It’s been an interesting and busy weekend. When I sat down late on Friday night, wanting to write a quick post on my thoughts about Danny Boyle’s Olympic opening ceremony and encapsulate some of the Twitter comments I’d made as I watched it, I didn’t expect what was going to follow.
Since I started this blog in May, the biggest day in terms of readers had 1,138 visits. Since I write because I think – correctly or not – that I have ideas and insight worth sharing, about things which the government and its supporters would much rather we didn’t think about, rather than just to get things off my chest, I’m glad when I see my posts being read. But with the post about the message of the opening ceremony to the government, I must have struck some kind of nerve.
I uploaded it at 11pm. By midnight, over 2,300 people had read it. Over the following day, my ipod was constantly pinging as just over another 9,000 took a look. I was thunderstruck – though of course, very happy to be able to communicate with so many people.
The reactions, via the blog comment facility and on Twitter, have been very interesting. Overwhelmingly, they’ve been positive and supportive, but of course it didn’t take long before the right-wingers jumped in. A few of the comments from the right were genuinely interesting, and those who made them genuinely engaging. Most weren’t, failing to rise above the ‘magic money tree’ faux-ridicule level, or resorting to simple insult.
Ah well. It wasn’t just commenters on my post or tweets, either. The right seems to have got its knickers into a serious twist about Danny Boyle’s thinly-veiled criticism of the Tories and their Lib-Doodles – or even into a panic.
Laughably, predictably but gamely, Tory MP Louise Mensch – hardly a stranger to the outrageously hypocritical soundbite – tweeted how proud she was, after the NHS tribute section, that Prime Minister David Cameron had ‘protected the NHS and increased its funding’. Her ability to take the obvious and blatantly say it means the opposite is perversely impressive – like a person who insists on going for a walk and saying it’s a lovely day when it’s pouring down, simply because they had their heart set on it being sunny, they’re not going to let a little rain stop them, and they can’t really acknowledge that it isn’t what they’d hoped for (Dad, are you listening?! lol)
I gently suggested to her that she should ask any NHS worker whether they felt protected and valued – and then should run. Very, very quickly. She didn’t respond. Maybe I’m blocked now, which I gather is quite the socialist badge of honour.
Fellow-Tory MP Aidan Burley – another paragon of propriety. moderation and commonsense – described the ceremony as ‘the most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen – more than Bejing, the csapital of a communist state!’ (how anyone aged 33 can be a Tory is simply beyond me, but there you go). He also railed against its multicultural aspects, the ultimate irony since he’s a foreigner born in New Zealand. So clearly I wasn’t the only one getting the message, even if some hated it as much as I applauded it.
Meanwhile, the Daily Fail was its usual poisonous self, describing the ‘glorification’ of the NHS as ‘disgraceful’ and, among other things, describing nurses as ‘self-indulgent’. If only our millionaires were so self-indulgent as to be ready to work themselves to exhaustion for the sake of patients and to spend all day cleaning up other people’s shit, instead of expecting us to clean up theirs.
The tone of the article was desperate and panicked (even managing to misspell ‘Ormond’ AND ‘Guardianista’!) , as if the right-wingers who wrote it and edited it were falling over themselves in their panic to try to negate the boost the NHS received in the nation’s collective heart. And well they might be, since they and other papers have – no doubt under government encouragement – conducted a constant attack on the NHS’ esteem and credibility, escalating every time the government was preparing a new assault on the nation’s flagship achievement. The Fail appears to have realised that it’s terribly misjudged the nation’s mood, as it has deleted the article from its website:
But someone was too quick for them and saved a copy, so you can read the whole thing in all its abhorrence here. The retraction is far too little, far too late. The ‘newspaper’, which once supported Britain’s fascist ‘Blackshirts’, has demonstrated itself once again not even to be worthy of contempt. Anyone who continues to read this rag after its latest obscenity should hang his/her head in shame.
Overall, though, even the Fail’s hatefulness had a perverse effect on me – it intensified the sense of hope that the majority of the response to my ‘opening ceremony’ post had lit in me.
I’ve contended since the start of this blog that the majority of people are apathetic about politics, and acquiesce to the government’s destruction of what’s good in this country, because for the most part they just don’t realise it; that the government and its friends in the media are constantly working to maintain that ignorance and to misdirect outrage at other targets; and that if we can just communicate the truth effectively to people, they’ll become outraged at the right targets, waking up to realise just what’s being stolen from us, and who the thieves are. That’s been the aim and premise of this blog since I started it – to make some small contribution to that effort.
The massive upswell of interest and affection that Danny Boyle’s wonderful, subtle, subversive show on Friday caused – and the evident panic and distaste of the Tories and their allies – is evidence that it’s true: people do care and will care, and can be engaged, if we just find the right ways to make them aware of the right things.
And last Friday, Danny Boyle showed it can be done..