The London Olympics seem to have converted even the most hardened cynic into embracing its ideals, making us smile and proud to be British. What a difference a year makes eh? Riots last summer, but now it seems that GB is at one with itself.
We have many reasons to hold our heads up high, as a lovely Greek lady I met at the Acropolis last week told me as we chatted in some welcome shade in the very hot midday sun. She was an unapologetic Anglophile and started to mention the many things we have given the world – a sense of fair play being high on her list.
However, her daughter is studying law in London and this Greek mother often finds herself passing by the British Museum whenever she goes to visit. She has never been in to see the infamous Elgin Marbles that are on display – those stunning marble sculptures acquired in dubious means by the then ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Thomas Bruce the seventh Earl of Elgin – and this, in fact, is the only thing about our nation that makes her lose her own marbles.
She feels that the Greeks are more than capable of looking after these marbles themselves and that the argument given by us that we’re just “looking after them for them” is a thin one. I am tempted to agree with her. If they were in their right and proper place, they might provide a much-needed boost for the Greek tourist industry. The banks were open by the way and the food was fine, as was the public transport, and the sun shone and the waters were crystal clear.
Our stance of “we know what’s best for you” and doing well at the Olympics is a reminder of the good old days when we were top dogs. Bradley Wiggins has also brought Dickensian/rock ‘n’ roll sideburns back into fashion, and according to the British press that might be his lasting legacy more than his cycling triumphs.
The Olympics dominate, but the empty seats syndrome leaves a bad taste and gives a bad impression, but do the privileged care? The post-Olympic world will see the continuation of a medieval-type trial in Moscow and a year after the riots, the police have yet to explain why they felt the need to shoot Mark Duggan on that fatal day in Tottenham, while Murdoch, the Dirty Digger is still not off the hook.
Just like old times eh? Oh, did I mention that’s the title of our next production?