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The unsung hero of our golden Olympic summer is…John Major

06/09/2012, 07:00:54 AM

by Peter Watt

Rightly over the last few weeks we have marvelled at the sports that we have witnessed during the Olympics and currently at the Paralympics.  If we were worried about whether we could pull it off as country before, then now all we can do is push our chests out and rightly gloat.  We did it!

It is difficult to find anything that has not gone well and the memories that we are left with are sublime.  Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis, Bradley Wiggins, Ellie Simmonds, David Weir; we will all have our favourites.  It has been a sporting experience that is being shared in some shape or form by the majority of the population.

The rest of the world has rightly looked on and has been impressed by our organisation, by our sporting success and by the sheer joy with which we have embraced the games.

Inevitably there have been some rather lame attempts to get political kudos from all of this.  Labour has mentioned “once or twice” that it was a Labour government that had the courage to secure the games in the first place.  The Tories have made much of the fact that the delivery was completed on time and on their watch.  They have also hoped that a national focus on the weeks of glorious sport would give them a break from the relentlessly bad news of the previous months.

Our politicians have had photo-ops with athletes and with supporters.  They have presented medals and flowers to winners.  Twitter has been full of the political community discussing the multiplicity of sports and publicly congratulating our sporting greats.  The hope was that the greatness and feel-good factor would rub off.  It worked for Boris but definitely not for George or Theresa.

In fact I suspect that the booing of George Osborne may become an enduring and defining impression.  But that aside, on the whole, the activities of our politicians have thankfully gone unnoticed during the sporting festivities.

But I have been inspired by the spirit of fair-play embodied by the Olympians and Paralympians.  And in that spirit, there seems to me to be one politician above all others who can justifiably feel self-satisfied at the role that they have played in the success of London 2012.

And that is John Major.

John Major has somehow been written out of history by many in politics.  Certainly the Tories don’t really talk about him or his term in office.  And Labour isn’t that bothered about referring to the Major years either.  It is almost as if nothing happened politically between 1990 and 1997 that really matters anymore.  Surely it was all about sleaze, internal fights over Maastricht and assaults on John Major’s leadership?


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