I watched the Olympic opening ceremony tonight with a kind of dread. The bits I’d heard were going to happen seemed to threaten to be either unbearably twee or just tragic – a ‘celebration’ of the NHS, for example, at a time when the government is busy dismantling and giving it away.
But as I sat, watched, listened and tweeted, I started to see it as a coded message to our robber-government. Was it intentional? Well, let’s just say that if it wasn’t, it was the most spectacular ‘Freudian slip’ in history! So, what was the message?
What made us great is gone or going
Industry, manufacturing, epically-depicted miners rising from the mists of memory, engineering – strikingly portrayed and all tragically reminiscent of things that Tory (and occasionally Labour) governments have actively destroyed or allowed to wither on the vine.
The NHS tribute, strikingly lit and heroic – something we still think we have but whose roots the government has severed with its Health and Social Care Act, so that we’re watching it die but without most of us realising it. The scene of nurses making what looked like a time-out signal while famous villains ran amok among them was painfully meaningful and apt. Tragically, those hundreds of kids getting free access to a hospital bed while tended by ample numbers of nurses are soon likely to be a thing of the past – and as if to signal that, at the end of the segment the lights went out, one by one, on the NHS.
Servicemen and women paraded, inspiring pride and admiration – and the realisation that the government is reducing the armed forces to a shadow of their former selves, while hoping for the oxymoronic miracle of a ‘professional volunteer army’ (I kid you not, I heard that on the radio today!).
The spectacular steel-making scene, culminating in the ‘manufacture’ of the Olympic rings. Quite amazingly well done – but as bitter as gall to realise that what steel-making we still have is courtesy of Indian, Thai and Dutch companies.
Now I probably didn’t catch every relevant one, as I was trying to tweet those I did catch to others to share the significance, but here’s what I did get:
The Jam, ‘Going Underground’: ‘You choose your leaders to place your trust, but the lies all come down and the promises rust‘. Except we didn’t choose our current ‘leaders’ – but the sham of their promises couldn’t be clearer. ‘NHS is safe in our hands’, ‘No top-down reorganisation of the NHS’, promises of investment, maintenance of numbers in policing & health, protection of ‘front-line’ services and many others – all lies, all now rotting on a scrap-heap.
New Order, ‘Blue Monday’: ‘How does it feel to treat me like you do?‘ A question from every disabled, disadvantaged, unemployed and demonised person, every public-sector worker, every pension-bereft Briton to David Cameron, Ian Duncan-Smith, Andrew Lansley and the whole coalition government.
The Who, ‘My Generation’: ‘People try to put us down‘. Rising inequality, tax-cuts for the rich, spending-cuts for the poor, the demonisation of the poor, unemployed, disabled. Could anything be truer?
Queen, ‘Bohemian Rapsody’: ‘I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves me…caught in a landslide, no escape from reality‘. Need I really explain the aptness of this?!
The Sex Pistols, ‘Pretty Vacant’ – could there be a truer description of our shallow, vacuous government?
The Eurythmics, ‘Sweet Dreams’: ‘Sweet dreams are made of this – who am I to disagree?..Some of them want to use…some of them want to abuse you‘. Again, need I say more?
Muse, ‘Uprising’ – a call to action?
In the finale, unseen forces from above remove a man’s house from over him, leaving him exposed to the elements. As eloquent a picture of the robbery of the ordinary man or woman by those who are over them and should be protecting them as you could wish for.
Some of the scenes seemed to imply a continuation that couldn’t be shown.
The scenes of the industrial revolution, if continued chronologically, should have gone on to the closure of the factories and the cheap import of everything from China while British workers lose their jobs – and probably should have culminated in flame and pitchforks massed and moving up Downing Street.
If the NHS scenes were really current, one in three of the nurses would have disappeared, while the rest had their pensions stolen and suddenly unveiled Serco and Virgin badges on their uniforms.
But I guess you can imply a lot more than you can actually show, in an Olympic opening ceremony.
Did Danny Boyle include all these things on purpose, pointing a coded finger at Cameron as he sat watching with Samantha in the stadium? I don’t know. Probably not, although I’d love to think he did.
But either way, the messages are true. We’re a great country that is being degraded, stripped, emaciated and robbed by an unworthy clique for its own ideological and financial ends. If we’ll just see – then maybe, just maybe, we can write our own ending – one that will be worth a parade…
(If you want to send a message to this government that we have love out NHS and dont want it to become ust a memory, and that we have no confidence in them, their mentality, their ideology, then please take the time to sign these petitions: