So Friday brought about the Olympic Opening Ceremony. After many months of speculation about farmyard animals and dancing vegetables (is it just me who heard that rumour?), the Isle of Wonder finally happened, and what unfolded was a heart-warming, grand and hilarious spectacle which showcased some of the things that are truly great about Britain. I’m no steadfast patriot, but credit where credit is due – Britain has a great and varied history, and there are elements of our culture which should be celebrated.
For me, the NHS segment was one of the best things which happened during the ceremony – it’s one of the greatest political and social achievements of our time and it deserved its moment. So it’s deeply saddening to me that the tribute has been so heavily criticised in certain corners. It’s also saddening and extremely worrying to read the hostility towards the Ceremony’s celebration of Britain’s multiculturalism.
Kicking things off was Aidan Burley, the Tory MP for Cannock Chase:
shortly followed by:
Peter Hitchens, meanwhile, opts to punctuate what could have been a valid criticism of the treatment of a boy who cycled alongside the Olympic Torch on its tour around the country to add some cheap jibes about the unemployed:
Will the world be impressed? Well, would you be impressed if a family in your street, who were jobless, undischarged bankrupts with delinquent children, whose roof leaked, whose wiring was dangerous, whose garden fence was rotten and whose unmown lawn was full of weeds, suddenly hired a marquee and a brigade of maids and waiters, and invited everyone to a noisy champagne party?
…before adding ‘multiculturalism’ to a list of sins which blight the Olympic Games:
This is supposed to be a light-hearted, generous-spirited event. But it isn’t really. It’s an overbearing, officious, self-important celebration of corporate greed, unpunished corruption, tolerated cheating and multiculturalism.
When did ‘multicultural’ become a negative quality, or one that fails to represent Britain well?
This was, sadly, only the beginning of the ignorant and intolerant responses which surfaced after the Ceremony. Rick Dewsbury, despicable human being that he is, has decided to release a tirade about the whole affair, using one case of neglect in the NHS as the basis for his argument.
While the above is infuriating, it’s no more than I have come to expect from Mail columnists such as Dewsbury. It’s an example of the irritating, emotive trolling which the tabloid seems to adopt as house style. But the article continues in the most absurdly offensive fashion imaginable, to the extent that I find it difficult to fathom how it was ever allowed to go to print:
But it was the absurdly unrealistic scene – and indeed one that would spring from the kind of nonsensical targets and equality quotas we see in the NHS – showing a mixed-race middle-class family in a detached new-build suburban home, which was most symptomatic of the politically correct agenda in modern Britain.
This was supposed to be a representation of modern life in England but it is likely to be a challenge for the organisers to find an educated white middle-aged mother and black father living together with a happy family in such a set-up.
There is nothing unrealistic about the above scenario. The implication that educated people of different ethnic backgrounds can’t live together and form a ‘happy family’ is ridiculous and highly offensive. The article goes on to say that:
Almost, if not every, shot in the next sequence included an ethnic minority performer.
The idea that this was unexpected is quite incomprehensible, given the rich ethnic diversity that Britain enjoys. Dewsbury stops one short of asserting that each segment should have been performed by an all-white cast, but it’s a close call. It is incredible that this has been published. John J. Williamson points out in a blog post here that the article is “Pretty clumsy, nasty, and perhaps liable under Clause 12 i) of the PCC code.”
The offending article has now been taken down, but has been preserved online in cached form and is available to read here.