some tunes.

    Low point: the closing ceremony. Show what happens when half-arsed attempts at “crowd-pleasing” replaces taste and artistic vision. I started all emotional, quickly felt flat and ended with a sense of anti-climax. Night and day compared with Danny Boyle’s brilliant opening ceremony.

  • Greenflag

    @ Alias ,

    ‘When the circus leaves town folks will look at back to broken Britain as they glimpsed it during the circus in the form of its dysfunctional state-dependent underclass, those who are grandparents in their 30s, and hide their murdered grandchild’s body in the attic of their council house from the police who fail to find that body.’

    Are you ok Alias ? I understand you may be disappointed that Israel did’nt win any medals this time but there you go .
    That comment above is very far beneath your usual standards . We understand you detest the poor and the weak and the economically dysfunctional and your pin up heroes are the gangster bankers and the hedge fund thieves and your new found darlings of fiscal rectitude are messrs Romney the cult Mormon and Ryan the medieval Roman Catholic . But easy on old chap we are all human beings are we not ?

    You should’nt hate yourself so much otherwise it kinda comes out in your comments ! Now heres another right wing nut job who glories/gloried in anti semitism until of course his ‘past’ caught up with him . I guess just another sociopath /psychopath of the Madoff /Stanford and countless other modern day sickos who have to find some to rob and steal and loot entire economies.

    Heres some excerpts from the hypocritical Hungarian Anti Semite one Csanad Szegedi a founding member of the Hungarian Guard .

    As the AP says, Csanad Szegedi had in the past railed about the “Jewishness” of the political class. According to the ADL, his party’s presidential candidate referred to Israeli Jews as “lice-infested, dirty murderers.”

    “Szegedi came to prominence in 2007 as a founding member of the Hungarian Guard, a group whose black uniforms and striped flags recalled the Arrow Cross, a pro-Nazi party which briefly governed Hungary at the end of World War II and killed thousands of Jews. In all, 550,000 Hungarian Jews were killed during the Holocaust, most of them after being sent in trains to death camps like Auschwitz. The Hungarian Guard was banned by the courts in 2009.

    “Under pressure, Szegedi resigned last month from all party positions and gave up his Jobbik membership. That wasn’t good enough for the party: Last week it asked him to give up his seat in the European Parliament as well. Jobbik says its issue is the suspected bribery, not his Jewish roots.

    In June, Szegedi conceded that his mother was a Jew. According to Jewish law, that makes Szegedi Jewish, too.

    Not only that, but Szegedi’s grandmother survived Auschwitz and his grandfather survived labor camps.

    Ah well just another right wing nut job 🙁

    The full story from AP

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/08/14/158773637/leader-of-anti-semitic-party-in-hungary-discovers-hes-jewish

  • Greenflag

    continued from above

    ‘Ah well just another right wing nut job’

    I’m sure Ayn Rand would have admired this cretin’s sheer greed and selfishness and his insisting he should be able to keep his European Parliament seat in the face of opposition by his right wing nut job party says it all 🙁

  • fizzix

    Reading the Guardian the other day, I came across this comment to a story about the best moments of the Olympics. I’m in quite a similar situation and the comment sums my feelings up better than I can, so here it is:

    It’s almost impossible to pick a single moment given that the games delivered so many of them, day after day. They began wonderfully with a truly astonishing opening ceremony and continued to delight all the way through.

    That said, some do stand out. I’m Irish and have lived in England for almost ten years at this stage. The cheering at the opening ceremony for the entrance of the Irish athletes was, frankly, unbelievable, and hinted at the madness that was to come. Katie Taylor’s final at the ExCel, which I was lucky enough to attend was spine tingling; the noise generated both by the Irish fans and the Brits who had stayed around after having just seen Nicola Adams win was one of the most moving things I’ve ever experienced. That and the first Saturday night, when Rutherford, Ennis, and Farah won gold are some of the most amazing things I’ve ever witnessed.

    But perhaps the most surprising thing of the whole two weeks was how happy I felt at seeing this country at peace with itself. I’ve always felt slightly uneasy at the sight of large crowds brandishing Union flags; too many bad memories of seeing far-right nutters and Orange-order parades on television when I was younger have left some bad associations in my mind. But the sight of ordinary, decent people – the kind of people I live and work with every day – finally wresting their flag back and carrying it with pride, that’s my moment of the games.

    Long may it continue.

  • Dec, I was referring to this: “Our Government has been stubbornly absent-minded, insisting on stamping us with the anaemic acronym “UK”.” The state has been and is referred to as ‘Britain’ but the DT editorialist now wants to have it called Great Britain. A similar muddle relates to the use of ‘Ireland’.

  • Alias

    GF, you managed to fit a lot in there: Jews, anti-Semitism, Israel’s performance at the Olympics, Hungarian politics, American politics, financial fraud, heartfelt concern for my mental health and other ‘right-wing nuts’ but really, shouldn’t I be more concerned for your mental health after than sting of non-linear non-sequiturs?

    And what brought all that on? A comment about broken Britain as engineered by left-wing ideologues that you align with?

    Let’s look again:

    “When the circus leaves town folks will look at back to broken Britain as they glimpsed it during the circus in the form of its dysfunctional state-dependent underclass, those who are grandparents in their 30s, and hide their murdered grandchild’s body in the attic of their council house from the police who fail to find that body.”

    Isn’t that the profoundly dysfunctional society that your ilk politically-engineered, Greenie? Why else would the comment produce your bizarre response?

  • Neil

    The state has been and is referred to as ‘Britain’ but the DT editorialist now wants to have it called Great Britain.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Britain

    Britain may refer to:

    United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, a sovereign state in western Europe, Kingdom of Great Britain, a sovereign state from 1707 to 1801, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, a sovereign state from 1801 to 1922 (and between 1922 and 1927 in its superseded form)

    So the DT editor, like certain Olympics coaches (wink wink, nudge nudge), seems to see the whole ‘and Northern Ireland’ bit as surplus to requirements. And if the DT editor is in any way more representative of British opinion than the Gregster then it seems those pesky British folks over there have not heeded his campaign to rename the GB team to recognise the participation of those people not from GB (i.e. the ‘and Northern Ireland’ ones).

    A similar muddle relates to the use of ‘Ireland’.

    A debate that exists for NI Unionism only. Most people are happy enough that Ireland is the island on which Irish citizens are born. Who’s football and rugby team choose players from the 32 counties of.

    Delighted at the poll that shows the effect of the reflected glory of the London Olympics has actually dented the ‘No to Independence’ campaign in Scotland. Just goes to show decking the place out with more flags than seen in one place since 30s Germany doesn’t always have the desired affect.

    Godwin’s rule invoked. I’m off.

  • “A similar muddle relates to the use of ‘Ireland’.

    A debate that exists for NI Unionism only.”

    Neil, you may have missed the exchange on The Gathering Ireland 2013 where ‘Ireland’ is the, er, 26 county state 😉

  • It is hilarious that anyone is taking this debate about the definition of “Britain” seriously. I remember hearing something similar in the playground 15 years ago…

  • Greenflag

    @ Alias ,

    ‘A comment about broken Britain as engineered by left-wing ideologues that you align with?.

    I’m not an ideologue of the right or the left as you can peruse in my profile . BTW wheres your ‘profile ‘?

    The UK has it’s problems most of them also caused primarily by the City of London gangster banksters and the financial sector pin striped criminals ;( But they don’t have 2% of their population incarcerated behind bars and they don’t have 50 million privately held arms nor will they murder each other using guns by the quarter million in the next 10 years .

    Now theres another non sequitur to challenge your single track Vulcanic ‘logic’.

    ‘Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey, where wealth accumulates, and men decay. ‘

  • abucs

    Very well run Olympics and great result for the home country / countries.

  • gary oh

    Nevin once your lord and masters in america know it as the UK then all is well and good. After the success of this olympics it will never be team UK. Have to say the highpoints were farrah,bolt,taylor and ennis for me in that order. I think track and field are the soul of the olympics. Farrah is just an immensely likeable guy and he achieved an historic double. I thought the closing ceremony was a disaster and was as bad as the opening ceremny was good. Low points for me were the british fans ausing the ozzies riders parents at the velodrome and the british guy throwing the bottle at the hundred metre sprint final. On the plus side people from the north got to moan a lot about not being at the centre of things which they really enjoy doing! 🙂

  • “your lord and masters in america”

    gary oh, I’ve enough on my plate with political illiterates on this side of the pond 🙂

    My special memories of London 2012 will include blowing the cover locally on the Carrickarede-Giants Causeway-Dunluce ‘secret’ leg of the torch relay and my 3000 metre pursuit of the PM to Dunluce Castle. Why does officialdom think it can maintain secrecy in these parts?

  • John Ó Néill

    @fizzix The atmosphere for the Taylor fight seemed unreal. Likewise Bolt and Farrah brought so much charisma to the generally dour track events (although hats off to the lad who lost his competition top and won the high jump in a t-shirt and the one who did a hulk routine before celebrating by doing the hurdles on his lap of honour).

    I defy anyone not to smile when watching Jessica Ennis.

    Even Phelps showed enough vulnerability early on that his last golds seemed to be a redemptive act to ensure his legacy as the great swim Olympian.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Highlights for me were Mo Farrah’s two golds and the amazing, and appropriately named, Usain Bolt.

    I enjoyed the Closing Ceremony. The atmosphere in the stadium was great (I was lucky to have blagged a couple of tickets). Everyone around me joined with Eric Idle’s singalong and the only downside came when I discovered that I was seated beside two Spice Girls’ fans who went boogaloo from the moment the London taxis entered the stadium.

    Downside has been the return to find Irish nationalists on their usual shtick, this time trying to mine the nomenclature of ‘Team GB’ to find some surreal harbinger of the end of NI and the coming of a UI.

    Now if only clutching-at-straws was an Olympic event that’d be two golds for ‘Team Ireland’.

  • gary oh

    As ardal o hanlon said before can we not unite with someone good like spain? Does it have to be NI? I think most would rather spain. It was definetly a great olympics. I am surprised at how much seb coe has to put up with silly questions about empty seats and stadium music. That man has done a wonderful job. Is there a higher title than lord because if there is he deserves it.

