London 2012: Has Danny Boyle fixed broken Britain?

A year ago, like many other bloggers, I wrote about the London riots as a symbol of broken Britain. It was a sad day for London. But we have recovered. In the midst of a double-dip recession, the British fighting spirit has been revived and we have seen multiple different versions of the famous Second World War motivational poster Keep Calm and Carry On.

And then there was Danny Boyle’s quirky Olympic opening ceremony. It included some relatively obscure cultural and historical references which may have been incomprehensible to many international viewers; but it also depicted our quintessentially British sense of humour: Mary Poppins, Mr Bean and even the Queen in a James Bond sketch – and our inventiveness embodied by Tim Berners-Lee. The programme embraced so much of what it means to be British – tackling some important issues head on with a fantastic celebration of our flawed, but altruistic National Health Service, and a serious tribute to the victims of 7/7 terrorist attacks featuring choreographer Akram Kahn and 50 dancers – which was, notably, censored by US broadcaster NBC.

Like so many British achievements, the Olympic opening ceremony was unique, eccentric and inspired. It was incredibly uplifting. And notwithstanding the doubters on Twitter and elsewhere – no, we didn’t mess it up. It was creative and different – and it worked.

It has taken the Diamond Jubilee, a historic Tour de France and the Olympics to make British people feel proud again – and to believe once more that what makes us different can also make us strong. Now all we need to do is get our economy back on its feet again.


Olympic pointe shoes belonging to Lydia Holt (Image: Sheri Leblanc on Pinterest )

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