Here’s the thing about the London Olympics opening ceremony (re. the bang on commentary criticising Piers Morgan’s racist shitty comparison with the Beijing opening ceremony.)
It was never going to be about proving to the rest of the world how awesome Britain is and how great its achievements are. It’s purely about creating a spectacle for the beeb to push on British citizens so that they start huffing and panting about how great we are. It was an internal display to make people forget that the NHS is being privatised, care homes for the elderly and severely disabled are being closed, benefits for the disabled are being cut, people are being expected to work for less than minimum wage to be able to claim job benefits, working class kids are being cut out of being able to go to university and even college or sixth form, funding for community centres are being cut, unemployment is on a high, police are threatening water canons and rubber bullets to deal with demonstrations and public unrest, the use of CS spray is already on the rise, pensions are being cut back, the age of retirement is being raised … need I go on?
I absolutely agree with the commentary about Eurocentrism and that’s why I didn’t bash this in as an additional commentary directly to the post as it reblogs around. But I think it’s also worth remembering that the Olympics in the UK aren’t about foreign policy or international relations in the same way they were presented in China. Here they’re the panem et circenses, the nationalist populism. Morgan’s commentary was about reinforcing how good it is to be British precisely because of his class position and precisely because, these days, being British and working class means you’re in the process of being roundly fucked by the Conservative/Lib Dem government. The Eurocentrism is a tool to suppress unrest, the racism and orientalism that breeds is the repugnant by-product.
Threatening water cannons and rubber bullets? Oh please, they’ve been using them for coming on half a century! Or does Northern Ireland not count as a part of the UK anymore? And CS gas is on the rise? Really? So they’ve managed to beat the 1,000+ cannisters they fired into the Falls Road in around an hour, before enforcing a curfew for 36 hours before the gas could dissipate?
And I didn’t read any smart breakdowns about them marching the Olympic torch and about a billion Union flags through Belfast. And I didn’t see anyone else discussing that the last celebration of British culture – a little over 2 weeks ago – involved an analogue of the KKK burning Irish flags and effigies of murder victims as a fun night out for all the family.
Everything else is spot on, but lets not forget Ireland in all this.
Very true, mea culpa.