  • For me personally, it was inspiring to see Athletes who have worked so hard reaching their goals.

    More than that, it has given me something I badly needed. It has already helped be to re-set my business goals and look to the future more boldly and with renewed optimism.

    I suspect and hope that others may also feeling the energising effect of the games.

  • Mister_Joe

    Here’s how one Irish commentator saw it.
    http://www.thatvideosite.com/v/5852

  • Alan N/Ards

    The highlight for me wasn’t Bolt, Farrah or Ennis but our own Alan Campbells performance in the single scull event. Here was a man who put everything into this race and was totally drained at the end of it. Okay, he didn’t win the gold but his performance and dedication were outstanding.

    I would also pay tribute to hockey player Ian Lewers who had to spend three in the international wilderness so he could play for his nation. This is due to the pettiness of the Irish Hockey Union . They spent 27,000 euros trying to stop him playing for Team GB and I believe when two days short of the three year deadline, GB had a match against Maylasia and Irtish hockey insisted that he couldn’t play as the three years wasn’t up. Pettiness or what. It is a shame that the people who were supporting nationalist football players who wanted to play football for the ROI team were not.supporting this talented hockey player’s right to play for his nation. I believe that there are a number of young talented hockey players, who are at university in Scotland and are considering their options and maybe will opt for the Scottish national side rather than risk being put through the nonsense that young Lewers was put through. Irish hockey could have shot itself by trying to define a person’s nationality for them. A bit like the IFA I hear you say!

  • Republic of Connaught

    Alan N/Ards,

    Iain Lewers played over 80 times for Ireland before switching, you surprisingly failed to mention. He sure took his time about realising who his ‘nation’ was. Or maybe he was just another sportsman who did what was best for his own career, full stop and no MOPE needed.

    If NI people want to try to represent Scotand, good luck to them. Though I doubt the Scots will want a load of what they see as Irish people in a Scottish national team.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Stephen Martin and JImmy Kirkwood also represent Ireland and GB at hockey. How come they didn’t have the same problem as Ian Lewers?

  • Republic of Connaught

    Alan N/Ards,

    I don’t know the specifics of his case, Alan. Do you?

    But if you accept other players can represent Ireland and GB without problems, it dismisses your own argument that Lewers case is the norm.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Alan N/Ards,

    “pettiness” is indeed the correct word to use in Ian Lewers’ case. I often wondered why W B Yeats used “no petty people” when describing his co-religionists in Ireland during his impassioned plea for tolerance before quitting the Irish Senate.

    He obviously recognised where in Ireland the pettiness gene was dominant and where it would take Irish Nationalism south of the border.

    Btw spot on with regards to Alan Campbell’s heroic Olympic performance.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Son of…

    I recall Wendy Houvenaghel accusing the GB cycling authorities of being petty too, not so long ago.

    Alas, it seems the cult of victimhood in many Ulster folk runs very deep.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Oh do look at a map once in a while. W B was born in Sandymount and cleaved to Sligo, neither of which is in Ulster.

    However you have it right on one point, he was indeed a victim of his misguided Irish nationalism.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Who said Yeats was born in Ulster? Try and read what’s written, son.

    Ulster folk like you with the perpetual ‘cry me a river’ spiel of victimhood are rather pitiful. If it’s not about flags for team Ireland its about some athlete involved in a dispute with the Irish Hockey Association who played 80 times for Ireland or Wendy Houvenaghel crying she was hard done by. Zzzzzzzzzzz

  • Red Lion

    Wendy Houvenaghel has the right to ‘cry’ for missing out on the event of a lifetime-she is an athelete and was understandably upset, whetherr or not the sporting decision was justified.

    But reading this thread despairs me. The utter bitterness and pariochialism and pedantic-ness is pathetic. It was the Olympics and it was fantastic and the UK came out of it in a brilliant light both at home and internationally. The amount of nitpickers on here nitpicking over tiny little bits and pieces that noone else cares about and ignoring the whole general brilliant show is embarassing.

    Personally as a cycling enthusiast i loved Bradley Wiggins as a character and Scotsman Sir Chris Hoy powering to glory at his ripe old age. Also loved Gemma Gibbons silver in the judo(she is really quite sexy when done-up). And the glorious 45 minutes of Super Saturaday evening in the Olympic Stadium-probably the pinnicle of British sporting excellence in our lifetime. I was buzzing that night and sat up watching repeats of Farah/Ennis/Ruthurford for ages. Im so proud of how Britain has been portrayed round the world.

  • Mister_Joe

    Red Lion,

    Excellent post.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Indeed,excellent post….but not so excellent to comend…;-)

  • Mister_Joe

    I don’t do that thing, Heinz.

  • fordprefect

    I personally thought the Olympics were great. But, you can’t take it away from people who call themselves British, (I would liked to have seen the Irish team do better), but remember people from Wales, Scotland and England had trained for years to win their events, and when they did I cheered them on! Fair play to them! Why begrudge anyone a medal, when they have trained so hard for it?